Well, it took a whole week to get hauled out. We returned to Carloforte on Tuesday, having emailed the marina the week before to ask about being taken ashore. For non sailors, this means being craned out to remove any growth on the hulls, and in our case, also change the anodes, and check over the rope cutters (essential with all those pesky lobster pots around).
Finally, finally, they agreed to do it on the Monday. Some twat drove straight into some rocks and clobbered his rudder, which put paid to the plans for Friday. Well Monday came, and it was blowing 20 knots of wind! No way was I going to risk IOLA coming out under those conditions, so everything put back to 0830 Tuesday. Well, nothing seemed to be happening by 0900, so I went to the office. “Oh they are ready for you, just wait for our marinero to join you, and you can go round”. Eventually we got there. Nothing had been prepared. The staff had to get a small crane to bring round the large beams which the “main” crane was going to use to haul us out, as well as the chains which hung from it. These were connected to strops, sort of cloth strips which go underneath the boat and hold it up with the help of the chains connected to the crane.
An hour later all was ready. Trouble was, every time they took the strain, the hook of the crane crashed into the mast! Our mast is raked, i.e. it is angled backward, so that the lift from the sail is always at the centre of the boat. Most masts are vertical, so the crane works at the centre of effort, just behind the vertical mast, but not with us! After some discussion, we all agreed to use longer strops at the front rather than at the back. This left IOLA slightly “nose down” as she was lifted out, bu it meant the mast was now sort of “vertical”, and the crane could do her work. Out she came, and boy, did she have a dirty bottom!!!!
The workmen scraped the growth off her hull, whilst I went hunting with my trusty multitool. Out came the mussels (yep, proper eating size beasties) from the loo outlet, out came the bivalve from the water inlet to the watermaker, etc… etc…. 18 months had taken their toll. At the end of the day, IOLA had a beautiful clean bottom, new anodes and ropecutters fitted by me, and was ready to roll. Oh no, the wind was up, so she had to stay put. Finally launched the next day, round to the fuel depot for 400L of diesel (expensive) and back to our berth.
We chose to leave the next day – now Thursday. Had to clean the boat first – she was filthy from persons walking over her deck with oily shoes from the boatyard, and helpful marineros getting her back in the water and off the sandbank. 2 hours later, she was clean. Lesley stocked up on milk, chops, mince, bread, tomatoes, cheese……. And we were off! Well not quite. Had to go to the office to settle up for the haultout, to find they wanted to nearly double the price as “IOLA was very dirty, it took a lot of effort…..” Not amused, but settled on an extra 300 Euros. Am definitely not amused, as I had asked for the price in advance. Nothing to be done, so off we went.
Tried to sail for a couple of hours, but wind very flucky. In the end, it was easier to motor. We did 6 hrs, which was much more than I had expected, as the forecast was for the wind to turn against use after 4 hours. Managed to get to an anchorage known as Porto Malfatano.
Well! Two megayachts to be seen. One has a helicopter on the back. I think this is a working boat, with what looks like firefighting water cannons on the deck. (I am not sure if this was at Lesley’s request, but they launched their helicopter at sunset). The other one, “Queen K”, is grey, about 80ft long, and has everything you could wish for. Two people wanted to swim to shore, so a rib was assigned to accompany them! What is interesting is they are choosing to anchor in our lovely bay, and not go into a marina.
The bay is lovely. Well protected from the swell, we are tucked in close to shore so the wind should not trouble us. A couple of Dutch boats to one side, and a French one behind us. Maybe a swim off the stern tomorrow morning? The plan is to go further East tomorrow, and head for Sicily on Saturday/Sunday. A 30hr crossing, with the weather looking good for those 2 days. Will post again when I can.
P.S Lesley looked up the megayachts. One is "Queen K" owned by Oleg Dempaska (a friend of Mr. Mandelson, I believe), and the other is "Sputnik" which is a support vessel for Queen K!!! Apart from keeping noisy helicopters from disturbing the owners, it is a firefighting vessel in its own right. How the other half live.