To Cartagena

The sail from Alicante was good. I started after lunch in a perfect summer day with a weak breeze, more drifting than sailing south.

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When the sun set, the wind died, and I started the engine. There were some ships, but I had the radar on and could get a lot of sleep. As we came closer to the cape, there was more traffic and I had to stay up.

After rounding there was some wind, and I set sail again and adjuster the wind vane. Then  I noticed that all the lights had gone, and it was strangely dark… Fog!

Then the radar started to beep. 7-8 trawlers were coming straight at me. Luckily, the fog lifted after an hour, so it was not too bad. I had to slow down and wait for the sun to come up before entering Cartagena harbour. There was some fog in the harbour, but vilibility was a few hundred meters.

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Cartagena is a navy port and several destroyers and a submarine went out for practice runs almost every day. I had cought a cold and stayed 4 days to cure it. The marina was built using pontons, and the boats rolled with the surge from the commercial boats in the harbour.

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Moving south…

After 3 weeks on Majorca (I got some things fixed on the boat, but mostly I waited out thunderstorms and rain – thunderstorms in this area can produce lots of rain and wind…)

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it was now time to move on.

I was lying in the harbour most of the time:

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On the sail out from Pollensa I met swells 1,5m from the north and a wind from NE, so it should be a good sail to SW, I thought.  However, having rounded cape Fermentor, the swells stayed from N, but the wind was changing to SW! The wind was weak, but the resulting sea was like being in a washing machine… The best course I could do was due west.

I tried to stop and heave to for a few hours in the night, but the wind was so weak that the sails flapped and crashed violently. When I took the sails down, the boat rolled violently instead! Around 4am, the wind came back and I could set sail and get the vind vane to steer so I could get some sleep. Later in the morning, the wind died down, but also the waves, so I could motor and use the auto pilot. I spent most of the day asleep. By evening I was off Ibiza:

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The second night I was feeling better, but slept much and used the radar to find the ships that came close. Next morning I was off cape de Nao:

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There was no wind until lunch time and I spent all day following the coast down to Alicante, where I am now. It was a perfect summer day with 27 degrees late into the evening.

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I have a calm spot in the middle of the marina (right in front of the city). I plan to stay 2 nights and then sail on south.

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Ahhh – Majorca at last!

After a few days in Port Napoleon, France, I felt I had the boat in a condition, good enough to try some sailing. The weather prediction was for winds from the east, so I decided to go directly to Majorca. This would take 2 days, if the winds were good (and the engine would help me if they were not). I filled up with diesel in Port st Louise and left after lunch.

Getting to the sea means a long detour around some sand banks and it took two hours before I was off the mouth of the Rhone and could head for the destination. The winds were indeed weak, so I used the engine. The sea had some rollers and waves from SE, while the wind was from S., so I got a bumpy ride…

The first night, I had almost always at least one ships lights in sight. I took 20 minute naps and popped up to see where the ships were. I configured the autopilot and got it to successfully steer when motoring. Later I tried the radar and successfully set up a guardian zone. This made the watch easier. I did send a SPOT message after the first night, but this did not appear to have worked… Anyway, I was some 100 miles from France and 25 miles off the Spanish coast.

DSC01246 Nice sunrise…

During the second day, the wind was weak, but from NE, so I did a number of hours sailing. The wind vane steered the boat. Late afternoon, the wind died away, and I started the engine again. This night, I tried to sleep as much as possible, just popping up to check every half hour. Twice, the radar found real ships in my guardian zone (lots of false echoes too…). I sat up to make sure the two ships would not come to close to me (1/2 hour each time).

The second morning found me some 30 miles off Majorca:

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I could see the mountains in the distance, but it took me another 6 hours to get close.

DSC01248 Cape de Fermentor

I sailed into Port de Pollensa and went to the tank station to fill up diesel. 70 liters used in 2 days…. There are free bouys further out and free anchoring close to the port, so I tried the latter. Anchored in 3m of clear water, outside a warm beach is like an instance of the paradise! I will stay here for a few days, to relax and fix some things.

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DSC01250 (check out the fish!)

On site in Port Napoleon

I flew to Nice and took the train to Marseilles and on to Arles, where I had a taxi waiting to take me to Port Napoleon. The port have apartments, so I did have a place to sleep.

The next morning that truck had arrived and we pushed to get in line to get offloaded. 2 hours later we were…

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I found an available space and started to mount the radar and other things.

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The next day (Friday) I was scheduled to get the mast up. Somewhat delayed, it is now up. Now I lie and prepare to put on the sails. (and yes, I did wash clothes as well..)

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Most of the boats in the harbour are big, my boat is one of the smallest!

End of phase one!

The boat is loaded on the truck and on its way to southern France! The loading was done without incidents on Monday morning August 31st. By lunch time the boat was loadad and secured and I took the bus to Kiel center and the train back to Lund. On Wednesday I will fly to Nice and on Thursday morning we will offload the boat in Port Napoleon.

That will be the start of phase 2, sailing along the Spanish coast to Gibraltar.

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Departure a second time

So, on Sunday August 23rd, I departed for a second attempt. The weather prediction was not too bad for the next few days, but the first day took me to Dragör only…

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The next day brought southeasterly winds, but after Stevns klint, the going was good. I made it to Kalvehave in the “Smålandsfarvandnet”.

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Strong winds towards the end made the last part of the sail a bit challenging, but luckily there were only few boats in the harbour.

The next day started with a nice sail through the narrow straits, but the wind died out and I used the engine most of the way to Nakskov.
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The forecast for Wednesday was westerly wind and the coming days promised SW with varying strengths, so I hoped to go directly to Kiel. However, as I gout out of the harbour, I had a SW 12 m/s against me…. Luckily, the wind decreased and turned to W later during the day, so by early evening, I arrived in Kiel.

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So, I had taken a week to reach Kiel, but did it in 3,5 days… Now I had to lay an wait 5 nights for the loading of the boat on Monday August 31st… The marina was very new and nice, so it was a pleasure to be there, even if the weather during these days was not the bext.

I contacted the yard and we took the mast down on Friday.

Problems fixed, but delayed, so taking transport to the Med…

The toilet tank is replaced and the cooker fixed with new, working burners. However, it is now to late to go on the European canals with the family, so an alternative is needed.

I have taken offers to transport the boat by truck from Germany to southern France and have now found a transport in early September. This will put me back on the original time table. The cost is probably not much more than the cost for travelling the canals, but we miss the adventure….

Departure as planned – but returned for repairs….

I did leave on Friday and had a rough sail south to Klintehavn, south of Möns klint. The wind started as SE, but turned to E and increased to 12-13 m/s, which meant a bumpy ride 11 hours….  I had to secure the rig (I was planning to take the mast down in Germany, so I hade not secured it before leaving) and found the toilet flooding on the way.

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In port the next day, I found I had missed the siphoning vent in the toilet installation, which led to the floooding. However, when working on this, I saw that the toilet tank was leaking! It had been welded for another leak, but now I had the same problem again. When preparing breakfast, The cooker did not work well. I had tried it ealier, but now it failed. I spent a few hours trying to fix it, including mounting 2 new spare burners, but this did not help.

So, I had no cooker, no toilet and the family was meeting me in two days in Germany (12 hours+ away) for a 6 weeks trip on the European canals. No ideal situation. Aborting was the only realistic option. I asked the family to cancel the Germany trip and set sail back to Lomma for repairs on Sunday (~10 m/s SW – headwind for Germany, but good wind to sail back)

Departure at last!

Tomorrow, Friday July 17th at 10.00 I plan to leave Lomma harbour. The weather forcast is not ideal, but later it will be worse, so I’m off!

Most big things are fixed and the smaller issues will have to be done on the way…

Departure is close…

As always, preparations take longer (*pi…) than you think and I am now about 2 weeks behind my original schedule. However, most of the big things are done, the smaller issues can be done on route and I am now in the process of loading all the things you need to bring on a long cruise. I now hope to ba able to leave at the end of the week…