Ibiza!

 Home Up Mallorca/Menorca

Next stop was Ibiza, party capital of the Med,  where it is de rigeur to be 19, get very drunk and make a prat of yourself.  So bearing Barry's recent track record in mind we gave Ibiza town a miss and mostly saw Ibiza through binoculars whilst swinging at anchor in lovely bays. That was until...

....in mid June with some bad southerly weather coming in we anchored in Cala Portinatx on northern Ibiza, which is open only N to NW. We anchored in sand and weed depth 8 metres with a 30KG Bruce and 40 metres of chain. Protected by the island the southerly wind only ever reached around 10/12 knots and reduced during the night.

The following morning approaching midday we went ashore to the supermarket. It was a lovely day, sun and blue skies with next to no wind.  On our way back to the dinghy with our groceries we decided to stop for a pizza and a drink in a bar looking out of the bay. As we ordered we noticed that the sea outside the bay had started to build, but as the wind was still southerly that really wasn't a concern.  The beers arrived and so did the wind!  Table cloths blew off the table and all of a sudden the wind was northerly.  We just ran.. by the time we reached the beach (from where we had lost sight of Samarang around a small headland) the wind had increased still further and boats were sounding their horns  - a sure sign that something very bad was happening!!  What had been an idyllic sunny bay by now resembled the inside of an industrial washing machine and launching the dinghy had become very difficult (progress would have been impossible without our 15hp outboard). As soon as we cleared the headland (2-300 yards) we could see that Samarang had dragged her anchor and been driven aground.  She was being lifted by each wave and pounded against the rocks. Once we were able to get aboard, we were able to wedge our largest fenders between the boat and the rocks to protect the hull from further damage. That done, and because the waves blowing into the bay were now large enough to occasionally float the boat, we were able - after a few attempts, under full power, to drive Samarang afloat and then Barry held her off under engine whilst Lindy went forward and tried to recover the anchor so as to allow us to get further off the rocks.  This wasn't easy as, in addition to the wind and driving rain, we were surrounded by other boats who were also dragging and were motoring to support their anchors and keep off the rocks themselves.  But we managed eventually, and were then able to slowly make our way to the eastern side of the bay and hold the boat under engine, head to wind, in the lee of the headland (we couldn't anchor there because of the number of small boats on permanent moorings) until the wind began to reduce, and back, and we could re-anchor.

Naturally once the wind had died and we'd successfully re-anchored, our first step was to examine the damage.   From what we could see, most of the damage looked to be above the waterline though we wouldn't be able to inspect the keel and rudder until we could have Samarang lifted.  Above the water line the starboard bow looked pretty ugly, heavily gouged and scratched, but not holed.  Thank God for steel!  There's little doubt that a GRP hull would have been holed by the pounding that we'd taken. 

Our other preoccupation was performing multiple post mortems of the days events:

What could we have done differently?  Everytime we analyse it we come to the same answer, really not much.  Obviously we could not have gone ashore, but we have to go ashore some time and the conditions were benign; no bad weather was forecast and we had our anchor well dug in and plenty of chain out, in what seemed a well protected bay.   According to friends anchored close by, the wind built from S F1/2 to N-NE F6/7 over a period of around 15 minutes. The higher wind speed was accompanied initially by stronger gusts during one of which Samarang’s anchor appeared to let go completely and was on the rocks in a couple of minutes.  You really can't legislate for that!

wpe9.jpg (31928 bytes) Licking our wounds, our next job was to get Samarang checked so that we could make a decision about where to get the repairs completed and the nearest likely harbour was Santa Eulalia only about 15 miles away.  We sailed and motored there watching a huge thunderstorm on the radar and madly trying to calculate whether we could avoid it.  Of course not!  So we reduced sail, put on our waterproofs and watched as the dark smudge on the horizon slowly expanded to cover the entire sky.  Then the heavens opened, the wind increased to 35 knots and went through 180°, and half an hour later it was back to bright sunshine. wpeC.jpg (39328 bytes)
Eulalia was busy and expensive - it was almost peak season.  It was also a surprisingly nice place and, best of all, had a large travel lift, a well run boat yard and a good repair facility.  This was run by Ricardo, an Ibizan racing cyclist who spoke fluent English with a pronounced South Wales accent, acquired after several years studying in Cardiff.  Barry had grown up in Bristol so sitting in Ricardo's office and discussing boat repairs with someone who sounded (and also actually looked) Welsh was a slightly otherworldly experience - could have been in Tiger Bay boyo!  Ricardo and the team did an excellent job -  they were prepping the boat within minutes of us being out of the water and finished in 3-4 days.  We took the opportunity to wash off, re-antifoul and polish the hull  - Ricardo let us take antifoul from his huge commercial drums and just pay for what we used and also let us use their rollers, trays etc.  Our challenge then was to get back into the water and out of the marina before July 1st when prices went through the roof.  Everyone who had a boat on the hard also wanted their boats in the water for the holiday season - the travel lift was busy from dawn to dusk.  We managed to negotiate a slot, squeezed in right at the end of the working day, which would be fantastic, as with no one following us we'd be able to stay in the lift bay for as long as we liked to reconnect and tension our rigging, get the bikes on board, etc with no pressure. Hurrah!  This was until another boat negotiated an even later slot.  So, no sooner had the lift team dropped Samarang in the water than they were roaring off at max speed (actually on a travel lift that's about 3 mph - but you know what I mean) to pick up and launch the last boat so that they could all go home, giving us all of 15 minutes to re-rig etc.  Much sweat, stress and fractiousness ensued, but then we were off and back at anchor.

Two final notes on the whole episode: - Our insurer Max Burgess (AKA Yachtmaster Insurance was fantastic all the way through this) and Santa Eulalia is a surprisingly nice place and has a very efficient marina and boat yard.  Thank you..

 

By now we were just a tad behind even our extremely vague schedule so decided to head off for Mallorca straight away.  We were hoping to catch up with Chris & Jackie on Shibumi before they headed back towards the Caribbean, Ian & Jenny on Moidart, and also to catch Stella, our Spanish teacher and her family who would be in Mallorca during July.  So we motored north 5 miles and anchored off the small islet of Tagomago (another mosquito breeding capital of the world), in order to cross to Mallorca the following day.

One of the difficulties with crossings of this sort of distance (c. 50 miles) is trying to judge the timing so as to arrive in an unknown harbour/anchorage in daylight if at all possible.  Ideally, we'd always rather sail than motor, but if the wind  (and therefore our speed) drops too much we have to start the engine so as not to arrive after sunset..  this is often what happens in the Med, where winds in the summer can often be rather light. 

On this occasion we were determined to sail and planned our departure so that if we sailed at around 6 knots,  we'd arrive first thing in the morning, but even if we only made 2.5 knots we'd still arrive before dark.  You can probably guess the rest.  We had 15/20 knots on the beam for the entire crossing, which had us creaming along at 8 knots.  The best sailing we'd had for a year - but this would get us there in the middle of the night.  So we reefed - not because we needed to but to delay our arrival - sacrilege.  Still too fast, so we reefed again, and then again.  Then underpowered we wallowed, so put up more sail and headed off in the wrong direction as another delaying tactic.  

As it turned out we needn't have worried.  On night watch alone, a couple of hours out from Mallorca, Barry took the opportunity to attempt a number of single-handed racing tacks & gibes under autopilot.  Each of these brought the boat to a total standstill, sometimes requiring the engine to be started to get forward motion and the sails reset.  This easily lost a couple of hours and also ensured that Lindy got virtually no sleep during her off watch.  

We anchored at sunrise in Santa Ponsa, Mallorca.

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Last updated 5th June 2017