First full day sail of the trip as the Bora wind has cleared out. An early start as it’s about 40 miles as the crow flies and I’ve still yet to see how the boat handles and what speeds she’ll get. At 46′ I’m thinking around 7 or 8 in the right conditions but 40 miles can become 60 or more if things don’t work in your favour. Forecasts are for F4-5 in the morning drop on to F2-3 in the afternoon, consistently out of the NE.
The winds picked up almost immediately as we left the harbour entrance. We’d already unfurled our main during the approach and the boat surged ahead. THe crew got the head sail open and we turned to SE, our course for the day. It was chilly for late May and lingering cloud cover kept the temperature from rising. Looking ahead it was clear that the wind was rising steadily. 1st mate Keith got us reeled sharpish and the boat settled. Under two reefs in the main and a handkerchief up front we were still making about 9 knots. The boat handles like a dream — responsive but also sturdy and seaworthy. Like How I imagine a Bentley would feel, at speed, on the autobahn.
The waves continue to build and develop crests, the occasional one breaking over the side we are close reached. Some crew were beginning to look a bit unwell. At this point were making a solid 9 knots and the wind was a steady F6. The boat had no problem with it and was loving it, singing along under the reduced but nearly perfectly balanced sails.
We hove-to around mid-day to give everyone a break but the gentle undulating of the heavy seas actually trigger a bit of seasickness in one member of crew, unfortunately. We turned back to our course, trimmed the sails and took off. It was clear that the seas were beginning to calm and the wind drop. This had been predicted and was a relief to see materialise for much of the crew. WIthin a few minutes we had dropped from F6 to a F2 and then quickly to a F0. The steep, breaking waves settled as quickly as a bathtub might after a big splash. We found ourselves becalmed on a glassy sea. We’d unfurled the main and headsail but there was nothing to it; we weren’t making any headway. TIme to fire up the engine.
We motor sailed the rest of the way — about 7 miles — to the town of Mali Losinj. This isn’t a travelogue but suffice it to say that it is a pristine town with an immaculately maintained harbour. In high season it must be buzzing with tourists off the ferries and sailors and crew from one of the many yachts that can berth here. It was a treat to see it quiet and calm. I was expecting a rundown, sleepy fishing village but was surprised to see a town more like the old port in Nice than what I had imagined.
A good but quiet crew dinner and an early night. People were clearly tired from a long day on the water and the nautical dramatics of the morning.
Day 4 looks nearly becalmed and the crew have a free morning before we head off to Olib. Perhaps there I will find the sleepy village I’d imagined Mali Losinj to be.