In retrospect, this cruise's data highlight how last year's
cruise has been fast - and probably just due to luck!
On the contrary, in a total of 60 days available, we sailed only 1950 miles - having given up the plan to circle the Aegean - for a gross-average of only 32 miles per day (against 60 last year), which become 54 miles per day (80, in 2005) if we count only the days actually sailed (i.e. not counting the 24 days not sailed). Both these averages are much lower than last year, while the actual average speed when sailing has been about the same at 4,25 knots (corresponding to a potential daily run of 100 miles per day), despite the hull being much less clean.
Just like last year, we motored little more than half of the time, with a similar hourly consumption (2,5 liters/hour) but a lower average speed due to the fouled hull.
Why these data are important? Explanation HERE
"In the Mediterranean, you motor between one storm and the next"
"In the Mediterranean, wind is either too little or too much"
This year has fully confirmed these two old proverbs! The Mistral has blown for nearly a month, making sailing conditions on the western coast of Corsica and Sardinia rather challenging. Unsurprisingly, we always found place in usually crowded marinas, due to the fact that many booked visitors had not arrived!
In the second half of our voyage, we had a cycle of
depressions with a brief interval of flat calm between one and the other, which
forced us - just as the proverb says - to motor from one shelter to the other,
and then spend a couple of days doing land-based touring.
The first half of the voyage was actually a sort of "pilgrimage" to places which we knew from many years ago and wanted to see again; although things have obviously changed a lot, places like Alghero, Bosa, Carloforte and Malta turned out to still be pleasant and deserving a visit, besides being excellent restocking stops!
We were unable to enjoy the Egadi islands, also due to the mid-August crowd, but we believe that they would still be pleasant just out of the peak season, and we were pleasantly surprised by Mazara del Vallo, a technical stop which turned out to be better than expected.
What about Greece? Sadly, we had to limit our tour only to the Ionian Islands, and these alone already presented us with a lot of wonderful places, and a few disappointments. The main problem is the high-season crowd, possibly made worse by the bad weather conditions, but the sheer number of boats around, mostly charter or - the worst by far - flotillas, is really far too much.
Zakintos must be seen at least once, but it does not
have much to offer to yachts (very few available mooring places); we skipped Kefallinia
due to the tight schedule, but we definitely intend to return as all those we
spoke to say it's a worthwile visit!
Finally, on the Italian shore, the Marinas in Brindisi and Pescara turned out to be excellent stopovers (we would have liked to stop for a visit in Santa Maria di Leuca, which from the sea looked attractive!).
This cruise was supposed to be the "final shakedown" for Shaula3 and all the systems, especially for what concerns last winter's additions and modification.
The main things that will require revisiting before next year's departure with the Blue Water Rally:
- increase the "clean" battery-charging capability (additional
solar panels, or a water-towed generator)
Last Update: 21/09/2014
Shaula4 website (text and images) by Gianfranco Balducci is licensed under a