Passage to Espana
29 September 2014 | Western Mediterranean Sea
Dean, on board Necessity
Day 1 Tuesday Sept. 23
It is about 550 nm from Hammamet to Ibiza in the Balearic island group of Spain. We had a ripping sail in flat water for the first 4 hrs and then our course was shaped north along the east coast of Tunisia into a stiff NW breeze. It was predicted to die down overnight and did soon on cue. All sail was taken in and with the now reliable engine Necessity was put back on course. The dangers of running at night are the fishing nets of course.
Day 2 Wed. Sept. 24
Dawn found us just clearing Cap Bon where we entered the Sardinian Straits. The shipping traffic was lighter than expected. Later that evening a big thunderstorm rolled through our position with lots of strikes hitting the water around us. A little tense when two freighters bore down on us from opposite directions with a CPA (Closest Point of Approach) of 1.2 nm for each. With so much heavy rain pouring down the radar is ineffective. Thank goodness for the AIS. For added safety we put out a position call on the VHF radio as well.
Day 3 Thursday Sept. 25
Fairly calm with a light north flow of F3. Mainly motored. Radioed a passing freighter for an up to day weather forecast. Bit more wind coming but all from the ENE, F6 in the Sardinian Straits but we were well be west of that area. And then the water tanks went dry!! All the fresh water drained into the bilge. Fortunately we carry 4 jerry cans of 20 liter capacity each deep in the bilge. Poured water from these bulky containers into smaller one and two liter plastic bottles.
Day 4 Friday Sept. 26
Clear blue skies again. Light north breeze. Motor-sailed all day. Very light boat traffic. Did catch a freighter who was kind enough to give us a detailed weather forecast. Arranged for a bath for the crew in the cockpit. A half bucket of water each. Felt very refreshing.
Day 5 Saturday Sept. 27
Another big blue sky. Wind was dead astern so we poled out the genoa to great effect. The miles rolled by effortlessly. A very tired bird landed right on Joe's shoulder. He would even consent to being carried around the cockpit on your finger! Turned out to be an excellent fly catcher and he stayed with us until we reached land.
Day 6 Sunday Sept. 28
Arrive at Ibiza Island at 10 am after a terrific overnight thunderstorm. Lighting all around and increased winds. As the high winds were from the east this actually propelled us along fairly nicely on our westerly course with some rolling but only minimal yaws.
In summary it took 116 hours to complete the 545 nm passage from Tunisia to Ibiza, Spain with a speed made good (SMG) of 4.7 knots We had so many wonderful meals. Eggplant Parmesan, tuna casserole, roast pork, stuffed red peppers and bean salads are delivered up into the cockpit by our very fine gallery gals.
Necessity's crew require special mention. Travelling such a long distance in variable conditions with sleep patterns interrupted is a challenge. Very good boat handling skills, excellent trouble shooting abilities and most important of all - the camaraderie. Such a critical element in any passage. To be with positive cheerful folks is a priority. Many thanks to Joe, Tom, Lorraine and Crew