Still in great company aboard of Gladan, we set off from Palmarola (only 5 NM from Ponza) around 5pm after an afternoon nap, ready to sail 145 NM, all the way to Olbia.
This time, we decided to be more diligent during the overnight sailing and observe shifts of two hours per couple. Gc and I did the second and fourth shifts, which meant we were able to enjoy the stunning sunrise around 6.30 am.
The crossing to Sardinia was very easy, no thunderstorms forcing me to hide mobiles and laptops inside the microwave, no choppy seas making the crossing uncomfortable.
Twenty two hours after leaving Palmarola, we were finally able to see the coast of Sardinia. Thanks to Patty’s tenacity we also caught few fishes along the way.
Speaking of thunderstorms, I recently discovered that catamarans are twice more likely to be hit by lighting than monohulls. Is that so?
Apparently the original claim was from Boat US magazine, that cited their insurance statistics to support it. I’ve been reading through people’s comments on the topic, on cruisers forum, and some mention that the reason why could be that catamarans, being wider than monohulls, are generally moored at the end of the dock, having no shielding at all on the open-water side. That would make them more susceptible to lighting than their ‘thinner brothers’, docked side-by-side. Whether the claim it’s true or not, every sailor knows that the best way to deal with lighting it’s avoiding it!
As soon as we got to the Gulf of Olbia, we were immediately welcomed by Gc’s friend, Cesare, who came towards us with his powerful Zodiac. Confirming what we had read on Navionics, Cesare suggested for us to moore on the BRIN pontoon, at the very end of Olbia’s Gulf. The mooring is free. There is no water or electricity and it takes almost an hour to get there from the beginning of the Gulf, but you’re right in the middle of Olbia’s town – which is very pretty and full of restaurants and shops – and you pay nothing so… it’s impossible to complain.
Having said goodbye to our dear friends Patty and Salvo, who had to go back to Sicily for a charter, we spent the following week discovering Sardinia.
We moved from Olbia to San Paolo, where we spent a few nights at anchor, just outside the cute little port.
Coming from the Eolian islands, where anchoring was a bit of a nightmare for me – first of all, the sea drops straight away, rapidly descending from 5 to 30 metres (and then 100!); secondly, we had some problems with the windlass’ thermal switch, which was going off every 5 seconds while pulling up the anchor (this is because the original anchor has been replaced and the one we now have, a Rocna 45 Kgs with a gage 12 chain, is oversized compared to the electric motor..) – Sardinia quickly became my new favourite place in the world! Don’t get me wrong, I love the Eolian islands, but in Sardinia there is sand everywhere and the sea bottom is so shallow that putting down 15 metres of chain means you have been extra cautious!
Time went by very quickly, but we managed to wander around the little centre of San Pantaleo, visit Porto Cervo and Porto Rotondo, enjoy the incredible scenery of Cala Ghjlgolu (Molara), Sassi Piatti, Porto Taverna, and visit the beautiful island of Tavolara, the world’s smallest kingdom.
Story goes that Carlo Alberto, King of Sardinia- who was around the area of Tavolara in 1836 – paid a visit to the island as he wanted to hunt its famous gold-teethed goats (due to the lichen and seaweed they were feeding on). While there, he met the only residents of the island, the Bertoleoni family, who hosted the King on the island for three days.
Years later, the King Carlo Alberto recognised Paolo Bertoleoni as the King of Tavolara, the world’s smallest kingdom. Even Queen Victoria, who liked to collect pictures of the leaders of the world, sent her photographer to the island in 1900s, and the picture of Tavolara’s royal family can still be seen hanging on the wall of Buckingham Palace Museum and inside the restaurant of the island.
While on the island, we had the pleasure to meet Tonino, the latest King of Tavolara. Together with him, we celebrated the winners of the Vela Latina’s regatta, which took place during the day, on 15th September. At night, we were invited to the special party, organised by the contestants, and offered great local food- including mussels and wild boar stew- and wine (both Vermentino and Cannonau). The feast went on until late with people dancing and singing on the beach. What an incredible island!