Sardinia, Fat Arses and SNAFU

Trip Start May 22, 2006
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Trip End Aug 05, 2014


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Flag of Italy  ,
Thursday, May 3, 2007

  Having lurked in the Balearics for a couple of weeks waiting for the bloody Easterly winds to go somewhere else, we spotted a 2 to 3 day weather window from Sunday 29th April. Thus, on Sunday, we left Porto Colom on Majorca for Portoscuso on Sardinia, a journey of 240 nautical miles which should take between 40 and 48 hours. This meant a 2 day and 2 night passage. We left at 12 .15 on Sunday afternoon, just ahead of some ominous rainclouds.


Sadly the wind, after tentatively going North, slyly and malevolently slithered back into the East giving us an uncomfortable few hours. However, by the wee small hours of Monday, it had come back into the West where it stayed blowing between force 2 and 4 for the whole journey. Most people would think a wind right up your tail would be ideal. Unfortunately most people haven't experienced the motion of Tiercel's fat arse when it is being teased by a following sea and a tail wind.


Don't get me wrong, Tiercel's arse (or stern for the more pedantically minded yottin' types out there) is one of her best features. It allows us to have a large 6ft wide double bed and en-suite bog in the spacious confines of her ample butt.


So, enough of bottoms, now back to the tale. In order to make her sail more efficiently we had to pole the foresail out using a telescopic spinnaker pole. After erecting this to it's fullest extension (about 14ft) it was duly attached between the mast and the sail and, for about 5 minutes, we were having a glorious sail when the pole duly un-telescoped and slid back inside itself (about 8ft). Just as I was going forward to sort this out, the piece of string holding the pole at the ideal height, decided to part company with the mast and the pole duly took on the well known riggers droop (like brewers droop but involving string, cable, aluminium, lots of swearing and, generally, no alcohol). Now it was impossible to use the pole so it was duly packed limply away and plan B was put into action.


Plan B was to use the cruising chute, one of those pretty, billowy, colourful sails which are specially designed for downwind sailing. After much to-ing and fro-ing with string, bags and sails it was launched and, again, for a few minutes was hauling us along at an unseemly but elegant pace. What could possibly go wrong?


After noticing a wee problem with some of the string we decided to drop it, sort out this minor hitch, re-hoist it and continue gracefully on our way. I will not dwell on what happened next, but 5 minutes later we were travelling at 6 knots, under engine, with the cruising chute flying ahead of us attached only to the top of the mast and looking like a massive pair of psychedelic knickers flying horizontally on a long piece of string from the masthead.


It took half an hour plus all of our experience and ingenuity and some extremely bad language, used liberally and loudly, to get the sod to descend and pack it away. Luckily the horizon, in all directions, was devoid of shipping, but, I bet, that there were a few dolphins absolutely pissing themselves at our antics - bastards.


Oh yes, we had a good journey, great sunrises, sunsets, saw some dolphins, a turtle and a 20ft pilot whale which surfaced right by the boat a few times (maybe he fancied her fat arse).


On sighting Portoscuso we saw the smoking chimneys of the aluminium smelting works all along the coastline and the marina seemed to be in the middle of them. However, on arrival it proved to be a pleasantly sleepy little town. We arrived at 10.30 AM on Tuesday knackered, mildly embarrassed and pleased that, at sea, only the dolphins can hear you scream.
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