To Alghero from Cagliari

Dick and Irene Craig
Mon 20 Jul 2009 16:45

Sunday morning, we raised the anchor early and made passage to Baia Reparata, a journey we expected to take about six hours, having broken the back of it yesterday.

As we passed through the bay and en-route to Costa Smeralda, we saw some pretty big motor yachts at anchor. The 350+feet yacht, made the 250+feet yachts look small, the 100feet yachts looked like dinky toys in comparison and we just resembled flotsam. Never have I seen so many boats of that size in such a small area. There were also several large monohulls, weighing in at about 200+feet, making our 20metre mast look quite short.

Passing through the Maddalena archipelago was something of a trial. Weekend sailors and holiday makers were all over the place, not all of them knowing quite what they were doing. Certainly, there appeared to be a deficit of knowledge when it came to the rules of the road regarding boat handling.

As we approached the Bonifacio straits, the cirrus clouds appeared in the otherwise clear, blue, sunny sky.

The wind was on the nose. No change there. We did manage briefly, to motor sail, as the wind moved round to almost 30º but for the most part, we motored. During the last two hours of the passage, the strength of the wind increased to force 5, gusting force 6.

There were nine monohulls already at anchor when we reached our destination. We found a space which would give us sufficient room to swing round and dropped the anchor in 8metres on sand, just at the edge of one of the patches of weed. I have to say that I wasn’t too enamoured when I swam out to check the anchor. It had lodged into the side, near to the top of the hillock on which the weed was growing. It was obviously OK because although we swung round completely during the night, the anchor remained set.

We were on our way before 8am towards the north western corner of Sardinia. We planned to anchor just south of Isola Asinara, south east of Isola Piana and the Pelosa passage.

The passage was uneventful. During the first few hours, the sea conditions were ideal for spotting marine life but all that was seen was a solitary flying fish. The wind was right behind us and never gathered sufficient strength for us to use the parasailor.

We anchored in sand, in the most beautiful, pale blue sea at Cala Yacca, protected on all sides, except from the direction in which the wind was currently blowing. Swimming against the swell, to check the anchor, was no mean feat but swimming back was no trouble at all.

The strength of the wind and the direction, from which it blew, although only a force5, didn’t change as was expected. We spent a dreadful night. The swells were in excess of a metre, making the anchorage uncomfortable.

We had been seduced into believing that this wolf, in sheep’s clothing, was a paradise on earth.

Needless to say, we left the anchorage earlier than anticipated and made our way through the Fornelli passage, into the Sardinian sea, on the west coast of Sardinia. We raised the mainsail and unfurled the genoa and sailed for about two and a half hours, until the wind changed by 180º, reducing in strength to force 1 and force 2.

Despite the sea conditions being ideal for spotting marine life, we only saw a single flying fish, in addition to a sword fish which twice, jumped from the water.

Dick managed to negotiate a mooring, for four nights, on the town quay at Alghero. This gave us plenty of time for re-provisioning, getting the genoa repaired and replacing one of the now empty, gas bottles. With the luxury of water and electricity from the shore, we were also able to give the boat a thorough clean and polish. 

The rust remover that I purchased from one of the chandleries in Palermo has turned out to be simply brilliant. Not only does it remove rust easily, from the gel-coat, it also seems to brighten the white gel-coat. It appears to be an Italian product so I while we are here, I bought another while I had the opportunity to do so.

After eight days at sea, while making passage from Cagliari, we finally stepped onto dry land and went out to dinner to celebrate our safe arrival.

Unable to access WiFi other than the first night we were here, we bought a couple of drinks at a local bar, which also permitted us the use of the internet for thirty minutes.

At 10.30am on the 17th July, a taxi pulled up opposite our mooring. John had arrived. We are now officially on holiday. We spent a lazy day and just after 8.30pm, Janie arrived. Her plane had landed early, which enabled her to join us almost an hour sooner than expected.

We had planned to leave the marina after lunch on Saturday and make our way to an anchorage in a bay about seven miles from the marina. However, with a mistral blowing, we deferred our departure until the morrow, when the gale-force wind should have subsided.