Motorboating in Mallorca
HPO Cape Town
Above: Leaving Korcula
Well, I said on my last blog we were hoping for more wind. And that is just what we got! By popular request ( in fact our Corinthian friends) it was agreed we should do an informal race - no handicaps, plus the new Little Ship rule developed in the Channel Islands cruise for racing in no wind (switch on the engine!...). So we set off beating Eastwards in light airs . Seven or eight long tacks later at around 2knots we had just got round the point, to find the wind had backed round to the south west and died, as we set off south westwards to Lastovo. So the rule (and engine) was engaged! We arrived last, but were adjudged the winners as the boat that must have sailed longest!
It wasn’t possible to be part of the Croatia Rally unfortunately because of the need to be in Cambridge where my wife, Carol has been selected to exhibit at The Cambridge Printmakers while it is on. The next best thing was to have a charter holiday the week before. Although the Bora tried to spoil it, it ended in fine style as The Commodore was arriving under spinnaker in the Spirit of Osprey in Trogir. He was being joined by others in the flotilla as we were packing up in the neighbouring Marina.
We had chosen to sail north in an Allures 45 which is an interesting boat with aluminium hull and swinging keel as well as the refinements of bow thruster, electric winch and other electronic gismos. Below is a picture of us in Maslinica, a delightful harbour about 10 NM from the even more fascinating Trogir.
I forgot to say that the "Maresca" traditional sword fight dance we were due to see on Monday evening was mysteriously cancelled - as Michael Unsworth said, this is Dalmatia! But the pontoon party produced more than enough bonhomie to see us through our mild disappointment!
But yesterday, Tuesday, certainly did not disappoint. After a relaxed morning, I strolled down to the Lesic Dimitri for a coffee with Michael Unsworth. There I met a demand to bring my pipes - I had piped to announce the start of the pontoon party, just as the helpful waiter from Lesic Dimitri arrived with the wine and was captivated/astonished. The word had obviously been passed on!
Well, what a wonderful two days we have had. The passage from Hvar to Korcula was made without the assistance of wind - except for half an hour as we approached the Korcuka Channel. We got the spinnaker up again, only to find the wind dropping. We actually made 3 knots with the same amount of wind, but it soon dropped away. We had to get to Kircula in time to arrange the pontoon party so it was engine back in and down to Korcula at 5.8 knots. I never cease to marvel at the old town of Korcula; what could possibly be more attractive, on a sunny day with the brick-red roofs, the honeyed, weathered old towers and the spire of St Mark's Cathedral (a dead give-away as to its Venetian origins) rising majestically on top of the town hill. We got there by
Yesterday was a busy day for all the Little Shippers taking part in the Historic Croatia Rally. A few had arrived on Friday - including Paul Banks and Moira (who very ably assisted me with the Rally preparations) who came onboard for drinks and a quick update. Tim and Ann Bizzey appeared at 11am on Saturday having not eaten for about eighteen hours, to be followed by our other participants (save one absent through illness) all with broad smiles, but mostly also with bags under the eyes! Tiredness was quickly overcome and the efficient Dalmatia Charters briefers got going with the hand overs of our six charter sailing yachts (Steve Midgley was picking up his motor yacht in Split) . The boats easily met expectations. Meanwhile, the crew of "the Dream" (of Osprey that is) went off on various forays.
I last reported our stay in the Marina at Marina - the small town at the western, opposite, end of the sound of Trogir from that wonderful medieval UNESCO Heritage city. So on Thursday, with the weather much improved - save for the absence of any wind at all! - we motored the ten-odd nautical miles in two hours and tied up, after fuelling, in one of the Dalmatia Charter berths in ACI Trogir Marina and met up again with Ivica Buble the owner, now an old acquaintance. The outboard was collected for repair as promised. Basha Vucic, Mark's wife, joined us to make up our full crew of four and we all went into old Trogir town to lunch at one of my favourite restaurants, the Kamerlengo. Wonderful, and there was enough left over to take away to provide the basis for Basha's excellent supper supplemented by the victualling trip she and Nark made in the afternoon.
Today - hard to remember it's only Wednesday - we awoke to the Bura's continuing fiendish howls. But the forecast suggested it would finally blow itself out by midday. And indeed it did - so at 1300 we set off for Marina (see the explanation with the photographs!). The wind was westerly now, yet again bang on the nose, but as we rounded the point hoping to run down to Marina under sail, the wind died - from 30 knots to zero in two hours!
We arrived in Vinisce yesterday afternoon wet and tired. Today has been a welcome and delightful interlude. All the more so because the "Bura" did finally arrive. Normally it brings clear sunny skies, as it did today. If it brings rain then you absolutely must run for cover. But even in its mildest form it is no joke, largely because it is so squally with gusts over 30 knots from a literally clear blue sky.