Wednesday 14 October 2009

The ways of the wind

On that first crossing to Ibiza I was lucky with the wind. 19 hours of favourable, constant force 3 to 4 is a sailor’s dream that doesn’t often come true in the Mediterranean. One of the points that comes over most forcefully when talking to other local sailors is that you can’t get by without an engine. And, judging by most sailing boats I see, the engine is the principle workhorse and the sails the auxiliary power. One sailboat owner I know will always recommend a motor boat if asked what sort of craft he considers most apt for the Med.

I’d been watching the weather on the run up to my trip and I knew that decent southerlies were on the way. Although I had a rather limited in time in which to complete the whole trip I stalled for two days to make sure my departure coincided with the shift from easterlies to southerlies. And I was lucky. The forecast was correct and the breeze held. Day after day.

I was on Ibiza making a new rudder and fighting some demons. And the wind, frustratingly, continued to blow. Couldn’t I just save a bit for later, in a little breeze bank, and cash it in when I needed it? It seemed such a waste, blowing so beautifully and me on land. And I knew it would start to fail before I made the next big crossing.

However, for the trip up to the north of Ibiza the wind held. 10 knots, over the starboard quarter, it was perfect. I stood towards the stern, steering with the tiller lines and adjusting our course slightly on the waves to favour surfing. We sailed at 6 to 8 knots hitting 10 and 11 on the waves. It was more like windsurfing than normal sailing and as sweet as it gets.

Ver First leg of the return en un mapa más grande

Of course, the next day when I left on the 67-mile passage to the Columbrete Islands the wind played truant and I was forced to rely on OB’s engine to power the oars.

Ver Ibiza to els Columbrets en un mapa más grande