Trip on Babu starting 2008-05-10 in BSAJune08

Balearic Sailing Trip 10/17 May 2008 – report by Becky Goddard

Two yachts were chartered from Nautilus Yachts in Palma, Mallorca by ten crew from Shirehampton SC/Bristol Sailing Association; A Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 43 and a Bavaria 42. Jeanneau “Babu” was skippered by Bob Buchanan and crew were Dave Fogden, Becca Hayward, Claire Turner and Becky Goddard. The Bavaria “Estrella de Mar” which was upgraded on handover to a Bavaria 46 Cruiser was skippered by Jane Bromham and crew were Marc Rigot, Bob Hayes, Paul Ashbee and Geoff Louch.

Foggy and Claire went out earlier in the week to stay in Foggys’ apartment in Mallorca and five others joined them on Thursday May 8th to be met with cool weather and rain!! We all met up in the marina for the hand over on Saturday morning; quite a lot of the food supplies had been pre-ordered and delivered to the boats by the charter company – this also happened last year with Nautilus and does save a lot of time on the first day. We also found part baked long life baguettes so with so many meals on board we were able to have fresh bread every day.

We set sail Mapin mid afternoon for Cala PortalsMap on the southwest coast of Mallorca with 16 kts of wind giving a good sail of 13 miles however the sea state was very choppy and the plan to all eat and celebrate Claire’s birthday together had to be abandoned .We don’t advise passing hot saucepans of curry between boats on a regular basis!! On Sunday both boats weighed anchor and were on the move at 0700 for the long crossing to Cala PortinatxMap on the NE tip of Ibiza .Becca Hayward skippered this leg (she has just passed her Yachtmaster theory) and we had every type of weather to contend with! Light winds to Force 6, torrential rain and no real sight of the sun – except sunglasses were needed to keep the rain out of our eyes! (There was no spray hood on Babu because of damage caused by high winds the night before we took the boat over) )We were averaging 8 knts and touched 10 on occasions. On Babu we had the slight problem that our main wouldn’t unfurl fully but we decided not to worry as we certainly didn’t need it on this rough day more reminiscent of the Solent. We arrived at our destination at 17.30 giving us a ten and half hour crossing logged at 63.5 miles. After dropping anchor we all ate and boat visited before dropping into our bunks for a slightly less bumpy sleep than the previous night.

Next morning Bob and Foggy got the dinghy out and went into the small town for a few extra supplies (matches!) and we set sail about 1000 with Becky Goddard skippering to sail anti clockwise round the north of Ibiza and down to Formentera. Although still cool we had a good 16 knts wind from the north and sailed well on the genny only. We were pleased to see the sun later in the day but the wind started to fall so as we turned SE we pulled out the main which still jammed after about 80% and continued our sail. The wind started to increase again during the afternoon and with the sea still quite lumpy we conferred with Estrella and decided to change our proposed anchorage to a small island Espalmador which gave shelter from the North and West. All anchorages on Formentera are open to the North so they would have given us another bumpy night. We dropped anchor in a lovely quiet bay after a 39 mile passage and Bob decided to borrow a bosuns chair and go up the mast to inspect the jamming main.(We had seen the chair as an item on the inventory but it was not on board – something we didn’t think we’d need along with full wet weather gear, boots and thermals.) Bits of sticky tape used in a poor sail repair were pulled out of the mast and some good photos of the deck and puffing crew (after winching Bob up) were taken. We hoped this would solve the problem but it continued all week. While Bob and Foggy took the chair back to its owner (with a bottle of wine) we noticed that Jane on Estrella had restarted her engine but seemed to be bearing down on us – in fact WE were dragging our anchor nearly an hour after we had laid it! Quick action was taken and we re-anchored. The wind had shifted and the sea bed was not as good holding as we thought. We had read that some of the anchorages tended to be loose later in the season. After Claire and Foggy explored the lovely bay in the dinghy and on foot, stopping to investigate a recently wrecked catamaran on the rocks, we had a good dinner, wine and bed!

On Tuesday Becca skippered us round Formentera to Ibiza town leaving our lovely bay about 0830. With 9 knts of wind behind us we had a relaxing gentle sail goosewinged down the West of Formentera but the wind started moving around then died and we motored into Ibiza town about 1700.The pontoon moorings highlighted the difficulty of manoeuvring this boat in reverse – two attempts were needed by Babu! The marina fees were 61 euros with another 11 euros for water and electricity, but we all agreed the luxury of hot showers and loos that didn’t toss you off them was worth it! We on Babu had run out of water earlier in the day and on closer inspection found the second water tank inlet hidden by the outboard blades at the stern – obviously the prep by Nautilus of the boat had been a bit hasty.

Both boat crews took the harbour ferry across to the Old Town which is full of quaint cafes and restaurants and had a delicious meal but the original idea of reliving some of our “youth” by partying the night away were scuppered by tiredness and we walked back to the boats about midnight. The marina we were in was a good hour’s walk from the town round the harbour and the ferry stops at 2300. It had been great to get together with the other crew to chat over the incidents of the last few days – we hadn’t tried to raft together with the sea so lumpy as we have done on previous trips.

After a slow start the next morning, Wednesday, some of us went into Ibiza town again for shopping and sightseeing and we left our mooring about midday .Becca was skippering and decided to try some manoeuvres reversing in the harbour to get a better feel of this odd boat. The wind was still all over the place and after setting sail goosewinged with a southerly wind it changed to the West. Estrella reached the planned anchorage first and reported it exposed and bumpy so we went a bit further round the north east of the island and anchored in Clot des Llamp facing east. This was very deep right up to the cliffs so after dropping anchor twice to get a good bite we decided to put the kedge out at an angle from the bow anchor. It took nearly 1.5 hours to do this since the first drop didn’t hold and the dinghy crew decided to go boat visiting while the anchor crew hauled the danged kedge in by hand. Access to the small hotel on top of the cliffs was very steep with difficult dinghy access (no beach) so we ate on board. We had visits from Estrella crew (perhaps they liked our music and wine) and went to our bunks early. This must rate as one of the soberest and early nighted trips we’ve done!

After a fabulous sunrise and a swim we upped anchors about 08.30 to find a cloudless sky and no wind. Becky skippered the passage to Cabrera We were on the engine until 12.30 and it’s surprising how friendly we got with “George” our auto pilot! Out of boredom we scrubbed the decks! Some wind arrived at lunchtime and lasted till about 15.30 but we had to motor the last few miles into Cabrera. This is an island off the SE tip of Mallorca in the National Park so Skipper Bob had organised permits for the limited swinging moorings (during the high season you can only stay one night and there are only fifty mooring buoys). Both crews went ashore to the Cantina for drinks and a chat – there are very limited facilities - no restaurants or hotels so we returned to our boats for dinner rather later than we had planned!

On Friday ,our last day, Estrella left about 09.00 for Palma on Mallorca, but Babu, thinking we didn’t have to get the boat back to Palma until 18.00,decided to explore a bit of the island which had a ruined castle on a hilltop. Foggy explored more than most of us and we waited patiently back on the boat for him to return – but at least we had breakfast (french toast – yummy) on the mooring. We left about midday and hove to around the north of the island so Foggy and Claire could visit the Blue Cave by dinghy. Most of the shore of the island is out of bounds to boats and there are only two approved anchorages. We sailed back towards Mallorca but lost the wind about 14.00 and motored back to Palma getting into our mooring after refuelling about 19.00.Fuel is now the same price here as in UK. Both crews met for dinner at a restaurant near the marina and got up early the next morning for the 08.00 handover. We had reported the problem with the main when we got in and the next morning it took five guys and an hour of pulling and winding to get the main out of the mast. After organising left luggage facilities everyone went exploring and sightseeing (some more noisily than others) and we caught the plane home to Bristol late in the evening.

Many thanks to Bob for organising another brilliant trip but next year we’re going a week later so that we stand a better chance of some sunshine and warmth. This is the second year we’ve had difficult conditions and long cold passages (265 miles) – most of our warm weather clothing stayed firmly in our kitbags.

Palma  39.5645,2.6348
Weather at LEPA   13 kts from SSW 19.0C, 1007mb Rain Showers
Cala Portals, Mallorca  39.4953,2.5356
Weather at LEPA   16 kts from SSW 20.0C, 1007mb Scattered Clouds
Cala Portinatx, Ibiza  39.1124,1.5177
Weather at LEIB   8 kts from NNW 18.0C, 1008mb Mostly Cloudy