Trip Report - Mallorca, Cote D'Azur, Corsica, Sardina, Menorca, Mallorca

jrudge

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We did a big trip this summer … so a trip report.

Have not yet figured out posting pics, but will try that next.

So it all started at the end of May. We were heading to the Cote D'Azur. I asked on the forum as the pros / cons of heading direct from Menorca to the Pourquerelles. This is some 210 nm and my prime concern was fuel range. As I proved later in the trip this is possible, but the margin for error is in my view pretty slim. Added to this I had only just fitted fuel flow monitoring, so I did not absolutely know how accurate the range predictions would be. You can extend range by using displacement speed, but this does not really appeal to me – firstly the boat will roll in anything other than a flat sea and second it take a long long time!

So in the end we went via Estartit on the Spanish mainland. This was in my view the right decision, and knowing what I know now the route I would probably choose if doing it again unless I can convince myself to pootle for 4/5 hours to bring the fuel range back into limits.

The trip to Estartit took 6 hr 40 and consumed 2333 lts of diesel 28 kts on the South Coast of Mallorca and then 26 all the way across. The sea was kind to us!

Estartit is ok but not my idea of a prime holiday spot - but as a fuel stop was fine.

The next day the crossing of the Golf De Lion – famous for taking the brunt of the mistral. The wind gods were kind to us and 5hrs 10 at 29 knots saw us in red dot bay. We anchored for the afternoon, but felt like a marina for the night so headed into port.

The Porquerelles are lovely – if a little quiet at that time of year. We did not uplift any fuel but did pay their very reasonable fee of E85 ( ish from memory).

The following morning we headed off to St Tropez for fuel. No reason other than it seemed like a nice place to visit! The harbour itself is pretty small with boats that a often very large. The local boats also seem to overtake and cut you up in the marina ( which did not happen anywhere else!). We eventually found the fuel pontoon ( it was on the right as we entered but I did not see it!) and tied up for fuel.

Here we hit the proverbial jackpot. The put the hose in and started filling, but the pump was faulty and the display blank. They did not seem to notice it was dispensing fuel ( I did!) but were more concerned trying to get it going. This took some minutes whilst I was hapilly getting free diesel. I dont know what I got in the end, maybe 50 lts but given I bought about 2800 lts they still won the game in the end!

Form there we headed up the Cote D'azur, took a peek at Cannes where we had a berth booked the following day and headed into Antibes.

Mooring fee was a surprising E86 ( last day of May – went up to about E100 odd on 1 June – still fair) and was met by a waving JFM who invited my wife and I over for Chicken ceaser salad and a glass of New Zealand Sav Blank.

The following day we headed into Cannes with an anchoring stop between the Island off Cannes.

Arriving in Cannes we are asked to wait outside for about 10 mins whilst they cleared a backlog of boats coming and going then were moored up outside a lovely row of restaurants.

That bought this leg of the trip to an end and we headed back to the UK.

A few weeks later we returned. We were using the boat for hospitality at a trade show in Cannes. Every afternoon ( except one that was windy) we headed out to the Islands at the required 10 knots, anchored and swam with guests for an hour and headed back. It was lovely. One guest got stung by a jelly fish and was not quite so pleased!

Thanks to JFM for lending me life jackets and his unbreakable glass wine glasses ( we managed to break one – sorry John!).

The last day of the event was a longer session on the islands and a guest managed to get booked for speeding in the tender past a large grey boat with a red go faster stripe down the side of it otherwise know as the coastguard. I was asleep and woke up to three ( very charming) policemen on the bathing platform. The paperwork took ages. We rang up to pay the fine but they knew nothing of it so the paperwork seemed to get lost! Maybe it was as the girls on board were posting for pics with the man in uniform!

Back to Cannes and back to the UK. We left a crew member on board and got the boat refuelled by tanker. To cut and irritating storey short a few lts ( estimated by all to be 3 lts) ended up in the marina and I got a E350 clean up fee. They blamed us ( I blamed the tanker driver!) and then started saying things like the boat should not be left without a captain, they would consider action etc. At this point I felt they were simply picking on me so I left and headed to Antibes. Far nicer!

Cannes was cheap – E84 per day even in season – and not a bad place to stop, but the restaurants etc just had the – if not you someone else is waiting attitude which I can probably do without!

Without giving a blow by blow account we spent a few weeks interspersed with trips back to the uk on the Cote D'Azur. We took in

Monaco – nice but a bit odd as for such a small place it did not really seem to have a logical centre. Mooring fee from memory about E120

Villefranch Bay – Lovely and sheltered. Got gesticulated to by a sailing boat when anchoring – I was no where near him... but when I lifted his anchor along with mine he got really excited. I dont know how much chain he had out but it was an awful lot!

There was a sunseeker Manhattan anchored to our side and he had some engine trouble. Everytime it went into gear it stalled. He found this out after lifting his anchor and drifting to said sailing boat. Sailing boat then got really really excited! They resolved it in the end, but not before the owner swam over with his cell phone in the air looking for a charge up!

Beaulie Sur Mer – lovely place. They led us in and the channel got narrower and narrower I though they were winding me up. Anyway tied up safely. Had dinner at a lovely beach club about 10 mins walk away. Liked it so much returned with different friends a few weeks later.


Further West ..

Port Grimaud – Like a fake venice – but charming. We we moored next to the supermarket. As in right right next to it. We gave the lady a credit card and kept doing circles round the place, to the till and back to the boat stocking up with all things liquid.

The next night – Bastile day- we tried to get in to St Tropez. They asked if we knew it was Bastile day … er yes! St Tropez was the only marina in a 2 month + trip we could not get into ( we tried for several other dates as well). So we headed to St Maxim ( looks a bit stark when you head in but there are lots of lovely old streets just behind) and watched the fireworks from the fly bridge.

We thought we would see St Tropez fireworks as well.... but there barge developed a fault and they were cancelled!

Round the corner form St Tropez is Club 55. Met some friends there and I pointed out I would not recognise a celebrity. They agreed as Jerry Hall and Mick Jaggers son were sitting right behind me!

Following this we had the only major incident of the trip. I loaded Me and 4 adults into the Williams 325. It was slightly choppy and there were two quite big ( and to be honest moderately drunk ) adults in the front. As we headed out the bow fell, water came over and completely filled the tender. I was in a tender access lane ( speed limit) but the engine was still running so I turned round, accelerated , bow up, water cascading from front to me and headed for the beach. There was a chap standing looking. I waved him out of the way ( about 4 times ) until he got the message and beached the tender. All ended well. Bungs out, etc but it was quite frightening.

Lesson learned – when things go wrong they go wrong fast, and load the tender with great care. Sober passengers would also assist!

We took in Frejus, St Rapheal and then back to Antibes.

We wanted to head to Corsica but the weather was not playing ball. The mistral was blowing well and Antibes was rather like being in a fan oven. The sea state was 3m waves blowing a 7/8 for 5 days. There were worse places to get stuck!

In Antibes met up with Eme ( lumishore) Jimmy the Builder, J and K, JFM and probably a few more I cant remember. The Transat restaurant made a profit!

Eventually there was a weather window. Sea was a bit choppy but 4 and a bit hours at 24 knots later was arrived in Calvi. I was helming from below and wow was I windy when I want upto the fly bridge. Saw dolphins and what I think was a whale spout in the distance.

When we arrived semi besieged by people who had been stuck there for a week asking what the sea was like ( not that bad actually!).

I like Calvi, and the bay just outside is lovely as well.

Next day headed to Girolata. This is a bay that has been made into a marina with lots and lots of bouys. You moor fore and aft. It was windy when we arrived and the chap showing us to our mooring did not really make what he wanted me to do. Lots of bow and stern thruster to keep steady in the cross wind. Shut down and drifted very very close the the next sail boat. Called the chap back and moved across to another pair of bouys which was much better.

The main feature of Girloata is bulls that live on the beach. Bit odd but it kept the kids entertained!

Next morning was pretty breezy. We found a sheltered bay occupied only by a Club Med hotel. Deserted … until 2pm when they finished lunch and there were boats and boards everywhere. We decided to move and found a small port called Cargese. The guy on the phone thought I said 15m and said it was fine. When 21m turned up he looked a bit worried! We as near as blocked the marina, but everyone seemed happy. I tried to use 2 x 16 amp power sockets combined to get the ac running ( this has worked a few times, but failed most of them) and managed to wipe out half the marina's power supply. I pleaded ignorance but they were having none of it! The sailing boat next door had some kids on, so they came to play which gave us some time off!

Next morning off to Propriano via a nice bay recommended by JFM for the afternoon. Propriano was nice but relatively unforgeable.
 

jrudge

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PART 2

Then onto Bonafacio. We had intended to stop at some more of JFMs recommended bays, but it was really windy. We kept seeing anchored boats and heading over to them thinking their bit of sea must be calm … but no! We eventually found a really sheltered bay ( or so it seemed) but the boat was moving so fast in the wind the anchor never got close to grabbing. We gave up and continued down to Bonafacio. Wow what an entrance. You can see the citadel on the top of the cliff, with no apparent way to enter the port. As you get close there is a natural dog leg entrance as you enter the town. Spectacular. We had booked an tanker and filled up with several thousand litres of BP s finest. So much so we ran the tanker dry!

Bonafacio is will worth a visit, but the climb to the top is quite a climb, but you do get to see Sardinia!

Following day we crossed in calm seas to Sardinia and visited friends by anchoring off their hotel. Spent a nice afternoon in the pool and then invited them back for a drink. Wind was picking up and after the second tender load of people delivered I felt remaining on anchor with the associated roll was not really a great idea. Suggested to guests we would be more comfortable under way so headed to the marina some 6 miles away and they could get a cab back.

As we entered the straights of Bonafacio – wow. I have been boating for some 10 years, I am unashamedly a fair weather boater, but as we all do you occasionally get some rough stuff. This was to roughest sea I have ever been in. The forecast was for a force 4, but this was force 7, right on the nose with probably 3m waves. We were doing 12 knots and water was flying everywhere. Accelerating up the waves, off the power down them etc. Guests come to the fly bridge and ask errr do we need life jackets. It was bad but not that bad! 6 miles does not sound far, but it is a surprising way! Eventually we turned left into shelter and then into a still very windy harbour. During the trip we lost a banana ride, but the prospect of turning round and then trying to collect it did not appeal! Phew … glad that was over. The guests joined us for 4 days after so it cant have frightened them that much, but I was very apologetic!

Next morning all calm, guests return and we are off the the Magdelenas. This is a national park, very lovely but some anchorages are very crowded. The first one was stopped at probably had 300 boats of all sizes. I promise I am not exaggerating. The water was turquoise blue and shallow, and it seems every local boat was out for the afternoon.

The evening saw us in the port of Gsavetta which is the capital of the Magdelenas. Given it is a nature reserve I was not really expecting car ferries every 45 minutes with hoards of traffic queuing behind the boat!

We then worked our was down the Costa Smerelda. Super yachts were everywhere. At one point we counted 23 in sight, then rounded a small headland and found 5 more! We stayed in Portisco in a berth lent to us by one of the people we tried to drown in the tender at Club 55. Portisco is a small marina with a few bars and restaurants. I liked it, my wife was looking for a bit more life! The cruising area generally in that area was my favourite of the trip. Islands, sand, quite and interesting coast. Shame fuel is E1.66 a litre!

We stayed here for about a week, met some lovely people and had a few days stuck in port with the wind ( wind seems a recurring theme! ).

We then headed down the East coast. This was just a transit to the South. The east coast has some nice anchorages in the northern part, but the rest is relativity featureless. We overnighted in Santa Maria Navaresse which is a nice marina almost exactly half way down the coast. We arrived after a moderately choppy trip and about 2 minutes after we tied up there was a huge cloud burst that went on for some 20 minutes.

The next morning I left most of the boat asleep and completed the rest of the transit south in flat seas, arriving at 9am in Vilasimus. Lovely anchorage for the day, then managed to run over the ski line in the williams, so headed into the marina for the night to take it to bits! Villasimus is Ok, but a modern “new build” marina with shopping units that are empty. There is one restaurant and it is packed packed packed – so if visiting do book ahead!

An afternoon on anchor on the south coast slowly became uncomfortable as the wind swung round bit by bit, so we headed off to a bay outside Marina Picolo on the outskirts of Cagliari. This was protected by a very large hill and the sea was flat as a pancake all night. We stayed until later afternoon the following day then headed into Picolo for fuel.

Tried to negotiate on fuel price and failed, but he did give us 2 bottles of plonk for the E4500 odd we paid him which was nice.

The forecast for that night and the following day was windy, so we headed off round the corner to Caglari. There are multiple marinas – some central and some not so central. We headed for Port Karalis and arrived (again!) in rather breezy conditions.

Cagliari is Ok but is really just a capital city. There is no beach near the centre ( it is where we were the previous night about 2 miles away by road). Cruise liners and ferries come and go. It has a tourist element, but much seems to serve the locals.

The next day I was doing a bit of cleaning and as near as got knocked of my feet. A boat was mooring up next to us. There was no wind and the space was 2 boats wide. The chap hit us hard at a 45 degree angle. Quite how he messed it up to such a degree is a bit of a mystery. 4 surface gashes in the side of the hull. Joy. He is insured by the same insurer as us and literally today they have agreed the claim. He needs boat driving lessons.

The weather was over cast and windy ( am I allowed to admit this) so we stayed a few days.

Next stop Teuleda which is a marina that is literally in the middle of nowhere on the south coast of Sardina. We stopped for the afternoon round the corner and then it was time to pull up the anchor. Oh … it is stuck on a rock. Resisting the temptation to do what I did last time ( just accelerate! … mangled anchor set free) I went to investigate. Yup stuck under a rock in about 5m of water. I could not hold my breath long enough to free it, so dispatched SWMBO with dive tanks ( she did volunteer!).

So into Teuleda. There really is nothing here! There is a shop at the campsite next door, but it was 500m away and we were not that desperate for bread.

Next stop … Caloforte to meet Deleted User and Mapism. The sea was calm, and then decided to get rougher and rougher. Not that bad but pretty unpleasant and down to about 14 knots at the lower helm.

Fed up with this I text Mike F … can you get through the channel at San Antioco which seemed to provide more sheltered water. Reply Yes … but you need local knowledge … and you dont have that! Oh well We continue. As we turned the bottom of the island I assumed it would get worse as the next shelter was Mallorca .. but it seemed to flatten out a bit.

We arrived to meet MifeF in a howling gale ( well figuratively speaking). Anchored up and went to say hello. Mapism was on board as well. Mikes wife said she had been watching some (very attractive) paddle boarders getting further and further from shore, so Mapism and I were dispatched to rescue them. We took them into the beach very very slowly so as not to upset the coast guard. We may as well have gone in at 30 knots as they started shouting in Italian. Mapism shouted back!

Back on board we were offered a delightful lunch. The unbelievable power of the forums!

Approaching Caloforte there is a wind farm … so the wind did not come out just for us! Caloforte is a really lovely place. Little back streets, happy people, dancing in the street etc. Well worth a visit and I can see with Mike and Mapism like it so much. Mapism also get the hero prize for sourcing a dentist for my daughter at a moments notice.

So it was time to head “home” to Mallorca. Mahon is 190 miles away – about 8 hours. I considered “pootling” for a bit of the way but that I not really my style! We headed out at 7am , and turned round when we got to the top of the island. It was not terrible but I did not fancy 190 miles of it. The weather was forecast to ease so we tried again at 11am. Not ideal, but off we go. First 90 mins were about 17 knots and then the sea started to flatten out. It got flatter and flatter … and in the end we were doing 26 knots and all up on the flybridge. Lovely.

Arrived in Mahon round and about 7pm. Milo of the forum got in touch with his mate as due to a rally there were nil berths to be had. Berth secured. Thank you!

Next day we anchored north of Mahon for the night and then made the final leg across to Mallorca. We arrived at Alcudia and then spent 5 or so pretty windy days on board before finally arriving “home” in Cala Dor.

We have been away for just over 3 months and spent about 11 weeks of that on board and covered roughly 1800 miles. The diesel bill... I would rather not think about it!

Until next summer.....

It was lovely to meet and spend time with forum members who are without exception helpful, friendly and hospitable. Thank you.
 

MapisM

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Wow, I didn't appreciate how many miles you were going to cumulate this summer, well done! :encouragement:
It was a pleasure to catch up in CF, though you didn't stay long enough to show you the best spots around the island.
A good excuse for coming back, I reckon! :)
 

jfm

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Sounds fab J. It would be funny to plot onto a map all the movements of forum boats over this summer because there were so many overlaps. Although I didn't get to Sardinia I think a large group of us got to 2 out of 3 (of Sardinia, Balearics, SofF).

You need help with pictures? Open p'bucket account, set your prefs to 640x480, then upload all pics to an album. Then tick all the pics that you want in that album, click "link", and it generates ALL the BB Code for a forum like this. You just copy paste that whole block of code into a post on here

Meantime, can I post a pic of those bulls on the beach :D
41D14FDA-CB17-4A57-815C-918AF1EC68B1.jpg
 

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