Monday, July the 13th – 23:00 – Le Castella / Calabria

Leg 6 started on Saturday afternoon. The new crew arrived at midday, we bought some provisions had a nice pizza and went. After a short stop in a bay outside the harbour for swimming we headed NE for Le Castella. The plan was to sail through the night and arrive next day in the afternoon. At about 19:00 a fresh breeze started to blow and we set sail. It is always a magic moment when the engine is switched off and the sails start pushing the boat silently through the sea. The wind freshened-up to F5 during the evening and we were sailing close hauled at a speed of 6 to 7 knots into the night. At about 01:00 the wind died away completely. The day remained windless until our arrival at Le Castella.

201507013 North Ionio
A hot and windless day beginns at the Calabrian East coast

201507013 Matilda Moored in Le Castella Calabria
Moored in Marina Le Castella

Saturday, July the 11th – 23:00 – Catania / Sicily

Leg 5 is completed and the crew left early this morning. It is amazing how fast time is passing by. I am now in Catania and there are just two weeks left until I will drop anchor in Oropos. I will need some time to come back into normal life mode I suppose…

Anyway, what happened on the last two days of Leg 5? On Thursday, we left Marina Netuno, Messina and set sails for Giardini Naxos which is about 25 NM further south along the Sicily coast. It was a nice sailing day with winds up to 23 knots and we decided to use one of the laid mooring buoys in the bay just below Taormina and 1 NM north of Giardini Naxos Marina for the night instead of going into the marina. This way we could go for a swim first thing in the morning which is always nice and refreshing. Friday, the last day of Leg 5 was quite windless and we had to use the iron jib again in order to arrive in Catania in the afternoon.

20150709 On the way to Taormina
On the way to Taormina

201507010 At Circolo Nautico Catania
Moored at Circolo Nautico Catania

The second look at Catania revealed a nicer and livelier city. Some impressions below:

Wednesday, July the 8th – 23:00 – Messina / Sicily

At 9:30 we left Lipari and headed southeast to the strait of Messina. With the Charybdis on starboard and the Skyla on the portside we entered the strait at about 14:00 with the stream going south at about 2.5 knots. We had to take care to stay outside the traffic separation scheme but also avoid all the swordfish boats with their extra-long extensions on the bow. The wind in the strait changed direction a few times in the short way to Messina and increased to F4-F5 when we arrived in Marina Netuno just next to Messina’s commercial harbour. Getting into the box was quite adventurous because of the limited space. The “Marinero” had to push against the bow with the RIB in order to get us in. I will need him again tomorrow for leaving. By the way, this marina is by far the most expensive one all along the way from Holland: 88.00 Euro! If I knew this I would have bypassed it. Anyway, at least it has two toilets and one shower.

Next destinations: Giardini Naxos and finally the day after Catania.

20150708 Lipari
The morning before leaving Lipari

20150708 Entering strait Messina
Entering the strait of Messina

20150708 Sworfisher
Swordfish fishing boats

20150708 Netuno Marina Messina
Messina mooring is a combination of going to a finger pontoon but also using laid mooring lines. This is important because of the swell running into the harbour caused by the ferries crossing the strait all night long

Tuesday, July the 7th – 23:00 – Lipari / Aeolian Islands

I have got internet, so here is a little update: On Monday we sailed to Filicudi where we stayed overnight. No toilets no Showers and no Wi-Fi, just a buoy for 40 EUR per night and a RIB taxi-service ashore for 10 EUR (each way of course). Anyway, it’s not easy passing by, once being here. Today’s destination was Lipari. On the way we stopped at Isola Vulcano for swimming in Porto di Poniente just below the still active Volcano.

20150706 On the way to Flicudi - F0
On the way to Filicudi – F0

20150706 At Anchor in Flicudi
Filicudi – At anchor – Isola Salina and Lipari in the distance

20150706 porto di Ponente - Isola Vulcano
Porto di Poniente – Isola Vulcano

Monday, July the 6rd – 10:00 – Cefalu / Sicily, Italy

Whilst Greece was voting against more austerity measures, we were sailing to Cefalu. It is a bit strange not to be able to follow the news whenever you want, when significant changes are taking place. This also applies to the company I work for. On a longer sailing trip you really live in your own world. What matters is weather, navigation, provisions, next harbour, anchoring ground, navigational warnings and of course just to make sure that everything is working on board.

What happened in between: We left S. Vito do Capo on Thursday at about midday and sailed to Palermo. We spent one evening there and left next morning for Cefalu.
Next destinations are Isola Filicudi and Isola Lipari or Stromboli.

The internet connection has not been reliable in the last days and I suppose it will be worse on the Aeolian Islands. Next blog when time and technic allows.

20150704 Palermo

20150705 Cefalu Marina
Cefalu Marina

20150705 Cefalu


Friday, July the 3rd – 23:30 – S. Vito lo Capo / Sicily, Italy

It is quite a while ago since I wrote on this blog the last time and some things have happened since then. On Tuesday we sailed from Porto Teulada to Villasimius, a day trip all along Golfo de Cagliari from the western to the eastern corner. Villasimius was a fishing harbour which was converted into a modern marina. Shops and restaurants are limited but the marina is new and spacious and has good services.

20150630 Villasimius Marina
Matilda moored stern-to in marina Villasimius

We left Villasimius on Wednesday at about 12:00 for the crossing to Sicily. Before getting into Trapani next day, we stopped for a rest and a refreshing bath in a bay at the south coast of Levanzo, one of the Egadi Islands. On the last 5 miles to Trapani, I saw some lines in the water just at the time we were running over them. I immediately disengaged the propeller but it was too late. I had to stop and go into the water with a knife in order to cut the lines off the propeller. That was a lot more pleasant though than the bath I had to take in Almerimar harbour some weeks ago for the same reason. We arrived in Trapani at 18:30 and made fast at one of the pontoons of the Lega Navale. We almost run aground because the plan in the Italian Waters Pilot was wrong. Trapani is not really nice and we almost became witnesses in a fight between the restaurant owner and a guest that evening.

20150702 At least some sailing
Some sailing finally on the way to Sicily

20150702 Synthetic scrubbing pads
Synthetic scrubbing pads and salt water is all you need in order to brush up your teak

20150702 Sailing into the night
Sailing into the night somewhere between Sardinia and Sicily

20150702 Tropospheric propagation
Tropospheric propagation delivers AIS signals which are more than 500km away. This is also the reason why there was so much traffic on the VHF radio which was very irritating because there was constantly someone talking on channel 16

20150703 At anchor Levanzo 1
Moored on a buoy in Levanzo

20150703 At anchor Levanzo 2
Levanzo (Open Water III ???)

20150703 line in propelaer
A thin but quite long line is wrapped around the propeller

20150703 There is stiil some wind
We sailed when we could despite the light wind. Many times motor-sailing made a lot more sense

20150702 Trapani fishing boats
Trapani fishing boats

We left Trapani for S. Vito lo Capo on Friday and arrived at 17:45. We spent some time on the beach and had a good dinner in one of the many restaurants in this very busy tourist resort.

20150703 S Vito lo Capo Lighthouse
S. Vito lo Capo lighthouse

20150703 Moored at S Vito lo Capo
Matilda moored in S Vito lo Capo

20150703 S Vito lo Capo beach
S Vito lo Capo is a busy tourist destination with very limited marina services at a very high price