11. November 2013

As soon as the engine was in the boat and everything seemed ok, I set sails on my birthday to sail to Sardinia. here is my logbook entry:

I had sooo many nice photos from this trip, but idiot my deleted most of them accidentally.

Malta - Sardenia
Day 1
10.9.2013 depart 14:30
Malta to sicily

It's my birthday. I had to fix an oilleak and put the fixed alternator back in place. When i had a beer and ftira with jon end ed i saw that la negra was drifting on anchor. That made the painful good bye easy and quick. I lifted the dinghi and raised the sails. At 14:30 i was leaving the port of valletta heading to barcelona. I'll see where the wind takes me on the way. The mad irish, marcus, who towed me everywhere when i was engineless is somewhere in sicily so i might catch up with him.

So far all easy sailing even almost the right direction. Malta and gozo are getting smaller and smaller on the horizont. 

700nm direct way to barcelona to go.

It is 2 o'clock at night. It is a beautiful quite light wind night, the sky is plastered with stars and my favourite visitors just stopped by. A big family of i'd say 30 dolphines all around the boat, young ones and old ones. At night when dolphines propell throu the water they stir up a certain planton which illuminates then, so they trail a long stream of stardust. They are still with me. since i have installed the new LED position lights, it seems like i am getting more visitors at night, my theory is that they are so bright that it attracts small fish who are then followed by bigger ones.

This morning is quite little wind so lots of running on the new engine along the south sicilian coast. I am carefully listening to every increase and drop of the refs, sofar all sounds good. Been ticking of some of my to-do items on my list. Silicon around the connection of the radar dome, quick service of the outboard... Hopeing for the wind to pick up a bit.

24h 80nm (not good)

Day 2 
Along the sicilian coast 

Whats on my mind. I am sailing within spitting distance to the sicilien coast. But i am sailing in slow motion, not making much ground and tomorrow evening there is 20+ kn northwest wind expected, north west is where i am going, so not good. I was hoping to zip around the southwest tip of sicily before that wind kicks in, to then head north to the east side of sardenia, but i am not sure if i can make it on time with the gentle breeze that i am having. This also means that i might have to skip my rendez vous with the crazy irish. I'll see what happens tonight. Other than that nooooothing going on, very relaxed sailing.

To sail along the sicilian coast at night within 10nm is not the worst but surely also not the best idea. Benefit is, i have lots of time learn and test the settings of the radar. But not getting much sleep. The wind died off completely also good and bad, i am makeing good ground in 100% the right direction. The irish man is now to my starboard side but i decided to plow throu to hopefully not get stuck with the upcoming wind tomorrow. I found a few places to get shelter incase it does get too uncomfortable.

7:00 at the southwest tip cabo granitola.

9:00 i am allmost around the southwest side, open to the north, perfect timeing, the weather front is moving in, dark dramatic clowds rain and a deep growling in front of me, a swing of wind direction can happen anytime and the accompanied reefing of the sails, i am ready for it.

Now grey and rain, to my portside in about 6 miles there is the lightening, i prepared cables from the stays into the water and disconnected some of my electronics. I really don't want to get hit.

As expected 10:00 first the rain then the wind. I am reefed down and flying at 8kn perfectly past sicily. Nice, love it! A group of islands will be in my way, so either i stop there or i just keep going.

How perfect can it get?! 12:00 after strong wind, heavy rainfall, 3. Reef in genua and main, lightning and thunder - blue sky and nice wind!! About to pass the islands isole egadi direct course to sardenia, but i think it will turn a bit more north so i am running ground at about 7-7.4kn.

Btw i saw 2 sailboats in the wind both going downwind both had not 1 sail up!!! Go get a motorboat!

Hmmm now how is this? 12:30 blue sky sunshine and no wind. From one extrem to the other.

Wow and now blue sky and sun an nice 15kn wind.

24h 100nm (still not good and alot on engine)

Day 3
Sicily to sardenia

Ok the north west wind has kicked in, reef down again and heading 350 degree, not really where i need to go but thats the best i can do upwind. Maybe the wind will turn to my favor, but nice solid sailing.

Ok looks like i'll be heading 24h somewhere nowhere to then turn to where i want to go, la caletta. But think i'll get good sleep tonight.

Shooting throu the night with about 7kn avage speed by about 26 kn of wind, when the stays start hissing and howling you know there is a bit of wind. i am sailing hard to the wind, getting the occational wet down but we are solid and sturdy in the wind, feels like i am sailing the barcelona around the world race.
But i just pulled in the genua a bit more, no need to break something, happy boat, happy captain. First boat sighted since noon.

Puhhh after the 3rd big wave breaking over me makeing the cockpit wet i reffed down to 2. In main and a bit more the genua, now everything is nice and quite and wet. Almost seems like the wind eased off a bit.

Ha relaxed night 23:30. Alarm autopilot, off course, alarm telefon, axel wake up (incase you are sleeping), alarm radar, cruise ship still the set alarm radius - and my cushions are wet. Bon nuite. 

Later in the night the weather and la negra stabilized so it ended up a slow, in the wrong direction, more or less comfortable night. The morning looked the same till now, 11:30, seems like wind is shifting to north so i tacked. Everything pretty uneventful, no boats, no fish, just some dramatic skies.  

24h 100nm (this up wind is not doing good to my speed)

Day 4

Lets hope that Friday the 13th is no bad sign, at least i haven't seen a sign sofar... After trying to see where the tack would take me i have decided to hop back on the north bound train, damn not getting closer to sardenia. I still got food, water and cigarettes so it might just take a bit longer. 

After a fairly miserable and ineffective yesterday evening and today the wind has turned slightly to my favor, still not hitting bulls eye, infact not even hitting the target but i am narrowing in. Also the weather is beautiful now, blue sky, consequently equally blue water, a lite but efficient breeze and the upset rolling waves are calming down. 

I noticed that i have a small school of small fish, looks like hering, following me underneath my boat since a few hours, even with direction change. But on my fishing lines - nothing.

Now this is wired: as i was writing the above i was eating the last potatoes i had on the boat, and as i was finished i hear a quick short ttsssss - fishing line. But normally that goes for ever and really loud, not this time, i checked it anyways, didn't feel like anything, and as i walked away tttsssss, fish on, i pulled in a nice mahi mahi, in
Maltese its called by the beautiful name lampuki. Beautiful fish and yam.

It was a super quiet night little wind almost no wind, good sleep, saw one ship in the distance. 

Perfect day, light sailing wind and fact,  dolphins like reggea, almost everytime i listen to reggea, now chapelton, dolphins come to the boat. Don't tell the japanese they might put huge sound systems on their fishing boats. But the image of a reggea colour fishing boats with a lion flag, with a bunch of dread locked japanese, smoking joints and blast reggea across the oceans, amuses me. Just that killing dolphins part, not sure about that. For those who haven't see the documentary "the cove" (nothing for light hearded).

Anyways i'd say there are about 30 dolphins around me jumping to get a better look. As soon as i unpluged the phone to take photos they dove down. Plug back in and here they are.

A while ago, i am a lousy guitar player, still am, but a big dolphin didn't think so, i played for him about 30 min he was just cruising next to me, i stopped when my fingers started hurting, he did one big thank you jump and was off into the deep.

Still i am surounded.

First hitch hiker and sign that i am getting closer to land, a small bird just land on deck.

24h app 70nm (fuck, but at least the right direction, could be one of my worst legs. By far the worst was monstir, tunesia to malta this summer: we, ben my australien friend and i left monstir on a monday, fresh painted boat. Before i did the check out with the customs, ben went off to get some food, not too much since we were low on money and also wanted to stop in lampedusa, the most southern italian island notorious as a stepping stone for immigrants from africa. We left with 6 jogurts, 2 bags of nuts and a few soft drinks.

Day 1
Sailing nicely, i notice a slow but consistent decrease of water depht so i better check on the laptop the chart. Eureka, over a stretch of allmost 15nm the water depht is 0,7m depth, only one chanel to go throu, close call, i was about 3 miles away from running aground.

Day 2
In the night there was lightning everywhere and i was zig zaggig around the dark clowds to run free of the lighting areas.

Day 3 
"Sy la negra, call gurdia costeria, we need passport check for one australian passanger" no reply for hours. Then finaly, ok dock to the wall and come to the office with the passport. As we were docking some guy from a marina came and told us to go and pay in his marina, we didn't, so he pulled out his next trick, his buddy dress up in a halloween officer costume, after a short word battle, i said to ben, cast off! malta here we come! As we were leaving the port the engine alarm went on, left and right 20m then rocks, quick lost of power on the engine, "ben get the dinghi ready in the water the engine... is off". We pulled la negra with the dinghy free of the rocks. Luckily no wind. After a quick survey - the engine is fucked but we got sails. But sails with no wind don't work well.

Day 4
30h in the radius of 7nm drifting.
The sea looked like a big concrete field that u could walk on, not one ripple.

Day 5
No wind and running out of food.

Day 6
A lttle bit of wind got us moving. And a tuna sacrificed himself and solved out food issue.

Day 7 
The mad irish gives us a tow just of the coast of malta.

180nm 6,5 days average speed 1,15kn, i hope i never beat my own record again.

Back to the trip to sardenia. There is no wind and i was getting bored of the humming of the engine. I went for a swim. Safety line out. Guess what i found, those fish that i saw the other day are still or again or new ones, fact is there are at least 30 fish under my boat following. I tryed to look them up in my 100.000 fishies book that i got from my dad, but couldn't find. They are about 20cm long, have about 6-8 vertical black stripes, and the shape somewhat like a makrel, maybe they are underwater zebras. I received mixed messages from them, some came quite close and checked me out, others catapulted themselfs at me and turned away just before collision as if they were saying "piss off and find your own ride!"

Ha wind is back and i am on my last pack of rolli papers!

While standing at the aft deck checking my configuration of lures and lines, a new, blown up beach ball floats by, and i think to myself, land can't be far and i turn around "land in sight!!!" Sardenia (i hope). 40nm to the closest point, and clearly visible with the setting sun behind it. About 60nm to la caletta should be there in the morning if not night, moving at 6kn.

This is the best sailing: 60degree wind at 12kn from the back, moving quick towards the sunset and land, reggea from the speakers.

It is 2:00 and i am about 14nm off the coast and a lovely smell of trees in my nose and internet on my phone.

Brrrr this night is cold, back in the northern med.

5nm to la calletta and i am preparing for landing, first fishing line in, oops i got a small fish, breakfast break.

19.5h 110nm

App 390nm
4days 19,5h (115,5h)
Average speed 3,37kn (shit)
Engine hours 21,3 (even more shit!)
Topspeed 8,2kn
1 lampuki
1 other small fish
1.3 rubbish bags
Damage: the windgenerator seems to not work

P.s. when i docked the stripy fish were still underneather my boat, illegal immigrants?!

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