Singlehanded aboard Salara

31 July 2020 | Portugal
05 April 2020 | Portugal
16 November 2019 | Portugal
14 October 2019 | Spain
13 September 2019 | Spain
03 September 2019 | Spain
17 July 2019 | Spain
21 June 2019 | Spain
17 May 2019 | Spain
08 November 2018 | Portugal
26 September 2018 | Spain
23 August 2018 | Balearic Islands, Spain.
10 July 2018 | Spain
17 June 2018 | Spain
18 November 2017 | Spain
04 October 2017 | Spain
23 September 2017 | Spain
11 September 2017 | Spain

Salara goes back to Sea

31 July 2020 | Portugal
Peter Needham
23 July and Salara is finally on her way to be launched off.

Once more Salara was afloat, she had been ashore for nine months the longest period that she had ever been ashore during my twentytwo years of ownership. All due to a little virus which apart from delaying her launch off has also set the world into turmoil.

Once she was afloat I checked her for leaks, there were none, the engine started first turn of the key and there was a good flow of cooling water through the system, so all was well and I slipped the lines and followed the boatyard pilot to the main Faro Channel where he left me to fend for myself. The tide was still flooding as I made my way down this channel then into the Olhau Channel which gives access to the large anchorage behind Culatra Island where I anchored in seven metres of depth. It was early evening and it was very pleasant to sit in the cockpit to drink a cold beer and contemplate on what to cook for dinner. I had a day or so of easy work to do to get Salara into proper seagoing mode and of course I had to get used to living afloat again after such a long period ashore.

However fate intervened as usual, when I came to test the outboard on the dinghy I found that it would not run properly so I took the carburettor off to clean the jets, unfortunately the retaining grub screw for the main jet was solid and despite lots of persuasion I could not remove it. I asked another yachtie if he had any ideas and he came up with the novel solution of boiling the carburettor in vinegar and water for thirty minutes. Does anyone like Carburettor Soup? In the meantime I decided to row the dinghy which would give me some exercise.

Anyway I am happy to be afloat once more for what is left of the summer, I have booked Salara in the boatyard again during the first week in November so I will get three months sailing until then. I have decided to stay in Portugal for the moment as the infection rates in Spain are on the rise again and there is always the chance that I could get trapped in a local lockdown. This is the situation at the moment so we must all make the best of it.

So the next day with that thought in mind and with a good weather forecast I lifted the anchor and took Salara to sea heading for Portimao thirtyfive miles west along the coast. It was a pleasant trip with only a light breeze and Salara motorsailed all the way. I could have sailed but it would have been a very slow affair and anyway I reckoned that a seven hour run would do the engine good after such a long time standing idle.

As Salara made her way towards Portimao I noticed that the beaches were very sparsely occupied for July and put this down to social distancing and lack ot Brits. On arrival at Portimao I anchored Salara off the beach on the Ferraguda side of the harbour which just confirmed my earlier thoughts.

The following day after a good sleep and a hearty breakfast I removed the carburettor from the outboard engine and boiled it as instructed. Amazingly when I refitted it to the outboard for a test it roared into life. Problem solved.

Lock Down.

05 April 2020 | Portugal
Peter Needham
Salara locked down in the boatyard in Faro, Portugal.

As expected Salara is in lockdown at the boatyard in Faro due to the current global pandemic of coronavirus. I had been getting her ready to be launched off in early April but obviously those plans are now on hold for the forseeable future. I am living on board keeping to the official emergency regulations regarding essential travel only, the Police are on the streets strictly enforcing this. It is, of course, for the good of us all.

Normally the boatyard is busy at this time of year with yachties working feverishly on their boats but although the place is full of boats they all look abandoned and forlorn as their owners are locked down elsewhere.

Anyway over the winter months I have done a lot of work on Salara to prepare for what I thought would be an early launch off as I had wanted to make the most of the sailing this summer as I had planned it to be my last before selling Salara and moving ashore.

I had repaired the Hydrovane self steering unit which had been damaged in a collision at the end of last season. A new rudder shaft assembly had been fitted. I had also started to replace the standing rigging on the mainmast as well as installing a replacement main boom.
The original had been bent when sailing to the Cabo Verde Islands many years ago. Since then I have been sailing with a serviceable but slightly bent boom. The mainsail had been serviced and the number 2 genoa completely restitched by Carlos Madeira of South Sails.

However now my plans have changed I shall try and use the time to my advantage so I have started to scrape the old, dead antfouling from Salara`s hull which is a task that I had planned for the next winter lay up ashore. It is not a job that fills me with joy but if I do a little each day it is almost bearable. Time is on my side now it seems.

So stay safe everybody, stay at home and keep washing you hands.

Return trip to Portugal.

16 November 2019 | Portugal
Peter Needham
The lighthouse on Cabo Trafalgar.

Salara had been at anchor over night in La Linea, Spain, after leaving her last port of call in the Mediterranean. Today I had decided to go into Gibraltar to fill up with tax free diesel then return to Spain and spend a couple of nights in Alcaidesa Marina. All went according to plan and I had secured Salara safely in the allocated berth and fitted the sailcovers. I was sat on the aft deck relaxing in the sunshine while drinking a much needed mug of tea. In the berth opposite a German yacht was preparing to go to sea and I watched her with interest. She was decked out with banners and hull stickers proclaiming that she was on her way to join the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers, the famous ARC.

As she finally cast off and left her berth she was late turning and I realised immediately that she would catch Salara with her stern. There was no chance of fending her off and I watched in horror as her aft quarter crashed into the Hydrovane selfsteering unit. I shouted that damage had been done and they returned to their berth where we exchanged insurance details after which they made a more successful job of leaving.

The damage to the Hydrovane is fairly extensive requiring a new rudder shaft assembly at least and maybe some other parts once the unit has been stripped down and examined which cannot be done until Salara is ashore in Faro in November.

I stayed in the marina for two days while I stocked up on food from the large supermarket in the town and attended to one or two small maintenance jobs on board. Once that was done I returned to the anchorage to be ready to take the first opportunity to transit the Gibraltar Strait and sail into the North Atlantic. I did not have to wait long and two days later Salara left an hour before dawn to head across Algecirus Bay dodging the early morning ferries and big ship movements.

At first light Salara was rounding the Perla Buoy and Punto Carnero and at four hours after High Water Gibraltar the tide was starting to turn in her favour. As there was no wind Salara was motoring and I steered her close inshore where the favourable current was strongest and she was whisked along at almost eight knots at times. So she made a quick and easy passage through the Strait and around Tarifa to Barbate where I anchored her in the harbour approach during the early afternoon.

The next morning at 10.00 hours after a peaceful night at anchor Salara was again on the move, today her destination was Cadiz, it was calm and with no breeze so again she was motoring and heading for the inshore passage around Cabo Trafalgar. I had never tried this one before having been warned off by the pilot book advising ‘use with local knowledge only`. However I now have Navionics on my side so I reckoned all would be well. Salara shot through with the tide under her, crashed through the overfalls and that was that, all over in five minutes or so.

A very short time later Salara was enveloped in thick fog, I had the AIS on as well as the radar as I headed across the offshore banks to deeper water. I knew that there were other yachts in the vicinity as well as many small fishing boats but I saw none of them. It was the first time in years that I had to use the foghorn. After a couple of hours the fog cleared and Salara completed her passage to Cadiz where she tied up in Puerto Americas Marina having motored for the whole of the trip.
Salara stayed in the marina at Cadiz for almost a week just because I like wandering around the narrow streets of this ancient city and I had time on my hands as she was not due to be lifted out at Faro for another month. Eventually the urge to move on overcame my appetite for beer and tapas and I left the marina and steered Salara along the coast to anchor just inside the Rio Guadalquiver opposite the town of Bonanza and with the Donana National Park on the near bank. I had never anchored here before and it is the ideal starting point for a trip up the river to Sevilla. Also at anchor was the yacht Variety with Mark and Carolyn on board. I know them as they wintered next to Salara in Faro last year and like me they were making their way back there. They had been visiting Sevilla which is something that I have always meant to do but never got around to. Maybe next year.

The next morning there was thick fog and later, when it had cleared a little I noticed that Variety had left the anchorage and was making passage to Mazagon. Rather them than me I thought so I spent a lazy day at at anchor. I had intended to make an early start for Mazagon the following day but once again there was thick fog. I could hear ships passing in the river but I could not see them. However the fog cleared after a couple of hours so I lifted the anchor and set off. By that time the tide was ebbing fast and Salara had a fairly bumpy ride as she left the mouth of the river. Once on course I decided to set the headsail but for some reason I found that it was jammed and however hard I tried I could not free it. I ran through various options in my head but as the marina at Chipiona was only a very short distance away I decided to go there and sort the headsail furling system out in relative comfort.

Once Salara was secure in a berth Chipiona Marina I started work on the furling system but I could find nothing obviously wrong at deck level so the problem was obviously at the top of the system. I peered at it through the binoculars and all looked good. However after playing with the halliard tension I found that the fault cleared if the tension was fairly low. It was not to my liking but it would have to do, so the following morning Salara was once again at sea heading for Mazagon. It was an uneventful trip in light and variable breezes and Salara motored or motorsailed as conditions allowed. She arrived at the marina during the late afternoon and I tied her up on the waiting pontoon. The office was closed but eventually someone arrived and Salara was allocated a berth just as darkness approached and Mark and Carolyn from Variety were there to take my lines.

I had booked Salara into the marina for a week but stayed for nine days during which I accompanied Mark and Carolyn on a couple of trips out on the local bus to the city of Huelva and the large park complex dedicated to Christopher Columbus and the exploration of the Americas, both places that I had never been to previously.

The next stop was my old favourite the Rio Guadiana and when the tide favoured the short passage along the coast Salara left the marina and set course to the west motoring in very calm conditions and six hours later she was crossing the shallow bar with the flood tide helping her up the river. I anchored her for the night just below the Spanish town of Ayamonte ready to head further up the Rio Guadiana on the flood tide during the following afternoon.

The next day at 1400 hours I lifted the anchor and enjoyed what is now a very familiar trip up the river which forms the border between Spain and Portugal and four hours later Salara was at anchor just below the twin towns of Sanlucar, Spain and Alcoutim, Portugal. I stayed at anchor there for a week during which time I took myself off for several long walks into the surrounding countryside. The days were sunny but it was beginning to be very chilly in the mornings. A mere 18 degrees centigrade, definitely a shock to my system. Mark and Carolyn were also nearby but alongside the pontoon at Alcoutim, they were there to support their son who was playing at the annual international music festival. It is quite a popular event and lots of beer is drunk as the music goes on into the night. I leave it to the young now as I reckon that I am too old to be using a dinghy to return to Salara in the darkness of this fast flowing river.

After a week it was time to leave as the tides were favourable for the trip down the river. Salara left at halfway through the afternoon just before the ebb started to flow and was once more at anchor near Ayamonte a few hours later. It was Low Water with a depth of 3.5 metres and 25 metres of chain veered, plenty of scope to cope with the rise of tide later on. I cooked a meal and went to bed with no worries as I know that the holding is excellent here.

In the morning I rigged lines and fenders and at mid day I moved Salara into the Ayamonte Marina. I booked in until the 31 October which I had been lead to believe by our leaders was going to be Brexit Day. The advice from the RYA and the Cruising Association was that there needed to be documented evidence as to where the boat was on that important day. As we know now it did not happen yet again but at least it gave me time to refuel Salara ready for the winter lay up in Faro and also to stock up with tasty morsels of food from the large supermarkets in the town.

On what should have been Brexit Day Salara left Ayamonte and the Rio Guadiana on the last leg of her trip back to Faro and true to form she was once again under engine power. I steered her between the dozens of fishing floats outside the river and to seaward of the many fish farms and tunny nets which line the coast. Six hours later and still motoring Salara was at the entrance to the Ria Formosa and heading for the Faro Channel while still benefitting from the flood tide. I know this channel fairly well now so it holds no problems for me and at 1600 hours Salara was at anchor off Faro in 5.5 metres of depth with 25 metres of chain veered. I contacted the boatyard to tell them that Salara had arrived and they replied to say that they could lift her ashore first thing on Monday the 4 November.

I had four days to wait so I had plenty of time to make the necessary preparations, there was enough food on board to sustain me so there was no need to launch the dinghy and go ashore. Some strong westerly winds were forecast but deep in the marshes and with neap tides they would not be troublesome.

On Monday morning soon after eating a bacon sandwich for breakfast I lifted the anchor and steered Salara to meet the boatyard pilot as arranged at Buoy 23. I was there on time but I know by now that the pilot would arrive fifteen minutes late so I never worry. Sure enough he arrived as expected and with a cheery wave he led the way up the narrow twisting channel to the recently dredged basin at the boatyard. I laid Salara alongside the pontoon and handed over to the yard staff who floated her stern first into the hoist. She was then lifted, pressure washed and secured in a steel cradle. I connected up to mains power and put the kettle on.

Thunder and Lightning

14 October 2019 | Spain
Peter Needham
The Roman Theatre at Cartagena.

I had been enjoying myself in Cartagena lunching most days on beer and tapas in one of the many bars and generally walking around the city taking in all of it´s long and turbulent history. Many of the historic sites have been excavated and are now well presented for the tourist. By showing my EU passport I could get into most of them free of charge. My favourite has always been the Roman Theatre which was found when the old red light area of the city was demolished, much to the dismay of the crews of visiting ships I would imagine.

When Salara finally left Cartagena after just over a week in the marina the weather was forecast to become very unsettled with high winds and rain in a day or so. I had decided I should make an attempt to put some miles under the keel before this occurred so I headed along the coast alternately sailing or motorsailing as the wind allowed. I had intended to do an overnight sail to Almerimar but had a rethink on route and decided that it was too ambitious as we could get caught by weather off Cabo de Gata. Instead I would give myself two easy days anchoring overnight in Aguilas harbour and then doing a short morning`s sail of twelve miles to Garucha were I would hole up until the bad weather had past us by.

It turned out to be a very wise decision for soon after Salara was tied up alongside in the Garucha marina the wind started to blow strongly from the south straight into the harbour entrance and for a few hours Salara was rolling and snatching on her mooring lines. The wind then veered through southwest and west then finally into the northwest and all was quiet again. However thunderstorms were forecast so I decided to stay put and do some engine maintenance as it was time Salara had an oil and filter change I also changed the heat exchanger anode while I was at it. The thunerstorms arrived and were extremely violent with torrential rain. So violent in fact that several people were drowned in flashflooding. My daughter Mandy who had been holidaying near Torrevieja missed her flight to UK due to the roads being impassable.

Eventually after almost a week Salara was able to leave Garucha which over the period of our enforced stay I had grown to like. Again the proposed destination was Almerimar and as Salara motorsailed south along the coast I began to see huge rafts of rubbish and debris which had obviously been washed off the land during the torrential rain that had accompanied the thunderstorms. I did my best to avoid the worst of it but eventually while I was attending to the navigation at the chart table I heard the engine note change as something fouled the propellor. Luckily when I ran the engine astern it threw whatever it was off.

As Salara rounded Cabo de Gata the wind piped up from the east and for an hour she was sailing nicely under mainsail and the poled out genoa on course for Almerimar. Of course it did not last as the wind suddenly died and went into the southwest, I decided at that point that I should steer for the marina at Aguadulce instead. So Salara followed the wind as it veered still further and eventually died altogether when she was about five miles away from the harbour. I dropped the sails and motored in to be allocated a berth bows to the quay close to the control tower and the bars.

At 09.00 hours next day Salara was again putting to sea my plan being to bypass Almerimar altogether if when Salara rounded Ponta del Sabinal conditions were OK to continue to one of the anchorages at Herradura. As it happened the sea was fairly flat and although the breeze was from the west Salara was going well under engine so I decided to continue, it would be a long day. Salara was at anchor at 22.30 hours after an easy approach in the dark. I had cooked and eaten a curry during the early evening so after a last mug of tea and a biscuit I went to bed.

The next morning after eating breakfast I topped up the diesel tank from the cans and lifted the anchor. I hoisted the mainsail as Salara motored out of the bay in a flat calm. Twentyfive minutes later she was charging along under full sail as a sudden squall hit the land from seaward. It did not last long but would surely have ruffled the feathers of the remaining yachts in the anchorage.

Soon Salara was motorsailing again and the sea was getting calmer. At about midday I opened the engine cover to turn the greaser for the sterntube and noticed a lot of oil sloshing about in the engine drip tray so I immediately turned off the engine to investigate. I feared that it might be automatic transmission fluid from the gearbox as I had none on board but thankfully when I dipped a finger in it I knew it was engine oil and I had plenty of that so all I needed to do was find the leak. The level on the dipstick was very low. The first place I checked was the oil filter which I had replaced in Garucha and I was happy to find the leak was from that. I managed to get almost another half a turn to further tighten it and then topped up the engine with almost two litres of fresh oil. I started the engine, checked for a leak and all was OK. Once more Salara was on her way. The sea was calm and there was no wind so I dropped the sails and Salara motored into the anchorage at Fuengirola during the early evening.
I once more checked the oil level on the dipstick and the filter for leaks, all was well however. So the only problem remaining is how to remove almost two litres of oil from the drip tray without making a mess.

Next day I was feeling well rested and well fed as I prepared to lift the anchor and head for the next stop which was to be Gibraltar. Well La Linea really, just over the frontier in Spain.
Again Salara was motorsailing to keep up with my passage plan, I had decided to hug the coast instead of making directly for Europa Point at the entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar.
I would make use of the south going current that supposedly runs down there. It all went according to plan for a while until at just after midday the current turned against Salara and her speed dropped. Previously I had been so confident that Salara had been sailing under full sail. I turned on the engine and she motorsailed for a while until I decided that I did not want to do a long and arduous day so I altered course for Duquesa Marina which was only four hours away. I had not visited it before and did not know what to expect but as a marinero helped me secure Salara into a berth I was pleasantly surprised. I put the sailcovers on and decided to stay for a couple days on the strength of it.

That evening I went for a walk around the marina complex, as you would expect the yacht basin is surrounded by bars and restaurants serving a variety of food from paella to curry plus the usual collection of bars. There is a small village a short distance away which boasts a castle and yet more bars and restuarants. The place seems to be almost full of wealthy retired UK expats and at the beach bar they were all enjoying reliving their teenage years to 1970 music from a live band.

In the morning I had work to do in the engine compartment, bailing out the spilt oil from the engine drip tray into a seperate container and wiping up any residue. That took most of the morning before I was satisfied that I had removed it all and things were back to normal.

The next morning Salara left the marina for the short trip around Europa Point into Algecirus Bay and the anchorage at La Linea. There was no useful breeze and Salara motored all the way over calm seas which even around Europa Point, Gibraltar, remained calm. I steered her through the anchored shipping making for La Linea which is in the northeast corner of the bay. When I then dropped anchor in five metres of depth during the early afternoon it brought to a close my Mediterranean sailing for this year.

Pottering along the Coast of Southern Spain

07 October 2019 | Spain
Peter Needham
And then there was Benidorm.

After crossing from Ibiza Salara had been anchored overnight in Calleta des Dins just to the north of Cabo Nao. I had woken up to a calm and sunny day with a temperature of 28 degrees centigrade. After breakfast I refueled her from the with eight gallons of diesel from the cans that she carries on board. I then lifted the anchor and set of along what is a very beuatiful and rocky coast with numerous cliffs and coves to round Cabo Nao and head in a southerly direction towards Calpe and the massive headland which protects the port.

Salara was chugging along under engine with only the mizzen hoisted but I hoped that later on in the day a sea breeze would develope and she would be able to sail for a few hours. I sat back and enjoyed the trip. Salara was quite close inshore and the coast here is spectacular and then all of a sudden around the corner of a headland lurks the concrete holiday jungle of Benidorm. It is quite a culture shock after miles of coastal beauty. The sun shone and from seawards even Benidorm radiated a stark obelistic beauty I suppose.

The sea breeze never arrived, so much for my hope of sailing. Salara just chugged along as usual covering the last few miles to Puerto San Juan anchorage where I planned to spend the night. It was not very crowded and I had plenty of room to anchor Salara in smooth water with a depth of four metres, I veered twentyfive metres of chain and sat in the cockpit with a cold beer watching the sunset.

In the morning Salara was away again this time she was heading for Torrevieja about forty miles away. I had set her course to go across the shallows between the island of Tabarca and the mainland and again I was hoping for some breeze in the afternoon so that Salara could sail. Today the gods granted my wish and as Salara passed Tabarca island the breeze piped up from just east of south so I hoisted the sails and tacked her out to sea until I judged that I could sail her on a direct course to Torrevieja. At first she was making good time but as the afternoon progressed the breeze became weaker and eventually died completely just as Salara approached the town. I motored her in and anchored outside the harbour this time as the marine police had moved Salara on from the inside anchorage when she anchored there earlier in the year. Anyway conditions were good the sea was calm so I had no worries and spent a quiet night at anchor.

In the morning I took Salara into the harbour fuel berth and filled her up with diesel before setting off for Cartagena. It was an uneventful trip with no wind and calm seas as Salara motored along to round Cabo de Palos. Once she had rounded the Cape it was fairly predicable that she had a headwind all the way along the coast to Cartagena and arrived quite late, not getting into a berth in Yachtport Marina until after 20.00 hours.

My plan was to stay in Cartagena for a few days as I like the city and whichever marina I use they are very convenient for the city centre with it`s shops and restuarants. There is also much of interest to see as there has been a city here for thousands of years because for the superb natural harbour, Phoenicians, Cathaginians, Romans, Moors, have all been here in the past. I stayed a little longer than planned as I discovered that my daughter Mandy and her husband were on holiday nearby and so we got together and planned a day out to the small port of Mazarron which none of us had visited before. I enjoyed it immensely and believe it or not we went on a boat trip.

A Perfect Day and Things Go Bump at Night

13 September 2019 | Spain
Peter Needham
A perfect crossing to Mallorca flying the cruising chute.

Sometimes I am lucky enough to be blessed with a really perfect sailing day and the day that Salara crossed from Ibiza to Mallorca was just such a day. I had slept well in the calm of the anchorage of Cala de Sant Vincent and was up to greet a clear and lovely dawn. I lifted the anchor and motored slowly out to sea in the company of a French yacht that was also making an early start. The sea was calm and for the first couple of hours there was no wind and as Salara chugged along I sat in the cockpit drinking a mug of tea and eating a bacon sandwich. A bacon sandwich always seems to taste much better at sea.

After a couple of hours the wind gods gave Salara a gentle breeze and she was able to sail under mainsail and genoa which was very pleasant but very slow so I had to resort to motor sailing to keep pace with my passage plan speed of five knots. Which gives Salara ten hours for the fifty mile trip. I sat listening to the beat of the engine which is quite soporific after a time so to break the pattern I decided to rig the cruising chute for the first time in many years. The last time I used it was returning across the Atlantic to Europe from the Caribbean. Just lazyness on my part I suppose.

I sorted everything out on deck and then hoisted the chute enclosed in its snuffer straight out of the foredeck hatch and up the mast. I had already organised the sheet and the tack line. Then after clearing a slight tangle on the snuffer line I hauled the snuffer to the top of the sail which filled immediately. I made a few adjustments to the sheet and and the tack line and all was well with the chute pulling Salara on towards her destination of Santa Ponsa, Mallorca. I was well pleased, the engine was off and all was quiet and peaceful with Salara sailing at about six knots for the rest of the day until the wind changed as she approached Mallorca. I released the tack line and let the chute fly free and the snuffer worked just fine, I then lowered the whole thing down the forward hatch. Probably not the not strictly according to the book but as a singlehander I do what suits me best. Salara was safely at anchor in Santa Ponsa by 1800 hrs and I was happily enjoying a cold beer in the cockpit. It had been an excellent day.

I spent the next two weeks in the anchorage. I had not planned to but time slips pleasantly by when there no urgent plans to pursue. I met a couple of other singlehanders that I knew and we drank beer ate ashore a few times as well as going on a days out to Palma and the market at the nearby port of Andraxt. When I finally made a move I sailed to Porto Colom stopping off halfway along the coast at the huge anchorage at Isla Gavina which although busy never gets full. The water is gin clear and you can see the anchor chain stretched out on the sandy seabed. In Porto Colom I tucked Salara quite close inshore anchored on a clear patch of sandy seabed as they are very protective of their Posidonia sea weed in this area and have a warden to police the anchored yachts, moving them on if necessary.

I had intended to sail further up the coast to Pollensa but persistent strong northerly winds put paid to that idea and after a week I gave up waiting and headed Salara back the way she had come. She fairly romped down the coast and rounded Cap de Salines in fine style with a near perfect gybe as she went round. Again I stopped for the night at Isla Gavina before continueing once again to Santa Ponsa where I anchored her for a few days before heading back to Ibiza and anchoring in Portinatx for the night with the intension of carrying on to San Antonio in the morning.

I was tired and after cooking a meal I settled down to rest and have an early night. At about four in the morning I was awakened by a tapping on the hull and when I investigated I found that another yacht had swung into Salara when the wind changed direction. As I started to rectify the situation two sleepy chaps appeared on the other yacht. It transpired that they had veered more chain than anyone else so they had to recover some while I let a little more out. Luckily there was no damage done and we all went back to bed.

In the morning after eating breakfast I left the anchorage intending to sail along the coast to San Antonio and anchor there for a few days before returning to the Spanish mainland. However once I had an unobstructed view of the coast I could see that there was a large squall approaching so I immediately steered Salara into the next bay which was Cala Xucla where I just had enough time to anchor in 15 metres of depth and veer 45 metres of chain before the rain started. I decided that the rain was so heavy I would refit the cockpit screens so I stripped myself naked to do the job getting a good freshwater shower in the process. Thunder and lightning crashed almost overhead as I worked. The storm lasted for most of the morning with the rain persisting all day. Even as I went to bed the thunder was rumbling and the lightning was flashing in the mountains ashore.

In the evening as I ate my dinner I abandoned all thought of going to San Antonio and instead I would leave early and head for the mainland and if I was lucky and the wind played ball I would make for Valencia.

In the morning I left the anchorage an hour or so before dawn. It was pitch black apart from the anchor lights showing from three or four yachts in the anchorage. I steered out of the Cala on a compass course skirted the lights of a gaggle of fishing boats and headed offshore under engine power. However as dawn broke the wind appeared and I was able to sail Salara under full sail for a couple of hours but south of the intended course to Valencia. Salara was actually sailing on the land breeze off Ibiza and predictably it died as the sun rose and she had to motorsail. The most efficient course gave her landfall just to the north of the traffic seperation scheme of Cabo Nao so I would have to be content with that, at least Salara would arrive before dark. So she chugged along throughout the day at varying speeds as what breeze there was varied in strength and direction. Late in the day Salara was amongst a mass of shipping which was entering and leaving the T.S.S. and once again I was very glad of the AIS system that I have on board. Once clear of the shipping I altered Salara`s course a little and headed her towards the anchorage of Caleta des Dins where she dropped anchor in eight metres of water just as the light faded.
Vessel Name: Salara
Vessel Make/Model: Nicholson 38 Ketch
Hailing Port: Lymington UK
Crew: Peter Needham (owner/skipper)
About: 2007/8 Atlantic circuit. 2009/13 Cruising in the Mediterranean. 2014 Atlantic coasts of Spain and Portugal.
Extra: The indispensable Hydrovane self steering. Eats nothing, uses no power and never complains.
Gallery Error: Unknown Album [1:]:15023
Salara's Photos -


Who: Peter Needham (owner/skipper)
Port: Lymington UK