Tag Archives: Sailing

Update #1: Adriatica 2011 – Mission accomplished, returning home

Some five weeks ago I departed from Murter, Croatia, to sail south to the inland sea of Levkada in Greece…

My sailing yacht Helena, a Beneteau Cyclades 39, is very easy to handle and performs well, including the Genaker, one of my trip gadgetsthe ultimate toy. Top speed we reached was 8.7 knots sailing downwind surfing from the waves, faster then the 7.8 knots we reached with the Genaker. I am speeding I think as she was never pushed to before.

The other gadgets are my BBQ – used well – and a Go Pro high definition wide angle video camera. Only my MacBook is not speeding as I wished due to the installation of a Croatian Internet Stick. So I do feel crippled this sailing trip and I cannot upload any of the video’s made.

After 5 weeks one of the lessons I have learned is that I am now an internet addict officially. So my the gadget for my next sailing trip will be  a high-speed satellite internet connection mounted to the boat 🙂

Trip Summary

Since last Tuesday I am heading home, after having thrown my anchor at Ithaca, home of King Odysseus, the ultimate destination of my Odyssean Trail, so time for an update.

The Castle of Odysseus on Ithaka

The Castle of Odysseus on Ithaka

From tomorrow I will be heading back to Croatia. But I have learned from the classics and know never to rush things and unplease the Gods like Odysseus did. So I will sail via Puglia in Italy, enjoy the Italian food and maybe sacrifice some of it to the Gods before returning Helena to Croatia.


Of the first 2 weeks in Croatia worth mentioning are the waterfalls of Skradin, Ancient Split with its palace of Diocletianus, Hvar still the Ibiza of the Adriatic and Stari Grad, the BBQ in a bay in Lastovo, brutely disturbed by a thunderstorm  (Lastovo was forbidden to enter until the end of the 1990’sand we anchored left to departed submarine bunkers and VHF monitor buildings), Sipan (I will retire there once), and Dubrovnik and Cavtat (Port of Entry) in Croatia.

Weather conditions where light the first week and brilliant the second week where we had 28 knots of wind between Hvar and Vis. Fantastic to sail so much wind just in your shorts. Of the 2,5 weeks in Croatia, only one day was with rain. We did get some anchor showers though


In Montenegro I have visited Kotor with it’s immense city walls from around 1500 and also Tivat, where a superyacht marina is being build currently. Nice to be provided with a personal naval assistant.

Perast and the islands “Gospa od Skrpjela” are impressive. Perast was in ancient times the maritime center of the Venetian Empire and the church on one of the islands served as votive center for seafarers.

I see Sveti Stefan as the highlight of the country. Similar to what celebreties of the 1950’s like Sophia Lorenz thought. It attractiveness declined after the death of Tito and the civil war of yugoslavia but now it is being restored to it’s previous glamour. The visit to Montenegro ended in Bar, where we left the country.

The weather was not in favour of us in Montengro, although always sunny and around 28 degrees, we had no wind for almost 1,5 weeks.


Corfu Town was the first city we touched in Greece. It was good to be in Greece but the bureaucratic system is something you don’t want to have to deal with. It took me 4 hours of waiting and formalities to enter the country with my Croatian ship. Later it took me about 2 hours to pay 88 eurocents of taxes in some obscure tax office.

After Corfu town, our destination was Ay Stefanou. A very tranquille bay to anchor and come to strength after the crossing from Montenegro (circa 175 nautical Miles, about 50% of the time 15 – 20 knots of wind from the back). Via Gaios on Paxoi (or Paxos) we arrived at Levkada itself.


Last week it was my intention to have a more holiday oriented week with low profile sailing, just to digest the almost 800 nautical miles already sailed in the first 4 weeks. Finally time to do some decent snorkeling and firing up the BBQ. But also reached my destination: Ithaca.

After Ithaca and having visited the ruins of the castle of King Odysseus (one of the 3 possible locations on the island, not to mention other islands) we went to the Bay of Pandelimon where a Dolphin family was entertaining us during the evening and the next morning. It was the first time I have swum with dolphins.

Weather conditions in the last week was top, no wind in the mornings and around 14:00 the Gods switched on the wind and we got 20 knots of wind almost every day.

Heading to the Needles

Back from an overwhelming sailing trip with the Zeezeilers across the English Channel.


In a staccato summary, we sailed from Boulogne-sur-Mer (France) to Cowes (UK), the Mecca for sailors on the Isle of Wight. After which we left England for Guernsey passing the famous Needles (can you see them on the picture above?). Having visited the other Channel Islands like Alderley and Sark, it was our plan to leave Jersey for Granville last Saturday.

We knew we had windforce 8 to deal with and had to change our destination during sailing, all according to our prepared plan. We entered the harbour of Saint Malo in France just before midnight. This last tour was again overwhelming as it is extremely exciting to surf from waves of over 3 metres and see them break in front of you.

More about the sailing trip (pictures, GPS track etc.) to follow…

Ruta de la Sal: The Race from Barcelona to Ibiza 2010

La Ruta: The Epic Version

01 April, 11:00 AM – Leaving Les Botiques

Marina Port Vell, Barcelona

Marina Port Vell, Barcelona

We prepare the  boat from the largest Genua to the Spi, because you never know. It is unlikely to be raised, but you just want the 150 square metre of extra sails up…

Preparing the sails

Meanwhile the tactical team struggles with iPhones and UMTs modems to get the latest Gribfiles downloaded and save the latest Windguru predictions. Fair weather and southeastern wind of 10-15 knots expected, meaning an upwind course to Ibiza.

Around 1100 AM we leave the harbour with the other participants heading to the startline. In the middle of the harbour one of the bigger ships hit grounds. Damn, that just looks very stupid in front of everyone.

12:10 PM – The Start

Start of Ruta de Sal

At 11:50 AM the 10 minutes before start signal is given. Hundreds of boat make their moves to get the best position for the start. A flag is raised, a delay of the start for 10 minutes. Reasons unknown, no one really cares. All boats, from a classic cut schooner to a big dark Wally, have to rethink their strategy. Stick to the strategy shown to the sharp observer or change plans to the best start approach.

Sailing Ruta de la Sal

We have a good start and because we expect a windshift more from the North we head for a port tack first.

14:35 – The Chase


About 80% of the participants do the goose walk down mainstreet and went starboard along the Spanish Coast. Some brave challengers tried to follow the Eagle and are heading their first tack also to the east expecting the more northern wind.

17:00 PM – The 5 O’Clock Show

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At Five it the ancient wisdom prevails, a “kopstoot” (I am told it is translated something like a “gin with a chaser“) along with our Dutch national bard & boozer André Hazes.

Statistics: Sailed 26.8 nM in 4.8 hours with an (ergo) average speed of 5.54 knots

20:00 PM – Dinner


At 8 oclock we have a lucios dinner. A special prepared meal by the top chefs of Barcelonetta.

The delicate mix of the finests ingredients of Catalunya combined with the splendour of powerfood. No iceberg will stop us with this ménagerie à trois of bami, rice and pasta.

02 April, 00:00 New watch

An impressive moon is born out of the sea. The gracious star-spangled sky is replaced by the full moon coloured to red by the asscloud of Icelandic Vulcano called Eyjafjallajokull. The cloudless night gives a panoramic view over the Balearic Sea lighted by the full moon of Eastern.

Unfortunately this poetry just does not cover for the extreme coldness of that night.

In reality five deepfrozen people dive down looking for their berth. Five just awakened but still sleepy people have to go outside taking an ice-bath. Picking everything up that can provide some shelter (from hot coffee to a nice comfortable warm sock).

Statistics: about 61.30747 nM further from start in 10.8 hours averaging it out at 5.7 knots

11:00 AM – Sailing Racing Sleeping


The old ancient wisdom of racing the Balearic: it is just better to sleep and enjoy.

02 April 13:58 Finish


Raced from Barcelona to Ibiza with S/Y Colombe, a Swan 441 R from 1979 during Eastern. The track distance of the race was 138 nautical Miles (nM), we sailed 152 nM in 25.8 hours and had an average speed of 5.9 knots. We had finished as 2nd in our class.

Colombe crossed the line as second in our class and 10th overall of the ca. 300 participants. “Jay Walker“, a Dutch J-35, finished first in our class and “La Floresta del Mar” a Swan 56, won La Ruta de la Sal overall. The complete overview can be found here.

Time for a drink in the Pacha

More pictures at Flickr (including the directors cut of the return to Barcelona)

The Beancounters Voice

A more quick way of telling about a sailing race would be just showing the numbers. It is the beancounters way of telling a story and it would go something like this:

Raced from Barcelona to Ibiza with S/Y Colombe, a Swan 441 R from 1979 during Eastern. The track distance of the race was 138 nautical Miles (nM), we sailed 152 nM in 25.8 hours and had an average speed of 5.9 knots. We had finished as 2nd in our class.

Nice? This is just the start…

Step 1: Data Visualisation

To get it a little bit more attractive you could start visualizing the data. Using the combined magic of Google Earth, GPSBabel, GPS Visualizer and good old Excel you could tell the story of route, speed, distance, heading as a more attractive story:






Average Speed per Hour Speed per 20 minutes



Speed versus Heading over Time
Measurement Statistics

Shameless Appetizer for Sardegna

Two more weeks before sailing in Sardegna, found the clip on YouTube doing my research, counting down the days 🙂

Added two more books to my library for this trip. The pilot for Corsica and North Sardinia and the Rough Guide to Sardinia.

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First impressions: the Maddelena Archipelago will be beautiful and I hope we can make the crossing to Corsica from Sardinia as Bonifacio looks as a place not to be missed.

Lot of wind to be expected though, crossing the Bonifacio Strait between the islands. The well-known Venturi effect (kiting paradise) will create gale-force winds. Some people will not like it being aboard…

Just as a reminder for myself, the latest weather forecastfor sailing of Sardinia: SardegnaARPA

First Race of the North Sea Regatta 2010

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One of the better races of the Netherlands, was held this weekend in Scheveningen. The Delta Lloyd North Sea Regatta 2010, a three day sailing event along the coast of the North Sea.

I was invited to participate the first races on GfK, a Beneteau First of 40.7 foot. The weather conditions Friday were light, northern wind of around 10-15 knots.

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Around 13:00 the races started in two shifts.

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The Start

It was quite a straight parcours in line with the wind direction. It had a bouy with a spreader in the North and a Gate in the South. Boats were going up and down along the same rhumbline, you just had to be careful not getting sandwiched.

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Sailing the rhumbline

Unfortunately the weather conditions changed to the worse. The second race was cancelled due to fog and we had to return to the harbour. We were not the only ones there.

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For the record, we finished second in our class (ORC-1) that day, just 32 seconds (on 1,5 hours) behind the overall winner of the NSR 2010.

For more pictures see the Flickr Slideshow

Reflection #2: Impressions of S/Y Colombe

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What to say about a classic designed Swan from 1979, the lean and mean racing machine?

First thing is that such a classic racing boat certainly has a charm you feel directly. The very spartan interior doesn’t change the instant affection for the boat, not to mention the sailing.

Cool to be on such a boat during the race for La Ruta de la Sal. Everyone focused on speed and speed only. A slight change in wind and everyone was running to change the sail for the newborn circumstances.

Yelling heist, heist, heist and the Genua 3 was changed into a Genua 4 in less then a minute. Lot of sails and lines on a racing boat although. Could still prefer a good old cruising boat for sailing the Ancient Coasts.

Below my impression of Sailing Yacht Colombe.

The Toolset

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The Wheel The Grinder The Winch

The Mainsail

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The Genua

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Pulling The Lines The Genua

Raising the Spi

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Colombe Sailing

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The complete set can also be view as a Flickr Slideshow (click link)

Reflection #1 on La Ruta de la Sal

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Returned from La Ruta de la Sal for about 3 weeks and (finally) time to look back to the sailing race from Barcelona to Ibiza with S/Y Colombe.

First impression from the pink cloud of experiences, is about the impact of just little week of sailing on your ability to process complex questions about the purpose of life. Sailing has definitely a different impact then holidays like skiing or 3 weeks in France.

So if you ever have some challenging complex thoughts about the purpose of  sitting in the office 8 hours a day. About having a screensharing “Live Meeting” with your colleagues all over the world by phone and internet. About the why of living in a rainy climate with glasshouse grown vegetables or defrosted fresh fish. Just do some sailing!

Whether it is in Spain or along the coast of any other Mediterranean country (Carib might do as well), be gifted by the lightness of thinking!

Schopenhauer: You have to depart before you can arrive

Departure from Schiphol, Amsterdam

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The Road (not so less travelled)

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Arrival at Port Vell, Barcelona

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Colombe , our ship for the race, has it’s homebase in Port Vell in the centre of Barcelona (you can see it in the center of the picture from the plane), although sailing under Dutch flag. The old Cathedral or the Ramblas just a 5-minutes walk. Next to the harbour: Barceloneta, the former dangerous slumps of Barcelona, a good place to go out for drinks and tapas. May I recommend you the Foc bar?

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PS It is more that I would like to dedicate my most “philosophical” quote in this post to Schopenhauer. I don’t think there is anything said close to being well thought off. It is just that there was philosophical course at the University of Groningen called after him during my study. By just only subscribing to it, you got a grant of the government for an extra year studying…

Preparing Colombe

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Colombe is a classic designed Swan 441 R designed by Ron Holland and built in 1979. It has 2 main sails, 4 genua’s, a Genaker and a Spi. No fancy cabins and bedrooms inside, just a large compartment for the sails and to sleep in (although a decent toilet). A lean and mean racing machine.

Without proper preparations no racing, mind you, preparations can make the difference between winning and complete failure. In trying to capture the tension of preparing  the yacht, I attached my camera to the bow and programmed it to take a picture every 30 seconds using an interval timer. The movie is made of circa 450 pictures that have been glued together. The ground idea of this movie came form the inspiring movie Sandpit on Vimeo.

See below “Preparing Colombe” which took us in total about 5 hours. Bear in mind, a mean and lean racing machine designed and designated to win!

Preparing Colombe for the Ruta de la Sal 2010 from Ancient Coasts on Vimeo.

Next Post

So long the preparations, next post will provide you with full disclosure of the ship, the race and it’s crew. So stay tuned.

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Finished the “Ruta de la Sal” 2010

Yesterday we finished the Ruta de la Sal to finish around 13:30. Not everyone was completely happy with the result as we finished as second in our class and 10th overall.

Analysis of the results will follow. For now below our sailed route from Barcelona to Ibiza.

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Sailing from Molat to Iz Veli

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Todays Daily Picture was taken when sailing from the tranquille Molat to Iz Veli in the fourth week of my trip in Croatia.

The sailing was wonderfull. We were heading south and had between 15 – 20 knots wind from the south. We were sailing between islands and could make nice tacks. Because we had no water in the tanks anymore, it was sailing with Speed with the capital S switched on.

We left Molat totally relaxed, however we had to expect bad compay in Iz Veli.

We got Austrian neighboors there, ai, about 2 boats with 8 people each. They kept us awake up to 03:30 hours by drinking, stupid jokes and loud laughing, despite being asked to silence up frequently. I never go to Austria again! But maybe that has more to do on some stupidity on my side when driving back to the Netherlands. I didn’t by a vignette (of ca. EUR 10,=) at the border for the Austrian highways and I was checked before buying one. They fined me with EUR 120,=, how inappropriate ; – )

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