Welcome to Chris and Karen’s sailing blog. We have signed up for the 2021 ARC+ and the 2022 World ARC and are now getting to know our boat, Mistral, a 2001 Oyster 56.
Our first overnight passage on Mistral. 250 nm so at least a night and a half at sea. I downloaded and subscribed to an app called Weather4D Routing and Navigation which downloads grib files and comes up with an optimum routing and departure time for your boat. Here’s what it came up with:
We set off for Cagliari, Sardinia, at 1430 local on Thursday 15 October. The first night went well. With a reef in the main and the genoa we made 7-7.5 kt most of the time. In the day the wind dropped off and we needed to go directly downwind so we motored.
We had quartering seas for most of the passage and were sailing on a broad reach. All great until the wind drops and the boat rolls more and the boom starts swinging. We eventually furled the main and ran on the huge genoa alone, but some damage was done – both boom lights fell off and the topping lift snapped.
By 9pm on the second night we were all pretty knackered and decided to drop anchor and complete the last 5 hours the next day. However, despite trying three times the anchor dropped into weed each time so we gave up and carried on to Marina Del Sole in Cagliari.
Got here at 6:30 am on Saturday morning, no reply on the radio so we dropped Shirley off so she could take our lines. Then the bloke from the marina arrived and said we couldn’t park there. Hmmm.
Totals for the passage : 261 nm in 40 hours, 25 at night.
One bacon sandwich and a cup of tea later we’re feeling refreshed. The boom lights were undamaged and were reinserted with some electrical tape to increase the sturdiness. The topping lift was also an easy fix, a replacement shackle of which we have many. All good. Now to find somewhere to get a covid test! Pics to follow once we’re released from isolation on the boat.
We ended up spending almost a week in Mahon. We got the tender fixed (replacement fuel tank and fuel line), the chartplotter (loose connection) and the lazarette (new brackets made to support it). The weather between Menorca and Sardinia looked pretty challenging as well!
From Portals Vells we made a short run around Mallorca to Cala d’Or. A small marina in a small town that is obviously a popular summer resort. On the way in I noted advertised depths of 3.0m throughout, although the depth shallowed to 2.6m at once stage.
The next morning was an early start. All hands on deck at 0530 for lines and departure prep. We slipped on time at 0545 but then, only 5 minutes later, we ran aground in the channel! Our draught is 2.31m and I saw 2.4-2.3 a moment before we stopped. It took us over an hour to get clear – our tender motor kept stopping and a fisherman who came to help got our line tangled in his prop. Eventually a mariniero in his tender managed to pull our stern around and off we floated.
62 nm later we arrived in the harbour of Mahon and spent 20 min searching for the Club Maritimo of Mahon. It looks more like a town quay. We’ll see.
A nautical generator expert came on board this morning and fixed the generator in 45 minutes. He disconnected the cooling water outlet and the connection was clogged with salt. We had already checked the cooling water inlet, the impeller and the outlet in the hull, but we would never have found this particular connection. All good, and we’ve learned a little more about the boat.
Wednesday: A short run to Santa Eulalia marina, a few miles north-east of Ibiza town. An excellent marina with lots of facilities, but pricey.
Thursday: A 10 hr/62 nm day today, so we left early at 0600 local. A good SW wind so running downwind all day. We used the preventer on the boom and also experimented with two foresails and no main. It worked, but one of the foresails needs to be poled out to stabilise it.
Jane left her hatch open a crack not realising that the sea wasn’t as calm as the day before – the bed got soaked…
There was a Mayday during the morning. We plotted the position but were too far away to assist.
We welcomed Shirley on board on Friday and said goodbye to Jane on Sunday. We’ll be sorting a problem with the generator (overheating and shutting down) in the morning then it’s off to Cala d’Or on the east coast of Mallorca.
We left Valencia a day late because the car was broken into overnight in Sitges, just south of Barcelona. The police told us that foreign and hire cars are targeted because the thieves know there will be lots of stuff inside. I took the “tech bag” into the hotel, so laptop and iPads were safe, and I’d strapped some bags in the boot together so they couldn’t drag those out of the window. Still, they got away with €300 of food and two travel bags with sailing equipment and clothes inside. That all meant we had to delay our departure from Valencia to get the car into a repair shop.
Enough of that. We slipped from the Real Club Nautico Valencia for the final time at 0500 this morning. It’s 92 nm to Formentera, 13 hours or so, and we wanted to arrive before dark. The plan worked, mainly because there was no wind so we were able to motor at 6-7 kt all the way and we did the leg in 12:45.
We’re now at anchor at the Punta Sabina beach with a lot more boats than were here in February. Still, it’s a beautiful stop. Ibiza tomorrow…
We had some maintenance carried out in Palma and worked our way back to Valencia in early March. We then left Mistral and drove back to France. The next day, Spain went into lockdown and a fews days later, France followed.
It’s now mid-June and there are signs that the lockdowns will be lifted soon. When we can travel back to the UK without quarantine, we will do so and visit friends and family. Then we’ll be back on Mistral for as long as possible in 2020.
Back to a big marina for a change, the Real Club Nautico de Palma. I’m doing the Yachmaster Ocean Course here next week, so this is a good base for a few days. There’s little wind anyway so we’re not missing any sailing.
Whatever electrical adapters you have on board you never have the right ones!
And we’ve ordered Lithium Ion batteries to be installed next week.
This bay was recommended to us by a bloke in a ship’s chanderlery. Absolutely beautiful.
A longish day of sailing to Mallorca. Plenty of wind until later in the afternoon. We anchored at Cala Major, the first bay to the west of Palma.