Cala Molto to Alcudia; 21nm travelled (5nm sailed)
09 July 2014 | Alcudia Bay, Mallorca
Nichola / dry but very windy from the north
Sun setting behind Mallorca from Alcudia Bay
Just over halfway in time on this summers cruise so we thought we'd check the stats.... So far we've travelled 838nm having sailed 40% of that. This doesn't include the Guadiana miles as they weren't going anywhere forwards as such, although we did 50nm up and down and sailing around the anchor. Not as good as we'd want for sail to motor ratio but then the weather here is so blumin' fickle it's going to just have to be accepted.
The motor to sail ratio brings us on to today. We're anchored off Alcudia marina, the wind having dropped a little and starting to veer a bit. What seemed to be a favourable sailing forecast for getting here with an easterly F4 turned into a beat into a F6 of which we only sailed a quarter and decided to motor the rest.
We started off with good intentions! The wind was now blowing into Cala Molto having been blowing off the land, from the west. The sun was shining when we set off and we had the main up as we motored out, the wind at this stage seemingly from the north-east. As we turned to the north we realised the wind was actually from the north, not east as predicted on the four forecasts we checked, so we motored away from Mallorca to give us a good sailing angle to clear Cabo Farrutx on the north-east corner. In the meantime the wind increased and went a bit more north-west as if anticipating our plans to sail in that direction and aiming to scupper them. After a failed attempt to make a course for Alcudia which would have had us straight into the headland we furled the genny again and motored away again from our course at 90 degrees. Another half hour motoring away from our destination finally gave us a sailing angle we could use that wasn't too close hauled. So genny out, engine off, sailing to our destination.
But then the wind increases, now a F6. Genny away, reef in main and engine back on. An half hour passes and the wind eases. Hurrah! We shake out the reef, genny out again, engine off and sailing.
But it didn't last. Back to a F6 with a hint of F7, everything feeling a bit tense with water splashing up the bows which was annoying having got Emerald clean in Monday's rainstorm. So we give up attempting to sail on this trip, engine back on and motoring all the way to the anchorage.
Yes we could have tacked. But the forecast was wrong and the wind was increasing so who knew if it would increase more? The mistral is hoofing off the Pyrenees at the moment so maybe it was extending more south than predicted? There was a long line of bubbling cloud off to the north that we think might have been mistral generated. Also the stress and strain on the rigging and sails is increased when sailing close hauled in strong winds and we just can't afford damage and costly repairs for ripped sails. So for us, discretion is the better part of valour in these situations; better a couple of hours burning diesel to buying a new main. It's also exhausting for a crew of two to be constantly furling, unfurling, reef in, reef out. It's supposed to be fun!
But at least the scenery was fantastic. Rugged cliffs backed by granite mountains looking a bit north Wales or Lake Districty. Made me want to go walk to the top rather than be slogging around them as we were.
PS. Sorry for so many blogs in a short time but we like to have a blog for each trip we do and we're moving somewhere new almost everyday at the mo and don't want to get behind