Looking back at 2021 !
Hello there, it’s been a while !
It’s been a year since an article has been published on this blog. And it didn’t happen without good reasons, many things have happened during 2021 season, including :
- Going through the Strait of Gibraltar and creation of a YouTube channel
- Sailing to the Balearic Islands, then very long and awesome holiday
- A collision with rocks during a thunderstorm
- An infernal shipyard in Martigues
- A return to the Balearic Islands to winter in Mallorca
- Intense work to improve comfort and welcome Raquel on board.
You will find more details about these events in the following lines. And a little teasing too, since the 2022 season will start on April 27th !
Miles I've been through
Strait of Gibraltar and a Youtube channel
With the endless works I had to do, leaving Portugal is not an easy task. I get out of the port of Portimão on June 2, 2021 to set sail on Trafalgar despite a boat still dirty from the muddy rains of winter…
Psychologically, I’m not quite ready yet. My professional mission is over since a week but I have barely returned the keys of my rented Fiat Panda for a couple of days and sold my surfboard at the same time. My sailor’s reflexes are still there, I am feeling a little bit sick at the start but the weather remains pretty nice with me so I almost fly to reach the Gulf of Cadiz.
Meanwhile, I’m starting to use the brand new GoPro 8 Black, which I was able to fund with the proceeds from my winter mission.
Because yes, unlike 2020, this year I earned money ! Enough to bring my comfort on board up to a decent level with:
- a brand new motorized dinghy – no more rowing oars against the current at nightfall to fetch water from an unsanitary public puppy infested with stray dogs and rats who know how to swim and climb the chains of my anchorage to invite themselves on board;
- a custom-made lazy-bag that allows me to store my mainsail in less than two minutes while protecting it from the sun;
- sheets and braces for my spinnaker that I have never been able to hoist yet;
- brand new water tanks built with my own hands.
Well, that’s for my daily life. Going back to the videos, the idea isn’t new to me because I tried to be a musician and shot videoclips. So I’ve always wanted to try to make beautiful images and with a lifestyle like this one, time to play is on !
So I shoot my first “rushes” in the Gulf of Cadiz, anchored in Trafalgar and until the exit of the Strait of Gibraltar, where I publish my very first video.
We're cool, ain't we ?
Awesome and long holiday in the Balearic Islands
The crossing of the Alboran Sea feels like eternity : 2 weeks without a wind with a passage of Cape Cabo de Gata under a night of lightning ! Then, a perfect weather window allows me to go from Cabo de Gata to Formentera in two days and two nights.
So I’ve made it to the Balearic Islands! Formentera is a small island located south of Ibiza. In front of the port, you can anchor and let yourself be lulled (irony) by the artificial swell generated by the maxi-yachts and shuttles from Ibiza. It doesn’t take me long to meet some super nice friends and visit every anchorage in the area, one by one. I was planning to stay for three days, I finally stay three weeks ! In the end, necessity calls and I raise anchor to set sail for Menorca.
And suddenly… no wind. It starts to blow and then stops as soon as I hoist the sails. I turn on the engine and helm. I helm by day and I helm by night. When I leave the steering gear for a few seconds to go to the toilets or make myself a sandwich, Øya is going everywhere but not in the right direction. So, logically and for the first time, I’m starting to get angry. I finally manage to anchor in Mallorca, somewhere sheltered from the wind. The place is supposed to be next to the diesel station, but of course the wind changes, the sea rises and I have to leave at night with my meal on the fire. A few minutes later, my engine is failing: it’s a breakdown!
Anyway, I reach Menorca on the 7th of July and I’ll be staying there until August 21st! I welcome the family and my nephews and nieces discover the joys of seasickness, fishing from the boat, touring with the dinghy… I meet travelers in a good mood, mainly Barcelonans and French.
And then comes July 31. A thunderstorm illuminates the sky on the horizon. I’m ready. Well, no. When the gust of 60 knots comes, the anchorage is swept away. It takes 19 seconds to unhook the two anchors that I had put in preventive. I thought I knew, now I know for real. Morning comes to show me statements of the storm : my speed regulator (autopilot) is out of service because the wind pushed Øya’s stern against the rocks.
I find a crew member, and we leave Menorca to reach Martigues, the shipyard of Port Maritima.
Hell of yard a and holidays in Corsica
THolidays are over. I am well behind schedule and on August 28, I put Øya out of waters. The final statements are bad. The shell is infested with bubbles, a sign of unhealthy chemical reactions between the layers of paint. Watch it !
I sand the hull, we paint in the wind with a gun, I disc large blocks of solid steel to make way for the new speed regulator, we strip pipes colonized by oysters … And when the boat is back in the water, it’s when I have ankle-deep water inside that I realize I’ve forgotten a plug. So I spend the rest of the afternoon emptying and cleaning the boat. You don’t have the opportunity to sink stupidly everyday…
I get help from friends from Marseille, Nîmes and meet nice neighbors. The work is really demanding, and when my cousin arrives, who was supposed to spend holidays on the boat, I use him to finish the installation of my new speed regulator!
During the work
Beautiful painting, isn’t it ?
We arrive in Corsica, by engine of course, and spend good moments there. A very nice week. Then comes to join us Pauline, the teammate who will help me to transport Øya to the Canary Islands. My cousin leaves, and we cast off Bonifacio in the direction of Menorca.
The crossing is through rough sea. Autumn is coming quickly and the waves are swelling . I estimate 4m of trought at the strongest with a wind established at 30 knots, gusts at 40. We are close and Øya is doing well. Pauline and I don’t feel unsafe. Even so, we are in a boat in bad weather and I do not want the sea to rough more. The Mediterranean swell is short and I really don’t want to go back to Sardinia.
Finally weather reports were right, and after our change of board, the conditions improve, and we arrive in Menorca … to the engine!
It’s October 8th, Pauline leaves the deck. Apparently she does not feels to sail until the Canary Islands, I continue alone to Mallorca where I enjoy Cabrera. We had broken some equipment during the crossing and I find myself being stressed, running out of time and money. So I decided to stay in Mallorca. A beautiful navigation like that, it is better to postpone it than to spoil it!
And it’s perfect as it is because I just matched with Raquel.
Wintering in Palma and meeting raquel
October 2021, I enjoy the Indian summer at anchor while working for a new client. I then take a place at the port of Palma de Mallorca where I will stay until April 27, 2022.
I meet Raquel, a very nice Mallorcan. Nomadic by birth, she speaks many languages including French. She wants to travel and be a digital nomad, our understanding goes the right way and I naturally invite her to move on board.
The hull of Øya measures 9.6m; alone it’s enough but for two, it can be tight to live full time here. In addition, this boat is 45 years old and suffers from a largely sloppy interior design at its build. So we start to work to redo the front cabin: we absolutely need operational storage spaces that are more or less pleasing to the eye because it is our home!
Meanwhile, Raquel, who is a psychologist, sets up her freelance company. I work for another client on a full-time assignment. The work rate is intense and you have to be irreproachable on all fronts because there is no question of neglecting my professional mission or the boat. Indeed, on April 27 the marina is reserved for a regatta, so ready or not, we are expelled from the port!
It is a period without navigation but very rich on all other aspects: the 2022 season, professional and personal goals. In the short, medium and long term.
The 2022 season will start in the Balearic Islands until at least May, then we'll see!
In any case, I will resume writing articles and producing videos, it is an experience that fascinates me.