Delivering “42”: Palermo, Sicily to Sardinia

After about a week of boat work, made more challenging and fun by the fact that nobody aboard “42” spoke fluent Italian and so part trips were a muddle of google translate and miming (Just try to mime “Black water pump” or “3/8 line clutch”. It’s not easy!), we headed out of the harbour and west to Sardinia for my first passage aboard.

I’ve spent a lot of time seasickness free aboard sailboats over the last decade, but they’ve been all monohulls (with the exception of a Hobie 16). After so much experience aboard boats with an iron stomach (Including racing in a “Southern Straits” race in BC, bashing upwind in 25 knots in a lightly built race boat and the smell of another crewmember’s vomit in a bucket permeating the cabin), I was surprised to find myself becoming intensely seasick for the first time in my life. The quick, jerky motion of “42” combined with the upwind motoring against the sharp and steep chop of the Med in winter made for one queasy sailor. Or maybe more like 4 or 5… Our crew was up to a total of 8 at that point and I think only half of us were at 100% by the end of the 34 hour passage. Despite all the horrendous motion, there was some real excitement in leaving the harbour and some absolutely beautiful views along the passage and in the little bay we dropped anchor in on the southeastern side of Sardinia. Once Mr. Scopolamine Patch had helped me recover, I felt amazing and it was fantastic to be out of the harbour.

We were, of course, doing more boat work while we waited for some west winds to abate but had some time in between to check out the first of many seaside turrets (or castles or ancient lookouts) along the Med’s island coastlines. The one atop the hill overlooking our anchorage at “Capo Carbonara” (mmmmm, tasty bay names!) was currently being restored and was covered in scaffolding but we still enjoyed quite a good scramble up to it and around the nearby hills, searching as usual for a Geocache or two to add to my list.

A few days later, we headed for Cagliari, Sardinia, only a short few hour’s hop to the west, to get more access to supplies and food for the boat. We would stay here for 4 days and once again between boat projects managed to squeeze in quite a bit of hiking and exploring! We stayed for a night in a fantastically rocky cliffside anchorage where we got the chance to snorkel into a sea cave (no pics, sadly!) before moving a little closer to town to finish our outfitting.

Cagliari itself was an interesting blend of summer villas near the coastline, some very abandoned at this “cold” of year, and a main town with a fairly busy port where ferries from other parts of the mainland Med coastline called. the downtown core of course had a great blend of the narrow, winding alleys and streets that seemed to be ubiquitous in Europe. It’s so much fun to put away the phone and just wander up the closest alley and see where you end up. It’s rarely a disappointment and never the same route back home by the time you give up on trying to navigate on your own.

The most important thing was, of course, picking up Maisie! It was amazing to finally have her aboard, and the day after we also retrieved my backpack, finally un-lost by Air Canada (They had managed to put another person’s name on it and send it to Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada instead of Madrid, Spain. Just…. Wow. I lived on one set of clothes from my tiny carry on bag for the first 3 weeks of this adventure. I’m shocked they never threw me overboard to clean me up!). Taking public transport to the airport and then back for a total of 6 trips made me really appreciate European public transport: trains every 15 minutes headed to almost anywhere you want to go around the whole island of Sardinia. The Eurorail Pass that lets you travel for months for a flat fee seems very tempting, too. Perhaps a future trip at some point?

Winter weather windows and passages and being on a tight schedule aren’t a great combo: after a rushed provisioning day that left us scrambling without a refill on propane and missing a few other key things we left into the face of a not-so-fantastic forecast, originally bound for somewhere in southeast Spain….