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Day 1. Malta to Lampedusa

Friday, July 27, 2007 permalink [Permalink]

To commemorate 40 years of Malta and Tunisian relations the two governments put on a Yacht Race. 29 boats were to compete but due to some political problems and weather some pulled.

We left Malta at 5am Friday 27th July, it was still dark. All the little and big yachts started to assemble outside the Royal Malta Yacht club at 4:30am and by 5am a voice on the radio said "start". We all set off with sails out at full towards Lampedusa.

Unfortunately the morning start gave us almost no wind and it wasn’t until we made the turn after the island of Gozo that we started to fill the sails.

The winds were sporadic and all over the place but we managed to trim the sails and get around 6.5kt out of her. Mario’s baot is called Sea Change. A 39 foot Bavaria.

After 5 hours of partial motoring we picked up some 30kt winds and the fun started. Mario and I took shifts in the boat, 2 hours on, 2 hours off. Or until the other person has had enough. 12 hours passed quickly and before I knew I was yelling “Land Ho!”. I sighted Lampedusa – the tiny Italian island off the coast of Africa. I thought Malta was small.

We arrived in Lampedusa at 7:15pm and started to drop anchor opposite a small beach which was crowded with Italian holiday makers. Just as we were dropping the anchor we blew the main fuse and we couldn’t drop the anchor. We pulled alongside Jannic 5 (and tied up) while I tried to fix the fuse. Lampedusa didn’t carry any such spares so I put my own ideas into action to overcome the problem.

It was great to just sit there bobbing up and down in the gentle waves and relax. We made the first leg of the trip. Tonight we sleep soundly and we can relax for a few hours of rest. Unfortunately for us, the race organizers forgot to mention that the next leg starts at 12 midnight the following day, not 12 midday – we could have slept in a little longer.

Lampedusa is a nice small island, clean, pretty streets with one main mall which is lined with cafes and restaurants. Italians come to this little island by the planeload. Every 30 minutes a new plane lands delivering a fresh supply of beachgoers.

We ate at a restaurant but because our Italian wasn’t up to scratch, we ordered something that wasn’t on the menu and ended up paying EUR 50.00 each. Ouch.

I think next time we just cook our own on the boat.

The next morning I had a nice relaxing swim in the blue water. I checked the instruments and they reported that the water temperature was 28C. No wonder they all come here – it’s warmer than a heated pool.

Mario cooked a nice pasta and we got some sleep because at midnight we head out to port El Kantaoui, about 9km north of Sousse in Tunisia.

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