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Go West 

We catch up with the now ‘not so novice’ cruiser on board Two Drifters 

One moment I was quietly relaxing on the boat off a beach in Greece and the next I find that I’ve inadvertently agreed to ‘Go west’ with the aim of getting to the Canaries and across to the Caribbean.  That’s over 5,000 miles in a matter of months and an awful lot of days at sea to contend with!

Don’t get me wrong I love sailing and I love the Caribbean, but putting the two together for an inexperienced offshore sailor, and with a dog on board, is a little daunting to say the least.  My husband, a qualified RYA Yachtmaster and sailing fanatic is cock-a-hoop. Finally, his dream of crossing an ocean on our Lagoon 440 catamaran is about to come a reality. 

But there’s a long way to go first, and I’m not just talking about miles under our belt.  Firstly, we have to figure out when we will do the Atlantic crossing.  While many venture on their own, we like the idea of doing it with an organised group; after all there’s safety in numbers. So we have a choice of the ARC which leaves the Canaries in November or Cornell’s Odyssey which has November or January departures.  We opt for the Odyssey in January as it’s a smaller, more intimate rally and will give us more time to prepare and also to explore Gibraltar, Portugal and Canaries beforehand.

And so we begin our journey from Greece, travelling past Italy, Sicily, Sardinia, the Balearics and Spain.  On one hand we’re passage making, but on the other there’s still chance to explore some areas we’ve not been to before.

Southern Sardinia was the biggest surprise and I wasn’t complaining when our two-day stopover turned into a week due to the weather.  With pristine white-sand beaches, turquoise-blue sea, an array of sheltered anchorages and the most amazing food I’ve tasted in months, it certainly ticked a lot of boxes. 

Travelling from Sicily, our Sardinian landing point was Villasimius, on the south eastern tip, which offers a modern (although a tad expensive) marina as well as a great anchorage and a local restaurant Mesa de Janas. Visit this fabulous restaurant on a Thursday evening and you can enjoy a live jazz and blues band while eating pizza or freshly-caught fish.

As we sailed up the west coast of Sardinia, while the beaches and water were still as lovely, the prices in bars and restaurants were notably cheaper.  I wish we could have stayed for longer, but it’s an area I can’t wait to go back to again.

So now as we head to Gibraltar and Portugal, I have to face my next big challenge this season as, while I’ve now got a couple of night watches under my belt, this will be the first time we’ll have sailed for longer than overnight.  Expecting four days at sea, I can’t help but have more than a little anxiety and trepidation as to how I – and our eight-year-old cocker spaniel – will cope with this part of the journey. 

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