Across The Adriatic
Written by Pieter Jan on Oct 12, 2019 — 3 min read
From: Palaiokastrita (Alipa), Kerkyra (Corfu), Greece
To: Santa Maria di Leuca, Italy
I dreamt three separate dreams about the same subject: us leaving for Italy and getting the wind on the nose. When we woke up in the morning, there was no wind. The wind on the nose part of the dreams didn’t come true at least. Now for the getting to Italy part, we’d see. We left Palaiokastrita, our last stop in Greece, at sunrise.
I worried only a little about the wind. According to the grib(a small file that contains weather predictions) files, there would be no wind to start with and then a nice 10 to 15 knots on the beam(the side of the boat) later on. We turned on the engine to get to the windy zone as fast as possible. The sea alternated between glassy and oily.
The swell was building a bit once we entered the Adriatic Sea. Andreas was writing an email to his class on the laptop, soon had to run outside and lost his breakfast in our wake. There’s something about staring at a screen that doesn’t agree with sailing.
Suddenly I felt a light zephyr on my face. “Aha!”, I yelled, “there it is!”. I rushed forward to deploy the spinnaker(a large light sail that is used when the wind comes _from behind_ your boat), which pleased me so mightily two days before. At once, the wind fell again and was barely enough to support the weight of the sail. I rolled the spinnaker in again, grumbling. Every sailor is a manic-depressive when it comes to the wind.
But lo and behold! 10 minutes later, the wind came back, for good this time. I changed the spi(short for spinnaker) for the gennaker(a large light sail that is used when the wind comes _from the side_ of your boat). We were sailing too close to windward to make the spi work anyway.
We raised the sails just in time to get priority over vessels on engine. We were out of charter boat territory and back into big ship territory. As usual, they didn’t answer our calls but changed their course just in time to keep from running us over.
The wind freshened and turned very gradually, in the right direction as I expected from the grib(a small file that contains weather predictions) prediction. Quite amazing. Until now, the winds had never followed the predictions. We turned slowly with the wind. There was nothing to do except change course a few degrees every now an then.
Once the wind speed went over 15 knots regularly, we furled the gennaker and unfurled the genua(the foresail). But something was clearly wrong. The lower part of the genua was flapping freely in the wind. Not good. A shackle had become undone. We furled it again immediately. I loosened the halyard(the line you use to pull the sail up), hung onto the genua with my full weight and could move it down just enough to install a new shackle. Then we were on our way again.
We made it to Italy in record time. Vite & Rêves was doing over 8 knots the whole way. In the windless beginning of the day, Navionics estimated the trip would take us between 2 days and 10 hours and infinite days. When I turned on the engine, our ETA(estimated time of arrival) became 23:00. With the sails up, we arrived at 17:00.
This boat is a racing horse through and through. I love it. Looking forward to some pizza after three weeks of Greek food. Lovely as it is, variety is the spice of life.