Making the same mistake twice!

For once we had a nice sail down to Vis, stopping for the night in one of my favourite turquoise blue anchorages – Krknjas on the island of Veli Drvenik.

13501708_10205987953890843_7381260580628221607_nBut we were on a mission to get to Vis then onto Italy so it was up anchor and onto Vis. We got to Vis around lunchtime and picked up a paid mooring in Komiza.

13495109_10205987998371955_7909134616780263776_nWe spent a day and a half in Vis, waiting for the right weather to cross to Italy. We swam from the back of the boat and at the nice beach, and between the two. We walked through the nice town with its cutesy marina and nice waterfront promenades.
13501691_10205988297779440_1305181831806828228_nWe took the dingy inside the restaurant we’d visited with Ooroo three years ago and had another nice meal overlooking the water. It was all very relaxing.


Then we checked out of Vis and set off for Brindisi – a day and a night and a day away.

13528740_10205988297819441_5710585993321654046_nThe weather was overcast with light winds. We got the genneker out and had some success using it with one motor running to give us some speed. Then the wind dropped and went on the nose so we furled in the genneker and motor sailed towards Brindisi.

As night fell, Dee went to bed and I watched the lightening on the Italian coastline. I watched a few squalls on the radar, and being 5nm away and somewhat behind us I thought it would take them a while to get to us and thought we could pass by them before they hit us.

Then they were on us. I got Dee up to help reef the main as the wind picked up from 5kts to 35kts in a blink. As we were reefing down the main to the second reef, the dreaded genneker start to unfurl. Yikes.

By now there was quite a swell running making steering a bit difficult. I headed upwind to stop us taking off and stop the genneker unfurling any more. Dee wasn’t keen on this as it took us into a heap of lightning but there was no way we could run away downwind with half a geneker out in 35kts of wind and a large swell. So we tried to ignore the spectacularly scary lightening show as I clipped on and went forward to pull the genneker down as Dee tried to steer whilst lowering the halyard at the same time, letting the geneker fall safely along the length of the boat.

Having made the mistake of leaving the genneker furling up on the bowspit once before in Cascais, Portugal and having the same problem, I was a little bit more equipped to deal with the issue. But I absolutely hate making the same mistake TWICE!!! Mistakes are usually a learning process but this time I got a big fail.

As the genneker came down it managed to knock the Badboy Wi-Fi extender aerial off the spreaders. I somehow managed to find this on the coach roof, but the fall damaged it beyond repair. Once in port we evaluated the damage and couldn’t find the swivel for the top of the sail. We thought it must have come off after I removed the halyard as the top of the sail fell into the water as I was putting it away in the front locker. We ended up buying a new one before finding that the old one had fallen off in the bottom of the locker and had hidden itself under the sail. The whole f***up cost us a few boat dollars.

But I will be much better prepared (well ahead of time) for squalls next time.

With the genneker now down, we found a wind angle that worked and comfortably sailed through the storm to Bari, a little short of where we were originally sailing – but hey we made it to Italy.

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