Getting to the ARC pt1 Mallorca to Cartegena

Wed 12 Nov 2008 09:14

The story so far ( well anyway as far as Cartegena), we bought our boat two years ago in Italy with the ARC in mind. Here is the boat as we first saw it in Carara!  We know that it is considered bad luck to change a boat’s name but hope that in our case the Gods will make an exception. The boat which was apparently previously named after an Italian childrens’ cartoon character is now Moondancer.  It is a Dufour 40 and we have been completely delighted with it.




We bought it in Viareggio and our first trip was the 420 mile sail to our marina in Cala D’Or, Mallorca in April last year. Here is the rebranded boat arriving in Cala D’Or


We then cruised all the Balearic islands, as we prepared ourselves and the boat for this year’s adventure. This year we decided to take a leisurely approach to getting to the Canaries for the start of the ARC, day sailing round to Gibraltar before sailing down to Lanzarote in one go.


So we set off from Parsons Green back in July and started our journey with a three day ISAF course at the Hamble Yacht School together with Andrew and Alex who are to do the ARC with us. From there the two of us drove down to Spain for the third time this year, catching the fast ferry from Barcelona to Mallorca. One day later Andrew and Alex flew in and we wereready for the off. So on the 17th July we said goodbye to our marina in Cala D’Or and set off, our leaving photo was kindly taken by the lovely Sharon at the Yacht Club Cala D’Or. Our plan was to take the boat round to Cartegena on the South Coast of Spain and leave it there for a month while we returned to the UK.


Somewhat ominously as we set off the skies to turned leaden and the heavens opened so we got soaked as we set off on the short 18 mile hop to the beautiful nature reserve Isle of Cabrera. You are not allowed to anchor here, but have to pick up one of fifty moorings which are free but have to be reserved.


Once there the sky cleared in time to celebrate our departure in style



From Cabrera we went on to Eulalia in Ibiza and then Formentera, we think the beach at Espalmador on the northern tip of Formentera the best in this part of the Med. There are also natural mud pools in which you can wallow.  You then let this dry on the beach, before rinsing off in the sea. However well you wash there is still a faint sulphurous smell which lingers for a few days!




From Formentera we set off for the mainland and were sailing well with our new assymetric for most of the crossing but then our spinnaker halyard went and to cut a long story short, the sail ended up caught in our saildrive and we had to drag it behind the boat for the 12 remaining miles into Javea, where the Real Club were really helpful, coming out to tow us in in the dark. The next day we were lifted out, and the sail unentangled from the sail drive. All was apparently OK other than the sail of course and needless to say we provided great amusement all round.




After this excitement we had to stay an extra night in Javea before setting off round the coast.




Getting to Cartegena was relatively uneventful as we sailed past mile after mile of unspeakably unattractive developments, separated by the occasional patch of more pretty coastline. Benidorm, Torrevieja, and La Manga are really quite a sight from the sea, although the marina in Torrevieja is the old fishing port in the heart of the old town and surprisingly nice. We saw dolphins although they were always too quick for the shutter on our old digital camera, and once a sailfish jump. Cartegena, by contrast to many of the towns we had sailed past was not that touristy, mainly Spanish and held a major naval base, providing lots to look at including this submarine, a pretty waterfront, and that hat with Moondancer behind on the right.




We then returned to the UK for Ted’s birthday and exam results!