Cruising to Greece and back.

S/Y Tobin Bronze sailed from the Villaine River in Brittany in 2009 and reached Greece in Oct 2011. We spent 7 years cruising around the Aegean. TB is currently (winter, summer 2021) ashore back in Wadswick, Wiltshire.

Vessel Name: Tobin Bronze
Vessel Make/Model: 35ft cold moulded plywood sloop
Hailing Port: Bristol
Crew: Peter and Judy Ward
Launched in 1985. After one year sailing in the Bristol Channel, TB has been sailed for 22,500 plus miles by Peter, Judy, Charlotte, Ben and Sofie - firstly based in Dartmouth and then in South Brittany. [...]
24 October 2019 | Portishead Entrance Lock
08 June 2019
27 November 2018
30 June 2018
18 November 2017
03 July 2016 | Agmar Marine Boatyard. Partheni, Island of Leros
30 October 2015
01 October 2014 | Kilada to Orei
25 November 2013
19 July 2013
26 June 2013 | Koilada
01 December 2012
01 November 2012 | Koilada
29 September 2011
10 September 2011
Recent Blog Posts
02 July 2019

2019 Sardinia - West coast

Click here for link to relevant PhotpAlbum Sardinia . A screen-shot of the track across Tyrrhenian Sea

08 June 2019

Sicily south coast

Click here for link to relevant PhotpAlbum Sicily - South coast. This image was taken from the fort overlooking Cala del Sol, Licata.

27 November 2018

2018 Autumn. Leros to Malta

Click here for link for relevant PhotoAlbum Autumn 2018. This image taken from Tobin Bronze as we entered the Grand Harbour, Valetta.

Last leg - La Rochelle to Portishead

24 October 2019 | Portishead Entrance Lock
Peter Ward
Click here for link to relevant PhotpAlbum La Rochelle to Portishead. Portishead Entrance Lock.

After arriving in La Rochelle by train Wednesday, 24 July, I spent the night in the cheap and cheerful Altica Hotel not far from the large marina at Port des Minimes. On schedule, Tobin Bronze rolled into the boatyard at 15:45hrs on the transport after the 400 mile road journey from the Herault River.

LaRochelle boatyard
LaRochelle boatyard.
Click here for link to an enlarged image in the Photo Album 'La Rochelle to Portishead.'

Unfortunately, at this stage, things started to go wrong. I had arranged for the boatyard to lift TB off the truck and launch into the water. I had also mentioned that I would require a crane to step the mast once in the water. It was only at the last minute that the boatyard informed me that I would need a crane for a different company to step the mast. Of course, the other company was "Very busy. Can't do it until next week." Even after much rushing around and pleading, I ended up having to store the mast in another boatyard until 12 August when I could return to La Rochelle. I can understand why La Rochelle has a reputation as a place to avoid for having any work done. There are simply too many boats and the demand for services out-strips the supply. Mind you, some of the people I dealt with were very efficient and helpful but a lot of the others were the exact opposite.

After a decent storm overnight, it rained most of Friday. A friendly guy from the French boat next to me in the marina helped me to raise the A-frame; so I was able to connect the solar panels, Navtex and GPS antennas. It was also quite pleasant as the weather was much cooler overnight, making sleeping more comfortable.

Unable to go anywhere without a mast, I flew back to Bristol for a spot of shore leave.

As it turned out, I returned to La Rochelle earlier than expected on Tuesday 06 August. Pierre-Jean, who was going to step the mast, was due to be married on the following Saturday and the yard was closing on Thursday. So we stepped the mast on Wednesday morning without any difficulty.

Stepping the mast.
Stepping the mast.
Click here for link to an enlarged image in the Photo Album 'La Rochelle to Portishead.'

The weather over the next few days was very unsettled - windy and wet. Judy joined ship on Saturday and we were able to enjoy a few days in La Rochelle using the complimentary bikes from the marina to get around.

By Tuesday, the forecast was much improved and we motored out of Port des Minimes at 10:45 in calm conditions. That evening we were allocated a berth in Port Olona, Les Sables de Orleone. This is the modern port with good facilities and is where the Vondee Globe starts and finishes.

On departure next morning, we had a moment or two of drama as the engine lost revs and died when we were only 100 metres off the breakwater and in the approach channel. It was also choppy with an onshore wind against the ebb tide. A few minutes frantic activity saw us drop the anchor, raise the mainsail, pick up the anchor, sail half a mile south and then anchor in 7 metres of water off the beach.

Once again, the dreaded diesel bug had developed in the fuel tank and blocked the fuel intake pipe. It was still pretty choppy and I had to fight sea-sickness as we rigged up a temporary fuel supply. Poor Jude had to rummage around in various lockers as the green looking skipper fought to keep his breakfast down. Eventually we managed to motor back into the marina. The diesel bug was a surprise as we had taken 155 litres onboard in La Rochelle.

Next morning, I removed the cockpit sole and opened the inspection hatch on the fuel tank. The suction pipe was blocked with green gunge. We rigged up the fuel "polish" pump and ran it for a couple of hours filtering the diesel and removing all the diesel bug. I don't know why the bug had returned as the last time it had caused a problem was 3 or 4 years before in Greece. I had "polished" the diesel in Malta without seeing anything in the filters.

After leaving Les Sables de Orleone early on Friday morning we mostly motor sailed at a good average speed to La Turballe where we spent three nights. There were strong winds and rain overnight and heavy rain all next day. Welcome to summer in Brittany!

Kevin and Lesley, regular crew on TB, arrived around 18:30 on Sunday.

Monday, 19 Aug, was sunny but cool with a nice 12kt NW wind. We were under full sail as we tacked towards Point Navola and the Morbihan. Nice sailing for a change. However by 15:30 the wind had picked up as we motored into the Morbihan. Transiting the Morbihan is always an interesting experience with plenty of company on the water - from sailboarders to busy ferries nipping back and forth. At 18:45, we were moored on the waiting pontoon at the lock into Vannes. We were early on the tide and there was barely 2m of water in the canal.

The last time Tobin Bonze had been moored in Vannes was 2008.

After a run ashore in the evening, we left on the strong ebb tide down the Morbihan, through the Teignose Channel and across to Souzon in Belle Isle. By late afternoon, we were moored fore and aft between buoys with six other boats - four one side and two the other.

Souzon, Belle Isle.
Moorings in Souzon Harbour.
Click here for link to an enlarged image in the Photo Album 'La Rochelle to Portishead.'

Things got interesting during the night. Just after midnight the easterly wind picked up blowing straight into the anchorage. We lost our bow line to the buoy and the Benny 38 on our port side also parted his bow line. It was cold wet work in the wind to replace these lines. The rest of the night was disturbed tending lines and adjusting fenders. As I said a couple of days ago - welcome to Brittany!

After the boats outside us cast off at 08:40, we immediately left ourselves and motored into a head wind for 3 hours to the beach on the SW side of Houat. This was in the lee of the land and sheltered from the wind. The wind was still cool but it was nice to be there. Hout is always a pleasant place to wander around ashore and we enjoyed a relaxing walk (and a few beers in the bar overlooking the small harbour on the east coast).

We weighed anchor at 08:20 next morning, Thursday and motored across the bay to Piriac. After about an hour, the auto-pilot blew its fuse and after a bit of trouble shooting it was ascertained that the drive motor had reached the end of its natural life. The facilities in Piriac are good with a new amenities block having been built since our last visit. It is also a very pleasant town. After lunch, Kevin and Lesley departed by bus back to La Turballe to collect their car.

Judy and I motor sailed next morning across to Port du Croeusty at the entrance to the Gulf du Morbihan. I left the auto-pilot with the helpful guys at Electronic du Gulf. They confirmed the drive motor was the problem and ordered a replacement.

Next morning, Saturday 24 August, we left Port du Croeusty at 10:50 and motored into the Morbihan and up to Vannes. It was a hot 28degC when were allocated berth 70 on the south side of Vannes Marina.

Sunday is games day in Vannes and we watched the colourful Jousting competition which went on all afternoon. Sue & Tim H. arrived off the train at 20:45 and we all trooped off to a restaurant up in the town.

Jousting in Vannes Marina.
Click here for link to an enlarged image in the Photo Album 'La Rochelle to Portishead.'

While the lock was open at high water, we left at 15:00hrs and motored back to Port du Croeusty, mooring up at 17:30hrs. Around lunch time next day, I collected the auto-pilot with its new drive motor and confirmed that it was working. We filled up with 120 litres diesel and motored in bright sunshine across a flat sea to Port Haliguen. We had a nice meal in the small restaurant by the harbour in their lovely garden.

Port Haliguen.
Restaurant in Port Haliguen.
Click here for link to an enlarged image in the Photo Album 'La Rochelle to Portishead.'

There was a light westerly as we left next morning around Teignose Lighthouse and north to Isle de Glenan. During the afternoon, we were able to make sail and enjoy the sunshine. By 18:20, we were moored to a buoy in the anchorage on the north side of Ile St Nicolas.

The bright sunshine continued next morning but the wind was too light to sail; so we mostly motored for 5.5hrs to the anchorage at Audierne. It was a beautiful evening as we had a stroll ashore enjoying the view. We had a drink in the café overlooking the bay. I don't know what the occasion was but the publican was obviously drunk!

Audierne Bay.
Anchorage at Audierne.
Click here for link to an enlarged image in the Photo Album 'La Rochelle to Portishead.'

The navigator's timing for passage thru Raz de Seine next morning left a lot to be desired as it was pretty rough on the north side. South of the Raz the north going current and the swell form the south west caused no problem but once through the Raz the swell on the north shore of Ile de Seine was coming in from the north west causing a wind against tide confusion of sea. But Tobin Bronze handled the conditions easily and the only damage was to the navigator's confidence and self-esteem. The moral of the story - go through the Raz at slack water!

Raz de Seine Lighthouse.
Raz de Seine Lighthouse.
Click here for link to an enlarged image in the Photo Album 'La Rochelle to Portishead.'

Once into Marina de Chateau, Brest, we moored up inside the breakwater and then were allocated a pontoon berth by the marina staff. This marina is alongside the commercial harbour but is not far from the bars and restaurants along the water front. The facilities are very good.

Saturday 31 August 2019 - crew change day. David W. can strolling in around lunch time and not long after that, Judy took a taxi to Brest Airport to fly to Southampton. Early next morning, Sue and Tim caught the train from Brest to Nantes from where they flew back to Liverpool. David and I then visited the excellent street market up in the town. The fresh produce on display has to be seen to be believed.

In sunny but cool conditions (16° C), David and I cast off from Brest and motored on the ebb tide through the Narrows to Camaret. The Marina here is always a pleasant place to visit.

Monday 02 Sept was bright and sunny; so after topping up with water we motored out of the marina at 12:00hrs. We caught the last of the ebb tide down to Ponte St Mathieu and then the flood tide up the Chenal du Four. Conditions were calm as we motor sailed north. Once clear of the land, we crossed the north bound shipping lane with its steady stream of traffic without any drama. However it was in the early hours of the morning when we encountered the south bound shipping lane. The weather had turned damp and miserable as we motor-sailed with a full main in a lumpy sea. The shipping was quite heavy and what appeared to be a large number of fishing boats were working in the area about 40Nm from the Isles of Scilly. It was one of those nights where it was hard to differentiate between navigation lights closer to hand or powerful fishing boat work lights further away. And there were lights everywhere! However we made our way through without too much excitement.

By 10:00hrs we were approaching the Isles of Scilly with the tide running in our favour. About five miles off, I tuned in to the latest weather forecast. Not good news! The prediction was for strong northerly winds for the next four to five days - about the worst conditions you could wish for heading north up to the Bristol Channel. We had intended to wait in St Mary's for a suitable window to transit the North Cornwall coast but the prospect of sitting out an extended Force 6 to Force 7 blow on a mooring in St Mary's wasn't exactly appealing.

A quick phone call verified the availability of a berth in Newlyn Harbour; so we quickly re-plotted a course into Mounts Bay. By 16:00hrs, we were secured to the visitor's pontoon in Newlyn. This is mainly a fishing harbour with a couple of pontoons for small boats. Plenty of activity with big fishing boats coming and going at all hours.

I paid for 5 days mooring and David and I headed out of Penzance by train at noon next day, Thursday 05 September.

It was eight days later on the following Friday (13 Sept) when Judy and I returned by train to Penzance. By 17:30 we were onboard TB in Newlyn on a warm(ish) sunny evening.

We left the harbour at 07:25 on Saturday and motored towards Lands End. Once around the famous headland and through the inshore passage inside Longships were able to make sail for a change towards Trevose Head. Fortunately conditions were calm as we crossed the notorious Doom Bar. After a pleasant sail up the estuary, we arrived in Padstow. We took on 100l of cheap diesel at the commercial wharf and, at 18:00hrs, moored alongside the wall inside the locked harbour.

Padstow was very busy with tourists and the pubs and restaurants were all booked out for dinner. We managed to get the last table in the Rick Stein Café. Even though our table was tucked away in the corner and the Café is not the main Rick Stein Restaurant, the meal was excellent and very enjoyable.

There was fog and mist around next morning and it was overcast and cool (13°C) as we left the Padstow estuary. It was a familiar story - no wind! The tide was against us initially but turned in our favour as we rounded Hartland Point.

We had a quick look into Ilfacombe around 17:00hrs but the north westerly swell ruled out anchoring there for the night. Four miles further east, Combe Martin Bay was a bit more sheltered but is very shallow and we had to anchor a long way out. When the wind grew lighter and the boat drifted around beam on to the sea, it became decidedly more uncomfortable. As the flood tide up the Bristol Channel started to run around 03:00hrs, we decided to make use of it and weighed anchor. There was a nice westerly wind behind us which combined with a full spring tide propelled us over the 36 miles to Flat Holm in four hours. The water was brown as only the Bristol Channel can be and it was overcast and damp but we were bombing along.

On with the oilskins.
On with the cold weather gear!
Click here for link to an enlarged image in the Photo Album 'La Rochelle to Portishead.'

By 10:30hrs, Monday 16 September 2019, just as the tidal stream was beginning to ebb, we moved into the Portishead Marina entrance lock. We had averaged over 8.25 knots from Combe Martin Bay - with a little bit of help from the tide!

The distance sailed on the water from Malta was 1854 nautical miles. The worst statistic from the trip was that the engine had been used for 320 hours. The winds are much more favourable for getting to Greece than returning.

On 24 October 2019, the mast was removed and laid on top of TB. The boat was then lifted onto the road transported from South West Boat Transport and delivered by road back to Manor Farm, Wadswick. The old shed were TB was built many years ago has long gone but a lifting frame had been rigged up to offload TB under cover in another shed.

Into the shed.
Into the shed for a major re-fit.!
Click here for link to an enlarged image in the Photo Album 'La Rochelle to Portishead.'

After 35 years on the water, sailing nearly 23,000 miles and eight years in the Mediterranean sunshine, Tobin Bronze was badly in need of some TLC. The decks were plumb worn out and leaked everywhere, the Cascover sheathing on the hull had broken down in the sunshine and I wanted to fit a holding tank in the heads. So a major re-fit was called for

Corsica west coast & French coast to Herault River

09 July 2019
Peter Ward
Click here for link to relevant PhotpAlbum Corsica. View from town overlooking harbour at Cargese.

On 02 July, we crossed into French waters and entered Bonifacio, the spectacular harbour in Corsica. There were some serious charter boats in the harbour. Skyfall -available for only 289,00€ + expenses per week = 340,000€/week. Denis and Norm checked their pocket money and elected to stay with Tobin Bronze. For a marina fee of 65€, we had a nice berth on the end of pontoon J, only 50 metres from the noisy disco which played head banger music until 02:00hrs. (I am getting old!).

Bonifacio harbour
Bonifacio harbour.
Click here for link to an enlarged image in the Photo Album 'Corsica .'

Finding the bright lights and swank of Bonifacio too much for Tobin Bronze, we shoved off next morning, sailed for a while and then ended up motoring to Porto Pollo. After spending the night on a mooring of the quiet beach, we motored for over 6 hours to the harbour at Cargese. The town with its twin churches overlooks the harbour and is a lovely location. It is definitely Italian alpha male territory. We were impressed with an 8m run-about that had 3 Yahama 425 XTO (V8 450HP 5.6l each) outboards on the back.

Runabout in Cargese harbour
In Cargese harbour.
Click here for link to an enlarged image in the Photo Album 'Corsica .'

In the morning, Norm and I sweated our way up the hill to the town to stock up from the supermarket. The town is perched on a hill top and has panoramic 360 deg views. After topping up with water, we set sail out of the marina and continued north.

Road down from town.
Click here for link to an enlarged image in the Photo Album 'Corsica .'

After an overnight stop anchored in Cala De Tuara, we rounded the castle at Calvi and anchored off the long beach east of the town. In the early part of the night, the wind was quite gusty but died away towards dawn. This allowed us to hear even more clearly the loud music emitting for the discos along the beach. The music eventually stopped around 04:00hrs.

Cala  de Taura
Beach at Cala de Taura.
Click here for link to an enlarged image in the Photo Album 'Corsica .'

Late Sunday morning, Calvi Marina gave us clearance to move inside into a berth. The facilities in the marina are good even if the ladies in the office gave the impression of being very bored with life. The old part of Calvi is lively and interesting but the newer part around towards the beach is hot and dusty. Unfortunately, for peace seeking sailors, early July is not the best time to be in Calvi. There was a music festival in full swing and the music goes on till late and is very loud.

Calvi Fort
Calvi fort.
Click here for link to an enlarged image in the Photo Album 'Corsica .'

As the wind overnight in the marina was gusting to over 30 knots and was forecast to continue next day, we decide to stay a couple of nights.

Tuesday 09 July started hot and calm after the strong overnight winds. We topped up water and departed the marina at 11:10hrs. We managed to sail during the afternoon on a course of 285° towards Ile du Levante, over 100 Nm away on the French coast. Towards evening the wind dropped and we then motored overnight towards Ile du Levante. Denis wrote in the log "02:00 SOG 5.2kts COG 285° 2250rpm Cap Camaret Lt in sight. Loom of Ile du Levante. Moist with heavy dew. Light wind. Slight sea. Quite a few ships."

Bu 08:00hrs on Wednesday we were moored up to a buoy in Port Cress, Ile du Levante. Only 3 of the 40 moorings were unoccupied. There are only a couple of restaurant ashore - very much a national park. We treated ourselves to an expensive lunch in one of the restaurants and then elected to have dinner onboard.

Port Cress
Quay in Port Cress, Ile de Levante.
Click here for link to an enlarged image in the Photo Album 'Calvi to La Rochelle. .'

We had originally planned to stay a couple of days on Ile du Levante but the forecast next morning warned of a strong westerly airflow commencing Friday; so we made the decision to go immediately to Ile du Frioul near Marseille. For 10 hours we motored to the west and reached Ile du Frioul by 18:00hrs. This is a big harbour with lots of room for yachts. We moored stern to on the west side using the laid mooring for the bow.

Isla du Friou
Marina at Isla du Friou, near Marseille.
Click here for link to an enlarged image in the Photo Album 'Calvi to La Rochelle. .'

The westerly wind did blow all day Friday and Saturday at Force 5-6 but the shelter under the high wall on the causeway behind was very good. During Saturday, we observe gusts reaching 30kts across the harbour. There is not much on rocky Ile du Frioul with lots of day trippers coming across from Marseille. We had a couple of relaxing days enjoying the sunshine.

Sunday 14 July. We departed Ile du Frioul at 06:10hrs in cooler conditions and not much wind. In the first hour we saw 3 big cruise ships heading into Marseille. Initially, we motor sailed to the west before furling the sails after lunch and then it was motor on for the rest of the day. At 18:30 we entered the west entrance of Sete harbour and found a berth on pontoon G in the Vieux Basin, Sete. As it was Bastille Day, we were entertained with an impressive fireworks display along the sea front.

Marina at Sete
Modern marina at Sete.
Click here for link to an enlarged image in the Photo Album 'Calvi to La Rochelle. .'

Sete has a network of canals and is known as the Venice of Languedoc and is the eastern entrance of the Canal du Midi. We even took a ride on the "Noddy train" to take in the sights.

Marina at Sete
Modern marina at Sete.
Click here for link to an enlarged image in the Photo Album 'Calvi to La Rochelle. .'

On Tuesday morning we motored in clear sunny conditions for 4 hours and entered the Herault River and the Alemand Boatyard to arrange road transport to La Rochelle. Next morning, Denis and Norm went off by taxi at 07:00 to the train station at Gare d'Agde. Their plane back to Brisbane was scheduled to leave Milan on Friday afternoon.

As my road transporter was not booked until the following Wednesday, I went back to the marina at Cap d'Agde as there is nowhere to moor or anchor in the Herault River. Cap d'Agde is very much a purpose built modern development for French holiday makers. Not the most exciting place to visit.

On Tuesday, I motored back to the Alemande Boatyard where we removed the mast and laid the solar panel frame across the cockpit. At 08:45 next morning, the Altead boat transported rolled in the yard and TB was lifted on the trailer. The transporter left under police escort at around eleven. The escort is necessary as to get out of the village, they have to initially go the wrong way up a one way street.

Bye to the Med
Good-bye to the Med.
Click here for link to an enlarged image in the Photo Album 'Calvi to La Rochelle. .'

We had sailed 1140 Nm from Malta.

I left at 11:30 to go by train to La Rochelle on the efficient French railway system.

2019 Sardinia - West coast

02 July 2019
Peter Ward
Click here for link to relevant PhotpAlbum Sardinia . A screen-shot of the track across Tyrrhenian Sea

With TB topped up with water and diesel, we set sail from Sicily at 11:00hrs Monday 10 June, bound for Cagliari, Sardinia, 175 Nm away. Even though the voyage started out promising with a fair wind and under full sail for the first 5 hours, the weather deteriorated and it ended up a bit of a slog, motor-sailing to windward in wet choppy conditions. We were very relieved when we finally moored up in Portus Karalis Marina in Cagliari at 20:20hrs on Tuesday 11 June.

Fortunately, next morning was warm and sunny; so we were able to wash the decks and dry out the boat. I found a few more places where the deck was leaking! Cagliari is a busy, bustling place with plenty of bars, cafes and restaurants. We had a nice meal in a small restaurant up in the old town.

We pushed off at 08:00 Thursday morning, motoring south-west along the coast. By 10:30 as we rounded Cape Coltellazzo, the forecast wind started to fill in from the NE. For the next few hours we had a great sail under mainsail alone with the wind almost dead astern. Ideal - sunny, good visibility and a calm sea. With the apparent wind seen as 15 to 25kts, TB charged along at over 8 knots. During some of the stronger gusts, I saw over 10 knots on the log. In the flat sea, TB tracked effortlessly even in the stronger gusts with no sign of broaching at any time.

By 17:00hrs, the fun was over with the wind dying on us and we motored into Marina Sifredi on the island of Carloforte. This was the third port this trip which we had visited on the voyage out to Greece in 2011 - the other two being Gagliari and Trapani.

Lagoon on Carlefore island
Lagoon on Carloforte.
Click here for link to an enlarged image in the Photo Album 'Sardinia .'

On Friday 14 June, we hired bikes from the marina and had a leisurely day cycling around the island. This is an attractive island, very quiet and unspoilt. To top it all off, we had a very good meal ashore that evening.

At 08:05hrs next morning, we cast off from Marine Sefredi. Once more the wind was on the bow and we spent the day motor sailing up the west coast and eventually arrived at the anchorage under the ancient city of Tharros, occupied by the Phoenicians (around 800BC) and then by the Romans before being going into slow decline.
Look up

Anchorage off Tharros.
Click here for link to an enlarged image in the Photo Album 'Sardinia .'

We pushed on next morning and after overnight stops at Marina Nouva Darsena, Bosa and the anchorage at Cala Tremalgio, we arrived at Marina di Aquatic, Alghero at 11:30hrs on Tuesday, 18 June. This marina is directly under the walls of the ancient city and is very convenient.

Chilling out in Bosa
Chilling out in Bosa.
Click here for link to an enlarged image in the Photo Album 'Sardinia .'

Distance from Cagliari = 170.4nMiles and 359.5nMiles from Trapani

Moored up in Alghero
Moored up in Alghero.
Click here for link to an enlarged image in the Photo Album 'Sardinia .'

A couple of days later, David and John flew back to the UK and my brother Denis and Norm G. arrived from Brisbane to crew the next leg.

They arrived at around 18:00hrs after flying into Milan and then transferring to a flight to Alghero. They only made it to a bar around the other side of the harbour and I had to go and rescue them and help them polish off a few cold beers. The beers were very much appreciated, as it was hot and sunny.

After an interesting day wandering around the narrow streets of the old city and doing the laundry in a small laundry, we motored out of Marina di Aquatic and continued north around Cape Caccio.

Cape Caccio
Cape Caccio.
Click here for link to an enlarged image in the Photo Album 'Sardinia.'

There was not much wind; so it was motoring (again) most of the day. There were beautiful conditions as we passed through the Fornelli Passage. We then picked up a National Parks mooring in Cala della Reale, Isola Asina.

Look up

Isola Asina
Isola Asina.
Click here for link to an enlarged image in the Photo Album 'Sardinia.'

The water in the bay was unbelievably clear with fish everywhere. The big event of the day was the arrival of the first ferry of the day from Sardinia bringing fresh bread and pastries. Very nice they were too! It cost us 30Euros for the park mooring but there were respectable showers and toilets ashore.

Porto Torres where we stopped on Sunday night was nothing special. The charge was 45Euros for the pleasure of mooring to a rickety pontoon. Early next morning (07:45) we moved across the harbour to the fueling berth. We had to wait for a while as all available hands offloaded a fishing boat. They had a good catch of some rather large fish. I thought they might be espada fish but I'm not sure if these are caught in the Med. The largest fish weighed 78kg.

Eventually were able to take on 145l of diesel at a price that was cheaper than at Alghero by 10 cents a litre.

By 11:30hrs we were moored up in Castelsardo harbour, just a short hop up the coast. This was a modern marina with good facilities. The town itself is perched on the promontory overlooking the harbour and is an uphill slog on foot if you don't take the bus.

Look up

On Tuesday, 25 June, Denis and I had an excursion ashore. We took a taxi to Sasgari and then the train across northern Sardinia to Olbia on the east coast. The scenery was spectacular and constantly changing.

As the wind was forecast to pick up during the day, we left early next morning and managed to get to the anchorage under Capa Testa by 13:30hrs. Capo Testa Lighthouse is an active lighthouse located on a promontory, which is the northernmost point of Sardinia, and represents the western entrance to the Strait of Bonifacio. The promontory is connected to the mainland by an isthmus. This protects La Colba Bay which is open to the west but provided good shelter in the prevailing east wind. Even the large holiday complex on the isthmus does not spoil the beauty of the place.

By next morning the wind had died away and we motored for three hours into the Maddelana Islands National Park. After the relative quiet of the west coast, the Maddelana Islands were very busy with boats everywhere. We moored stern to the quay in Cala Gavetta, La Maddelana. The quay and the town were buzzing with activity - very much a holiday atmosphere. It was also very hot.

La Madellana
La Madellana.
Click here for link to an enlarged image in the Photo Album 'Sardinia.'

Friday 28 June saw strong winds from the NW, Force 5-6 gusting Force 7. Cala Gavetta is well protected and consequently it was very hot in the marina. I wandered along to the National Park office and obtained a permit to cruise with the archipelago.

La Madellana National Park
La Madellana National Park.
Click here for link to an enlarged image in the Photo Album 'Sardinia.'

We spent the next few days at various anchorages in the Park. During the day, there were motor boats everywhere but come evening most of them disappeared back to wherever they came from leaving a few sailing boats to enjoy the peace and tranquillity.

Eventually it was time for us to leave the archipeligo; so we weighed anchor and set sail for Corsica.

Sicily south coast

08 June 2019
Peter Ward
Click here for link to relevant PhotpAlbum Sicily - South coast. This image was taken from the fort overlooking Cala del Sol, Licata.

Saturday dawned overcast and was cool, 16°C in 17 - 25kt east wind. We caught the bus up to Ragusa Ibla, the picturesque village perched around a deep ravine 23km north of the coastal town, Ragusa Di Marina. This is Montalbano country and anyone who has watched the TV series can easily recognize the famous landmarks. From the Marina, you can actually visit Montalbano's beautiful beach side house only a few km away.

Cathedral in Ragusa Alba
Click here for link to an enlarged image in the Photo Album 'Sicily - South coast.'

That evening we had dinner in the fish restaurant in the top right hand corner of the small town square in Marina Di Ragusa. The square had a lovely atmosphere with families and groups of people fraternizing while kids kicked a football around or practised on their skateboards.

By Sunday morning the clouds had cleared away and it was bright and sunny in the SW wind. But by 10:00hrs, the wind had veered to the west and increased to 25kts. As this was on the beam, we had to tighten up our existing moorings and put a couple of extra lines out. While checking the engine, I found that there was sea water in one of the cylinders and in the sump. As this had happened a couple of times before, it was obvious that there was an underlying problem. I re-routed the hoses for the cooling water to be higher inside the engine box so that the syphon break was further above the water line. This appears to have worked as I have not had a problem since. The engine oil was changed as well.

That evening we joined the well-dressed locals as they promenaded along the water front and enjoyed a drink in the café by the old beacon tower.

Seafront at Marina di Ragusa
Click here for link to an enlarged image in the Photo Album 'Sicily - South coast.'

On Monday morning, we collected a hire car at the marina office and over the next three days we visited Noto, Siracusa (stayed two nights) and Mt Etna.

We returned the car on Thursday morning and I did a bit of maintenance on the boat.

Friday 24 May. After topping up the water tanks and paying our bill, we motored out of Marina Di Ragusa. It was sunny, calm sea and no wind. The voyage to Licata was a story of motor sailing in light winds that increased and seemed colder by late afternoon. Berthing in Marina del Sole, Licata was not easy in a 16kt crosswind. Fortunately, Allesandro from the marina, was able to assist in his RIB. We stayed three nights there wandering around the town. Apart from a very good fruit and vegetable shop and the Roman fort, Castello Saint Angelo, overlooking the town, there was not much to get excited about. I did manage to get an Italian data SIM card from the helpful girls in the supermarket.

The next leg from Licata to San Leone was not pleasant. There was a lumpy left over swell from the south and the wind was light, forward of the beam and intermittent. It was also very rolly in the entrance to the marina. Fortunately, it was a relatively short leg and lasted only four hours. There were no other visiting boats although there was plenty of room.

At sea
Click here for link to an enlarged image in the Photo Album 'Sicily - South coast.'

That evening we went to the Il Pescatore Restaurant - very good seafood but not cheap.

From San Leone we caught the bus to the Valley of the Temples. Amazing! The name says it all.

Wednesday 29 May. At 11:15hrs, we cast off and motored in no wind to Siacca. The wind picked up late afternoon and was rather cold. It blew from the west all day Thursday and was stronger than forecast - up to 21kts. It is a bit of a hike up the hill to the old town but it is worth it. We visited the beautiful Basilica Maria Santissima del Soccorso and enjoyed a very good lunch in Trattoria le Matrice in the square opposite the Basilica.

Sciacca harbour is open to the west and swell gets into the harbour. That plus the fishing boats trundling past can make it a bit uncomfortable.

Next port of call was Mazlara del Vallo. This was another slog; motor sailing to windward. We set off from Sciacca at 05:00hrs and by 14:45hrs we were moored stern-to inside the pontoon at Anide Marina. We were helped into our berth by a friendly Marino. The wind died out during the evening as we had dinner on board.

Beating to windward
Click here for link to an enlarged image in the Photo Album 'Sicily - South coast.'

Saturday 01 June was sunny with clear skies but still cool in a 5 to 10kt NW wind. During the morning we were spectators to a civil emergency services drill on the next pontoon. Red distress flares, orange smoke, Coast Guard boat (with siren and water canon), air rescue helicopter (lots of noise), fire brigade (more sirens), ambulance (sirens, of course), fire fighting demo, ambulance rescue. The Full Monty. Beats television.

In the evening, we strolled along the beach front. There were two weddings in progress - lots of dark suits and OTT dresses. I bought a 5Euro watch (which has kept perfect time) from a stall in a nice street of shops. After walking through the Arab Quarter, we had a very good meal in the Trattoria closest to the port. An eventful day!

We set off from Mazara del Vallo at 08:35hrs, heading to Mothia. It was the usual story - motoring in no wind. It was another relatively short leg. We phoned ahead to make sure they had room for us and by11:30 we were moored stern-to inside the west pontoon in Mothia Marina, Marsala. As with everywhere along this coast there was a helpful marino in attendance to assist in berthing.

Sunset in Marsala
Click here for link to an enlarged image in the Photo Album 'Sicily - South coast.'

After a quiet day in port and doing a bit of sight seeing, we departed from Marsala at 11:30hrs and motored to Marettimo, in the Egadi Islands off the west tip of Sicily, arriving by 15:30hrs.

This is a beautiful little village, population less than 700 with a family run marina. It is one of those places when the arrival and departure of the fast-cat ferry from the mainland is an event.

Marettimo harbour
Click here for link to an enlarged image in the Photo Album 'Sicily - South coast.'

However, next morning, Wednesday 05 June, the forecast was predicting strong winds from the south east, from which direction the harbour is exposed. The Marinoes were going around and advising yachts to vacate the harbour. We were a bit disappointed as we would have liked to stay a couple of days.

Anyway we had an enjoyable sail in warmer conditions for the 21 miles to Trapani. I phoned ahead to reserve a berth in one of the marinas in Trapani. We arrived at lunch time; so there was no Marino at Arturo Artile Marina to direct us when we arrived. We slotted into a vacant berth. This was the marina that we stayed in in 2011 on our way down to Greece. We settled down in the warm sunshine and enjoyed our lunch.

At 16:00hrs, we received an emergency call from Vento di Maestrale. We had gone to the wrong marina. Judy quickly apologised to Arturo Artile Marine and we moved to Vento di Maestrale Marina. This marina is smarter, more up-market and is much closer to the centre of Trapani. When we arrived there was a difficult cross wind but there was the inevitable Marino in a RIB to assist.

This marina is next door to the fishing harbour and its attendant fish market. In addition to the big commercial market, you can buy fish directly from the stern of smaller fishing boats. On the quay, there is a cheap vegetable market selling loads of lovely fresh fruit and produce. We bought a couple of fresh sea bass that we had on board Thursday night after exploring Trapani during the day.

Trapani fishing boats
Click here for link to an enlarged image in the Photo Album 'Sicily - South coast.'

On Friday, we caught a bus across the city and rode the cable car up to the ancient hill top of Erice. It is a fascinating place with incredible views.

Next morning, Saturday 8 June, I saw Judy off on the shuttle mini-van to Palermo airport on her way back home. I pottered around on TB, doing some maibtenance and provisioning up for the naxt stage of our voyage - the crossing to Cagliari in Sardinia. David W. rolled in after lunch and next morning he hired a car and collected John C. from Palermo airport.

2019 Return from Malta to Portishead

12 May 2019
Peter Ward
Click here for link to relevant PhotpAlbum Spring 2019 Malta. This image is taken from the top of Kalkara Creek.

We made an early start on Sunday 12th May 2019, catching a National Express bus at 06:15 from Pickwick to London Heathrow. Air Malta then flew us to a warmer, sunnier Valetta. On the taxi ride to Kalkara Marina the driver tried to sell us an expensive guided tour around the island the next day. Once he realised we were not interested, he shut up and we didn't get a word out of him for the rest of the trip. We had booked in for a night in Villa del Port, a cheap and cheerful hotel right by the marina.

A quick visit to the boatyard revealed Tobin Bronze parked out the front of the yard ready to be launched next morning.

Judy's cousin, Patrick, his wife Helen, son Tom and his friend James arrived next morning just as TB was going into the water. Tom and James had recently arrived in Malta on their Nicholson 32, Blue Eyes, which was also in the marina. They had sailed up from the Suez Canal and were heading back to the UK to complete a circumnavigation.

Once in the water we had quite a lot of work to do. The friendly girls in the marina office arranged for Judy to be collected by Supermarket Pavi where she did a mega-shop. Then the van delivered her and the groceries back to the marina. On the boat itself, there was a lot of rainwater in the bilge as a result of the leaky decks. There is an automatic bilge pump that I usually rig up each winter. But when I left the boat last time I must have knocked the leads loose as it wasn't working. A lot of bedding and towels were soaked and all had to be washed. Then to cap it off, the potable water pump ran for 2 minutes and then gave up the ghost.

At 15:00hrs, friends of ours from Box , Paul & Ros, came by for a visit. They were holidaying in Malta staying with their friend, Sue. A sociable G&T with them cheered us up.

As the afternoon progressed, a northerly wind picked up to around 20kts which firstly made it a bit cooler, only 19°C, and then created a bit of swell into the marina. Valetta Grand Harbour is open to the north east and is not protected in that direction. On 24th February 2019, the worst storm for years hit Malta and did a lot of damage around the harbour. We could still see the damage in places.

Look up

There were showers overnight and continued with odd shower or two next day.

The problem with the pot water pump was found to be the pressure switch. Tino from the yard located a replacement switch in a chandlery located the other side of Valetta. Judy and I had a day out, sight seeing, as we collected the pressure switch from the chandlery. We walked from Kalkara Marine through Birgu to Marina Di Valletta where we boarded the ferry across the Grand Harbour to Valletta. From the quay side, we used the Barrakka lift to reach the upper town. We arrived just in time to see the firing of the Noon Gun from the Upper Barrakka Gardens. The view across the Grand Harbour is spectacular.

We enjoyed lunch in a restaurant in one of the main streets before walking down the hill to the Silema ferry terminal on the north side of Valletta. After collecting our spare part from the well stocked chandlery in Silema, we had a beer in a water-side café before making the return journey arriving back at 16:00hrs. As we were both tired and foot-sore after so much walking, we had a short siesta before meeting Patrick and his family in a restaurant in the main square in Birgu. It was a very good meal at a reasonable price.

Bloody engines!!!
Click here for link to an enlarged image in the Photo Album 'Spring 2019 Malta..'

The ship's log for Wednesday 15 May 2019 reads:-
JW sight seeing with Patrick & family
PW repair water pump (replaced pressure sensor).
Repair loose wire on cool box.
Fit RCB 0n 240v circuit.
Clean bilge under engine.
Temp 17°C. Sunny spells

After more showers overnight, Thursday was mostly sunny but cold in the north westerly wind which was gusting in excess of 20kts. The morning was spent getting TB squared away for leaving Malta. After lunch, we visited "Blue Eyes" and had a few beers with Patrick, Tom and James. The two lads would be sailing from Malta in a couple of days heading non-stop to Porto Vecchio in Corsica before entering the French canals via the River Rhone.

The NW wind brought squally showers all afternoon but conditions improved overnight.

Next morning was much improved - bright, sunny, no wind. After hoisting and furling the genoa and bending the mainsail, we paid our boatyard bill to Kalkara Marine and departed from the marina. Malta, and Valletta in particular, is a fascinating place with history oozing from every corner. We really could have done with more time there to take it all in.

Departing Kalkara Marina.
Click here for link to an enlarged image in the Photo Album 'Spring 2019 Malta..'

By 09:40hrs, we were outside the harbour in bright sunshine on a northerly course with Ragusa 52.5Nm away. We were able to sail initially in the light east wind but after lunch time the wind went light and veered more astern; so we had to motor sail to keep up a decent passage speed. Conditions were very pleasant with very little shipping around. In a three hour period we saw 1 ship and 2 sailboats.

As we approached the south coast of Sicily, we had to compensate for the east setting current to maintain our track. The north west swell which was present when we left Valletta decreased during the day and by 18:00hrs was replaced by a slight south east wave pattern.

There was plenty of room in the huge Ragusa Marina and two marineos in an RIB helped us into our berth.

2018 Autumn. Leros to Malta

27 November 2018
Click here for link for relevant PhotoAlbum Autumn 2018. This image taken from Tobin Bronze as we entered the Grand Harbour, Valetta.

Autumn 2018: Leros to Malta.

Chartlet Leros to Malta.
Click here for link to an enlarged image in the Photo Album 'Autumn 2018.'

For possibly the last time, Judy and I returned to Leros in Greece, departing from Chapel Plaister on Thursday30 August 2018. Leros is not a particularly large island (about 20 sq.miles) and a permanent population of around 8000 people. It has not been heavily infested by tourism as has happened to places like Kos and Mykonos. It has a very Greek atmosphere and the locals are friendly, honest and welcoming. We have kept the boat there since June 2016 and greatly enjoyed the island and the surrounding Dodecanese Island group.

We were returning to launch Tobin Bronze back into the water and start the return voyage, which will eventually bring TB back to Bristol. We took the usual route - train to Gatwick, Easyjet to Kos, overnight in Mastihari, small ferry to Kalymnos and the fast Seacat to Agia Marina on Leros. After a quick lunch in Agia Marina, the taxi dropped us off at Agmar Marine by the airport at Partheni just after 14:00hrs.

That evening we went across the island to Nicos taverna at Alinda and enjoyed a meal of fresh fish. The taverna is right on the water's edge with a view across the bay of Agia Marina and the Kastro on the hill behind it.

Next morning, Kevin and Lesley arrived on the flight from Athens at 10:30. Tobin Bronze was already on its way to the slip on the boat transporter when they arrived. As the boat was lowed into the water, as usual I checked all the skin fittings for any leaks. I wasn't pleased to see that there was a slight leak at the toilet inlet skin fitting. Rather optimistically, I thought I would give it half a turn to tighten it. Big mistake! The nut twisted off. I quickly found a spare bolt but could not fit it as the fitting was under the sling supporting the boat. There was no other option but to take TB back into the yard and support it in it's cradle.

Unfortunately, this was Saturday morning and the boat launch crew finished at mid-day. So we were not going anywhere until Monday.

We hired a car for a couple of days and rented two apartments in Artemis Apartments in Alinda.

P&J at Alinda!Tourists ashore.
Click here for link to an enlarged image in the Photo Album 'Autumn 2018.'

On Sunday morning it did not take me long to remove and re-bed the sea water inlet in high strength mastic and install four new stainless steel bolts. The other three bronze bolts also sheared as I was removing them. The rest of the day was spent lazing around Alinda - no great hardship.

I was at the yard bright and early Monday morning but we were at the end of the queue for launching. However we were in the water by 13:15hrs and with everyone on board, we set course for Levitha. For the first couple of hours, we had a great sail but then the wind veered to the north west and threw up a lumpy sea on the beam. Most uncomfortable. Lesley became very sea-sick and unfortunately took refuge in the forecastle - the worst place for a sea-sick person. By the time we got to Levitha at 17:30hrs, she was really suffering.

All the moorings were occupied and we made a couple of unsuccessful attempts to anchor outside the moorings area but it was very poor holding and quite windy. The alternative anchorage was down at the other end of the bay to the west. There was much better shelter there.

I used a trick from the offshore oil industry and piggy-backed the spare Bruce anchor to the Fortress main anchor and let out all the chain. With this lot out, we weren't going to drag!

Next morning, Lesley was much improved but still not 100%. During the early hours, the wind picked up to around 30kts for a couple of hours but by mid-morning was down to 10 - 12 knots. We decided to stay at Levitha for another day to give the sea state time to moderate and to give us the opportunity to go up to the farmhouse for dinner that night.

Levitha anchorage.
Click here for link to an enlarged image in the Photo Album 'Autumn 2018.'

We set sail from the island at 08:30hrs next morning and motored west towards the Nisos Koufonisia, passing to the south of Kinaros and the north of Amorgos. At Koufonisia Marina, the attendant passed lazy lines to us and there was water and electricity on the quay. There were quite a few tourists around but is a nice town. We took advantage of the plentiful supply of good fresh water to fill both tanks and to give TB a good wash down.

At 11:30hrs, next morning, Thursday 6 Sept., we set sail from Koufonisia in 16 kts of wind from the NNE. We had a nice run under genoa alone south of Kati Koufonisia, around the north end of Nisos Skhinousa and south down the west coast. The wind dropped at 12:45hrs and we motored into the small port of Mirsini. There was a bit of a cross wind which made going astern difficult and almost impossible for Tobin Bronze who wont't go astern in a straight line if there is a cross wind. We ended up going bows to the quay to make life easier for ourselves.

Mirsini Bay.
Click here for link to an enlarged image in the Photo Album 'Autumn 2018.'

The merit of this decision was illustrated an hour or so later when a Serbian charter was trying to moor. To say they stuffed it up would be an understatement! The skipper didn't have a clue on how to manoeuvre and caused havoc for 30 minutes or so. Great entertainment - except that they pulled up our anchor at one stage and we had to go out and re-set it.

We got chatting to a young Greek guy who was skippering a charter RIB, moored next to us. He called a local garage who then delivered a couple of camping gas bottles down to the quay for us. He also advised us on some pleasant anchorages in the surrounding islands. Mirsini bay is a very unspoilt and is used as a port for the Chora which is a kilometre or so up the hill. It only gets busy when the ferry calls in.

On Friday morning, Judy, Kevin and Lesley went for a stroll up the hill to the Chora while the skipper did some maintenance. While TB had been out of the water, some wasps or some other insects had taken up residence in the sea water hose to the sink. They made a very effective plug, which kept blocking the pump. Eventually, it was all cleaned out.

Chora view from bar.
Click here for link to an enlarged image in the Photo Album 'Autumn 2018.'

We departed the harbour at 11:00hrs and motored on a flat sea around the south coast of Nisos Irakalia to a bay near Avelonisa Pt at the SW tip of Irakalia. We anchored in about 6 metres of water at 12:30hrs for a lunch stop. It was a beautiful deserted bay with a nice beach. The Greek guy from Mirsini had told us about the wreck of a WW2 fighter plane which was lying in about 8 metres of water. We snorkled over and could see it and its twin cockpits quite clearly. The crew (from Tobin Bronze) also enjoyed a pleasant swim ashore to the beach. I would imagine that the crew from the fighter plane would have been quite relieved as well to swim ashore! You cannot help wondering what happened to them.

Lunch stop. Irakalia.
Click here for link to an enlarged image in the Photo Album 'Autumn 2018.'

Crew returning from beach.
Click here for link to an enlarged image in the Photo Album 'Autumn 2018.'

After a couple of hours, we picked up the anchor and continued motoring north around the island of Ios and into Skala Sikinos on the east side of Nisos Sikinos. This was another small port mainly used as a staging point for ferries. We anchored and then rowed a line ashore to the north side. Although well protected to the north, the anchorage is open to the south and the east. Even after a couple of days of light northerly winds, the residual swell swept around the island and caused the boat to roll a bit during the night.

Taking mooring line ashore.
Click here for link to an enlarged image in the Photo Album 'Autumn 2018.'

Saturday 8 Sept. After a leisurely breakfast, we set off at 08:30hrs, passing to the north of Folegandros to Nisos Poliagos, near Milos. We anchored for lunch in the protected bay inside the island of Manolonisi. This was a bay of crystal clear water, clean white sandstone and sandy beaches. As it was a Saturday and the bay is located not far from Milos, there we a dozen or so motor boats anchored in the bay but there was plenty of room for everyone. This was another spot recommended by our friend from Mirsini.

We stayed anchored until 16:00hrs when we moved a few miles across the strait to Port Psathi on Nisos Kinolos. We went alongside the nice convenient spot just inside the south breakwater. In the evening, we walked up the Chora and enjoyed a few beers (and on ouzo or two) while taking in the great view from the balcony of the taverna.

Berth in Psathi harbour, Kinolos.
Click here for link to an enlarged image in the Photo Album 'Autumn 2018.'

We had dinner back on board. Pasthi is a busy port with ferries of all sizes coming and going.

We cast off fom Psathi at 10:45hrs next morning and then had an excellent sail in 15kts of wind to Adhamas on Nisos Milos. The bay in Milos is surrounded almost entirely by land and was formed from the crater of an extinct volcano. It is a busy place. The marina is a popular place with water, fuel and electricity available but there are no toilets and showers. For the price of a cup of coffee or an icecream, we used the toilets in the Cafes across the road.

Adhamas Marina, Milos.
Click here for link to an enlarged image in the Photo Album 'Autumn 2018.'

We had sailed 145Nm from Leros and visited eight islands.

As one does in Milos, we made the pilgrimage in the evening up to the Chora to admire the sunset. However to get a good vantage point in any of the bars or tavernas, you would need to get there earlier than we did. It was very busy with loads of tourists but definitely worth it. We gad an enjoyable meal in one of the tavernas there. We took a taxi up and the bus back down.

Sunset from Chora, Milos.
Click here for link to an enlarged image in the Photo Album 'Autumn 2018.'

Sunset Milos.
Click here for link to an enlarged image in the Photo Album 'Autumn 2018.'

Monday 10 Sept was the last full day for the crew; so we caught the bus across to the SE side of Milos to the beach. A swim, a bit of tanning in the sun, lunch in the taverna, a bit more tanning (sleeping) on the beach made for a relaxing day.

Milos beach.
Click here for link to an enlarged image in the Photo Album 'Autumn 2018.'

That evening we strolled east around the bay away from the main town to where there are some very good tavernas on the water's edge. It was a very pleasant evening.

Judy, Kevin and Lesley caught the Seacats fast ferry to Pireaus at 10:55hrs on Tuesday morning. An hour late, David and Roger arrived on another ferry from Athens after travelling overnight from London.

I had originally planned not to leave for a day or two to give them a chance to catch up on lost sleep. However the weather forecast for the next week or so was ominous with strong winds developing on Wednesday and continuing for several days. Cape Maleas was 65 Nm away and that famous cape has a reputation worthy of its name. We decided it would be best to be around Cape Maleas, out of the Aegean and into the Kithera Strait before the strong winds arrived.

As it turned out, it was a good thing we did leave straight away. There were very strong northerly winds all over the Aegean, starting the next day and continuing for nearly a week.

We did a quick shop for provisions and prepared the boat for a night passage. We dropped the No.1 genoa and replaced with the smaller No.2. It was very helpful having a couple of experienced crew who are familiar with Tobin Bronze.

We cast off at 17:50hrs and motored out of the bay. An hour later we passed Vani Pt on NW Milos in no wind and a flat sea. There was practically no wind until after mid-night when we were able to let out the genoa and motor sail. It was a pleasant evening, with the odd sailboat around and a steady steam of shipping heading to and from Cape Maleas but all a considerable distance away to the west.

After mid-night we were able to watch a fairly active thunderstorm to the west over the Peleponnese. It appeared to be slowly tracking south towards Cape Maleas and we watched its path with a high level of interest. At 02:00hrs we were 17Nm, bearing 247deg to Cape Maleas way point and heading on a convergence with the storm.

At 03:20hrs, we sailed into the storm. One minute the wind was 15 kts on the starboard beam and the next it was gusting to 40kts. The wind and waves hit with a crash that shook the boat. We probably set a time record in reducing the genoa to about 50%. It was certainly noisy!

Fortunately, we could still sail our course and sail pretty quickly as well. One thing that was quite noteworthy was that even though plenty of sea water was coming over the boat, the water felt quite warm. The wind stayed at 30 - 35kts for the next hour before slowly coming down.

By 04:45hrs, we were past the WP at Cape Maleas in the lee of the land and the wind was down to 15kts. There was a constant stream of shipping both east going and west going past Cape Maleas but we were able to stay inshore and out of their way. Tranquillity restored and the off duty sailors getting in some serious zzzs.

A couple of hours later we dropped the anchor in 4.0m of water off the beach in beautiful Elfanosis Bay.

Elfanosis Bay, Southern Peleponnese.
Click here for link to an enlarged image in the Photo Album 'Autumn 2018.'

We had sailed 79.4Nm from Milos. After a relaxing morning and a pleasant lunch, we sailed off at 12:30hrs to Porto Kayio on the SE corner of the Mani Peninsular. This enclosed bay has a small settlement of no more that 20 buildings, including a couple of tavernas right on the beach.

Porto Kayio, Mani Peninsular.
Click here for link to an enlarged image in the Photo Album 'Autumn 2018.'

After a run ashore in the evening, next day we visited the Dyros Caves on the other side of the Mani before having a slog into the wind to the anchorage at Koroni. David was extremely pleased to find a Turkish barber in the town, who gave him a shave for a few Euros. The other two scruffs in the crew were more interested in finding a taverna for a couple of beers and a meal.

The next morning, Friday 14 Sept, was overcast but without any wind. By 09:45, we were motoring south towards Ak Akritas and then north west towards Methoni. It was only a few miles and within three hours we were anchored off the ancient fort at Methoni. Homer mentioned Methoni as being "rich in vines" and the Venetians built a walled fort to guard their important shipping routes round the Peleponnese and into the Aegean. From the fort, it is easy to imaging how important it must have been over the centuries.

Venetian Fort, Methoni.
Click here for link to an enlarged image in the Photo Album 'Autumn 2018.'

We needed to top up the diesel in preparation for the extended trip to Malta. Roger and David went off with the fuel can to the garage a kilometre or so out of town. A kind Greek guy took pity on these two old codgers struggling along the road. He picked them up in his car, took them to the garage and then brought them back to the dinghy on the beach.

We had a very good meal at a family run taverna in the village. David was proving very useful by using his extensive experience in Greece by sniffing out good tavernas and watering holes. It's a talent!

We thought we would leave Greece in style by picking up the anchor under sail at mid day and sailing out of the anchorage. But the wind didn't last long and we were soon motor sailing. So we set our course of 260 deg, 350Nm to Malta. We dropped the no.2 genoa and hoisted the no.1 but still had to motor sail all afternoon and into the evening.

Onboard dining.
Click here for link to an enlarged image in the Photo Album 'Autumn 2018.'

At 21:30hrs, the engine alarm sounded and caused a bit of consternation in the crew. Fortunately, it was only because the fan belt had broken. This was quickly replaced. By this time there was a bit of wind around and under full main and no.1 genoa, we were able to make 5.5kts on the required course for the next 12 hours. It was pleasant sailing.

Sunrise at sea.
Click here for link to an enlarged image in the Photo Album 'Autumn 2018.'

At 09:30hrs Sunday morning, the apparent wind was below 9 knots and it was back to motoring. Twelve hours later, we passed the half way point with 175Nm left to run. During the afternoon, we encountered a few dolphins and turtles, which broke the monotony.

That evening, we motored through the big ship anchorage 20 miles offshore to the east of Malta. As we were not expecting this, it was confusing at first and felt almost strange to find over 50 ships anchored out of sight of land. At mid-night, we called Valetta Port Control on the VHF to report our arrival 10Nm from Valetta break-water.

At 01:40hrs Greek time (00:40hrs Malta time), we dropped anchor in Rinella Creek, to the south just inside Valetta harbour. After a relaxing cold beer, we all turned in for some peaceful sleep. In the morning, we had a sight seeing cruise around Valetta harbour, enjoying the hustle and the bustle. It is a busy place. We then made our way into Kalkara Marina when the attendants helped us to berth stern. End of voyage.

Grand Harbour, Valetta.
Click here for link to an enlarged image in the Photo Album 'Autumn 2018.'

For the year we had sailed 850Nm in total.
Early summer - 186Nm
Leros - Milos 145Nm
Milos - Methoni 169Nm
Methoni - Malta 350Nm

David and Roger went sight-seeing for a couple of days before leaving at 07:30hrs on Friday 21 Sept. I carried on with the usual repairs and maintenance before lifting out into the yard on Monday morning and flying back to London on Tuesday morning.
Tobin Bronze's Photos - Main
Photos 1 to 3 of 3
Tobin Bronze going out in the 1967 Melbourne Cup.
Last leg along west coast of France, across the Channel, around Lands End and into the Bristol Channel
18 Photos
Created 23 June 2021
Last leg in the Med.
12 Photos
Created 23 June 2021
From Bonefacio up the west coast to Calvi
12 Photos
Created 23 June 2021
From Cagliari up the west coast to Strait of Bonifacio
15 Photos
Created 22 June 2021
Ragusa to Trapani including road trip to Mt Etna
46 Photos
Created 19 June 2021
Malta to Sicily May 2019
11 Photos
Created 15 May 2019
Leros to Malta. 30 Aug to 25 Sep 2018.
39 Photos
Created 19 November 2018
22 May to 19 June 2018
30 Photos
Created 29 July 2018
Sept 2017. Dodecanese Islands
20 Photos
Created 20 October 2017
Dodecanese Islands
23 Photos
Created 24 June 2017
Cruising from Orei. Evia to Leros in the Dodcanese in May, June
18 Photos
Created 30 October 2016
Launch from Orei, sail north to Thessaloniki, around the Khalkidhiki paninsula and Mt Athos to Nea Peramos.
17 Photos
Created 14 December 2015
22 Photos
Created 15 October 2014
Re-launch in Kilada to Orei, Evia in early July
16 Photos
Created 22 July 2014
13 Photos
Created 18 May 2014
A late summer cruise to the northern Cyclades
18 Photos
Created 20 January 2014
Cruise to Crete
11 Photos
Created 19 July 2013
Visits to Koilada May & june 2013
11 Photos
Created 9 June 2013
From Kalamata to the Argolic Gulf in July 2012
57 Photos
Created 12 January 2013
From Messolonghi to Kalamata May 2012
45 Photos
Created 10 January 2013
Italy to Zakinthos and Messolonghi
15 Photos
Created 24 November 2011
Lipari, Vulcano and Stromboli - three of the Aeolian Islands
30 Photos
Created 24 November 2011
Sardinia and Sicily Sept 2011
19 Photos
Created 24 November 2011
Sailing from Cartagena to Sardinia
24 Photos
Created 24 November 2011
Sailing TB from Faro to Cartagena in June and July 2011
64 Photos
Created 9 August 2011
Sailing on John's boat 'Derby Lass'
20 Photos
Created 6 August 2011
Delivery trip with Woody from Vigo to Lisbon when John Q. met us. Then to Ohao where Judy replaced John for a trip up the Guardina River.
41 Photos
Created 1 October 2010
June - July in the Rias Baixas, Galicia
26 Photos
Created 8 August 2010
Six days on the "Dunmow Flitch" between Braunston and Market Harborough in April 2010.
26 Photos
Created 1 June 2010
Lay up for winter in Cangas
17 Photos
Created 27 October 2009
Newport R.I.,Cuttyhunk Island, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket
48 Photos
Created 17 September 2009
Highlights of the trip from Viveiro to Ria de Vigo.
34 Photos
Created 2 August 2009
Hugh pod of dolphins encountered 10:30hrs 04 June at approx 44º24'N; 006º32'W
18 Photos
Created 23 June 2009
Between 02 June and 04 June 2009 from La Roche Bernard to Ribadeo in Galicia, Spain
11 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 18 June 2009
Port de Foleux is about 15 miles up the Villaine River, 6 miles upstream from La Roche Bernard
4 Photos
Created 18 June 2009