13th August: Santa Teresa di Gallura – Rondinara (14 miles)
Mistral has lost its strength during the night, so we leave the Marina di Santa Teresa di Gallura and head to Rondinara. The Strait of Bonifacio did its best in the previous 36 hours, as proven by residual waves. Although the port of Santa Teresa is highly welcoming, leaving it is always a pleasure. The feeling of freedom that only sailing and staying at anchor can give are the fuel that makes our passion run.
Today, a light west wind is expected to come, so we decide to go sleeping on the East, in the bay of Rondinara to be precise. A couple of hours will be sufficient to reach one among the most beautiful anchorages of the region.
In the Strait, as usual when mistral stops, we find almost one knot of stream and residual waves until Lavezzi, where both wind and stream abandon us and the engine becomes the only one propulsion until the bay, where we drop the anchor at about 02:00 in the afternoon.
Today, it’s a special day: it’s Alessandro Farassino‘s birthday. Alessandro is a good friend of ours and the President of CNRT, the yacht club that organizes the popular “Roma per Tutti” offshore sailing competition.
Like Luca and Marina, we meet Alessandro and Cecilia every year and we spend some days all together.
Tonight, we’re celebrating Alessandro on the beach. Everyone on his own boat is excited and prepares something, looking forward to have the party all together, as every year.
8th August: Porto Ottiolu – Santa Teresa di Gallura (48 nm)
My daughter is finally with me and we sail off again. We’ve an appointement in Santa Teresa di Gallura at Rio Yachts’ dealer Continental Marine for some little repairs on board our Daydreamer. It will be the right occasion for us to test the real efficiency of the shipard in August and write a review of the port. So, we re-tract moorings and start sailing.
As predicted by weather forecast, just out of Porto Ottiolu, we meet a 15-knot east-southeast wind. Both the mainsail and the genoa appear and the Daydreamer flies at 7 knots. We sail to Mortorio, then the wind weakens and changes its direction. Since we still have too many miles to sail, we start the engine, close the genoa and continue travelling in a very hot weather. The wind speed is clearly the same than ours and we gasp.
The islands in La Maddalena Archipelago are unexpectedly not crowded with boats. Very few boats are sailing today.
So, we enter the isthmus that leads to the Port of Santa Teresa di Gallura at about 18:00 and moor at the quay. There’s a backlog of articles waiting to be written and even mistral is scheduled to arrive so, mixing business and pleisure, we’ll stay here for two-three days.
6th August: Cala Brandinchi – Porto Ottiolu (4 nm)
After a day spent in enjoying relax and some tests in the wonderful frame of Cala Brandinchi, it’s time for us to have a “harbour day”. Today, my daughter is flying to Olbia and we need some fresh provisions, additional water and fuel.
Porto Ottiolu is just 4 miles away from Brandinchi and it’s a port where I always love staying since it is rich of restaurants, minimarkets and well-equipped shops.
So, we sail off and sail 44 miles to the port, where, after contacting VHF channel 9, we are welcomed by the port staff with the usual courtesy. We refuel and finally moor.
August 5th: Capo Bianco – Cala Brandinchi (48 nm)
I had checked weather forecast yesterday and mistral was scheduled to arrive in a couple of days. However, after waking up and my “coffee-forecast” ritual, I realize that mistral is just here.
At 08:00 it was already blowing at about 10 knots, a little uncommon at this time especially in Capo Bianco where, as I already told you yesterday, it is usually weaker.
My daughter is coming in Olbia in two days and I don’t want to go pick up her in raincoat and soaked from head to toe. So, we sail off and cross Sardinia a couple of days before.
After all, the beauty of this paradise lies in the fact that it always offers a shelter in any wind condition, even against mistral.
We head for Porto Brandinchi, where mistral is generally weaker.
And then there’s that nice café serving extraordinary mixed grills…
Just out of Capo Bianco, mistral blows at about 20 knots and when we sail through Punta Capicciolu it even reaches 25 knots.
So, I open both genoa and mainsail a little and the Daydreamer sails with the wind abeam at 7.5 knots. When I open the genoa a little more, we speed up more and reaches 8-8.5 knots: not bad for my old lady!
Out of the shelter of Piantarella, wind is a little stronger and the sea, not yet rough, is already annoying. I take a look at our tender: yes, it’s true, we’re testing the Selva Vib 270 but it is not our intention to turn it around. The tender planes fast, leaning on the first wave engendered by the Daydreamer.
After Lavezzi, the sea finally gets rough and we have to steer carefully to prevent the helm from luffing at a single wave. I set the sails to their beam reach position, I open the genoa a little more and ease the mainsail.
This way, we sail through the Strait of Bonifacio in a 8-knot wind.
Mistral keeps on pushing us before stopping definitively off Mortorio. Behind us, the sea is still shocked by gusts while, before us, a very flat blue sea forces us to start the engine.
Sailing through the Gulf of Olbia, Tavolara and Molara is always exciting even under power as in our case. We get Porto Brandinchi at about 15:30 and drop the anchor. It’s a beautiful place where to stay and write a little and I think we’ll stay here tomorrow, too.
4th August: Campomoro – Gulf of Santa Manza (40 nm)
This morning, we go ashore to stock up on food and drinks at the minimarket. Our Torqeedo 1003 enables us to sail at 4-5 knots at full throttle.
We get the beach by tender, we climb up the stairs and clean out the minimarket. We take four cases of water, one of Petra beer (a great Corsican beer, second only to Sardinian Icnusa), 3 bottles of Corsican wine, some fresh bread, pizza and fruit. Then, we quickly come back to our Daydreamer and take everything on board.
After stowing the galley, we sail off. Today, too, wind is totally absent, it’s very hot and we sail under power to Roccapina, a wonderful beach characterized by crystal-blue waters, where we have a bath.
I have already slept here many times. Both the gulf and the bay of Roccapina and Murtoli are a wonderful anchorage but, if you want to spend a night at the anchor, we recommend to get it only in eastern wind because the anchorage offers no shelter from other winds. Today, the wind blows from the West, so we’re obliged to go towards East.
We leave again. The scenario is the typical one of the Strait of Bonifacio, with white cliffs stretching from Capo Feno forwards. As usual, the view of Bonifacio takes our breath away while we sail towards the Strait of Piantarella.
Yes, it’s true, Bonifacio, Lavezzi and Isola Piana are wonderful but also too crowded, so we opt for a more peaceful place in the Gulf of Santa Manza.
I love sleeping at the foot of Capo Bianco. Two friends of mine, Marina and Luca, took me here more than 10 years ago. Since then, when I can, I always get here. It’s a beautiful little crowded place, well-sheltered by the overlooking cliff against mistral wind. If you drop the anchor carefully, you can see the wind reach down and hit the water some metres away from the stern.
Marina and Luca know it very well since they found a 50-knot mistral there once. After three days, their anchors were totally buried under the sand…
It’s 05:00 in the afternoon when we get our destination and drop the anchor, just in time to see East turning West and the water getting magically clearer: that’s the effect of West around here.
I think that we’ll stay here for a couple of days. It’s a perfect place where to write and test the equipment we have on board.
And then, between tests, a dive in this wonderful place can’t hurt, right?
I’m always reluctant to leave Girolata; this place is at once wild and welcoming but, since we want to go towards South, we opt for a longer route and head for another among my favourite places: Campomoro, in the Gulf of Propriano.
Situated south of the Gulf of Propriano, Campomoro is a cove offering an excellent shelter from mistral, usually very crowded with boats, especially in the area stretching from the tower and the village.
The latter is a picturesque village generally frequented by local holidaymakers, rich of pretty restaurants. Particularly remarkable is the minimarket, fully-stocked and highly affordable.
So, we sail off the buoys and go out of the Port of Girolata. We need to fill up and the first filling station is in Cargese, about 15 miles south.
The staff in the port of Cargese, including that in the filling station, is very friendly and helpful even when, like today, a sea of small and big boats crowd the tiny outer harbour.
They are always patient, they diligently write down the boats’ name and create a list so that boats can be called in the order they come. Because of many surrounding rocks, filling up is carried out with the stern in the quay and the relieving line in the bow. We do so and, after filling up, we say goodbye to the nice patient filling station manager and continue our cruise.
We pass through the strait of The Sanguinares Islands that marks the northern edge of the wide Gulf of Ajaccio. Thanks to an average depth of 7-8 metres, crossing the strait is simple enough if you hug the coast. The landscape, of course, is beautiful.
Since wind is totally absent, we sail under power towards Campomoro, where we arrive at about 18:00.
Many boats are already in the anchorage but we opt for the western part of the bay, next to the multi-buoy mooring berth reserved for local residents, and we drop the anchor in 15 metres of water, which is excellent considering that sea bottoms reach a depth of 20-25 metres around “second-row berths”.
After diving and checking the anchor, we’re finally ready for dinner…
Wednesday 2nd August: Calvì – Girolata
Yesterday was a very long day. So, today, we take our time. We slept very well at the multi-buoy mooring berth, our Daydreamer was very stable and night was pleasantly fresh. This time, I haven’t set my alarm clock. After waking up at about 07:30, I make some coffee and start writing these few lines for you.
When it gets hot outside, after flushing it out, I start the engine. It perfectly runs, so we cast off and put the bow out of Calvi Bay.
Today, we’re sailing only 25 miles; we’re heading for a place I love very much: Girolata.
The port of Girolata is a multi-buoy mooring terminal enclosed by a cove that virtually protects it from any wind and sea conditions since the gulf, exclusively subject to south-western and north-western winds in its northern part, indeed creates a natural port.
Wind is totally absent and we are en route for the Scandola Nature Reserve, one among the most beautiful places in Corsica.
After sailing under power for a little more than 2 hours, we reach the islet of Palazzù. The sea state enables us to approach to the coastline and admire its spectacular red cliffs overlooking the sea.
Yachtsmen are generally recommended to cross the strait by sailing close to the shore and, if possible, with a man in the bow since the islet is surrounded by some half-submerged rocks that, with their clear colour, create an interesting play of shades with the water.
Immediately beyond the strait, the Gulf of Girolata welcomes us with another strait that reminds a little the Jurassic Park’s Island. Here, red mountains dive into the sea from a considerable height, delighting visitors with a breath-taking spectacle.
After 15 minutes, something seems to go wrong. The Daydreamer advances with difficulty and speed drops off. The engine seems all right, I reverse and try some turns but nothing.. maybe a shaft problem? Since we’re very close to a multi-buoy mooring berth, I decide to moor.
After entering the bay, we’re immediately welcomed by the mooring crew’s rib that takes us to our berth, where we can secure our bow to a mooring buoy and the stern to another one, with the lines on the starboard cleats.
I take my diver’s mask and snorkel and I dive. Around the shaft, close to the propeller, I see a dark-coloured mass. I approach to it and I recognize the remains of a plastic trash bag that a rogue must have thrown overboard.
I thank the Daydreamer’s shaft drive (with a sail drive I’d have had more troubles), I remove the remains of the black bag and I take them onboard to throw them in the trash.
It’s 15:00 and we’ve all afternoon to enjoy this beautiful place.
Tuesday, 1st August: Andora – Calvi
Our alarm clock wakes us up at 5:30 today. After our pleasant coffee ritual at 6:00, we leave the port and sail travelling at 7 knots in a 10-knot east wind. We sail at a 160-degree course, which immediately translates into a close reach.
After an hour or so, the wind reaches 17-18 knots, the sea gets rough and waves come from abeam. Consequently, we reduce our boat’s sail power and adjust sails until we feel the wheel neutral enough. Then, we activate the autopilot and adjust sails again.
Under these conditions, our Daydreamer flies on the water at 8-9 knots, straight like a spindle on its route.
We’re about 15 miles off the coast when we spot three wonderful whales swimming on our starboard side. We manoeuver and approach to them but always keeping a certain distance. That’s maybe why whales give us 15 minutes of happiness, swimming peacefully about 30 metres away from us.
Then, our log reminds us that we still have many miles to sail, so we steer our Daydreamer back on course and start to sail fast again. Wind is stable (about 18-19 knots) at least until 15:00 when it gets weaker and reaches 10-12 knots.
We’re about 30 miles off Calvi when a pod of dolphins come and play with our bow: it’s always an amazing spectacle! A dolphin hesitates more than the others and goes on playing, swimming and dancing just before our bow. It gives us a curious look before diving and disappearing in the blue sea.
At about 20 miles off our destination, the wind dumps us and we’re obliged to sail under power travelling at about 7 knots.
Just one mile away from Calvi, the engine, too, suddenly stops. However, our mainsail and a 4-5 knot light breeze enable us to continue our navigation safely. I get off the boat to see what’s going on. The Daydreamer is equipped with two stainless steel tanks connected by a compensation tank. Well, a gauge indicates that a tank is full while the other is totally empty. I had checked them during the crossing but I hadn’t noticed anything strange.
Seized by doubt, I lift the flooring and shake the compensation tank: it sounds empty. In short, we ran out of gas with a full tank! I defer the resolution for later since the cliff of Calvi is too close and we have to keep distance. I go out and take my 25-litre spare tank from the locker and, with the help of my fantastic decanting tube, the fuel tank is quickly filled up.
I start the engine but it shuts off, maybe we’ve let some sludge come in. So, I decide to take one of the mooring buoys located in front of the port and, after reducing the mainsail, I slowly sail to it. In the multi-buoy mooring berth, line handlers take our lines and we are finally stationary.
I get off and take everything down. After an hour or so, I finally realize that the mechanic that had installed the generator on board let the fuel line pass too close to the tank’s tap. One stressed, the tube pushed and closed the tap level. I secure the tube with a hose clamp and I open the tap. Magically, the compensation tank fills with fuel…
I put back everything together. It’s dark. I take an ice-cold beer from the fridge, I sat in the cockpit and admire the wonderful spectacle offered by the lights on the rock of Calvi. I look my girlfriend and, together, we decide to have dinner at a restaurant. So, I inflate the tender, I install my electric outboard and, after a refreshing shower, we are ready to go out.
We get on the tender and let the Daydreamer rest in the quiet bay while we silently navigate to our prize.
Monday, 31st July: Marina di Varazze – Port of Andora
We arrived late last night and loaded up our pantry with so much food that our Daydreamer’s waterline even went down. So, today we take our time. We sail off at 11.30 a.m. after purchasing, as usual before departure, the last things at our local ship-chandler. We leave the Marina di Varazze and turn the bow for 218°. We have to sail little more than 30 miles but we’re tired and this route will allow us to shorten the crossing in Corsica scheduled for next Tuesday. Andora is, in fact, positioned in the most fortunate point to sail through Calvì. From there, we have to sail “only” 86-87 miles so, if we wake up early in the morning, we will get our destination in late afternoon. Anyway, after about half an hour spent in sailing under power, a 7/8-knot east wind finally welcomes us, sufficient enough to turn off the engine and sail.
Despite her age, our Daydreamer sails on a broad reach travelling at 5.5-6 knots for a couple of hours. Then, we are forced to turn on the engine again and sail under power, at about 7 knots, to the Port of Andora, where we arrive at about 4.30 p.m.
The weather forecast says that east wind will probably reach 15-20 knots about 20 miles off the coast tomorrow. If so, we could sail and have a little fun. For the moment, we go eat something. Tomorrow, our alarm clock will go off at 5.30 a.m! After taking one last look at the weather forecast, we’ll be finally ready to sail off.
The moment we’ve all been waiting for is finally here. After a series preliminary sea trials, carried out just a few miles away from Marina di Varazze, the port that hosts our test centre, it’s finally time for us to sail off.
Last year, many readers of us crossed our route and stopped to say hello and see what we were testing.
This year, in order to facilitate our encounters on the sea, we have decided to keep a logbook where our readers can find our where we’ll be sailing. Those who want can therefore join us to meet us or sail some miles together.
The following article is just the first page of our logbook. We’ll update it once a day in reverse chronological order, so with the latest updates at the top of the page.
Recognizing our boat in the sea is quite easy since our “Tuttobarche.it, laboratorio mobile” logo is quite visibile on both sides along with the numerous stickers of the companies for which we’re experiencing our tests.
The Daydreamer is a 1986 Comet 460, boasting the best of Finot design clearly inspired by ULBD parametres. With a length of 14 metres and a maximum beam of just 3.78 metres, she ensures excellent sailing performances and great seaworthiness.
1) Already towed for over 800 miles last year, the Selva 270 VIB is now ready for a new extreme test experience. Selva Marine left it us on board, at all concerned about the new miles we’ll sail this year.
2) Torqeedo 1003. Last season, we had the pleasure to test its younger brother, the Torqueedo 503 but, now, it’s time for us to test the 1003 model, for which we have high expectations. In order to make the test as real as possible, we’ve left our gasoline outboard at home. Consequently, we’ll use only the Torqueedo 1003 for the duration of the cruise.
3) In addition to the devices already tested last year, our Daydreamer has been equipped with many Raymarine systems. First of all, our mast shows off with a 24-mile Quantum wireless radar with CHIRP technology. Moreover, we’ve installed a I50 tridata package and a I60 display totally dedicated to the wind to receive data from the wireless transducer already installed on the mast. Solar-powered, a portable T112 Tacktick multifunction wireless display will provide us with a complete check when staying at the anchor.
5) Installed on board more than 7 months ago, the new Carbonautica wheel and gangway have been already used and left in the cold and rain. Now, they will be subjected to intensive use for a complete understanding of their real performances.
6) Last March, we started to test the Magellan 630, an innovative copper-free antifouling paint by Boero, equipped with SPC (Self Polishing Copolymer) technology. After many months spent in the water, we’ll test whether its promised performances are concrete or not.
7) The Coelmo DM600, of which we already did a preliminary test, will be tested and stressed by a daily use. We have also asked for a special kit to carry out first service interval, of which, of course, we’ll give you a detailed report.
8) Just delivered to us, Gottifredi Maffioli dock lines, too, will be subjected to several tests
9) Finally, our Daydreamer was”wrapped”. She had her makeover in March thanks to Luca Design, a company specialized in boat wrapping. Until now, stickers have resisted all washings. Now, it’s time for us to see whether whey they will resist the salt of all the days and nights spent at the anchor.