The wind was due to pick up so we modestly put the main up with a reef and let the full jib out as it is easy to reef. It wasn’t long before we were furling the jib to be replaced by the staysail and putting a second reef in the main. This did at least mean that we had a spirited sail and even with this sailplan, with gusts of over 30 knots, we made very good speed.

Of the notable incidents, we saw what looked like a volcano erupting with smoke emanating from the top of a mountain. As we approached downwind, we smelt burning vegetation so it was clearly a fire. We then had front row seats to an aerial display by two firefighting planes which continually circled picking up sea water and dropping it on the fire. As we left the conflagration behind us there was no diminution in the level of smoke so it may have been a long job..

Smokey mountain with the firefighting plane approaching the water pick up

The plane banking into another pick up approach.

We chose to press on, into the teeth of the gale and anchor overnight. Carl had prepared much of the curry using the dubious meat (?) balls in the foreign tins and it was OK – ish.

The blow is due to diminish overnight then increase again in the straits of Bonefacio in the afternoon. Mooring in Bonefacio can be something of a lottery (I have made an on-line application…) so we are planning to arrive soon after lunch (and before the next blow) hopefully after the exodus and before the newbies arrive. Bonefacio is a stunning destination with the citadel standing on the promontory, it’s a must do for anyone who has never visited before. I remember being there on the 14th of July many years ago and witnessing all the fireworks against the background of the battlements. What a privilege this sailing lark can be.

I posted pictures of two ‘stink pots’ in Corfu a few weeks ago claiming them to be the most ugly boats I had seen. I now have to accept that they have been eclipsed by an even uglier vessel anchored off Porto Cervo and to make matters worse it is a ‘quasi’ sailing yacht. It needs to be drubbed out of the fraternity! It seems that Carl disagrees and Tom is diplomatically sitting on the fence – we need a vote on this – please leave a comment with your opinion so we can decide – Carl or me !

Undisputed winner of the most ugly boat – in my opinion….

What had they been smoking?

Carl writes:-

The proverb ‘be careful for what you wish’ came home to roost with a vengeance yesterday. Having spent the majority of the journey gently chiding Captain Codswalop that we seem to go everywhere under motor, he decided to dial in some wind from the Gods. And my word, was that wind or what!

Gusting at over 30 knots, Nick, informed us that this, if it continued, would be a Force 7 gale, and we should all don our life-jackets without delay. Wee Tom & I dutifully followed our orders but only after depleting the stomach-saving Scopoderm stock yet again. Torrid stuff but such fantastic fun as that’s what we’re here for.

Furthermore, a free-anchorage in amongst the superyachts of Europe’s establishment elite and dinner courtesy of several out-of-date Spanish cans, reminded us that we don’t always need the expensive pampering of gilded harbours and marinas. Mind, I think one was cat food.

Also, what on earth is Nick going on about wrt the boat that needs drubbing-out of the fraternity? Are we looking at the same vessel? Beauty is certainly in the eye of the beholder and to these eyes the boat is drop-dead gorgeous, very possibly the most stunning piece of brutal, Bauhaus-esque, slab-sided minimalist design I’ve ever cast mine upon. He sees Kathy Burke where I envisage Bridget Bardot. His Mrs Doubtfire to my Ms Hepburn. Theresa May or Carla Bruni? Settle the argument for us?

Wee Tom writes:

In our salt-encrusted clothes, sailing-stubble, matted hair and understated Southerly 135 we represent, in my eyes, the new upstarts on the block – the beatniks of the briny.

Who exactly am I kidding, we live in Sunningdale for heaven’s sake! But even so, the sentiment is important to me. Before this trip I had no idea how easy it was to anchor off a sheltered cove or beach and feel more isolated and upon an untrodden path. As a man that has recently called-time on the steady, professional ‘career’ to venture into the wilds of the self-employed ‘gig-economy’, who owns a campervan and hasn’t paid for any overnight spot in two years, I am always on the lookout for my very own ‘The Beach’ location. I love the mystery, the intrigue and the feeling of doing something ever so slightly frowned upon.

We’ve stayed in some stunning marinas where you can plug in the AC, use the hot showers and go for a number-two without your knees round your head. Nonetheless, maybe because of my campervan background, or perhaps my northern blood, for me the true adventure is found outside of these oases of the ocean.

Freedom is a powerful feeling and you only need a second to consider the history of ships to know they have always represented the ultimate freedom – freedom from the law, freedom from taxes, freedom to rob, to claim distant lands and to pillage. We spend our lives adhering to static convention: put your roots down, build an extension, commute on this train to be on time for this job, for this boss. Keep focused on the family and filling-up the fridge as song-writing bard, Justin Currie once told us. Well I say f*ck ‘em. I’ll drop my anchor in the blue waters and for a week at least, write my own damn rule book – it’s a pirate’s life for me!