From Marina di Ragusa to Crotone: First Sail of 2014
28 April 2014 | Syracuse, Sicily, Italy
We were ready and excited to do our first sail in almost 6 months. The plan was simple: wait for a not-to-windy and not-to-wavy weather so nobody would be sick on the first sail of the year, then go to Siracusa for, at least, one night, and finally do an overnight to Crotone, where Por Dos would be hauled to get her bottom cleaned and do some maintenance work on the sail drives, seacocks, etc.
A weather window opened on Friday, April 25, just in time for our appointment with the yard on Monday, April 28. After saying good-bye to our friends in Marina di Ragusa we sailed early in the morning for Siracusa, about a 60 nm trip. It was a wonderful trip with the wind coming astern and following waves which Por Dos would have surfed had her bottom being cleaner; best of all, nobody got sick! Not even Roan! (granted he drugged himself up just in case J)
One night of rest and off we were again from Siracusa to Crotone. Even though we have sailed in the Med most of last year, I am still taken by surprise at the speed in which winds can pick up and drop off here. We had left Siracusa motor sailing, which quickly became motoring in no winds. A few hours later the wind came up, and I got really happy as there was enough wind to put the main and jib up. Twenty minutes later, we were in 26 to 28 knots of wind and I called Mark to put a reef on the main. Half and hour later, the first reef repair done this winter in Sicily broke and I called Mark to place a second reef in the main. As we finished with the second reef the wind started to drop. Twenty minutes later I was motoring again. There you have it, in about 2 hours we went from 5 knots to 28 knots back to 5 knots. The main will need to be repaired again in Crotone.
So after a typical long first night and day at sea, we arrived in Crotone at 5 in the afternoon and tied up to the big ship dock in front of the yard. It was interesting fendering against the huge black tire fenders that are there for ships that are just a little bigger than us. We ended up spending two nights on the wall, as the yard was very busy moving boats so that there was room for us to haul out. We also had the joy of dealing with the local Coast Guard station, that checked all our paperwork and then helped us to get it all in order once they decided we were not properly cleared in to the country, even though we had been there for 6 months. They were the only place we have been in Italy that cared at all - probably because they are a training station and have lots of cadets around to do the paperwork!