Our first big passage takes us from Mallorca to Sardinia on board Saaristo, a 15-metre Bavaria, with skipper Jarek from Polish sailing school Junga and crewmember Jola. It’s an eventful passage on a boat that’s arguably under-crewed – and one of us gets their first taste of sea-sickness.
June 10 2018
Departing Calanova marina, Mallorca, to set sail for northern Sardinia. The winds are too light for sailing so we motor out in a bid to be out of the way before the expected storm arrives. Unfortunately, we’re not quick enough, and by evening there are clouds flashing and crackling with electricity closing from the stern. I’m on watch from midnight to 04:00, so I get a premier seat as it passes overhead. Never forget the sight of masses of stars in one direction, and utter blackness in the other.
June 11 2018
With the passing of the storm we’ve got enough wind to sail, but only the headsail is out. Later, even the little wind that had in the morning diminishes and we turn the engine on again. This is not good for Aleksandra, as the combination of the smell of diesel, the vibrations of the engine and our first extended passage makes her seasick all afternoon and night.
June 12 2018
Aleksandra has recovered. It seems she only needed to find her sea legs to be back to her usual bubbly self. It’s warm and sunny, with just enough wind to have the headsail out and the engine on. By noon, we’re under full sail and enjoying perfect Mediterranean sailing conditions. The traffic here isn’t particular heavy, but what there is is very big and fast – mostly tankers and ferries.
June 13 2018
At 03:00 I’m on watch and catch my first glimpse of Sardinia. By sunrise I’m in my bunk, and when I return to deck Aleksandra tells me that we’re sure for a rough few hours before we make port. Spirits are high though, as there are sea turtles around us (as in Gibraltar, I’ve still not seen any dolphins). By noon we’ve gone from the start of passage position of not enough wind to sail, to sailing under a fully reefed main and a headsail about the size of a stripper’s knickers. We’re getting force 5 and 6, and the rain is beating down. To make matters worse we can’t head straight into port as there are fishing nets and pots everywhere, which adds an hour to journey. But, by 16:00, Saaristo is tied up in Isola di Rossa marina.
June 14 2018
A short passage from Isola di Rossa to Castelsardo, in calm seas and under sail all the way. Just four hours until we’re tied up again and contemplating the last leg of our journey tomorrow.
June 15 2018
And that’s it. Saaristo is tied up in Porto Torres, and after cleaning her up and enjoying a last meal in the cockpit we’re ready to say goodbye. We’ve covered 446 nautical miles on this passage, and now feel more confident as sailors.
See Aleksandra’s films about this voyage here: