Santa Margherita

Santa Margherita
Santa Margherita

We’re pressing back to the French border and since bars and restaurants close at 6pm in Italy, we arrived here just after dark and dropped anchor in the harbour. Shame, as it’s a very pretty town that we last visited in 2008.

Livorno and La Spezia

Blasting along
Blasting along

A great day’s sailing from Elba to Livorno. 47 nm in 6 hours in a force 5 gusting 6. Lusben Marina isn’t anything special – it’s deep in a busy commercial port, but we were only charged €36 for a night alongside. Bargain!

A motoring day to La Spezia. Into Porto Mirabello in La Spezia harbour for the evening. With lockdown starting again on France tomorrow we took the opportunity to have a final restaurant meal then stocked up with provisions and filled the fuel tank.


We stayed three nights in Elba, the first at anchor on the south coast and then two nights in Portoferraio, the capital. The girls explored some of the town while I found an electrician to get our USB sockets working again – thanks Carlo


Passage to Elba

We left Arbatax at lunchtime intending to sail the short way round the bay to Cala Gonome. We had a good SE wind, and I jokingly said “If we carry on on this course we’ll get to Elba some time tomorrow “

Silence. Then: “Not a bad idea.”

So that’s what we did. 180nm, 28 hours mostly sailing, and we dropped anchor in a small bay called Barbatoia on the south coast of Elba. Tomorrow we’ll move round to Portoferraio and stay for a day or two.

Isola Montecristo
Isola Montecristo

The Island of Montecristo looked spectacular as we passed it.

Two blocks broke during the passage but we had enough spares to replace them on arrival.

East Coast of Sardinia

An early start for a 65nm passage up the east coast of Sardinia. We sailed most of the day in a Force 5 but motored for the last two hours when the wind dropped. We’ve had enough of marinas for a while so we’ve found a beautiful long beach just round from Capo San Lorenzo. We’re anchored in 6m and hoping for a quiet night.

Yes, a quiet night was had, however today was another slightly frustrating day. As we were preparing to weigh the anchor at the beach, the coastguard came along and said there was a live firing area to the north and we must go south until the exercise was complete. So we motored 3 nm south to Port Corallo and moored. The office told me the exercise would be over at 12 noon and we could leave then. That cost us three hours or so. Not enough wind, of course, so we motored to Arbatax where Shirley is going to try to get her iPhone screen replaced and I’m going to try to get the starboard genoa car fixed. Yes, Another breakage!


After much googling, we discovered that free covid tests are carried out at Elmas Airport when international flights arrive. So we grabbed a cab to the airport and got there just as the medical staff were setting up. All over in 5 minutes, results in a couple of days. We’ve decided we’re now released from isolation on the boat… Letter of the law and all that.

Tuesday. No results but the spare part for the shower pump arrived today from Germany so this will be our last night in Cagliari!

That’s a mixed grill…

Passage to Cagliari, Sardinia

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.


Mahon, Menorca

Passage: Cala d'Or - Mahon

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!

Cala d’Or

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.

Portals Vels to Cala d'Or

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.

Cala Portals Vells

Clogged with salt

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.