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Summer 2020

Farewell Greece, We’re going to Italy!

After a restful night in Erikoussa, we had received our negative Covid test results so we slipped our lines and left the harbour at 8am. We could see that there was still quite a bit of swell so raised our sails before leaving the protection of the harbour and headed out to sea.

It was a ‘lively’ sail but not too uncomfortable (we were rocking and rolling!). We had a good force 6 wind from the northwest, allowing us to steer a southwesterly course, and we were speeding along at 7 knots.

It was difficult to take straight pictures as we were very much ‘on the lean’ with the toe rail dipping in the water at times!

These conditions continued until 4pm when the wind and swell disappeared and the sea was dead flat calm! Unfortunately this meant that we had to put the engine on.

We had a visitor on board in the afternoon as a little bird landed on the deck, not surprised that it needed a rest as we were about 35 miles away from land! We put some seeds and water out and it was partying on board with us until late evening.

The sun went down and the full moon rose keeping the sky bright all night

We planned to keep watch through the night with 3 hour shifts, allowing us each to have 3 hours rest in between. As this was our first overnight passage for 10 years it was quite tough getting into the routine, however it went to plan for most of the night.

It was a fairly uneventful night, we were motoring along in a flat sea with a bright clear sky, there were lots of stars out, and only a few other boats, mainly cargo ships, to watch out for, but other than that we were on our own with a cup of coffee, chocolate biscuits and podcasts for company

By 4am the wind started to pick up again and we raised the sails, (we always make sure that we are both on deck to make changes to the sails at night, so this took us out of our watch routine for a while). The wind was now coming from the southwest, just the direction we wanted to go so we had to steer slightly off course, but it was good to be sailing again having had the engine running for the past 12 hours. The wind gradually increased to force 5 by sunrise and we were back up to 6 knots.

The best time of day is watching the sunrise.

By the afternoon we were approximately 25nm from our destination when the wind disappeared again, so the sails came down, the engine went on, and we motored the rest of the way.

Land ahoy!

We arrived at Roccella Ionica at 5pm (according to our watches, however it was actually 4pm Italian time) where we moored in Porto delle Grazie Marina. A total of 195nm and 33 hours underway!

The marina was not very pretty, but surrounded by 10ft concrete walls, it was very protected and safe. It had one small pizza bar but unfortunately they had shut down their ovens for the winter, however they were still serving drinks, after having a long hot shower, we couldn’t resist one (or two) drinks to celebrate a successful passage.

We planned to only stay for 1 day and then head to Sicily, but there were strong winds and big waves forecast so we ended up staying for 3 days. This gave us plenty of time to catch up on sleep and give the boat a good wash.

8 replies on “Farewell Greece, We’re going to Italy!”

Paul,
Reading these accounts always feels like a mix of Treasure Island and Robinson Crusoe, but that’s probably nostalgia for a childhood world where Covid was not an issue!
Superb, cannot wait for the next episode.
Dan

Liked by 1 person

Sailing through the night makes your adventure even more dramatic and memorable. It must be fabulous to see the night sky and sunrise surrounded by the sea, and it must have felt very special to have a visit from that tiny bird. You are truly living the dream. Enjoy Italy.

Liked by 1 person

Yeah! It’s here, our weekly glimpse in to another world, and how wonderful to be reading about and seeing sailing. What a great a thing it is to be out at the dead of night be it on land or sea. I am sure you both actually had a thrill at being out there again after so long not doing it.
And then there is that safe harbour lies ahead feeling, what a range of emotions in a short space of time.
Great to read of your safe arrival and of course, beer is food!
Have a super week ahead.

Liked by 1 person

That was a very exciting read, good to hear you are safe and well in Italy, that sailing lark sounds hard work, I’d need more than chocolate biscuits to get me up after 3 hours 😆, what a great team you are!, seeing the sky at night and sun rising is a fabulous reward for your lack of sleep. Thank you for these posts, pure delight!

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