Pix July 19 #1

Steve Coughlan
Tue 19 Jul 2016 07:22

July 19 – Jude and Matt left at 0750hrs by Hydrofoil from Isola Lipari (the largest of the Aoelian Islands off Sicily) for Palermo to catch a flight out of Palermo to connect out of Rome back to Perth via Dubai. Great time had with Jude and Matt over the last few weeks.


July 15 – Milazzo was a busy port as the main base for commuter ferries from Sicily to the Aoelian Islands. We departed Marina Nettuno – Milazzo at 0630hrs , the plan being to sail to Palermo, some 90nm west. Strong winds were predicted however Catherine and Jack were arriving in Palermo on the 16th  so we wanted to get to Palermo the night before. Unfortunately the winds were almost on the nose so we set a the main and jib for a very close hauled sail. We wore life jacks with tethers given the predicted conditions and sure enough the wind strengthened mid-morning to 25 knots. We doubled reefed the sails and ploughed on, Matt and I wearing the Musto wet weather gear for protection for the considerable water coming over the bow. Winds increased to plus 35 knots so I further reduced sail and cranked the motor to 2000rpm. Gusting up to 45 knots conditions were uncomfortable to say the least as the swell picked up and we were taking a hammering. Jude confined herself to the cabin for the remainder of the sail.


Our speed over the ground indicated we would not get to Palermo until very late so I made a decision to head for Cefalu, about 35nm short of Palermo. We arrived there at 1800 hours. The marina was fairly full and we were given a berth on the end of a finger where we had to lay out the anchor and tie up stern to. In addition we were given one bow mooring line. The very swelly conditions meant all the boats were heaving back and forth on their lines making for a very uncomfortable setup. After an hour or so our bow line broke so just the anchor was holding Westralia off the finger. I took a decision that I could not sleep with that situation so untied, weighed the anchor and we headed off from the marina and set the anchor in good holding conditions. Far better and less swell that the marina.


Jude and I took the dinghy into the marina and walked into Cefalu, about 2 kms. Very attractive town. We located the train station in the event we decided not to sail up to Palermo on the 16th. Had a good night’s rest at anchor.


July 16th weather conditions remained the same and were not due to improve until late afternoon and even then there would be a significant swell. We made a decision to stay put and sent an email to Catherin and Jack to catch a train to Cefalu from Palermo when they arrived. I spent some time checking out the boat following the pounding the day before – generally all good, a few door adjustments etc. Jack and Catherine arrived about 1930hrs and I ferried them across to Westralia before we returned to the marina and headed off to Cefalu for dinner. Great to have them on board.


July 17th – Catherine had to complete an assignment and get it emailed before we left, so Jude, Jack and I  set off for provisions in Cefalu. We departed at 1330 hours for Lipari. Good sailing conditions saw us make ample headway. Given the late start also ran the motor plus had to charge the batteries. After a great 6 hour sail we berthed at Pignataro marina at Isola Lipari.


July 18 – Jude and I took the Bromptons for a ride into Lipari centrale. Very attractive village with many commuter boats ferrying tourists back and forth from Sicily. We organised dinner at Pulina restaurant, another excellent family run. We decided to make Pignataro marina our base for a few days and explore the various Aoelian Islands. Pignattaro is the safest marina and Lipari is the largest island.



Tied up at Milazzo







At anchor off Cefalu marina. The marina was unsafe in the conditions when we arrived and we snapped the bow mooring line due to the swell surge.




Conditions improve the day after we sailed to Cefalu from Milazzo however still difficult so we stayed put.