July 1993 - Cagliari to Al Kantaoui

1 July 1993 Mahon to Cagliari, Sardinia (Day 3)
We motored all night. At six o’clock, just as the sun came up, we got a nice NE15 knot wind and sailed for about 1 hour before we had to put the motor on again. We managed another one hour of sailing later on as we made our approach to the port.

I’ve been using our trailing log to try to check the hull log impellor. Just outside the harbour, we took the sails down and started to motor. Unfortunately while we were dropping the sails, the trailing log ended up wrapped around the prop. I spent 15 minutes diving down to unwrap the damn thing in the middle of the harbour. I ended up with lots of small, painful cuts on my arms from the barnacles on the propellor.

We went alongside a quay in the port and chatted to a German couple, Regina and Thomas, on “Aphrodite”.

Our passage was 284 miles by the trailing log but only 252 miles by the hull log, which is about 15% low. The impellor itself looks OK, so I’m not sure what is wrong. I’m a bit reluctant to pay the exorbitant price to replace the whole unit. We tried to get some Italian Lira without any luck.

2 July 1993 Cagliari
We went to the bank and got ¼ million lira - I love this currency! We then walked to NW corner of the port to see if we could motor over and get some fuel. There is a small marina, but the depth is only 1.7 metres so I had to carry fuel in a 25 litre container from a garage which was (fortunately) only 400metres away. It took me five trips to fill the fuel tank and probably lengthened my arm by 2 centimeters. We decided not to bother getting a cruising permit (Constituto) because our next stop is hopefully Malta.

3 July 1993 Cagliari
The forecast was for strong SE winds, which is roughly where we want to go, so we decided to stay. We did school work, went shopping and generally lounged about. Brett and I went for a walk and came across an art event at a church with about 10 artists each painting a picture. Brett found it interesting (and amazingly so did I!)

When we got back Brett, was so motivated that he decided that he wanted to paint, so he and Craig set up a makeshift easel on the quay and painted pictures.

4 July 1993 Cagliari
I talked to some Americans in a trimaran who arrived early this morning. They said that there was an unpleasant SE swell about 2-3 metre high. The forecast was SE 4 (not very good). We decided to try to go somewhere else to escape this miserable quayside, for a swim, etc. We motored out, rocked and rolled and came back – we’re trapped!! In my depression, I sulked and built a new power supply for the computer.

5 July 1993 Cagliari
It’s been another hot sticky Sirocco day with SE force 4-5 winds and a large swell coming into the port, so we had another day of hanging about. The forecast looks like it’s going westerly tomorrow, but might be quite strong. I had a long talk to the Americans, Bob and Liz on their trimaran “Baccante” about going around the world.

6 July 1993 Cagliari to Valetta, Malta (Day 1)
The wind blew up from the west last night. It was still pretty strong in the morning, so we waited for the weather forecast which said NW 4-5 increasing to 6 so we decided to “go for it”. When we got out it was gusting up to 30 knots, so we ran for 2 hours under just a jib.

The wind started to drop just after lunch, so I rigged up twin running sails. The wind picked up at about ten o’clock, but was OK with twin running sails as long as we helped the Hydrovane in the gusts. The Hydrovane seems to be OK as long as the wind is constant, but as soon as we get gusts it struggles - I ‘m not sure if it’s the effect of the mizzen.

7 July 1993 Cagliari to Valetta, Malta (Day 2)
It was gusting 30 knots at midnight – I had a very exciting time for a while, surfing at 10 knots! Fortunately, I had rigged the pole for the starboard genoa with a block at the end to take the Genoa sheet. This meant that it was fairly easy to roll away the sail leaving us with just the hanked jib. The wind gradually increased, so that at three o’clock in the morning, I dropped the hanked jib and Glenys ran with just a scrap of roller genoa out to port. At dawn, we gybed the jib and poled it out on the starboard side.

By mid-morning, the wind had dropped to 15 knots so I re-rigged the twin sails. The wind is not a problem, but the swell and waves are really annoying. When the wind is high the waves can be anything up to 30 degrees from the wind direction, so we get pushed all over the place – I hope it’s not like this when we cross the Atlantic! I ran the engine for 1 hour to charge the batteries. We ran through the night with twin fore sails.

8 July 1993 Cagliari to Valetta, Malta (Day 3)
The wind dropped at about half past eight in the morning, so I put the engine on. We then had to motor all the way! The last 3 hours to Valletta, while we were passing Gozo and the western end of Malta, were the longest of my life – I just wanted to get there! We moored in Lazaretto Creek (fore and aft) and cleared customs. The customs guy was the friendliest that I’ve come across so far.

9 July 1993 Valetta
I went to the “Marina” office and was told that we “may” (probably) be moved about if we stay for 1 week. They seemed very perturbed when I said I might go away for a few days! They rang Msida Marina and arranged a berth for us, so we motored around there.

It took me about 2 hours to get my brain in gear – I don’t like coming to large cities because there are too many options (and decisions!). We went into Valletta Town on a very “colonial” type bus with bright shiny paint and lots of chrome bits. Valletta is a very interesting town with incredible fortifications. We went for a meal on an old ship restaurant right next to our pontoon. Glenys ended up chatting endlessly to two girls in the playground. (Funny how girls always like to chat!)

10 July 1993 Valetta
I’ve decided to get the PADI Advanced Open Water Diver certification, so I spent most of the day rushing around to arrange a diving course. Glenys stayed on the boat and got hacked off because all she seems to do is household chores and looking after the boys. Brett asked when we are leaving Valletta because he wants to go to a beach – perhaps we ought to review our plans and lifestyle and not go to Greece. We bought Brett and Craig a small dinghy which they love!