We landed back in Mallorca and jumped in a cab to take us back to Soller where we met up with a wobbly pair of sailors (David Heane and Chris Plumb) who were to be joining us for the leg of our journey across to Sardinia.
We had ear-marked Monday as the day to prep and wanted to set off on the first sector to Pollensa where we were intending to do the provisioning. However, the mechanics had not completed the work we had hoped would be done whilst we were away and, in fact, we had to wait for a spare part to be delivered. When it arrived at 1500 the mechanics discovered that it was the wrong one! Ah well, they made a temporary fix which will do fine for now.
The next day, we prepared to set off to Pollensa and had a good days sailing although a good deal of tacking was involved. We motored into the bay, anchored and were doing a smash and grab raid on the Euroski supermarket by 2030hrs, prior to heading to Ambrosia for a slap up paella.
We slept well, stowed all the provisions and set sail for Sardinia around 0900hrs. Unfortunately, our delay leaving Mallorca meant that we had to miss out a stop in Ciutdadella, Minorca, which we had been looking forward to.
We decided to all be up for the day time watch and after supper at 1900hrs, the first pair would take the first watch from 2000hrs til 0000hrs. Chris and I were awoken with a cuppa and as I popped up through the hatch at 0000hrs. I was amazed to see such an incredible tent of stars above us. The sky was clear and the Milky Way above was like a dark carpet dusted with an arc of icing sugar.
We motored for a while and as the wind picked up decided to put out the head sail. The wind was fairly light and coming from the East, but close hauled we made decent progress and it was mesmerising to sail along in the absolute darkness gazing at the stars and watching the lights of Minorca recede behind us. We silently parted the waves as we sailed under a huge and intricate pergola of stars, the phosphorescence gleaming in our wake. Not another soul was out on the water near us. Suddenly, from nowhere – a sailing boat appeared right on our nose! She had her full sails lit up from the deck, presumably so we would see her. She was approaching so fast that I altered course to be sure to pass her by. I decided to call Ian. He came up on deck still bleary-eyed with sleep and looked hard at the oncoming vessel. Peering through the binoculars minutes earlier I had been convinced that I could see rigging. Ian took a careful look. ‘Ah!’ He announced, visibly relaxing. ‘It’s the quarter moon coming up over the horizon!’ and off he went back to bed!
We handed over to Ian and David at 0400hrs after what seemed like a very brief time.
We managed to sleep in between watches but at 0700 I woke to hear Ian fiddling in the engine housing. On further investigation, it turned out that the engine was not drawing in any water to cool it down. This meant that there was an issue with the impeller. Ian removed the impeller face plate, and wriggled the impeller out. Immediately he noticed that some of the blades of the impeller had disintegrated.
We had a spare one in stock and so Ian changed it and refitted the gasket and face plate ( under my supervision). Thank goodness for our diesel engine course.
Luckily, the water started circulating again and we breathed a collective sigh of relief being 100 nautical miles from any land! Throughout this time, we had managed to continue on our course, sailing along nicely.
We had a slap up breakfast of ‘kitchen sink omelette’ and strong coffee and enjoyed the rest of the day sailing out further and further from land.
The following night we made good progress and awoke to an incredible sunrise. There was another sail boat off to our port side (Red Rooster) and we had a radio chat with them to check what they knew about the weather forecast. They too were heading for Alghero, albeit, much faster than us. We anticipated arriving at 1200hrs.
We had a calm and safe crossing in decent winds and slight seas and were very pleased that it had not proved to be any more challenging than that. Lovely!
The crossing took 50 hours, 22 of which we motored. The top speed was 8 knots and top wind speed was 12 knots. Total distance 250 nautical miles
On arriving in Alghero, We anchored in the bay in 3m of water over sand and weed, luckily finding a sandy spot to lay the anchor and narrowly missing a bunch of giant clams tucked in amongst the weed on the sea bed. The wind was mild and the bay flat calm. We put the boat to bed and set off into the town to find somewhere to watch Wales in the Euros. As we approached the Town Quay we spotted Comet neatly parked alongside. After brief chats about Andy and Denise’s crossing from Minorca. We wandered off into the beautiful old part of town and found a pizzeria in which to watch the football. David, with his Welch connections, was suitably delighted with their win.
After a leisurely start the next day, we bid farewell to David and Chris and started to prepare the boat for our next set of visitors.