Jabbed!

We’ve had the second jab, so as soon as France and the UK allow international travel, we’ll be back catching up with friends and family before resuming sailing, probably in August.

It’s Not Over Until It’s Over

Villefranche Sur Mer
Villefranche Sur Mer

We knew France was in lockdown again so we stocked up with supplies and planned to stay on the anchor overnight all the way to Gruissan. Villefranche, near Nice, was very pleasant for the first night, as was Port-Cros near the Porquerolles Islands the following day.

The third night we dropped anchor near Carro, west of Marseilles. We were open to a south-easterly so it wasn’t a very comfortable night. With a long final day to Gruissan we were up and 0530 and – the engine wouldn’t start!

Carro Coastguard
Carro Coastguard

Long story short, we ended up calling the coastguard and getting a tow to Port du Bouc. There we had the two engine batteries replaced (they weren’t charging which is why the engine wouldn’t start) and finally left for Gruissan.

Dolphins

The Gruissan harbour is very shallow so we took it slow and easy until we were safely moored up. Mistral is now on the hard standing for the winter having routine maintenance carried out and improvements installed.

Out of the Water
Out of the Water

No sailing now until May – see you then!

The Trip
The Trip

On to France!

Imperia
Imperia

We started today by dropping into the large marina of Imperia to get a running fix for the broken davit – thanks to the marina staff for their help! (They were very impressed that I had a cordless rope cutter on board!)

Then it was on to Villefranche Sur Mer, just east of Nice. We were last here in 2008 (when we lost a kedge anchor overnight – not again, please). Again, a lovely spot but with lockdown in France we’re on the anchor again and staying on board.

Across the Gulf of Genoa

Portofino
Portofino

Leaving the harbour of Santa Margherita we popped into Portofino before heading across the Gulf of Genoa to Diano Marina. No wind again, but a big chunk of the distance to Gruissan put behind us.

We dropped the anchor off the beach of Diano Marina and ran ashore in the tender for a cocktail. Last chance since France is now locked down again. Back on board one of the davit lines snapped…

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.

Elba

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

Portoferraio
Portoferraio

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!

Cagliari

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…