Our new sails are rigged and final projects finished so we were finally able to leave port and do some sailing! I have been really looking forward to trying out all the new gear and modifications on a voyage with a variety of different conditions, but before I talk about sailing, I need to let you know that Robin has created a @sailwildling Instagram account where she is posting photos each day. You can see her latest photos in the sidebar of our website or subscribe to the @sailwildling feed to get her latest posts.
Robin’s brother, Kirk, and his wife Shelly and their daughter Saylor joined us for the first part of the trip, sailing with us as far as Cannes. We left Marseille and stopped off in Bandol, Porquerolles and St Tropez before arriving in Cannes. We had mostly light winds so we were using the Genoa upwind and the Code-D downwind with full mainsail. The North 3Di Genoa has become my favorite sail! It’s very easy to deploy and trim, and generates a lot of power.
It was great sailing with Kirk, as he is good sailor and loves it as much as I do, and I was really sad that they had to leave us in Cannes. We continued on, just the 4 of us, past Nice and Monaco and over to Imperia Italy. We had a lot of wind for this part of the trip, 25-28 knots on the nose, so we were close hauled and tacking back and forth the entire way with the staysail and two reefs in the mainsail. These were similar to the conditions that I had all the helm balance and steering issues with last year in Sardinia. The new staysail setup is MUCH better. No balance issues at all and the autopilot had no trouble steering us the whole way. I kept us as hard on the wind as possible but not so close that we lost too much speed. In these conditions at around 40 degrees apparent wind angle, we can keep our speed at 8 or 9 knots and with the daggerboards down, we make very little leeway. Easy, fun sailing!
We stopped for the night in the port of Imperia Italy to get out of the still building easterly winds, and the next morning we decided that rather than trying to beat further east, we would turn south and head for Corsica a bit sooner than planned. This leg started out with wind at 25 knots and close hauled, but after a few hours the wind eased to 10-12 knots and shifted around to our port aft quarter. These are Wildling’s favorite conditions, and with full main and Genoa she pulls the apparent wind up to around 60 degrees and we skimmed along at 9-10 knots on smooth seas all the way over to the north west coast of Corsica. We covered the 100 nautical miles between Italy and Corsica in an easy day-sail, arriving just before sunset.
The weather forecast the next day was for SW winds at 25-30 knots and continuing the same for the next 5 days, so we decided to sail down the coast about 25 NM to the port of Calvi and wait there for the weather to settle down. Calvi has a mooring field which gets a bit crazy in strong winds, with many yachts having problems trying to pick up mooring buoys. There were a few near collisions as boats were blown off the mooring buoys before they could hook on. We had our fenders out more than once to try and protect ourselves from boats coming at us out of control! Pretty stressful! There are two guys in Zodiacs zooming around non-stop helping people get hooked up, and they also act as motorized fenders to keep boats from colliding.
Catamarans have a huge advantage when mooring in windy conditions like this, because you can pick up the mooring from the transom, and since the Zodiac boys were busy when we arrived, this is what we did. The way it works is to position the boat downwind of the mooring buoy with the back of the boat pointing at the buoy, next you reverse into the wind towards the buoy until it is at the transom. It’s really easy to do this and you can take your time and do it slowly. Have a crew member get a really long line ready, and as soon as the buoy is within reach thread the line through the mooring loop and pull the line until the mooring loop is in the center of the line. Now you can reverse back beside the buoy while your crew member walks the line up to the bow mooring cleat and ties both ends onto the cleat. Now you’re on the mooring, and you can take your time to thread the second mooring line through the buoy and over to the mooring cleat on the opposite bow. Use your engines to position the boat as your crew adjusts the length of the mooring lines to position the mooring buoy in the center of the bows.
After the wind died down we left Calvi and we’re now working our way south. We’ll do a series of day sails as we follow the coast down before sailing back over to Marseille.
Here’s the satellite tracker map of our trip so far
5 thoughts on “Back to Corsica and Instagram!”
Great to see it all come to fruition Doug.
What a great trip
Great blog and congrats to a great boat. Just out of interest. Haven’t sailed in Mediterranean so I can’t speak for the mooring balls there, but have sailed a smaller catamaran in Caribbean (BVI) where you normally use mooring balls. In BVI you always hook on to the mooring ball from up front approaching it downwind. This works really well with 1 or ideally 2 persons up front, 1 of them with the boat hook. Once the mooring loop is up you thread both lines through it from beginning. being prepared by laying out the lines from both side before hand the mooring is done safe and very quick almost regardless of wind. Maybe Wilding´s freeboard is too high, making it difficult to pick-up the mooring ball but other from that I can’t see the reason to make it fairly complicated by doing it from the transom. Since you are very knowledable I´m probably missing something so I would appreciate your input.
Hi Magnus, thanks for your kind feedback. I agree with you that picking up a mooring ball from the front is an easier maneuver, and when possible it’s the preferred way to go. What I have found though, is that when it’s very windy, it becomes more difficult to position the boat correctly for long enough so the crew has time to attach the mooring lines to the ball. This is further complicated on our boat as it has very high bows, so it’s difficult to even reach the mooring ball with a boat hook, and because of our boat length, I can’t see the ball from the helm station. In the case I wrote about in Calvi, the wind was gusting up to 30 knots, so I didn’t even try to hook on from the bows, and instead went directly for a transom hook up, which was simple to do even in these conditions.
I have found that some of the docking and mooring maneuvers that we could pull off on our previous 47 foot boat, don’t work well on a 59 foot boat, so we have had to learn how to handle our 5X a bit differently than our Catana. The 5X is not very forgiving of mistakes, so we will often do a maneuver that might be a bit more complicated, just to be sure we don’t get into trouble.
Makes a lot of sense. Currently I sail a 40 foot catamaran so I do not have the issue with the size that you do. Later on I hope to switch to the Outremer 51 so maybe I will experience the same re-learning then as you have done moving from Catana 47 to 5X.