Kurukulla at Anegada, BVI

Thursday, 29 July 2010

A sojourn at Rab.

The southerly wind blew through to be replaced by 25kts of North Easterly forcing a relatively early start to the day and a rapid departure from Sahara. Given the wind direction it was obvious that the preferred passage to Rab town would be via the East coast and then up the Barbetski Canal, the narrow strip of water that separates Rab from the small island of Dolin. For the first few miles it was a fantastic run downwind but this was not to last. The wind backed round to the SW putting me on a beam reach in flat sea but with the wind strong enough to require two reefs. Skidding along at six to seven knots it seemed a good time for lunch however Neptune had other ideas. By the time I had made up two rolls and dug a beer out of the fridge the wind had dropped to a light breeze and then proceeded to clock round onto the nose! Enough. The iron foresail was hoisted (i.e. engine started) and lunch was eaten under engine whilst the wind decided what to do next. It did exactly nothing; for the afternoon there was no wind at all and the second half of the passage to Rab was, perforce, a motoring and battery charging trip.

Once at Rab the sea was calm enough to anchor outside the main harbour, off one of the swimming beaches and it was here that we stayed for the next three days. What wind there was conveniently coming from the north and therefore of no consequence other than the fact that it carried all of the warm water out of the bay and off to sea leaving cold water from the depths in it's place. I've never known such cold water in Croatia, even in the outer islands!

After this lazy period at anchor it was time to move into the inner anchorage, strap on the backpack and visit the supermarket to stock up. That achieved we motored into Rab inner harbour, berthing alongside the public quay, to top up with water, 10 kuna (i.e. £1.25p); what a difference to the prices charged by the marinas!

By this stage David, in his boat Camilla, had re-established communications and we agreed to meet up in the uninhabited cove, Uvala Mag, on the southern tip of Rab, so back down the canal it was, again under engine for lack of wind. I anchored in Uvala Mag amongst a collection of small powerboats at about 1400 and David, plus new crew, arrived three hours later. By the evening the others had all departed and our evening was spent enjoying another BBQ on the now deserted beach.

Today, dawned with a brisk South Westerly blowing so we decided to make a brief downwind passage to Sahara, yet again, which although offering more or less the same level of shelter offers a rather larger and better sandy beach to swim from. I anchored Kurukulla in 3m of water (virtually no tides here!) at 1215, Camilla anchoring some 10 minutes later 30m off my stern, and here we will stay for 24 hours whilst the Jugo (local name for Sirocco) blows through.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Repair and back to Rab

Good to their word, the parts from Ramina Pomorstvo (Profurl Agents) arrived just after mid day on Tuesday. Four hours later and the Profurl was fully re-assembled and back in place. To date it is working perfectly with no visible evidence of grease escaping, always a good sign, especially as the only suitable grease I could get was jet black in colour! In the meantime David had departed in Camilla, with Francesco his new crew, and set off for an anchorage ten miles up the coast. The plan had been that I would meet them there, that evening or the next day depending how the reassembly of the Profurl went. This time it was David's turn to suffer a gear failure. His vang had broken whilst he was hoisting his mainsail and he therefore returned to Pomer Marina and set off into Pula, by bus, to purchase the new cordage he needed. Both boats fixed we finally set off in company the following day, on a very pleasant beam reach with Kurukulla under asymmetric spinnaker, to return to Rab via the Osor Canal (It opens twice a day only 0900 and 1700 due to a low swing bridge; we made the 1700 opening). That night was passed at anchor in Martinscica on the SSW tip of Cres, a beautiful, almost deserted, anchorage where both boats were rafted up. The crossing next day to Rab was uneventful and a second opportunity to get the asymmetric spinnaker up; David motored on ahead to replenish water in Rab town and then we rendezvoused just outside the harbour for a passage round to Sahara Beach on the NE coast of the island, by now under engine in a flat calm. It was a late afternoon arrival followed by yet another barbecue on the beach.
Today Camilla has returned to Pomer for yet another crew change and I have decided to remain in Sahara for another night to ride out a southerly wind forecast and then move around to Rab town on Saturday to re victual and water ship. More from there!

Monday, 19 July 2010

Cres to Pula via Rab

The sail to Rab from Cres should have been a beam reach in a brisk easterly breeze if only the wind had held up and Kurukulla had not had different ideas! At about the halfway point, it was 12 miles in total, I had taken the decision that the wind was getting rather too light and the time had come to hoist the asymmetric spinnaker. Having retrieved the sail from the depths of the fore-cabin, for it's first outing of the season, I wandered up to the foredeck only to find a selection of small round steel balls in the leeward scupper, these having escaped from the lower bearing of the “Profurl” foresail roller. All thoughts of hoisting a spinnaker were immediately forgotten! I ghosted into Rab under Main and No2 Genoa (with the spinnaker halyard rigged to the bow just in case), anchoring under sail and dropping both on arrival. On arrival I rigged sheet plastic around the bow to prevent any parts making an escape bit over the side and set about stripping the Profurl drum. The bearing was entirely shot, as were the two grease seals which were supposed to be keeping the grease in and salt water out. After a struggle with three large circlips and a bit of judicious hammering the seals and bearing were out and the Profurl dismantled. Fortunately the part numbers on the original items were visible and a quick check on the internet confirmed their continuing availability via a UK supplier at a price of ~ £50 . I next managed to trace a Profurl Agent in Croatia and telephoned them to discover whether they had the necessary parts; an e-mail the following day confirmed that they had, at a price of €600 (£540). As you can imagine it did not take me long to telephone them and protest! The reply was that they were very sorry but it should have been 600 Kuna (~ £72) and after a bit more debate this was agreed to include the cost of delivery. They are due to arrive at Pomer Marina ( near Pula) tomorrow, of which more later.
Shortly after both boats arrived in the anchorage off Rab town, Camilla is still in company, who should arrive but Tranquillo, with Derek and Awilda aboard. After many hellos and how did you find us (answer purely by chance!) all three crews went for a very good meal ashore in the old town. Next day Kurukulla and Camilla set off for Sahara anchorage at the north of the island with Tranquillo following a day later. At Sahara the two boats rafted up and passed a very pleasant two days sunning, swimming and barbecuing in the beach each evening. There literally was no wind and hence no chance of sailing.
Friday morning dawned with a moderate NE wind blowing hence we took our leave of Tranquillo and set off at 0700 to make passage towards Pula, from where two of Camilla's crew were due to leave in two days time and to where my spares could be consigned. I had jury rigged the fore-stay foil such that I had a usable foil for conventional hoisting and lowering. As it happened the wind lasted only three hours and the rest of the day was spent motoring to reach our destination by sunset. We finally anchored in the bay at Medulin, near Pomer Marina and only 8 km from Pula, at 1930 and set about preparing a joint supper.
Next day I made payment via the Post Office to the Profurl Agent (they could not or would not accept a credit card number!) and we arranged a hire car to transport David's departing crew, Jamie, to Trieste airport. On completion Camilla moved into Pomer Marina and I anchored off 100m away, (€70 per night in the marina,for one person, seemed a bit steep!); we then we all set off for a night in Pula to see the sights. Next day I drove Jamie the 80 miles to Trieste, accompanied by Bob and in torrential rain!, whist David stood watch over the boats which was just as well as we have since had 36 hours of 25 knot winds. On return to Pomer Bob then took the car on to Zadar (it broke down on him on the way but that is another story!). By this time David's new crew, Francesco had joined and the three of us sat down to a supper cooked in Kurukulla but served in Camilla, (this was to avoid more than one person suffering a very wet and windy dinghy ride).
Today Camilla has also moved out from her extremely uncomfortable berth on the outer wall of the marina and anchored near Kurukulla, at which point the wind immediately dropped!. An hour later, without any pre planning, who should arrive but Tranquillo; how Derek does it I do not know but he should be a professional tracker! Tonight it is David cooking. Tomorrow, Tuesday, God willing the spare parts arrive and so, in early afternoon, Kurukulla should be under-way again with a working Profurl.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Onwards and ever upwards, on the wind!

After the very pleasant evening anchored in Uvala Krknjas, on the island of Drevnik Veli Camilla and Kurukulla set sail in company to continue our passage NW against the prevailing winds. The first part of the passage took us through the inshore passage N of Drevnik, close reaching, along the coast towards Rogoznica where we set off on the beat to the island of Kaprije, off the coast at Sibenik. Here we anchored for the night, ignoring the buoys, which had been laid since the pilot was written, preferring to use our own ground-tackle, (you know the state of maintenance of your own gear, the sight of the occasional mooring buoy lying on the beach does nothing for ones confidence in them!). The water was crystal clear but cool in these islands, still warm enough to be enjoyable for a swim though. Next day we set off for the island of Murter and anchored in the bay at Kosirina, taking advantage of the camp-site bar ashore for a pre-dinner drink as the sun set. Our progress north was relatively leisurely as David had a crew change planned in Zadar the following weekend, hence we were under no pressure. The next day saw us negotiating the Pasmanski Canal, a relatively narrow and shallow stretch of water separating the island of Pasman from the mainland, in very light and flooky winds and from there onwards to Zadar at a somewhat better pace but still beating against the NW winds. At Zadar we decided to have a night in the town marina and a meal ashore in order to say goodbye to Raf', David's crew, who had to leave at 0500 the next day.

The next morning David and I took advantage of the local shops and chandlers to resupply our boats. David's next crew members were not arriving for another 48 hours so time was not pressing. The only pressing matter was to get out of the marina early enough to avoid paying another 60 Euro for a second night! In the mid afternoon we set off, both single handed, for the anchorage at the northern end of Otoc Ugljan, an anchorage which is easy to access, good holding and one I had used several times last year. Other than a short move to an adjacent bay to avoid the worst of the wind we passed the next two days doing a bit of maintenance and cleaning up the boats, interspersed with the occasional swim and glass of beer! On Friday evening David set off to collect his new crew, from the Zadar fuelling jetty (closed at that time of night and therefore an easy pick-up point) returning to the anchorage about 2300.

Next morning we set off for a short leg to Molat where we went alongside the town quay, originally to drop off a friend of one of David's new crew members and to pick up fresh victuals. Molat is a delightful tiny port and almost unspoilt by tourism, almost! After a pair of mid afternoon beers staying the night seemed a better option and hence we ate ashore again in the local fish restaurant.

From here it was onwards to the next overnight anchorage at Vele Orjule, near Losinj. Having agreed to meet at a lunchtime anchorage we set off independently, I spent a very pleasant two hours swimming and sunning in the appointed place, David never did find it but we both arrived at Orjule at approximately the same time, 2000. Curry supper on-board Camilla and then a late evening swim before bed.

Our plan for the next day was to finish in Rab with a lunch stop in Uvala Vrc, southern tip of Cres. This changed however on arrival in Vrc. Following a fantastic sail, in which both boats at last managed to get their spinnakers up, we arrived in Cres. The cove in which we anchored was devastatingly beautiful, almost deserted and far too attractive to leave after such a short stay so plans were modified and we stayed the night. There followed a pasta supper for all and a film-night on Kurukulla, topped off with a late night swim for some.

This morning has dawned bright and clear with a forecast S/SE wind blowing at 15 kts so it will be a lively sail to Rab.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Northwards towards Split

Finally, getting away from the Dubrovnik area, we set sail at 0400 to move north on the easterly breeze of the early morning, leaving from Kolocep, one of my favorite anchorages. The previous evening was spent enjoying an excellent steak in one of the waterfront restaurants and topping up the final elements missing from the on board larder! The passage northwards was via the inland sea, beam reaching in 12 - 18 kts right through until 1200 when the NW wind set in and the engine went on to avoid a frustrating beat to windward in light and flooky winds. The night was spent in the marina at Orebic, on the opposite side of the straits from Korculla, birthplace of Marco Polo. Next morning I again set sail early to continue the passage north. After another spanking good sail I arrived in the Kornati Islands and met up with David Ashby in his yacht CAMILLA. David promptly invited me to join him and his crew for a protracted lunch lasting until 2200! The next morning we made contact with Derek and Awilda (Tranquillo) who were also in the islands and after a morning coffee on board CAMILLA we all set off in our respective directions which for me was a passage north to Rojak on the island of Solta in order to refuel. A very satisfying reach at 7 kts along the north shore of the island was followed by a beat to windward to rejoin David at Otoc Drevnik Veli, an island to the west of Split. This time dinner was chez Kurukulla and ended at 2359!