The adventures of Yacht Flirtie

15 July 2021 | Sicily, Milazzo (position: 38 13.206'N 15 14.741'E)
10 July 2021 | Vulcano, Spaggia di Cannitello - Aeolian Islands (position: 38 22.318'N 15 00.287'E)
07 July 2021 | Lipari, Praia di Vinci - Aeolian Islands (position: 38 26.417'N 14 56.978'E)
30 June 2021 | Salina, Santa Marina - Aeolian Islands (position: 38 33. 071'N 14 52.208'E)
29 June 2021 | Lipari, Porto Pignatro Marina (position: 38 28.677'N 14 57.816'E)
27 June 2021 | Porticello, Lipari - Aeolian Islands (position: 38 30.636'N 14 57.963'E)
25 June 2021 | Caletta dei Zimmari, Panerea - Aeolian Islands (position: 38 37.600'N 15 03.993'E)
22 June 2021 | Porticello, Lipari - Aeolian Islands (position: 38 30.615'N 14 57.962'E)
16 June 2021 | Porto di Ponente, Vulcano - Aeolian Islands (position:38 25.221'N 14 57.182'E)
15 June 2021 | Milazzo (position: 38 13.217'N 15 14.710'E)
13 June 2021 | Taormina (position: 37 50.794'N 15 17.433'E)
12 June 2021 | Monte Pergola, Augusta (position: 37 14.234'N 15 14.010'E)
06 June 2021 | Siracusa anchorage (position: 37 03.604''N 15 16.734'E)
04 June 2021 | Portopalo (position: 36 40.140'N 15 06.726'E)
02 June 2021 | Sicily, Marina di Ragusa (position: 36 46.863'N 14 32.701'E)
28 May 2021 | Sicily, Marina di Ragusa (position: 36 46.863'N 14 32.701'E)
25 April 2021 | Sicily, Marina di Ragusa (position: 36 46.863'N 14 32.701'E)
15 April 2021 | Sicily, Marina di Ragusa (position: 36 46.863'N 14 32.701'E)
05 April 2021 | Sicily, Marina di Ragusa (position: 36 46.863'N 14 32.701'E)
20 February 2021 | Sicily, Marina di Ragusa (position: 36 46.863'N 14 32.701'E)

Our season has started... Hurray!

04 June 2021 | Portopalo (position: 36 40.140'N 15 06.726'E)
Bruce & Caroline Trott
winter liveaboards waving us goodbye... or are they all just making sure that we do actually leave! ;-) What a lovely surprise, thank you all - we will see you later in the season.

Our decision to spend the next few months cruising hasn't been an easy one. On the one hand we desperately want to see our family and friends and on the other we would love to enjoy a bit of sailing this year. With the covid pandemic and Brexit (applying for residency) last year righting off the season and limited cruising the two years previously because of Bruce's illnesses we desperately need to get some sailing in and feel a sense of normality. Italy is currently on the UK 'amber' list and as a result requires 7-14 days quarantine together with a number of PCR/lateral flow tests. If we returned to the UK now we would feel the need to stay for a while and this would right off another sailing season so on that basis and given everyone is in good health our plan is to return in October for an extended period.

Having made that choice it was time to leave Marina di Ragusa given that we are both fully vaccinated and the dredging of the marina is now complete. Our departure from the berth went smoothly with the usual and necessary bow nudge from the marineros dinghy which enabled us to make a clean exit from our berth and those moored around us before we followed him through the newly dredged channel out to sea.


short video clip of our departure - thanks Clare & Vic, from sailing yacht Njord.

We then settled into our routines of storing the fenders, ropes etc, drinking coffee and searching for annoying rattles from below deck. Everything was looking good apart from an annoying audible alarm emanating from the chart plotter reporting 'GPS Signal Lost'. Sometimes it's worth being a hoarder with numerous spares on board as Bruce dragged out a spare GPS and fashioned a temporary solution until we can investigate further. Apart from that glitch, the journey was pretty uneventful although the swell was larger than predicted. Flirtie took it all in her stride as she motored us slowly towards our first anchorage of Portopalo located on the south eastern tip of Sicily.

Our normal procedure once we arrive in an anchorage and decide roughly where we want to position ourselves is for Bruce to monitor the depth around the immediate vicinity whilst I go forward and prepare to launch the anchor and look around for potential sand patches to drop the anchor. As I peered down over the bow this time I was taken by surprise to see the face of a huge dolphin grinning at me. He stayed all of a few minutes before disappearing otherwise I could have dropped the anchor on his head.

A quiet night was spent in the anchorage as we listened to wavelets lapping around the hull, birds chirping on the shore and watching all the activity of the local fishing fleet coming and going together with a lonesome fishermen who dropped his nets nearby. Portopalo is widely considered to have some of the best fishing that the Mediterranean area has to offer because of its location - exactly where the Ionian and Mediterranean Seas meet.

Unexpectedly the next morning we found ourselves on a rescue mission when we thought we saw 'our' dolphin trailing a buoy. A new record was set by us for launching the dinghy and dropping the outboard on as we performed a high speed chase (well as fast as a 4HP outboard could go) towards the moving buoy armed with a diving knife, scissors, gloves etc only to find that the moving buoy and fin was a diver dressed in a full wet suit with huge fins...what a relief! The return back to Flirtie was much more sedate. Given that the dinghy and outboard were now afloat Bruce dropped me off to take a burn around the anchorage in our new dinghy.


Boy with new toy! Excel Volante 235, purchased from Excel Inflatables

The burn up around the bay is an annual ritual so we can now declare that our cruising season has officially started and it feels great!

Total miles this season: 31.38 nautical miles (excludes a few day sails)
Dolphin count: 1

2020, a year to be remembered

08 September 2020 | Sicily, Marina di Ragusa (position: 36 46.863'N 14 32.701'E)
Bruce & Caroline Trott
Flirtie at anchor in Gnejna Bay, Malta 20/08/2019 - Oh, how we dream to be at anchor!

What a year it's been! We can't believe that we are already in September with just a few months left of the year. It's only now that we find the motivation to update our blog, to record our year that in more ways than one has been put on hold - not all of our own making we may add.

Last September we returned back to the UK for Bruce's hernia operation and to catch up with family and friends. Knowing that we were due to return to the UK again in March for another PSA test we were keen to catch the first flight back to Sicily in early January to see Flirtie and crack on with all the maintenance work so as to be ready to leave in early April for a summer of cruising the foot of Italy up towards Venice and then Croatia - well, that was the plan before COVID rapidly became global news.

In March (a week before our scheduled return to the UK) our flights were cancelled and Italy went into complete lockdown. There were a few repatriation flights on offer but after considering the options we made the decision to stay here in Sicily and not take any risks with travelling but we needed to find a blood lab in order to get Bruce's PSA test/results. We spoke to our support nurse back in the UK to explain our situation and she was more than happy for us to find a lab and send the results back for the record. We found a lab in Santa Croce - the next town from MdR just a short cycle away which took away any anxiety of using public transport.

April came and went as we kept up-to-date with the local and worldwide news regarding Covid and Brexit and kept ourselves thoroughly entertained by watching some hilarious videos and photos on the web - thank you to all who took the time to post them. We also decided to upgrade Flirtie a little and added an additional port light (window) in our back cabin to allow more airflow, replace the original round galley sink with a double stainless steel sink, fit a new table in the cockpit and start the endless task of internal varnishing. All of these jobs have been on the wish list from the day we moved aboard Flirtie but for one reason or another never actually made it to the top.

By May, with so many restrictions on travel we made the decision to commit to yet another annual contract. There were so many unknowns and so many unanswered questions regarding sailing around Europe that we didn't want to find ourselves in the situation where we were not allowed to anchor and instead forced into an expensive marina and potentially having to quarantine. With more time on our hands we continued to research the impact of Brexit to our lifestyle and travelling around Europe. For us living on Flirtie for periods greater than 90 days in every 180 days it became clear that we shouldn't just sit around and hope for the best but instead we should apply for residency ready for when the UK finally leaves the EU on 31 December 2020 with or without a deal.

In the first week of June we applied for residency on the basis that if everything went to plan then by mid-July we'd have our residency and then we could spend a few months cruising as the ports started to accept foreign visitors - that was the plan anyway!

A visit to the local comune (Municipality Administration) here in Marina di Ragusa confirmed that we could indeed become Italian residents whilst living on Flirtie. For non-EU cruisers the process is well documented but for the UK's departure from the EU the requirements were at the time pretty sketchy. We lost count of the number of hours that we spent translating text and documents in order to try and understand the paperwork and documentation required. One of our American cruisers (thank you Tom) suggested that in his experience it was far better to take too much paperwork than too little and have everything translated and photocopied just in case. We headed his words and it paid dividends as we handed over forms duly filled in along with all the supporting documentation. We watched the clerk cross check everything and tried to gauge her expression to see if we'd been accurate (a little difficult given the mask) but her eyes and a confirming nod said to us that everything was in order. She then confirmed that we'd expect a phone call and that after residency acceptance we'd have to return to apply for ID cards... that was almost 3 months ago. We can only assume that there is a significant backlog because of Covid and the offices being shut at the time and now more recently an increase in new applications being made as the Brexit deadline approaches.

In August we had a bit of progress (hurray) in that we received a phone call to check that our contact telephone number was correct and they advised us that we were now being processed to the system. We are at least now in the system. We decided that a fortnightly visit wouldn't hurt to let them know that we're still here and waiting. It has to be said that the ladies in the office are lovely and particularly welcoming but the answer is always the same - aspetto! (Wait!). Don't leave your residence and on the latest visit, an additional gesture of... pray!!

So we continue to wait, hence the reason for the lack of blogs. It's looking doubtful if there will be any wild adventures for Flirtie this season as it stands but like many others this year our lives are on hold for one reason or another. Just stay safe everyone.

Sicily, Marina di Ragusa – summer is in full swing!!

09 August 2019 | Sicily, Marina di Ragusa (position: 36 46.863'N 14 32.701'E)
Bruce & Caroline Trott
there's still space for more!

Our return to the UK provided us with another excellent PSA result - that's four tests and four very positive results. However, over the last few weeks a strange looking bulge has developed in Bruce's pants... a bulge that really shouldn't be there! After a bit of poking around the consultant confirmed it to be an inguinal hernia and went on to say that the bulge was his bladder slipping into one of the keyhole voids created during the RALP surgery. A further minor operation is now required so we return to the UK late September. In the meantime, we're back in Marina di Ragusa to find summer in full swing.

The atmosphere is buzzing with most hotels and apartments now full. Cars and mopeds line every inch of the grid-like structure of the resort though the preferred form of transport is the bicycle, they're everywhere. For as far as the eye can see the beach is now a kaleidoscope of colour lined with umbrellas to shelter from the intense heat.



The local market has trebled in size with additional fruit and vegetable stalls, clothes and bric-a-brac. Summer stalls line the promenade all trying to tempt you to purchase their goods - jewellery, soap, arts, crafts and local produce and there's an entertainment schedule to suite all from fitness classes to art and cultural events.



As for the marina it has a steady flow of cruising sailors, mainly Maltese and Italian with just the occasional English, Swiss, French, German, Belgium and New Zealander flagged vessels. The noticeable change is the increase of additional sports boats and ribs berthed either side of the runway along three pontoons. The marina has laid on an extended golf buggy that offers a shuttle service around the marina grounds - to and from the beach, the office, the local bars and I'm pretty sure if we asked they'd take us to the shower block too! We're thoroughly enjoying our summer in Marina di Ragusa and despite the additional volumes of holidaymakers it's still very pleasant and relatively quiet in the marina.


daily swim with fellow cruisers Di and John
Vessel Name: Yacht Flirtie
Vessel Make/Model: Trident Voyager 40
Hailing Port: Dartmouth, UK
Crew: Bruce and Caroline Trott
About:
Welcome to Sailing Yacht Flirtie's blog.

Our blog serves as a personal record of our adventures and experiences since leaving the UK in 2012 whilst allowing family and friends to keep up-to-date with our whereabouts. [...]
Extra: email us: bandc.trott@gmail.com
skype us: distant.drummer797
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Yacht Flirtie

Who: Bruce and Caroline Trott
Port: Dartmouth, UK

Where are we now?