Bonafacio Straights and Portovecchio

Rob and Jacky Black
Fri 19 Jun 2015 10:26

41 35.3 N 09 17.1 E



We set off at 0545 and motored around the last of the western Maddalena islands into the straights. There were already white horses and the wind was steadily building - contrary to the forecast on the Navtex!

With the jib half furled and the engine on 850 revs we zoomed across getting 7 knots and more when we surfed on the swell coming from the west. The islands of Lavessi and Corallo were soon abeam of us and we then began to get some shelter from the island of Corsica, although the seas were still quite big.

We finally made it to the long inlet that leads to the marina - some five miles due west. The wind was still F 5 with gusts up to 28 knots so we weren't looking forward to berthing the boat in that!

On arrival at the entrance we did find that the marina was more sheltered and once we had entered we were able to berth up easily.

This town is pleasant with some good bars  and restaurants as well as 3 large shopping malls. We decided to hire a car for a day so we could drive to Bonafacio as we hadn't been able to go in the boat. We enjoyed our visit and certainly the Calanque is extraordinary. The old town perches above and is full of narrow alleyways, military buildings from Napoleonic and older days, several churches and of course souvenir shops and restaurants.

We had a snack lunch and a drink before heading back to Porto Vecchio - en-route we had some heavy rain showers - the first for weeks.

On our return we discovered that the boat had been damaged by a large motor yacht when it left the marina!The forward port mooring cleat has been lifted from its housing by a few millimetres and twisted out of line. While we are sure that there is no safety threat such as leaks or internal structural damage we will need to have the cleat replaced/ repaired at the end of the season. 

Apparently while we were off the boat a very large motor yacht caught the mooring line with one of its props and initially apparently this caused our boat to be pulled violently forward (so that our stern lines bent the mooring rings  on the jetty) and the cleat to which the line was attached was twisted and lifted before the rope snapped! All very dramatic according the owner of the French boat moored next to us. (We have a written statement from him signed and dated)
After the line snapped our boat swung to starboard and crashed back against the pontoon - fortunately our large fenders prevented any damage at that end! The marina small boat staff then rescued our boat and tied it to the French boat while they replaced the mooring line - having to get a diver down to retrieve the broken line and put a new one on to the chain on the bottom.
We went to the office on our return and asked to see the manager but we were informed he was not available until today - Monday which for us was not an option as we have a schedule to be in the north of Corsica by 26th June. We therefore presented the office with a written request for further information regarding the incident but to date they haven't replied!
It is difficult to communicate as there was no one who speaks English. We contacted our insurance company but they tell us that we will probably never get the French boat's insurance company's details and if we do they are notorious for not paying out! As our excess is £500.00 it looks like it will have to come from our own coffers.
We set off from the marina after taking fuel at 1000 and again motor-sailed north along the east coast to a the next port. We did take a diversion into a small bay with the view to staying for a swim and lunch but the swell was still coming in and the bottom looked to be scattered with rocks as well as weed and sand so we didn't bother.
We arrived at Solenzara Marina at 1400.