News Home Video Gallery Newsletters Cruising Int Photo Gallery
Sail-World.com : Sailing Sardinia and Corsica- An enticing mix of French and Italian
Sailing Sardinia and Corsica- An enticing mix of French and Italian


'Another tough day on the Med'    Trevor Joyce    Click Here to view large photo

An enticing mix of French and Italian culture and cuisine but with a mysterious third dimension that sets them apart from each other and from their mother countries.

My first day-time vision of Sardinia was when I opened the shutters of my hotel room in Portisco, having arrived the previous evening. At anchor in front of my room was a 35 metre motor yacht with two fully rigged Farr 40’s on davits on either side and a helicopter pad on the stern. One of the Farrs was being lowered into the custody of a sizeable RIB before setting off for nearby Porto Cervo and the Yacht Club Costa Smerelda to compete in the World Farr 40 championships. It soon became evident that such vessels are the norm rather than the exception along this the Emerald Coast.

I was in Portisco to participate in the somewhat less prestigious Bonifacio Yacht Rally, but I hasten to add, somewhat less expensive as well. The rally yachts, all less than 16 meters long, had been chartered for a modest fee while the numbers for the Farr 40 exercise did not bear thinking about; mother ship, helicopter, chase boat, racing yachts, crews etc.

The north coast of Sardinia between Tavolara and Santa Teresa Gallura is stark, rocky and the sea a distinctive emerald green but commanding of respect by navigators. It is also important to sail this coast at the right time of the year because when the Mistral is on during high summer 50 knots of wind is not uncommon. We were there in early September when the prevailing westerly winds were in a comfortable 10 – 15 knot range. Day temperatures were in the high 20’s and the sun shone for an average 8.5 hours a day.

Coincident with the Farr regatta was the world maxi championship and on one of our lay days we took the rally RIB and became spectators on the race course; fourteen super maxis all approaching the start at better than 12 knots close hauled! This was breathtaking stuff but more especially so when one of them had to bail out at the last second or clean up the committee boat.

The old town of Bonifacio -  Trevor Joyce  
The islands of the Maddalena Archipelago in the straits between Sardinia and nearby Corsica are all included in a national park and the efforts to protect them from the vagaries of mass tourism are impeccable. Anchoring is forbidden but mooring buoys are provided while barbeques are not allowed in case a fire breaks loose and damages the delicately balanced environment. There is only one town so population pressure is fortunately minimal.

At the western end of our meander along this coast is Porto Longonsardo, which huddles beneath the protective bastion of Santa Teresa Gallura, whose lookouts gazed across the straits to Bonifacio to warn of impending Corsican invasions.

Interestingly the origins of both Sardinia and Corsica have the Moors from North Africa and Spain in common, manifested in the Sardo/Corso language and in the flags of the two countries. Sardinia has four Moorish heads and Corsica only one but the symbol is the same. The Sardinians will tell you that the four Moors on their flag represent the fact that it took four Moorish invasions to conquer Sardinia but only one to conquer Corsica. Needless to say this assertion is hotly disputed.

Sardinian cuisine has Italian influences but it is distinctive because it uses lamb, goat and suckling pig to a greater extent than on the mainland. You need to go to Pilu at Freshwater to really experience Sardinian food here in Sydney.

After Porto Longonsardo our rally set off across the nine mile strait to the port city of Bonifacio, perched high above the sea and dripping precariously over the edges of its bleached limestone cliffs. The entrance to the harbour really takes some finding until you are right on top of it. The harbour as a spectacle has no equal in the world in my opinion and it was an easy place for us to spend two days as set out in our rally program. The waterfront and the town above were truly vibrant and the precipitous cobbled road between the two physically demanding for even the fittest of we senior sailors.

The Lavezzi island group, south and east of Bonifacio is the Corsican equivalent of the Maddalenas and while there is a marina we chose to hide behind the granite boulders on the headland of the curiously named Greko Bay. Ashore the landscape has been artistically sculpted over millions of years by the wind so there was plenty to contemplate as we supped on sun downers.

The highly indulgent cruising on this rally was interspersed with the occasional race to keep the adrenalin going and the compliant westerly breezes made the passage races in company with the other nine boats in the fleet the subject of energetic debate about what might have been at the post race dinners. In reality though there was nothing more serious than a twilight race and nothing longer than a couple of hours. On the rare occasions when the wind did not oblige the racing was called off and we would make the passage using the iron genoa.

On the east coast of Corsica is Port Vecchio, with its full service marina; the town above the port offered a challenge similar to Bonifacio and with similar rewards at the top. More interesting though was the excursion the following day into the mountains to Zonza, better than 2,000 meters above sea level and only 20 kilometres from the coast. Here even the conifers defer to the prevailing Mistral by pointing down-wind in exposed locations. The nearby peaks, even higher, are jagged and inviting to rock climbers who dotted the face above the pass on our way back to the coast. No thanks, there’s plenty of room down here for me.

All through the two weeks we had with us the excitable Sergio from the charter company who apart from driving his RIB around as if in a formula one grand prix, helped us with his local knowledge and got us into marinas and harbours where there were no berths available! He also kept an eye on the workings of our yachts, which meant we didn’t have to do it.

This rally is on again in September, 2014. For more information or go to the website.


by Trevor Joyce

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=111090

2:49 PM Fri 21 Jun 2013GMT


Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.







Cruising USA







Springtime Greening: Boaters Tips for Earth Day by BoatUS Foundation/Sail-World Cruising,








How sailors really do have a voice in the future of our oceans by Sandra Whitehouse, Sailors for the Sea,


Message-in-a-bottle record - 102 years by AFP/Sail-World Cruising,








Canadian solo sailor rescued north of Auckland by Sail-World Cruising round-up,




















Free online fuel spill course - how much do you know? by BoatUS Foundation/Sail-World Cruising,












Life-shattering event sends 'rookie' couple sailing the world by Asia News Network/Sail-World Cruising,








3,200-year-old boat found in Croatian waters by Haemus/Sail-World Cruising,


Product of the Week: the LineGrabber
Mediterranean Mooring - How to moor stern-to to a dock or quay
Canadian storm bomb threat - sailors advised: get off the water!
Sailing family condemmed for taking 3-year-old on circumnavigation
New contract-free plan for satellite communicator on your smart phone
Yacht of the Week: The Dashew creation: no sails, but eco-friendly
No laughing! Sailing mistakes I don't want to make
Destination: From Moscow Sea to the White Sea
Land sailors of India on adventure across the Rann
A Paint App to (almost) replace your marine store assistant
Volunteer Canadian rescue team homeless - any offers?
Hilary Lister and Nashwa Al Kindi set a new trans-ocean record
How to anchor and 'never utter a word'
Non-pyrotechnic flares for my boat - Can I or can't I?
Health benefits of sailing
Cruising in the Maldives - some nuts and bolts
ISAF Guide to Offshore Personal Safety for Racing and Cruising
Halyard Tension - a video
Winchrite - for lazy days or extra muscle-power
Researcher examines 'current leaks' that may change the way you sail
Paris off to attempt to circumnavigate the world again   
Need a tow from that helicopter? - watch the video and don't laugh   
Certain oil spill products shown to be ineffective and toxic + Video   
The Constrictor: a powerful 'Queen' of sailing knots!   
Boat painting - simple but best tips   
'It's never just one thing' - Swedish sailors rescued   
Cruising Club of America celebrates outstanding sailors of 2013   
Book of the Week: From the Galley of...   
Two brave women to sail India to Oman across Arabian Sea   
Rhode Island's Classic Yacht Symposium - Registration opens   
Bad Karma as roving American cruising sailor fined in New Zealand   
Another rescue for second-time unlucky solo sailor   
New York to San Fran record attempt - Maserati reaches the Horn   
Finally the book:HMS Bounty, Disaster and Survival in Superstorm Sandy   
Yachts impounded in Mexico - the agony goes on...   
Students achieve robot boat Atlantic Crossing - but not as planned   
Endurance Award for cruising sailors, new worldwide award for 2014   
It's coming. Dodgers/biminis to be solar power producers   
New Maldives rule - yachts can stay six months   
Unmanned tsunami boat takes three years to reach Taiwan   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
X6XL VIR Cru USA