23rd May 2009 - Barcelona (“the Competent Crew”)

Bali Hai
Neal Stow
Sat 23 May 2009 06:56

The 2009 summer sailing trip has started and the Bali Hai blog begins again.  This summer the plan is to leave Barcelona sail up to La Ciotat in Southern France then down along the west coasts of Corsica and Sardinia, around the bottom of Sardinia then up the east coast then to Porto Vecchio before heading across to Elba and some of the islands of the Tuscan archipelago.  Finally across to the Italian coast around Pisa and up the Italian Riviera to Genoa, where we have a berth until next year.  The whole trip should last around eight weeks.


During the winter, work had been done on Bali Hai to prepare her for the season and remedy the various problems encountered last year – the transom gel coat was repaired, the holding tank now vents outside the boat instead of into the saloon, bilge pumps have been fitted in the lazarettes, Richard’s hole in the tender patched, the generator now stops when the stop button is pressed, the bow thruster works again and a new water accumulator tank has been fitted so that light sleeper Rob can sleep comfortably at night, instead of being woken every time someone wants a glass of water or washes their hands.


The most significant upgrade has been the fitting of a new Variprop folding propeller, which should provide an extra bit of speed when sailing.  The prop was fitted when the cutlass bearing was replaced, which was found to be a more serious problem than first thought and a new prop shaft also had to be manufactured in Germany.


This year most of the crews joining the boat will be coming for ten day to two week spells and the route has also been planned to be more leisurely, with shorter legs and longer stopovers in each place. Hopefully this will allow more flexibility.  Also, with Emma on the boat for the whole trip, I hope that by the end we will at a point where we can manage Bali Hai with just the two of us.


The first leg from Barcelona to Calvi involves a couple of overnight sails and we were fortunate to have an experienced crew for the whole trip.  Ed Dargan, a Yachtmaster from Shropshire, who Emma had met while doing a yacht delivery from Sweden and Dave Stringer who came to the Balearics with us last autumn.  We also thought that Ardva from the Balearics trip would be joining us in La Ciotat but did not know for certain as she had either not told us of her plans or  they had been lost among the several hundred joke e-mails she sends out daily.


On the first day, expecting the normal inefficiency of certain previous crews, Emma and I went for leisurely lunch of tapas and wine in one of our favourite wine bars before the arrival of Dave and Ed, who we assumed would be late.  Feeling merry and about to order coffee, we get a phone call from Dave saying that he and Ed had coordinated their travel arrangements and were waiting outside the marina gates.  This level of efficiency was going to continue for the rest of the trip (more or less….).