Lagoon 421 Review – Improving on the Lagoon 420

Above is an excellent review of the 421 Catamaran from Multihull World. It explains how the Lagoon 421 corrected the problems of the Lagoon 420 that was designed to motor sail rather than sail. To quote the opening paragraph of the article….

Here is the revised and corrected version of the 420. With its less bulky lines and more hydro-dynamically efficient hulls, the 421 should make a name for itself as one of the most widely-distributed catamarans on the market.

Mykonos – Blow your T#@s off

The sail across to Myconos was very uneventful with no wind and a glassed off sea. It can be a nasty crossing so we couldn’t complain.

We decided against going into the marina, instead choosing Ormos Ornos as our anchorage. It’s a 20 minute walk into Mykonos town so not too bad. We anchored in about 7m over patchy sand (in hindsight not the best).

The place is rather crazy at this time of the year – I enjoyed it better last year in October when the crowds had disappeared. It was wall to wall people in the town and the roads were full of crazy drivers on all sorts of cars and scooters.

Mykonos was where we supercharged the Charlie’s Angels formulae up to a 4 to 1 ratio, when we picked up Kim off the ferry. Sherry left a few days later so things returned to a somewhat more manageable 3-1 ratio.

With the 4 girls in tow, I somehow managed to get them all off the boat at the agreed time and onto a short ferry ride across to Delos, where there is a whole ancient Roman city in ruins, some say second only to Pompeii. I’d have to say it would be a long second if that’s the case. But it was still very impressive wandering around. There were a few yachts there anchored in the channel so it’s a good option to take your boat across rather than catch a ferry as we did.

Back from our ancient history tour, we headed back to the boat as the meltemi was starting to build. For the rest of the day, it steadily built all the way up to 45kts. Mykonos is Greek for “island of wind” and it was living up to its name.

About 10.30pm, the anchor drift alarm went off – we’d started to drag. So off we went trying to re-anchor in the dark of night with the wind whistling around us. We re-anchored briefly for about 10 minutes and then we dragged again. We thought about going somewhere else but decided against it.

We pulled up the anchor ready for another shot to find a second anchor (from an old disused mooring) jammed tight into our own anchor. Oh what fun!!!

So the rest of the night was spent motoring in place swinging on a pair of anchors that were not holding. In between we watched another cat drag a couple of times and our mono neighbor, who was maintaining an anchor watch all night, dragged just before dawn.

Morning could not come soon enough. As soon as it did, we were able to see more clearly what we were up against and managed to drop the other anchor off. Then it was off to find another bay. We motored up and down the south coast checking a few out and then came back to the first one – Platys Gyalos.

Turned out to be a very good choice – sandy bottom with good holding – perfect. We anchored in the eastern part of the bay in 3m of clear wind swept water and said our goodbyes to Sherry, before sitting out the rest of the meltemi. The wind managed to peak at 53 kts but this time we didn’t move an inch.

So what did we learn??? Firstly, we need to pay more attention to the bottom. In Ormos Ornos was light weed over sand and “Rod” mentioned there was poor holding in places. I’d snorkeled over the anchor several times but when push came to shove it, Rod was right.

The second thing we did was to break out the second anchor – a fortress – and start playing around using it. I’d done a lot of reading previously on deploying two anchors and came to the conclusion that the best way is to drop approximately 2-3x scope using the primary anchor and then shackel the fortress with 7m of chain to the main anchor chain and then throw it over, before letting out the full amount of anchor chain (scope >= 5x). We’ve done this a few times since and it seems to work well. We sat out another meltemi in Paros using this arrangement. The fortress is a great second anchor and we’ve watched it hold La Mischief on it own several times.

Towards the end of the meltemi, we were confident enough to leave Karin and Kim on the boat and go for a walk along the coast to check out Paranga Beach, followed by Paradise and then Super (Duper) Paradise. At best it was an eye opener, at worst it was somewhere to be avoided. But I did like the gay guy in speedos with the Gucci bag with two toy dogs hanging out of the top of the bag. Should have been brave enough to ask for a photo.

And so ended Mykonos. A crazy island at that time of the year. Overcrowded everywhere, including the roads, overpriced, artificial and not half as enjoyable as when I visited in low season last year. Luckily we had lots of other more authentic islands to visit.

For photos of Mykonos see https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10200510201110447&type=1&l=ff624cef56

 

Heading North

After dropping off Ewa, the 4 of us decided to rent a car in Gocek and once again headed for Saklikent Gorge. We recreated the trip Ewa and I did earlier and visited the Canyon, the Trout Farm for lunch, the Tlos roman Ruins and then since we had some daylight left, headed for Kayaköy where Anatolian Greek speaking Christians lived until approximately 1923, when the Greeks in Turkey were repatriated to Greece and vice versa for the Turks in Greece. The ghost town, now preserved as a museum village, consists of hundreds of rundown but still mostly intact Greek-style houses and churches which cover a small mountainside. To top off the day, we also visits Ölüdeniz from the land.

Next day, we left Gocek and headed out of Fethiye Limani, anchoring for a lunchtime swim in Kizikuyruk Koyu, which was really beautiful with crystal clear water. Then we hit some heavy weather and labored our way north. It was an hour or two later we discovered a heap of water in our hull as the hatch above the printer was not shut properly. Bummer! A communication problem between skipper and new crew.

We finally made our way around to Ekincik Limani. We checked out My Manina but it was too expensive so we anchored up in 5m. We had planned to take a river trip up to see the rock tombs, but an inoperable printer/scanner meant we needed to head to Marmaris quick smart to get a replacement. So no Dalyman River tour.

Next morning, we left early and headed towards Marmaris before the wind came up.

It was interesting coming into Marmaris again, a bit strange in some ways as La Mischief had spent 6 months there up on the hard. We didn’t however go around to Yacht Marine, just anchored out the front of Marmaris amongst the multitude of gulets, and dingied it into town.

Marmaris is a big tourist town, with its beaches jammed packed with beach chairs that sit in front of numerous beach bars and restaurants. We found our printer shop and headed back to the boat.

We decided we would try a different anchorage so we motored across to Icmeler, where we managed to get out of the meltimi in 5m of water. It was another holiday spot with kite and wind surfers everywhere.

Then it was off to explore new territory north of Marmaris as we made our way towards Bodrum.

Illegal Boat People

Our trip back from Australia was via Dubai and Rome flight, followed by a 3 hour bus ride to Pescara, where Adrian and Anita had left the boat with Steffi’s assistance.

We spent the night at Steffi’s recovering and catching up. Next morning it was down to the boat for an engine service, which took most of the morning.

Brad and Bec arrived by train from Bari at lunchtime, and after a large shop, it was off to Steffi’s to enjoy a swim and a relax before we did the restaurant on the beach night, the last of the season.

Next day, we took Steffi, Adriano and Sarah for a sail along the coast to one of the bays they often went to. Unfortunately it wasn’t a very nice day, with a bit of a swell running, and some dirty water being washed down from Venice, so we didn’t swim much. Still it was nice to be back on board La Mischief putting her through her paces, and it allowed Brad and Bec to get acquainted with La Mischief before we headed off to Croatia.

And next morning we were off, 115nm straight across the Adriatic to Vis Island. We left just before 6am and got great winds. We put up the geneker and took off. By lunchtime, the wind increased to 24 knots and down came the geneker. We needed a reef shortly after but we were going along at 7s ad 8s on flat seas. And we needed to as we wanted to get there before it was completely dark.

We passed the first of Croatia’s islands before sunset and closed in on Vis town as the sun set. We had just enough light to navigate into the harbour and pick up mooring.

By then it was 9pm and we presumed everything would be shut and we would need to wait until the morning to check in. So we stayed put on the boat – the lure of the water front bars would have to wait.

We had a leisurely morning, not wanting to go in too early and find things shut. So we went in t 9.30am and after a bit of a hunt around we eventually found the harbour master at the back of a building up two flights of stairs. We congratulated ourselves for not attempting that the night before as we would have never found it.

We filled in a new vignette listing the crew details and showed them our cruising permit. Then it was off to find the police station. It was equally as hard to find and after asking several people we found their office – no sign except for a note on the door saying to ring 192 if it was unattended.

We went inside and saw the nice looking police woman, who took our passports and then proceeded to tell us we had a problem. It seems we should have checked in with the police as soon as we got to Croatia.

Not sure what the problem was but the cell just around the corner made me hope it wasn’t a big problem.

We were then told to wait outside, which we did. We waited and drank coffee and waited some more. Then she appeared and locked the police station and disappeared somewhere. We waited some more. Then she came back and went in side. We waited some more. Then she asked me (and not the others) back inside.

She explained that I had to pay a fine of 1000 kuna (A$200) but if I paid it straight away it would reduce to 667 kuna plus 100 kuna tax. This was evidently a new rule brought in 2 months ago and I was the first person to be fined in Vis. Great. I had a go at pleading my case but she just kept saying I should have come in and found the police station and rung the number on the door. Yeah right.

Anyway, I paid the fine at the Post Office and then had to take the receipt round to another police station. We decided to head there by dingy but were quickly intercepted by the police boat who were very keen to see we had paid our fine and add to their revenue raising initiative. We gave them our receipt and all was good.

Now that we weren’t illegal boat people, it was time to celebrate our new-found freedom.

For photos of Vis see https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10200268972839891.1073741868.1620379103&type=1&l=e930ae623d

Between a Rock and a ….

Sailing from Marina Smir to Gibraltar would be Stan and Judy’s last sail. They’d been great to be on board as we sailed down from Lisbon to the Med.

We ended up completing our exit paperwork at the Marina Smir and leaving about 15min after Kevin and Di. Trying to put the sails up into the wind, we found our wind direction had completely gone potty. So we’d have to sail, judging wind direction the good old fashion way. The 12nm sail up along the East Coast of Morocco was very pleasant, but as we neared the Straits of Gibraltar, the wind started to pick up and we had 35kts on the nose in no time at all. One minute we were sitting on the bow watching the dolphins play between our hulls, the next minute we were rushing to put in a couple of reefs.

Approaching Gibraltar provided us with spectacular views of “The Rock”. The latest theory is that the Rock rolled there from Corsica (don’t ask me how and landed there upside down. Our tack took us slightly east of the Rock so that meant we got a really good view of it coming in.

We hadn’t got anyone to commit to giving us a berth in Gibraltar because Ocean Bay marina was undergoing major works and that was severely limiting the number of berths available. Our strategy was just to call in and see what we could get and then go round to Le Linea (which is just across the border in Spain) as we knew they were pretty empty.

But we were in luck as Queensway Quay marina had a berth for us. This would be our introduction to “Mediterranean Mooring”, where you either hook up to some lines that the marina supply out the front (or drop your anchor if no lines are supplied) and back in between your two neighbouring boats and tie off to the jetty. Then you get out your very expensive paraselle, which gets you from the back of the boat to the jetty. Lets just say it was good to get the first one out of the way.

Next morning, it was time to say goodbye to Stan and Judy, who headed off home to Canada, via Savilla and Lisbon. Then it was off to get the lay of the land. Gibraltar works off Gibraltar Pounds, which are worth the same as UK pounds. Coins are the same, notes are different. It was interesting to find myself secretly liking the fact that it’s so much easier doing stuff in a place where (nearly) everybody speaks English fluently. The supermarket felt like an Australian supermarket – even had vegemite!!!

After a few days, I discovered that all the workers are pretty much Spanish, but chose to work (and sometimes live in Gibraltar, although a lot of them cross the border each day to get to work). I made it across the border a few times in search of phone credit for my Spanish pre-paid SIM cards as you can’t buy credit online unless you have a Spanish credit card – figure that?

Kevin and Di were two boats down and kindly pointed out the ins and outs of Gibraltar. They also make a mean Mojito, which is rapidly becoming my cocktail of choice. But best of all, they took me to Le Bateau, which is a lovely little French restaurant at the marina.

Gibraltar is all about the Rock so the next day, up the Rock I went. Took the Mediterranean Steps which wound its way first around the frond for great views across to Tangiers and then across the back. It’s quite a climb and I was happy to get to the top where I shared the spectacular views with the resident monkey population.

Thursday came and so did the guy from Raymarine. He replaced the ITC5 transducer, and that seems to have fixed the wind speed problem, but the wind direction sometimes misbehaves. I reconfigure it out at sea and that seems to fix it for a while but its gone again since.

The stainless steel guy on the other hand is still coming. You would think 11 days is enough time to organise a tradesman but work seems a little optional in these parts. So still no gas bottle holder for my BBQ.

My last task was to get crew for the passage to Valencia and this took a bit of organising. Eventually I found Mario, who was working in Gibraltar, and Jessica from Frankfurt, both of which were new to sailing – Mario had no experience and Jess had done her day skippers course.

With the crew in place, it was time to say goodbye to Gibraltar and head into the Mediterranean.

For photos of Gibraltar see https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.4758118043788.1073741856.1620379103&type=1&l=37f661cd3b

Villagarcia

It took us a while to cover the 10nm or so into Villagarcia from the head of the Ria. On the way we passed row after row of mussel farms. Whilst the Ria is generally very pretty, Villagarcia is not one of its pretty spots.

But it had good rail access to Vigo if we needed to get parts from there and a good chanderly and hardware store for some boat jobs that were piling up.

But I’d have to say, other than that the town was pretty boring.

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And in the end access to Vigo didn’t even matter because Vicsail advised that we needed to go to the Lagoon owner in Lisbon to effect a repair.

 

Across the Bay of Biscay to Spain

Once in the Gironde we quickly discovered there’s no a lot of good harbours between there and the Basque country at the bottom of France. And to complicate things, there’s a firing range that extends 45nm out to sea. We also discovered another one further out that the guide books and web sites don’t mention – but it wasn’t in use as there was a ton of fishing boats out there.

With this information to hand, we decided it was time to do our first overnighter and head for Spain. Bilboa seemed to be the logical choice – it was more or less straight down, whereas San Sebastian required us to cut in again.

So Bilbao it was.

We set off at 1pm so that we crossed the bar at high tide and then turned south. Allan and I split the watches between us. We started with 2 hour watches and then pushed them out a bit at night.

 

Crossing From France to Spain
Crossing From France to Spain

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The wind was annoyingly on the nose but we just got enough angle and didn’t have to do too much tacking, sailing a lot of the way. The swell wasn’t big – maybe 1.5m but it was confused and not as nice as a bigger regular swell that we are used to off the west coast of Australia.

The wind dropped away in the wee hours of the morning but picked up to 30kt as the sun came up and we approached the Spanish coast. We passed a few fishing boats on the way in to Bilbao. The entrance is a little tricky as there is a breakwater that is underwater (but shown on the charts).

Once past the breakwater it’s about 5nm in to the port city of Getxo, where we dropped anchor. We tried calling up a couple of marinas but being a Sunday, nobody there spoke English so we thought we would have a good nights sleep and check into Spain with clear heads on Monday morning.

 

 

 

 

A New Adventure Commences

Having successfully sailed from Fremantle to Sydney, Camelot’s Excellent Adventure has drawn to a close and its time for a new adventure, bigger, longer, and a bit more daunting.

La Mischief’s Excellent European Adventure steps out of Australia into international waters with different languages, customs and procedures to deal with.

Now finally off my trainer wheels, its time to get the boat of my dreams, fitted out with the benefit of 4 years of experience and lessons learned.