The Wings of a Goose!

This was Simon’s idea for the title- you’ll see why!We left Trapani at 9.45. We’d checked the weather- all ok – no sea sick conditions. We passed the Egadi Islands and could see them for hours. Two pods of Dolphins accompanied us. One of small ones and the other of big ones. They seem to jump out next to the boat to have a look!! Turtles also floated by- right in the middle of the Ocean!! We watched the sun set and the full moon rise. Then Simon went to bed at 22.00 and it was my watch. We wear life jackets and are clipped on when we’re on watch so that the other person doesn’t have to worry about ‘man overboard’. Then at 22.15 the engine spluttered and cut out. Back comes poor Simon!! We’d had poor wind (hence the engine), but just at that moment the wind picked up big time. So Simon helmed. It was dark and the boat was moving around a lot and it was difficult to steer by the compass so Simon saw a star which he kept to his port side bimony frame rear section. So he was steering by the stars. Eventually I had a go and Simon got some sleep. So we sailed through the night, watching the stars and the sun rise. Not much sleep was had by either of us! We took it in turns to rest until Cagliari was in view. Then decided to bypass Cagliari ( thanks to a suggestion by sailing friend Anne Gilpin) and thereby save ourselves lots of miles and many hours. So we landed in Tuelada several hours later. At about 19.00, phew! That was a 33 hour journey. It was a very small marina but had the basics. Showers!! Heaven! Water! We filled up. ( we take 750 gallons in 3 tanks. It takes 45-60 mins to fill from empty),, We slept. Thank god we slept!!The next morning we ‘slipped’ ( technical term!) ay 6.30. We knew the journey would take about 38 hours, it was 218 miles. The wind was great, sea also, right behind us urging us on. This has happened a couple of times before- in the caldera on Santorini when Brian was helming and in the Ionian when Sam was helming. Each time we goosewinged , which means having a sail out to the left and the other sail out to the right, thereby catching the maximum wind possible. Usually helming is quite precise in this configuration as if the boat nods one way too much, the boom will swing across and both sails will be the same side. The boom swinging too violently is called ‘crash jibing’ and is a bad thing!! So I suggested Goosewinging! And we did. Practically the whole way. The auto helm managed it without crash jibing. Simon put out a pole to keep the headsail or genoa right out wide. Here he is doing just that. We were sailing into the sunset, which was very romantic. Again the moon rose, lovely and big. The sea had a swell, quite big, which saw big waves coming up the back of us. They break on the top. It looks like it’s coming into the cockpit from the stern. Then it gently lifts the boat and under it goes. Or over you go! We actually managed to rest overnight in turns, not sleep. The sun rise was very welcome. It gets boring. It’s all the same. So I listened to my audiobook which has the advantage of me being able to be lookout. Not that there’s much to see. The odd tanker on the horizon- but you need to look. We finally arrived in Menorca, into the Mahon channel, turn right, behind an island and there was the anchorage. We’re motoring by now. You always take the sails in before arrival. It was 19.30. 36 1/2 hours, mostly sailing but some motoring when the wind died. We wanted to make sure we arrived in daylight. There were our friends on Sacre Bleu, we anchored 1st time ( sometimes it takes a few tries depending on what’s on the seabed). Lovely anchorage, flat sea!! I instantly got off the boat!! I swam across to Anne and Peter on Sacre Bleu for a beer. The next day we popped our heads up and there was Zora- another friend from Lefkas. Sam and Rose arrived from Sardinia at 2 am! We’d still been having engine problems. Sam knows a bit about diesels so later, he came aboard and helped Simon to bleed the air from our system so hopefully that’s fixed it. You need a reliable engine even though you’re sailing. Thanks Sam. Then Free Spirits 11 arrived with Heather and Roger. It was quite s reunion!! We enjoyed a few days here, getting together with our ‘mates’. But that’s another post… xx

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