I slipped the lines this morning at 0610 and made my way out into an expected F4 on the nose in a lumpy sea under grey skies. The forecast is for the wind to drop but not till much later. Helpfully it is forecast to veer and the sun is due to make an appearance. In the meantime, I am happy to plod on down the coast. I have to say it is good to be out of the marina, not a very pleasant ‘stop over’ for all sorts of reasons although the micro-brewery was a highlight. The oppressive Ostia housing viewed as I pass sort of sums it up.

Oppressive Ostia apartment blocks

One of our long standing employees, the very capable Emma, left yesterday to take on new challenges. One of the staff drew a cheeky cartoon on the envelope of her leaving card, he could have given Hejira a mast though!

Emmas leaving card envelope

It is clear that many of the fishing vessels and some of the smaller pleasure craft have not made the discretionary investment in the AIS system. This is not surprising as it is expensive and this situation is not unique to Italy, it does however confirm (as if it were necessary) that a watch cannot be kept only electronically and necessitates the use of the old fashioned eyeball – I’ll position that alarm closer to my ear tonight! I have just seen my first lobster pot marker buoy since leaving Nice – just another reminder about watch keeping.

At 12.20 there was sufficient angle on the wind to deploy the full main and derive a little extra drive and stability expecting to pinch up onto our course before long as the wind goes round and the sea breeze further helps the wind to veer. The angle will continue to be too tight for the jib unfortunately. And I can happily report that the sun is out !

Staying inshore does give a better view of the coast and the towns as we pass. Anzio was the location of ‘Operation Shingle’ in February 1944 when the Allies landed to be opposed by German troops (not Italians – I resist being defamatory) and the campaign led to the capture of Rome. A film ‘Anzio’ starring Robert Mitchum based on a book by Wynford Vaughan-Thomas was released in 1968. On the 18th of February 1944, the British light cruiser ‘Penelope’ was struck here by two torpedoes and sunk with the loss of 417 crew. I resist trying to pass this history off in the way of the irritating Timothy West (poor Pru has a problem) smugly imparting knowledge in his Canal Journey programmes on TV as though he is naturally fully conversant with the minutiae of the various locations they visit. No, I confess, in my case, it’s all down to Wikipedia !

Anzio from offshore