La Mischief Meets Miss Behaving

The morning after the night before, there were bottles everywhere that needed to be collected and bagged and put in a front hatch for the time being.

With the evidence removed, it was time to say goodbye to Vis and head off to Hvar, as the weather was turning cloudy and yukky and therefore we thought it would be a good time to do town stuff rather than beach stuff.

Hvar was pretty well north, the direction of the wind, as it was a pretty choppy sail across. We eventually made it and anchored next to a Lagoon 620 at the entrance to the harbour. We then proceeded to chase a few charter boats way as they tried to anchor on top of us. The usual story – drop anchor on top of ours and then try and motor sideways across the wind only to find boat swings round onto ours.

Still it wan’t as bad as what happened to the Lagoon 620. They had a power boat come straight up to them and then ram them in the side. What – you can’t see a 62 foot catamaran? Bizarre.

The harbour master had also had enough and told us all that it was unsafe to anchor there because of the 25kt wind. Petty really because the holding was great and it was a pretty good place to hang out give or take all the idiots around.

So off we went across the channel to the Zonica channel where we found a free mooring buoy belonging to one of the restaurants on Marinkovac Island. The current was rushing though this channel so it was good to have a mooring, one that was right behind another Australian boat called Miss Behaving. Interesting to have La Mischief and Miss Behaving moored next to each other. Given it was a restaurant mooring we felt obliged to eat at the restaurant, which we did in the company of Miss Behaving who left their kids on board, whilst they had some adult time.

Next morning, we took to the dingy and headed off across the channel to Hvar. Hvar is very picturesque, with its narrow cobbled streets, where cars are banned. We explored the shops and then headed upwards to the old castle that overlooks the town. It was good to get a bit of walking into the legs.

We stayed on the mooring for a couple of nights before heading off to explore the Pakleni Islands.

For photos of Hvar see

Austrian Mayhem

Ooroo left Komiza early for Corfu whilst we hung around to listen to the mighty dockers knock off Geelong, on their way to the big GF.

Then it off to explore the rest of Vis. We headed along the south coast, our first stop being the famous beach at Stiniva. Whilst it did look quite interesting, the cove was narrow and deep and not really good for anchoring. We continued east and stopped off at another inviting cove. We dropped anchor and had a pleasant swim and paddle board. We swam into the shore and walked along the rocks to the beach where we ran into Marco and Ana, a couple of honeymooners who we had a drink or three with in Vis town. We said a quick hello and left them alone and headed off to Budikovac Island, our stop for the night. We picked up a mooring in shallow water and had a great afternoon swimming in what was our hottest day in Croatia.

We wandered up to the house on shore, which is periodically used as a restaurant. The owner was a real character; we thought he was chasing us away at first, but in the end he turned out to be quite harmless, drinking on the verandah with his two mates, whilst baiting some passing yachties. We ate local olives and drank their wine. We were running short of wine on the boat so we also bought a couple of litres to take back – packaged in high class plastic water bottles!!!

Back on board La Mischief, we spent the afternoon paddle boarding and swimming. a charter boat of Austrians moored up next to us and a Lagoon 440 called Spongebob took up another mooring. Spongebob had an Australian couple on board – chartering they explained – who would call their boat Spongebob they replied when we asked them if it was theirs.

So invites went out and all was set for a few late afternoon drinks on La Mischief. The Austrians brought over some wonderful Austrian wine and Geringer, their nominated skipper turned out to be a real character – slightly mad with a laugh that his whole body engaged in. Late afternoon turned into early evening, with a small break where everyone when off to do some cooking and bring it back to La Mischief. Then early evening turned into late evening with Geringer’s lederhosen, which was made of deer leather, moving from his person to Brad first then Bec.

About 11pm, we spotted a visitor in the water, completely nude, except for his cap, yelling party. It was a pretty dark night with no moon so we hadn’t seen him until he appeared at the back of the boat. “Party boy” clambered on board and pulled out a t shirt from under his cap. He was from Slovenia and completely off his tree and we gave him a towel to wrap around himself. It took us a while to impress upon him that the party was pretty well over and perhaps he needed to go back to his boat. In the end we managed to bundle him into Spongebob’s dingy and take him home to his boat.

But our party wasn’t quite finished as around midnight, we all decided it would be a good idea to swim from La Mischief to the Austrian boat for some late night snaps, followed by a swim back again.

Next morning …. never mind.

For photos of Vis see

1000nm is Not That Far if you say it quickly.

The EU welcomes yachties from all over the world, provided that they only stay 90 days every 6 months. Great!!! Other that Gibraltar and Morocco, I’d been in the EU since arriving in France on the 17th March so now it was time to leave.

Although Croatia has just joined the EU, it still wasn’t hooked into the Schengen immigration zone, which is the thing, so therefore Croatia is okay for the moment. So Croatia it is, 983nm away as the crow sails.

Our route took us down the bottom of Sardinia, across the top of Sicily, through the Messina Straits, around the bottom of Italy’s foot, and up the Adriatic Sea to Dubrovnick. I had a place to catch on the 9th August and we left at 5pm on the 31st August.

My super smart GPS had us arriving in Dubrovnick on the 7th August if we sailed straight through at an average speed of 6 kts so we had a day to effectively spare. Nothing like a bit of pressure.

The first couple of days and nights we ran 3 hour watches, with myself in a consultancy role, checking at the start and end of each watch and generally being available on a break glass if needed approach. After that I started to miss my night watches and we started rotating through four 2 hour watches.

It took us nearly 48 hours to cover the 290nm to Sardinia and we spent all our time motoring into a fairly light wind. Occasionally we would head off and get a decent enough angle to pull out all the genoa, but not often.

On the way to Sicily, we were entertained by dolphins and whales. Usually around 6pm, the dolphins would head over and play between our bows for 30 minutes or so. We even got to pull out our Geneker and sail for a couple of hours.

Sitting here at 5.30am in the morning on watch, the temperature is 27 degrees. Balmy nights and warm days.

We got to Sicily at midday on day 4, and halfway along the island, we celebrated our half way point. We passed inside some impressive looking islands as we motored along the coast. It would have been nice to stop and have a quick swim but we were racing to get to the Messina Straits to catch the tide through (4 and a half hours after Gibraltar HT according to guide book), so there was no time to dilly daly.

We made the straits just after dark and kept to starboard of the designated shipping lanes. Watched a passenger liner slip in front of us at 15kts.

The straits are narrow – really, really narrow. 1.6nm narrow at a couple of spots. As well as the ships going up and down, we had a constant stream of ferries crossing back and forth from the mainland to Sicily and back. Thank god for AIS.

We eventually made it through all the traffic and popped out the other side as the straits began to widen. And then the wind started to lift from the 10 knots we had entering the straits.

I’d been sleeping and the crew woke me as we needed a reef – two actually. This was more like the winds in the Strait we had read about. Still sleepy we turned into the wind and started to put in a couple of reefs. Normally reefing is easily on La Mischief, but still half a sleep I managed to balls it up and ended up snapping a lazy jack. Bugger.
Without the lazy jack in place the bottom of the sail spilled out and we ended up dropping it completely and lashing it to the boom.

Next morning, we assessed the damage and lifted the main sail to its full height without any reefs – this being the only configuration that we could manage without lazy jacks. The next day was spent motoring along the bottom of Italy’s foot in light winds.

We hadn’t been able to do a lot of sailing, with the motoring being on pretty much all of the time. With a broken lazy jack and running a bit low on fuel we decided we would pull into Italy to refuel.

We picked out Santa Maria di Leuca, right on the cape. We arrived there early in the morning and Adrian went up the mast to fix the broken lazy jack. Then we took on enough fuel to make it to Croatia as fuel is a lot cheaper in Croatia than Italy.

Then it was into the Adriatic. We had a bit more luck with the winds as we just had enough angle to motor sail north. Next morning we sailed past Montenegro and into Dubrovnik, just over 1000nm from Palma. It had taken us just under 8 days and I think we had the motors off for less than 12 hours during that time.

We decided that we would stop in Kavtat, as this was quite close to both the airport and Dubrovnik and looked nice, easy to enter and quite protected. We got there at about 11am and pulled into the Q jetty. Adrian backed in and asked how much insurance cover I had as he went stern to beside a beautiful 150 foot yacht – I told him it didn’t matter how much I had given how expensive the boat next to us was.

Checking into Croatia involves taking a crew list along to the harbour master and getting a cruising permit for the boat (1765 kuna = A$335) – valid for a year) and visitors tax (720 kuna). Even though Croatia has just jointed the EU, they are still keeping their own currency – must be a good thing given the problems Greece etc are having. Next stop was the police who stamped us in and then we were done.

Leaving the Q jetty, we went and picked up a mooring right next to another Australian cat. The Croatians are mad keen on water polo and that night, we found a water polo game going on in an outdoor pool not much more than 50m from our mooring. We dingyed in and watched a bit before having a farewell meal with Roger who was flying out the next morning.

Next day, we dingyed in and said our goodbyes to Roger before heading off on a ferry to Dubrovnik. We could have caught the bus but some Poms we met the night before said we should definitely go to Dubrovnik by boat and they were right – it was so the right way to go to this very impressive city.

But before any sightseeing could be done, we needed to find a replacement impeller for our genset,which we eventually did out at the ACI marina the other side of town. Then it was back to town where we did the walk around the city wall that goes right the way round this magnificent old city. I’m sorry Sevilla, but I think I’ve just got a new favourite European city. The walk took a good couple of hours as we savoured both the city and the seascape from multiple brilliant view points. It was very hot and a bar half way round that sold fresh orange juice was a welcome pit stop.

Back at the boat it was time to pack, ready to head back to Perth for Cas’ 50th.

For photos of Dubrovnik and Kavtat see