23 September, 2012

Night Passage to Mainland Spain

Formentera in the south of Ibiza is definitely the party island of the area.  The beaches have white sand and the water is turquoise blue.  If the wind blows from the west you sit on the eastern shore of the narrow peninsular if it changes you stroll over to the opposite side.  Unfortunately it is much further for the vessel than the 400 meters the sun lovers have to walk.  After a few days R&R I set off for the Spanish mainland on an all nighter sail.  The wind was behind me and Malua fell into a gentle rhythm as I sailed down wind with the genoa winged out with the spinnaker pole.  The main was full and drawing well. 

As is always the case in these situations the wind and swell increased as the sun set.  I pulled one reef in the main and put a few turns in the genoa as the wind increased to over 20 knots.  At about midnight the wind again increased with a true wind almost 35 knots.  It was time for the second reef but I had to turn side on to the waves to get the sail free of wind.  That was when all hell broke loose down below.  The many days of quiet cruising came to a sudden and loud bang as all unsecured items in the cabin came flying off shelves and bunks and landed on the floor.  I pulled the reef in and set the bow down wind for a smoother ride but by this time the swell had increased and we where surfing down the short waves, still going like a train.

Cartagena Bay was in sight as it became light and I was able to duck behind a large headland out of the wind to drop the sails and get Malua ship shape again.  The wind was now blowing right out of the bay and I motored slowly into the large harbour and headed for the marina.  There was no one to be seen at 7:30am so I chose an easy berth to get into a Malua was soon secure alongside.

I took off the wet weather gear, had a shower and settled down to a good breakfast, pleased to have completed another crossing of more than 150 nm without incident.
Cartagena is a lovely town which a number of cruisers have over wintered in so there is no need to describe it.  While I was there a few yachts were preparing for the winter.  The majority to be left while the owners flew home.  I stayed a few days then set off south along the coast.  Not a very anchor friendly place with marinas widely spaced.

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