Sunday 20 August 2017

1st .... and 3rd

The return trip to France has started. Our Pathfinder Astrid will also serve as a carrier to transport our Stornoway 9 foot dinghy back to France.
The St 9 was our first build, a stitch and tape hull with nice lines and 5 strikes per side right out of a Selway Fisher stock design.
We built it as a small outboard dinghy for motoring around our well known bays here in Sardinia in the off season or as a utility tender to my dads boat, which shares its the same color scheme. We actually built it as a gift to my parents back in 2002. It had very little use, mostly because in 2005 I added  an aluminium outboard skiff to the family fleet, proving to be more roomy and powerful for off season use, and able to take a 15HP outboard.
The St9 spent the last fifteen years upturned under a tarp in my parents garden. It is still in perfect shape, bar the varnished transom flaking quite a lot . It will be now ferried back to France to be converted to a lugsail sailing dinghy for my boys Emilio and Filippo to learn how to sail straight from our new house on the waterfront. I will build a sailing rig using an existing gaff mainsail from a previous project,  daggerboard case, rudder, tiller and watertight side benches.
A new life for our 1st build , carried back home inside our 3rd ...
It wil also get a new paint job, possibly a little more striking and wild than the existing to match it's new owners/users eagerness to learn how to sail.

Sunday 13 August 2017

Sunset sail

This picture was taken from afar, my parent's house actually, while we were sailing in the bay. We were probably a good kilometer and a half away so when the photo is zoomed in it actually gets quite blurry.... to me it almost gives a watercolor painting effect to it. A good memory of a nice sunset sail with wife and two kids. And no, they weren't wearing life vests.

Thursday 10 August 2017


Today we went out for a sail on a light northeasterly knowing that the mistral (northwesterly) was forecast for the day. It was forecast at 15 knots . It caught us a little off guard on our return trip (about 5 miles) as it rather built up to 25 knots gusting at 30. We had a longish stretch downwind rounding the island of Molara, and then to beat to get back to our mooring for the remaining two miles. We did so under jib and mizzen as we showed the mainsail already during the downwind stretch. The boat felt safe despite the fact that we had to gybe each time as tacking was not feasible due to the strong wind and waves. Waves, wind gusts, big splashes.... good fun . Our four year old son slept through it all in the shelter of the foredeck....

Thank you John Welsford for designing such a safe and seaworthy boat.

Saturday 5 August 2017

Some heritage

Going for a sail and a swim with the kids and snorkeling gear.
As one starts looking at the seabed around here it is very common to find fragments of terracotta vases. Most are small and don't carry much of a recognisable shape. They are what is left of Roman amphorae that went down as the boat that transported  them hit the coast.
Olbia, the closest town to here, was an important and rich Roman settlement, at the heart of the trade routes in the Mediterranean . As of such many sailing and rowing  boats were navigating these waters hundreds of years ago. The lee shores of the predominant winds , mistral (NW) and scirocco (SE) still carry traces of this traffic in the form of these amphorae fragments.
I have always found it special  to pick up these objects for inspection before putting them back where I found them. The last person handling them was probably a mariner setting up the cargo hold of the vessel he was assigned to,  about two thousand years ago....

Friday 4 August 2017

All eyes peeled

Out with dad's boat we motored to the nearby island of Tavolara where a score of small and not so small boats were circling and admiring  S/Y A. 
S/Y A is the largest private sail-assisted motor yacht in the world.
Built for a Russian zillionaire, she measures 140m LOA and rumored to have cost 400M€. Grace not as abundant as her tonnage in my view...

I was actually more drawn towards this other boat, a traditional fishing boat from our waters. Rigged with a large lateen rig,these are very seaworthy and load carrying capable  boats. They have several variants throughout the Mediterranean , but sharing the same base principle of double ended, wide bilge, and wood carvel construction .
This particular example, converted to a family pleasure craft, was motoring around the Dunkirk like flotilla of bystanders admiring the mind blowing size of S/Y A .
Later during the day,  I noticed a lateen mainsail at the horizon. They probably reverted to hoist the sails to enjoy the afternoon warm thermal winds.

Thursday 3 August 2017


Batman and Robin dropped in during our summer holiday in Sardinia ...