From Preveza to Vibo Marina – July 2018

Saturday, 28.07.2018

Montag, 06. August 2018

Saturday, 28.07.2018 Dear Galateia-Fans!

You wonder why I write in English? Because already at 12.00h my new guests arrive. And they are Cécile, Kyle, Martin and Tim from Scotland! Actually, Cécile is from France and Tim is an Aussie and their sons (13 and 15 years old) have all sorts of citizenships – and together with my many countries visited and my globetrotting skipper I am the most international yacht ever! The family has never seen how a boat has been launched, that’s why Wolfgang invited them to join the moment when I am slowly lifted back to the water. Still in the travel lift basin I start sinking, because my skipper didn’t tighten the impeller of my sumlog correctly – but that’s quickly solved…

For this night we stay in the Marina, and as always the first afternoon is used for shopping, moving the luggage to the cabins, making plans for the journey and have a nice first dinner all together.

Sunday, 29.07.2018

Montag, 06. August 2018

Sunday, 29.07.2018 Another routine at the beginning of a trip here on board: Ships- and  Safety-instructions. Once everbody is familiar with that, we start sailing! Kyle and Martin steer me out of the Marina and into the Gulf of Preveza. The afternoon breeze is right behind me, jib 1 is perfect for pulling me easily to the first anchorage. The Pig Hog Bay (seems like there’s only one pig left) is nearly empty, time to drop the anchor, go for a swim and enjoy a quiet, moonlit evening

Monday, 30.07.2018

Montag, 06. August 2018

Monday, 30.07.2018 There is a small beach that needs being explored right in front of my bow. Higgins (for new members of the Galateia community: my dinghy)  is thrown into the water and my crew rows ashore.

After a light lunch we set sail, and the same breeze as yesterday is now not behind, but against me. One reef in the mainsail, jib 2 and a dozen tacks to get to Preveza. And a couple of jibes, because at 14.50 h we are sourrounded by hunting dolphins and accompanied them for a while! What a good luck! Cécile obviously is a natural talent at the helm, but has to confess some cheating: she’s a windsurfer…

The town basin Marina has a berth for me, and after a nice shower everybody is ready for a nice Greek dinner in the old part of the small town. This dinner is so typical, that the owner of the restaurant even organizes a traditional blackout!

Tuesday, 31.07.2018

Montag, 06. August 2018

Tuesday, 31.07.2018 Time for some miles into the right direction…. We head northwest to the island of Paxos. My furling genoa is perfect for today’s weak winds, so we are sailing with the third foresail on the third day. Lakka, a small, picturesque village is very popular amongst the boating community, but we find a spot to drop the anchor right in front of the town quay

Wednesday, 01.08.2018

Montag, 06. August 2018

Wednesday, 01.08.2018 Our spot is too good to be left… we stay the day right here. Some groceries and a nice cup of Greek coffee in a café in the morning, some outboard engine lessons for Martin and Tim and the according dinghy tour in the afternoon – just a lazy day somewhere on a Ionian Island…

Thursday, 02.08.2018

Montag, 06. August 2018

Thursday, 02.08.2018 Time for some real miles into the right direction! An early start, a waypoint at Capo Rizzuto, 260° at the compass, we head West. 145 Miles to go, calm weather at first, but some dolphins bringing wind in the afternoon. A wonderful Ratatouille gets everybody prepared for the night, my sextant is unpacked and explained, the stars (and Venus, Jupiter and Mars!) come out, later the moon, and the feeling of crossing an ocean… The boys read books in their cabins, which shows that seasickness is definitely not going to be a problem with these guys. Reading under deck is one of the fine arts of sailing – not unlikely to steering straight ahead or acting slowly, because things are urgent ?

Friday, 03.08.2018

Montag, 06. August 2018

Friday, 03.08.2018 At 02.00 h a drifting motor vessel with a very weak AIS signal prevents the night from being completely uneventful, but uneventful night sails are exactly what we are looking for. With landfall in the early hours of the morning the breeze picks up. A wonderful northerly wind makes me sail at hull speed all the last 40 miles – right into the small and cosy harbour of Le Castella, just around the corner from Cabo Rizzuto. A tourist boat captain welcomes us with a plate of cold starters that’s left from his morning cruise, and despite the starters being cold that is a very warm welcome to Italy!

Saturday, 04.08.2018

Dienstag, 11. September 2018

Saturday, 04.08.2018 We do not have many miles to sail today, plenty of time for having one more shower, an really nice breakfast and a refill of the water tank. At 12.00 h we leave this nice place, set sails and head west once more. A thunderstorm threatens us on the northern shore of the large gulf I am crossing, but it sends a nice breeze, too, so feelings are mixed. But we are lucky, and we stay dry.

One of the very few ports my skipper does not yet know on this coast is La Bocca Di Gallipari. The Pilot Book (new last year!) says “safe port with 2.9 m of depth in the entrance”, but coming closer things look completely different. What should be two breakwaters are now two dunes with the leftovers of former breakwaters in the middle of them. But masts can be seen inside, so we give it a try- and with touching the (sandy…) bottom only once, I make it into the small harbour. Three fishing boats, some sailing yachts and a lot of small motorboats are based here. Great beach just on the other side of the dune – and not much more to see… no village in walking distance, no port office. A strange place, lost in space and meaning…

Sunday, 05.08.2018

Dienstag, 11. September 2018

Sunday, 05.08.2018 With the sharp eyes of Martin guiding me out of the harbour I reach deep water safely. To other boats: Do not try to enter with more than 1.8 m draft – and do not enter in any weather conditions including any wind or waves!

Some dolphins bring us the needed luck and wind- and we sail smoothly to Rocella Ionice. The Backgammon battles in the cockpit become harder and harder, as the boys quickly learned the rules and start beating their parents…

We dock quite early at 13.30 h, the modern marina has all the facilities you might wish for. That includes a gas station for some Diesel and a laundry. And a famous Pizzeria- serving pizza by the yard and Warsteiner Pilsener (joke for insiders…). A great halfway full service stop after our first week together.

Monday, 06.08.2018

Dienstag, 11. September 2018

Monday, 06.08.2018 The longest day of this trip lays ahead of my bow: 60 miles without a possibility to stop until Reggio Di Calabria. No wind. Quite boring. Backgammon helps a lot. Southermost point of the mainland of Italy, Capo Spartiventi, passed 11.47 h. At least one knot of current helping us. Entering the Strait of Messina at Cabo Dell’Armi at 15.40 h. Nearly hitting an Austrian sailing boat (also bored and on autopilot…) same time. The rugged, beautiful coastline and hinterland keep the imagination busy, that helps. And finally a light, but stable breeze from the south, that just pulls me up the strait wonderfully. Remember that last year I had to fight against the regular stiff northerly wind, usually making this strait a real menace… my skipper is happy as we dock in Reggio at half past six.

Tuesday, 07.08.2018

Dienstag, 11. September 2018

Tuesday, 07.08.2018 The day starts great with a friendly local delivering fresh croissants right to the breakfast table. And the day stays great, as the southerly breeze is still blowing! For the narrowest part of the Strait of Messina, I need the current with me. And the northbound current starts around 11.00 h, that’s perfect timing. If just the four ferries, that decided to leave port exactly the minute I am in front of the harbour entrance of the ferry port, would not have had the same timing… the smarter boat gives way…

The first harbour after the strait is Scilla. It is 14 miles away from Reggio. I need only nine to go there. The other five miles are courtesy of the current, thank you very much! And thank you for the water music, executed by eddies, ripples and standing waves – and unexplainable, if you have not seen and heard this little miracle.

For the dinner after the smoothest passage through the Strait of Messina my Skipper chose the restaurant with the freshest specialities like Swordfish Carpaccio, Tuna Sashimi, Oysters and marinated raw shrimps. It’s well worth ending a perfect day with a perfect dinner

Wednesday, 08.08.2018

Dienstag, 11. September 2018

Wednesday, 08.08.2018 Scilla is a spectacular small town: placed on a cliff like an eagles nest, the port being formed by a huge boulder with a castle on top. The water around my mooring buoy is perfect for snorkelling, and nobody feels a hurry to leave this very special spot. The swordfishing boats are spectacular, too! I wonder how my Skipper would steer me from the top of the mast, placing a 20 m bowsprit with a harpooner just over the selected swordfish.But after lunch we do just some more miles. On the way to Taureana we have time to heave to and swim in the bluest water ever seen. The background: the wildest highway-and/or railway bridge-tunnel-bridge-tunnel-bridge…. constructions through the coastal mountains. Unbelievable…

The welcome in the tiny port of Taureana is once again extremely friendly: a bottle of Prosecco waits for the adults, courtesy of the yacht club. The open air kitchen can be used by everybody, that’s a nice change from cooking in my rather small galley. And it’s fun to do it together with the locals who burn sausages on the grill.

Thursday, 09.08.2018

Dienstag, 11. September 2018

Thursday, 09.08.2018 Another cape to be rounded today! Cabo Vaticano marks the entrance of the bay of Tropea and Vibo. A thunderstorm behind me sucks air from the sea, which means sailing in a good breeze, though on the nose. Tacking towards and away and towards and away from the cape is a job for Cécile. Just before the harbour entrance of Tropea Martin and Kyle try to catch some sharks. The bait is ideally 13 to 15 years old, sportive, attached to my security man-over-board-rope and trawled at a speed around three to four knots. The boys have fun. And no sharks  around it seems…

Dinner needs to be earned today, because first everybody has to climb 195 steps until you reach the level of the city, which is again spectacularly situated on a massive cliff overlooking the Thyrrenian Sea.

Friday, 10.08.2018

Dienstag, 11. September 2018

Friday, 10.08.2018 Sailing slowly doesn’t help, catching sharks again does’t help, stop for swimming doesn’t help – at15.50 h I have reached my final destination for this trip from Preveza to Vibo. 428 Miles after having left the Cleopatra Marina. Mixed feelings, like always: Happy that it was a wonderful trip – and sad, because it’s over…