Weather Turning

Written by Pieter Jan on Oct 24, 2019 — 3 min read

From: Sferracavallo, Sicily, Italy
To: San Vito Lo Capo, Sicily, Italy

Sferracavallo turned out to be nothing special in daylight. Just a small fishing village. The surroundings are pretty imposing though. We left with the wind at our back.

Sferracavallo, dominated by Monte Gallo
Sferracavallo, dominated by Monte Gallo

We passed Isola delle Femmine, the “Island of Women”. A lot of legends surround this island. Some say it was a women-only prison. Other legends tell of 13 Turkish maidens that did a lot of very naughty things. They were set adrift until they crashed on this island, where they lived for 7 years. Pliny the Younger maintains that it was an island full of beautiful girls who offered themselves as prizes to victorious warriors. Anything to get away from the drama and gossip, probably.

It could be a marketing ploy. The tiny rock is for sale now for 3,5 million euros — women not included.

'Isola delle Femmine'. The women were all wearing camouflage dresses
'Isola delle Femmine'. The women were all wearing camouflage dresses

At first, the wind was 20 knots from behind us. With only the foresail out, we still made great speed. Once past the Island of Women, it fell to around 10 knots. After a while, we gingerly rolled out the spinnaker, a bit apprehensive because the day before we were only just in time to furl it. Over 15 knots and it takes a lot of effort to wrestle it in.

We passed Palermo airport, where planes were landing and taking off every 10 minutes. Busy little place.

Another load of tourists delivered
Another load of tourists delivered

The wind remained around 10 knots. The weather system behind us was clashing with the weather system in front of us and the winds were more or less cancelling each other out.

We saw the other weather system arrive in the distance when we were reaching San Vito Lo Capo. It started raining. Light rains at first, but by the time we needed to anchor it was bucketing down. I expected stormy conditions, so we let out 35m of chain, a generous 7:1 scope in the 5m deep water. We settled for the night.

Rains above San Vito Lo Capo
Rains above San Vito Lo Capo

The clash of the weather systems brought on a huge thunderstorm. The wind gusted to over 45 knots. The anchor held us fast. A bit too fast, we saw the day after. Lighting was flashing every few seconds for over 2 hours. We put all our electronics in the oven, our onboard Faraday cage. So it was cardgames until an early bedtime. Fortunately by then the storm had passed and only the swell remained. Not too uncomfortable though.