THE CRUISE THAT WOULDN'T BE
We wanted to avoid cruising in July and August, the two more crowded months of the season, and as we had not succeeded in being ready by late spring, we were left with the alternative of a late cruise during the month of september, hoping that the weather would not deteriorate too early, as we experienced back in 2006 when our climb north from Corfu had been plagued by a series of depressions right one after another.
In fact the forecasts were not entirely comforting when we set sail with the perspective of a 3-4 days window which should allow us to reach Vieste, or perhaps even Brindisi.
We leave under engine, in a flat calm: all quiet during the night, apart from a few evasive manoeuvres to stay out of the way of the ships going back and forwards along the Traffic Separation Scheme's lanes. At dawn, a freshening breeze from NNE coupled with rather steep waves is an indicator that last night in Croatia it blowed hard!
We set sail and carry on, rolling due to the waves on the beam which on a couple of occasions give us a good shower.
Few hours, and the first problem appears: the attachment point
of the autopilot's actuator arm, which is working overtime due to the waves,
develops some play to the point that the actuator slips out of its attachment
and the boat broaches: a nasty problem, not easy to repair at sea.
We begin thinking to anticipate our first stop, possibly in Ancona.
In the meantime wind and waves are abating, the boat rolls flogging the sails: suddenly, SBADABAMM a loud noise from the cockpit, and Baby screaming while grasping the mainsheet which is flailing wildly: the mainsheet's car has pulled its rail off and snapped it in two, allowing the car to fly away and the boom to dangerously swipe back-and-forwards!
This is serious, we are forced to lower the mainsail and secure the boom somehow: the sheet's car cannot be re-inserted on the remaining portion of the rail because the broken edge is twisted, and an emergency repair rigging a temporary sheet does not look very easy.
At this point, the decision is taken for us: we head towards
Ancona, hoping they have a place for us, because we cannot get in touch with
them yet, neither by phone (no signal) nor by VHF (too far away).
Luckily, they have a place for us (just barely: last week they
hosted an important event, and the marina was crowded!): we arrive by sunset,
and soon we are moored on a finger pontoon (long time since we last saw one,
they are not at all common in the Med!)
The marina is nice, large and literally crowded with
sailboats, a rare sight in the Med; only drawback, it's out of town and there is
no public transportation available. Luckily, there is a small shop
selling basic provisions, and the area around the marina is crowded with yards
Unfortunately, as expected, it soon appears evident that no fast repair would be possible: a rail identical to the old one is impossible to find (too old) therefore we will have to replace the whole rail+car assembly, and nobody keeps these items on stock: they must be ordered, and this will take a couple of weeks: bye bye to our cruising plans!!
The forecasts call for a weather deterioration in 3 days' time, so we decide to take advantage of this window to motor back to Jesolo, where at least we have an already-paid-for berth; 5 days after having left, we are back in Jesolo, with our morale down low.
Last Update: 07/09/2017
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