We had an easy overnight passage from Canet en Rousillon to La Grande Motte to end our Balearic Islands voyage. After filling up our diesel tanks, we met with Stephane from Outremer and looked at the damage to the sailbag and discussed the boom attachment concerns. He is going to work on both issues, and a few other minor items that came up during the voyage. Once we had everything scheduled with Stephane we cleaned up Wildling and started our long journey back home to Brisbane.
This voyage was a bit ambitious, we had almost 1,000 nautical miles to cover, late in the Med sailing season, and we only had 2 weeks to do it. We knew there would be a lot of overnight passages and the potential for bad weather was high, and this was also the first time we had sailed offshore with my parents (Meg and Greg), so I was a bit nervous about it.
Meg was a bit seasick the first couple of days, but recovered quickly and had no problems at all the rest of the voyage and was even taking solo night watches by the end. Greg had a bit more experience having done a Brisbane to Gladstone race with us on our last boat, so I knew he would do fine, and he certainly did. He took all of the 4am to 8am watches (thanks Dad!), and was a huge help to me with the sail changes and maneuvers throughout the voyage. They both loved the rough conditions and were a huge help to Robin and I the whole way.
Some highs and lows from our Balearic Islands Voyage
Now we are back home (well almost, we’re waiting for our final flight connection as I write this) I thought it would be good to list a few highs and lows from the trip.
- Tearing the sailbag – was for sure a low. It should not have happened and when I examined it wtih Stephane, he couldn’t understand what caused it either. The bag was made by the sailmaker (Incidences) so we will get them involved to see if they can figure it out.
- Almost disconnecting the boom – a big issue that could have ended badly. Luckliy we caught this and fixed it before any damage was done, but it needs to be addressed. Stephane will contact the mast maker (Lorima) to find a safer alternative design.
- Ibiza Marina – I was surprised by the lack of protected anchorages from a southerly swell in Ibiza. We ended up taking a space at the marina in Ibiza to get some shelter during two days of storms, and they charged us 500 Euros per day!
- The Balearic tourist traps – I was disappointed by the attitude of the people in Majorca and Ibiza. We have been used to sailing in France where everyone we have met has been incredibly friendly, professional and helpful. Many of the locals we interacted with in the Balearics were disinterested and unhelpful. This is probably due to the large number of tourists that come through these places.
- Our love affair with Wildling continues – We just love our boat and she took great care of us again during this voyage! No matter what the conditions, 50 knot winds, electrical thunderstorms and hail or steep waves, Wildling always felt safe, strong and comfortable.
- Our partnership with Stephane Denner at Outremer – Stephane is a super guy. He’s knowledgeable, conscientious, and always available with help and advice. I can’t say enough good things about Stephane, and I am very grateful to know he will take care of Wildling for us while we are away.
- Barcelona – We loved Barcelona! We stayed at Port Vell Marina, which is brand new and very luxurious. The marina staff, and all the people we met in Barcelona were friendly and helpful, and there is so much to see and do in Barcelona, we could have easily spent several weeks there just exploring.
- Mediterranean dolphins – We had our first encounter with dolphins in the Med, when a hug pod came by to play with us as we sailed north from Barcelona.
- Sailing at 10+ knots – This just never gets old! We had quite a few opportunities to let Wildling run free, and it’s an incredible treat to be sailing fast in fine conditions. Our max speed on this trip was 17.6 knots, but we spent many hours reaching between 10 and 13 knots which was a real pleasure.
- Reefing downwind – I’ve been wanting to try this and hadn’t had the opportunity, but when the wind picked up to over 25 knots on a broad reach I used the “Barto Reefing Technique” to reef the main downwind, and it was a piece of cake. So much easier and safer than turning upwind to reef in these conditions.
Our Balearic Voyage is over, and while it wasn’t exactly calm, easy cruising, it was a great experience and the type of adventure that I have only found by getting out on the open sea and dealing with whatever comes along in the process! It’s the best way I know of connecting with nature and the wild, and it always results in memories that will last a lifetime. I’m so happy that I had the chance to share this with my parents and my wonderful family!
Wildling will be staying in La Grande Motte over the winter and we will start working on our plans for the 2016 Mediterranean sailing season that begins in April.