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 2013 Jesolo





Our itinerary was calling for very few stops!

As it is becoming customary for the trip reports, we used as a basis for the story the e-mails that we sent during the voyage to be published on our blog, just adding photos and, if needed, some additional text (in blue).

June 30th: yesterday afternoon we left port, and it looked pretty much like a slapstick comedy....

After having wrestled ourselves out of the 6-deep mooring, we motored at a very sedate pace towards the river's mouth, with a fresh wind building up straight on the nose.

...and we make the first discovery: accustomed at navigating unknown waters with a chartplotter in the cockpit, doing without it is a problem, and the iPAD that should serve for the purpose is not up to task, and is unreliable as well.

Second discovery, we are completely, totally out of training: once out in the sea, with well-formed waves and a fresh breeze, we moved clumsily around the cockpit and every maneuvre was a circus performance.   (fact is that, besides being out of training, we lacked the familiarity with the specific boat and its layout)

Third discovery, the incomplete instrumentation (there are no wind instruments and, more seriously, no reliable autopilot) is a liability; true, everybody was sailing like this a mere 30 years ago (including ourselves), but when sailing short-crewed an autopilot is like having an additional person on deck!

At dawn, wind and sea calm down, making progress much less tiring

Well, in the end we had a tough work until the morning, when wind had abated and we could try to put in operation the ancient autopilot; we then decided to anchor in a bay on the island of Ponza to rest a few hours before continuing towards Lipari.

We are very tired and move around the boat like two zombies, but practice will come back, eventually!...

July 2nd: Lipari.   Well yes, I admit, our choice of stopovers in this transfer-trip-which-is-not-a-cruise has been greatly influenced by sentimental considerations.

Last time we've been in Lipari was with Shaula3, when we were going towards Gibraltar at the beginning of our circumnavigation, so it looked just well-wishing to stop here at the beginning of our new adventures, although in reality last time we did not enjoy the stop very much due to engine problems that were bothering us.

Nothing changed in Lipari: we moored at "la buona fonda" pier like last time, convenient for the short distance from the village, despite being a bit rolly due to the traffic at the nearby ferry dock, and soon left towards the town, among shops selling the island's typical capers (note to oneself: stock up tomorrow!), shops selling pizza and "arancini" (orange-sized stuffed rice-balls, a Sicilian specialty), some restaurants and many bars offering snacks, plus the occasional tourist stuff.

We didn't dare climbing the hill up to the cathedral, maybe tomorrow!...

At night, dinner alfresco in a restaurant in Marina Corta (pasta with sword-fish, grille sword-fish steak, sicilian cassata...) followed by a mandatory walk to digest the whole down to the boat, which is still rolling a bit with a worrisome noise from the keel (another job for the winter!).

Now sleep, tomorrow refuelling and victualling, and the day after away towards the Messina Straits and the Jonian Sea!

So far, the boat has behaved honestly, we'll see when we will meet contrary winds in the lower Adriatic!....

July 5th: yesterday the challenge was the Messina Strait, an area we are not very familiar with, we sailed through it only once on Shaula3, but at the time we were having engine problems and the currents were having the upper hand on us.

The problem is with the tidal currents, running along the middle of the Strait (where the ship's TSS is located) also at speeds of several knots (not a minor thing for our lawn-mower-sized engine which has a hard time at giving us 4 knots and half...).
Near the shores on both sides, there are counter-currents (turbulent and irregular) so the game is clear: depending whether the main current is flowing with you or against, stay in the middle or on the side (paying attention to the whirlpools of Scilla and Cariddi!...).

Ok, but how can we find out the tide's timing?
And so we discover that we have tables and software programs that tell us everything about the tide LEVEL, but nothing telling us the DIRECTION of the flow!   The Italian Hydrographic office publishes an almanac, but buying one just for a single use seemed a waste of cash, so we don't have it.

So, we assume that the rising tide should cause the flow to go north (and therefore against us), while the falling tide should flow southwards, therefore if the tide starts falling at 14:00 hrs, we might expect the current to reverse and become favourable at that time, right?

Right?   And who knows!   Reality is much less straightforward than theory, sometimes the tide pulls us and sometimes it's against us, the feeling is that on the east side the flow is "less contrary" than on the Sicilian side, anyway we get through and when we reach the southern end of the straits we are met by a fresh northerly breeze that pops us out of the Straits at full speed!

A typical encounter in these waters: a sword-fish fishing boat, with its high spotting tower and long passerelle for the spearman

...and now the second problem: now the northerly wind becomes an enemy, because we reached the southernmost point of the voyage and must start heading north again, and we know from experience on Shaula3 that especially in the Gulf of Taranto a northerly wind can form steep waves and...guess what?  the forecasts are calling for fresh winds for next night!   What do we do, continue hoping for the best, or find a shelter in one of the very few ports along the Calabrian coast?

July 6th: forced stopovers!    We are not fond of sailing at all costs, and sometimes stopovers are forced upon us!

It happens.   To us, it happens often, be it due to bad weather o, less frequently, due to technical problems, we often have to stay in port for several days.

Sometimes, if the place is pleasant, there may be laziness at play, so the bad weather becomes an excuse to stay put and enjoy life.

Some places are real traps for lazy sailors, because the local weather condition may discourage departures, while conditions few miles out are much milder.

Which of these categories better describes the marina "Bocche di Gallipari", in southern Calabria?

Certainly not to the category of pleasant places, the marina is very small and deprived of even the most basic facilities, and the nearest shop (admittedly well furnished, though) is a couple of kilometres' walk away.

Despite these shortcomings, we are safely moored and can wait that the wind blowing from North/Northwest since several days decreases: only problem, it is not decreasing, and here the place is entertaining just like being anchored a a Red Sea marsa (and, looking outside the sand hill which is hiding the port's entrance, with the green light planted on a concrete block lying - askew - on the dune, there is more than a passing resemblance!).

OK, let's hope to leave tomorrow...

July 8th: sailboats, it's a well-known fact, have a keel, that sort of variously-shaped blade hanging under the hull and meant to prevent it to slide sideways when sailing close-hauled.

There are classic boats which do not have a proper keel, and they sail very poorly upwind...

We are an in-between, we do have a keel but it can be turned around a pivot, lifting it inside the hull.   This smart thing is very handy when sailing in shoal waters, like coral reefs and the like, but places two technical challenges to the manufacturer:
1) how to lift the keel with a reasonable effort, and
2) how to avoid the keel's vibration around its axle, making a hell of a noise!

Well, on this boat they failed miserably on both targets: the keel lifting takes place by means of a steel cable, attached to a rope going through a 6-way purchase going to a winch which is turned by a strong crew-member, pity that the cable has been broken and patched-up, and it's already a big success if the keel lifts partially!

But the worst thing is the vibration: the keel bangs violently against its housing, and we are worried that it may break free any time!

Agreed, even without a keel the boat would remain upright (our ballast is not in the keel, it's in the lower portion of the hull) but we would like to keep it until we reach home, so next winter we will have a chance to fix it (but how?).

July 10th: a toast, because:

- we are in Brindisi!  This place is becoming a mandatory stopover during our voyages in the area: it's modern, large, visitors are welcome and they have a fuel station, showers, a good restaurant and now also a minimarket, and this is where we "closed the circle" of our circumnavigation, 4 years ago.

- we are in the Adriatic sea!   At least the sea is the same of our final destination, although we are at the wrong end of it.  Pity that since a month the wind is blowing from the north, also the current which normally goes south at around one knot now is running at two knots, and so we are again in a Red-Sea style of situation, where you take shelter when the wind is against, and jump out and motor north when the wind abates.

- we have sailed 650 miles, about two-thirds of our transfer voyage.
Among the positive things, the boat sails well and handles the seas well, among the negatives the keel's play that will require serious consideration next winter.

- and, last but not least, a toast because we like to do it, nearly every evening, when we are not sailing, we find an excuse to share a small bottle of prosecco bubbly!

Just beside us, an old Finnsailer, a nordic very seaworthy and under-canvassed boat, has taken a mooring after a lot of struggling: the 3 old gentlemen aboard do not look very skilled, they were coming from the north with the wind on the back but decided it was too much for them, came in without calling the Marina staff ("they must see us coming" was their excuse, perhaps they do not know how to use the radio), needed help on how to plug the shorepower cable, but then again, they are on a boat having fun instead of sitting sadly on a bench, feeding pigeons!...

July 13: after an overnight sail from Brindisi, yesterday we arrived in Vieste.

The idea was to consider skipping Vieste and continuing up to Pescara, but after many hours beating against wind and waves we were tired and decided to stop.

Once again, a Red-Sea situation: either the wind is not there at all, or if it blows then it is against you and the seas rapidly become short and steep, very annoying.   To make things worse, here there is also a contrary current of more than one knot.

...and then the Red Sea technique applies: when the wind blows (against) you stop in a sheltered place, and as soon as the wind falls you leave and head north (usually motoring).

So then Vieste, another stopover which is quickly becoming a tradition during our north-south peregrinations in the Adriatic Sea; for the first time during this trip, we find ourselves immersed in an holyday-like attitude, both in the town, very crowded with tourists, and in port, where many boats are staying here at night and by daytime go out for a short trip to one of the many anchorages for a bath or a visit to one of the many caves.
Now it's late evening, and on many boats the crews are merrily chatting in the cockpit.

On the contrary, we are waiting for an half-decent weather forecast to get out of here and head north; it's not clear whether tomorrow will be the day, we'll see!

July 16th: at the first sign of a weather improvement we left, and now we are bashing on the waves, with a wind which is light and contrary, but at least we have reached the Tremiti archipelago (we will have to stop there, one day!) and the more we sail north, the less wind we should have, according to the latest GRIB files.

In the meantime, Split radio send her usual warnings about 50-knot winds in the Velebit strait, let's hope it does not reach this side of the Adriatic!

July 17th: the shore between the Gargano promontory and Ancona has one of the highest concentrations of fishing boats (well, in Italy at least!) and this will contribute to keep us awake during the second night at sea.

By now, we are clearly aiming at going straight to Jesolo, which will require a THIRD night out (and we have not entirely re-accustomed to the on-board rithm, although it is much better now than on the first days...).

July 19th: after a third, quiet night at sea, we arrived in Jesolo.

In the last hours we deliberately motored at low speed in order to get there at first light, and in fact at 8 o'clock we were at the entrance of the Marina, just to be told that our long-reserved place has been given to another boat!...

OK, we are assigned another place, and we immediately start preparing to leave towards home.

Hard to believe, but it's very hot, the worst temperature of the whole trip, in the northernmost location!

Click on this link to continue reading about the works performed in Jesolo.


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Last Update: 07/09/2017

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