Visiting crew and changing plans due to bad weather

by Adrian on June 2, 2007

For the past week we've had two friends, Rob and Beck staying with us on the boat. They flew into Alghero (north west Sardinia) and were flying out of Olbia (North east Sardinia) six days later.

We had a great plan, which involved a gentle introduction to sailing and cruising to initially nearby anchorages then gradually longer trips between various marinas and anchorages as we cruised around the northern Sardinian coast. Typically, despite beautiful weather the week before they arrived (whilst we were doing boat jobs and getting things ready) a gale set in and we all spent the first two days stationary in harbour whilst a force 9 blew around us.

By Wednesday we had moderate winds, so to everyone’s relief and in much anticipation we set out to sail around Alghero bay and eventually head off to spend the night at a local anchorage in Porto Conte. The sailing was good, with everyone having a good time and learning plenty. Beck even managed to ward off slight seasickness by helming and eating.


Thursday saw the start of our revised itinerary, with a good sail 35 miles up the coast to a small port called Stintino. We had excellent winds, blowing force 3 to 5 consistently on our stern, so we put up the big red Twistle and flew along between 5 and 8 knots. At the north western tip of Sardinia there is a shortcut through  a narrow and shallow passage between an outlying island chain that saves 20 miles round trip. It is called the Fornelli passage, and involved some careful navigation and passage making along two distant sets of transits. This was a good learning exercise for Rob and Beck, who helped spotting and then maintaining the transits as we motored slowly through.

Stintino is a nice little harbour town with a few restaurants and shops. After a long day and great sail we settled into our berth, tidied the boat up and headed out for a couple of celebratory drinks and some food.

Friday was an early start with over 70 miles to cover if we were to get around the north east corner to La Maddelena, where we planned to moor up and finish our trip. Rob and Beck would then have to get a ferry to the mainland Saturday morning then a bus/taxi to the airport in nearby Olbia. Unfortunately the price of the weather delays was us not having time to relax a bit around the wonderful and scenic national park islands and anchorages around La Maddelena.  

The weather forecast was looking a bit on the windy side, but nothing too bad, so we set off at 7am out across the Gulf of Asinara heading east towards the Bonifacio Straits. the initial dark clouds and looming thunder storms fortunately passed us by and we had a great sail mainly broad reaching through slowly building seas. When we neared the straits, the sea became quite lumpy giving Beck and Rob their first taste of force 6-7 winds and 2-3m swell. Fortunately we were heading downwind so we had a comfortable sail, going the other way head to wind would have been a completely different matter!

We arrived and the picturesque harbour of La Maddelena by 6pm for a welcome shower, drinks and a meal out.

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