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Sardegna to Gibraltar

September 2021

After two long months of work in the Alps it’s time to head back to Sardegna, where my boat is waiting for me. As the summer is slowly coming to an end I want to make my way West. I’m not 100% sure yet if I will make the Atlantic crossing this season but I want to get into a position to have all options. It’s quite a big desicion to make, if I go a long journey lies ahead of me.

But first we have to get to Gibraltar. Still over 700nm in the very unreliant windsystems of the mediterranian, with the motivation to sail and not motor with the small outboard engine, this can take a while.

On the 7.9 I leave the harbour just to be becalmed for a whole day in the Bay of Cagliari. This comes in handy as I notice quite a lot of growth on my hull so I jump into the water and give it a good scrub. The next day looks better, I can round the souther tip of Sardegna and head for Ibiza. The forcast for this second night is strong and as I lose sight of Sardegna the wind picks up to 25kt. With just 1,5m² of stormsail set I surf into the sunset. As the night goes on the wind picks up even more and the waves start to get bigger and break. At 3am it’s blowing a gale and I have to handsteer for a few hours, getting soaked by the waves breaking over the stern. This is scary and beautiful at the same time, it makes me feel tiny any still great because I see that the boat can take it.

The next morning things start to calm down again and only now I can actually see the seas, they are big and very nice to look at. The wind starts backing to the north and later to the northwest as I keep heading east. Two wet days follow as it’s raining and I beat into 15-20kt’s. You can not do much onboard beating in such a small boat, I read a bit and try to eat without spilling food everywhere. I’m happy as the wind drops even more on the fourth day and I can lay out some things on the deck to let them dry.

As I sight Ibiza on the 6th day I’m happy to get onto land and talk  to people again. But the harbour I call has no space for such a small boat. They tell me they only accept bigger boats. This makes me sad … You sail for 6 days to get rejected like this. Really no good seamanship. So I chance course for the next harbour and luckily they have a place for me. With my small boat they allways put me together with the small motor vessels and sadly I don’t meet many other sailors. Sometimes I rethink my plan to sail solo as I’m quite lonely at land. On the other hand I really enjoy the solitude at sea!! 

Over the next days I enjoy some good food and prepare my boat for the next voyage, first to the spanish mainland then down the coast to Gibraltar. I want to stop in Alicante, San Jose and Almeria to visit some friends and go paragliding.

The trip to Alicante starts again with two hard days of beating into 20kts. It’s not much fun as the boat stops at every wave and you can feel the stress it put’s on the boat. On the third day the wind turns onto the stern and makes the arrival to Alicante easy. The weather is perfect and the next day I can enjoy a few hours of flying on the coast befor continueing my journey to San Jose and Almeria/Aquadulce.

The last 140nm of this part will be the hardest. I only have a short window of good winds to reach La Línea/Gibraltar and I have a 1kt current against me. I start motoring very early until the wind picks up in the afternoon, blowing 15kt from astern. Still we only make 2-3 kts sometimes even less. Also the busy shipping lane to the Strait of Gibraltar dosen’t make the two days more relaxing. I get close to some big ships and only few answer my call on the radio. After two sleeples nights I barrely make into the harbour under spinaker.

Since leaving Greece I have sailed ~1500nm in about 25 days, averaging only ~2,5kts (very slow), all singelhanded. Im quite happy to have used the engine to cover distace only twice. And I’m super excited to finally get into regions with more predictable and constant wind paterns.

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