We took a ‘slightly’ different approach this time. We participated in an offshore cruising trip, organised by Ultra Sailing. The trip brought us from Split (Croatia) via various Italian harbours to La Valletta on Malta (and back). The distance covered was over 1.100 nautical miles in all, 2.000 kilometres.
Sailing the high seas requires a different ship. Our choice was a Bénéteau 50. A good and stable ship, with all the facilities required for a trip like this. Our route can be found here. We had a crew of 9, including a professional skipper with experience on this route. Myself, I was one of the watch leaders. The trip took 2 weeks to complete.
We took hundreds of photos during this trip. It takes me some time to sort them out. For this first version of the story I have just selected a few, more will follow!
At 0600 we leave the harbour of Roccella Ionica. The morning was very quiet: sunny, warm, calm (rippled) sea and no wind. Within hours, we have a northerly wind of 15 – 20 knots and are sailing along nicely.
Our first destination for today is Crotone, on the coast of the Gulf of Taranto, where we want to load fuel. After that our course will be east-north-east for Capo Santa Maria de Leuca, the south-eastern tip of Italy.
Around noon the wind changes to south-south-west and increases to 25 – 30 knots. Excellent sailing conditions! We reach Crotone at 1430, only to find out that the petrol station is closed until 1530 (siesta…). We use the time available for cooking a big pot of chicken curry for dinner that night.
Leaving Crotone at 1600 we nearly forget one of our crew members, who went ashore to drop the garbage. Fortunately we find out in time… During the next hours, we have several encounters with groups of dolphins again.
After dinner, at 1900, the watch system starts again. My team has 1900 – 2100. Darkness still comes early, and it is a beautiful moonlit night. Our course is 055, wind 20 knots from south-east.
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