Italy - Corsica - Menorca - Majorca

Italy - Corsica - Menorca - Majorca

As we pulled anchor in Portovenere the windless started to strain.We had picked up 12 cm diameter mooring line lying on the seabed. After some jiggling around we freed ourselves from our captors and headed off SW to Rade De Santa Maria on NE Corsica. Blessed with 25 kn wins and a 2-3m sea we made the 68 nm trip in good time and maxed our boat peed at 9.1 kn. The anchorage was calm and peaceful and the hillside looked more like the UK countryside with a herd of jersey cows grazing in the field.

The next day the wind continued from the West at 20 to 25 kn accompanied by big seas and we rounded the top of Corsica and headed for another bay out of the wind to anchor for the night. Port Saint Florent has its own marina but the anchorage outside is good in 5m in sand. After the trip ashore for supplies (and shopping for dresses for some of the ladies) we had another day of spectacular sailing with jib and half main. Seas were still large (2-3 m) and winds up to 30 kn. As one travels around the tip of Corsica the rock formations change to red sandstone. They are truly spectacular - see photo. We anchored in an isolated bay (Isle de Rouse) which we had all to ourselves. One a pale cream / white colour sand beach and another of red sand. Amazingly beautiful red cliffs / rocks - I must go back to the region next year for more exploration.

A peaceful dark night with no moon and millions of stars. Some fierce winds in excess of 50 kn and 4 m seas were forecast just North of us. Today was the day to start the trip to the Balearics to escape these ! Setting off at 06:00, it was to be a long trip under motor wit the wind on the nose. By 20:00 the next day we made landfall at Cap de Favaritx on Menorca and anchored in the wide sandy bay in Punta Presili for a swim and a late supper before setting off for Palma, Majorca. As we rounded Cap de Sed Salines on the SE tip of Majorca the had an exhilarating beam reach for the final 25 nm into Palma Bay. We romped along at up to 9kn and easily overtook a 40 foot cat who was, like us, under full sail. A great finish to the 354 nm trip from Corscia.

Due to the heavy sea states and strong winds in the North (caused by the Mistral blowing to the Gulf do Lions) during the last week we were unable to visit the Pelagos marine Sanctuary to the North of Corsica. Such wind and wave conditions would have made the observation of dolphins and whales almost impossible. Other than a lone sighting of striped dolphins en-route to Menorca none were seen. However, this was more than made up for by some tremendous days sailing putting Chance Discovery through her paces.

The final trip to the UK was cancelled for a variety of reasons and I decided to winter in Majorca or perhaps make a solo trip across to Valencia on the mainland. Planning is underway for Spring sailing in the Balearics and further exploration Corsica, Sardinia and the Aeolian Islands before heading back to the Greek Ionian and beyond. Anyone wishing to crew for a week or so should let me know well in advance. Ciao Richard