Venice, Italy to Messina, Italy
June 8-17, 2018
Day 1 – Friday, June 8, 2018
After spending a little over a week in Venice, it is time for me to move on. I decided my next major destination would be Messina, Italy on the island of Sicily. There are several ports along the east coast of Italy and my plan is to stop at several on my way south during this voyage.
At a little before 6:00 AM, I left the dock that I have called home for the past 11 days and headed out to the open sea of the Adriatic. The wind was about 8 knots out of the east-northeast, which was perfect for a leisurely sail to my first stop, Ancona. If the wind holds, I should be there sometime this evening.
In the afternoon, the wind was very calm, barely 3 knots. It was beginning to look like I would not reach Ancona until sometime tomorrow. The forecast is for increasing winds this evening, so hopefully I will pick up some speed then.
At a little after 9:00 PM, I was about 35 nm from Ancona. The wind came up and is steadily blowing 10-15 knots now, mostly out of the north. The GPS says I will reach Ancona in about 6 hours. It looks like I won’t be getting much sleep tonight.
Day 2 – Saturday, June 9, 2018
I ended up getting a bit of sleep. I set the autopilot to follow a heading that I knew would put me a bit west of Ancona. The coastline forms a hook-shape to the west of Ancona and I knew that the helm would alert me if I started getting too close to shore. At about 4:00 AM, I got an alert, so I went topside and started navigating manually. At about 5:00 AM, I was about 1 nm west of the entrance to the harbor.
At about 5:40 AM, I reached the Cultural Center at the south part of the harbor, where I did a med-tie to the dock. This looks like a perfect place for a cruising stop. My approach to this port could not have been timed more perfectly. The sun rises early this time of year and it was nice to arrive during daylight.
06/09/2018 0440 UTC – 43º 36.89′ N 13º 30.17′ E
I spent a nice day in Ancona. At about 6:45 PM, I was ready to continue my voyage south along Italy’s east coast. The wind was blowing from the north-northwest, which was the direction out of the harbor. I had to tack several times before I could head east and then ultimately south-southeast along the coast. The wind speed was around 7 knots, so it made for a very leisurely sail. Watching the sunset as I headed down the coast was really beautiful. Next stop, Pescara, Italy.
Around 10:00 PM, the wind was only about 2-3 knots. It’s going to be slow-going to my next stop unless the wind picks up. At least I should have a good night’s sleep with the autopilot steering.
Day 3 – Sunday, June 10, 2018
06/10/2018 0635 UTC – 42º 57.98′ N 13º 57.32′ E
At 7:30 AM, I was still about 35 nm north of Pescara. The wind may be light, but I am enjoying the view of the Italian coast as I sail south. I am staying 1-2 nm off the coast. It looks like I will arrive sometime this afternoon.
The day was a smooth sail. At about 4:00 PM, I arrived at the Pescara harbor where I docked. I think I will spend a day here and then continue south tomorrow afternoon.
06/10/2018 1500 UTC – 42º 28.1′ N 14º 13.92′ E
Day 4 – Monday, June 11, 2018
At about 5:15 PM, I was ready to head out to my next destination, which will be Bari, Italy. I am enjoying these one-day stays on my voyage down the coast. The wind was 6-7 knots, so it will be another easy sail. In a couple of hours, I should have a nice sunset again.
Around 7:00 PM, the wind shifted to the south, giving me almost a direct headwind on my course. It looks like I will not be getting a complete sleep tonight because I will have to tack for a while until the wind shifts around behind me.
At a little before midnight, the wind shifted to blow out of the south-southwest. It was enough of a change where I was able to set the autopilot to follow the wind and I felt I could stay on the starboard tack, at least until daybreak.
Day 5 – Tuesday, June 12, 2018
06/12/2018 0505 UTC – 42º 18.26′ N 15º 19.21′ E
I was back up at a little after 6:00 AM. The wind direction and speed had changed little from when I turned in last night. I am currently about 100 nm northwest of Bari. Unfortunately, the wind is still blowing from the wrong direction. Once I pass the peninsula ahead, I will have to start tacking again to get to Bari if the wind doesn’t shift.
The day was long with not much distance made good. The winds continued at around 6 knots and blowing from the direction I wanted to sail. That resulted in turns from port to starboard and back again most all day.
After sunset, I was sailing mostly east. The forecast suggests that the wind direction will change over night tonight. At 9:30 PM, I pointed the helm to sail east, to follow the wind and to wake me if the wind made a dramatic shift.
Day 6 – Wednesday, June 13, 2018
At about 2:00 AM, I was awakened by the autopilot alarm. The wind had shifted to the southwest. I reset the helm to stay on course and headed directly for Bari. I was still about 30 nm out, so I could go back to bed for a few more hours.
At about 5:00 AM, I was up again. The sun came up at about 4:35 AM this morning. I could just barely make out the Italian coast in the distance at about 17 nm to go. I took a mug of tea to the bow and enjoyed the morning. The wind was brisk at about 15 knots, so I had good boat speed at a little over 7 knots. I should be at Bari at a little after 7:00 AM this morning.
At about 7:00 AM, I sailed into the harbor at Bari. Once I had the boat secured at the dock, I secured the boat’s systems and then prepared to go ashore. I need to get some supplies while I’m here. If all goes well, I will head out this evening for my next stop, which will be Brindisi, Italy. That will be my last stop before reach Sicily.
06/13/2018 0612 UTC – 41º 8.14′ N 16º 50.93′ E
I had an enjoyable day in Bari. I picked up supplies and was ready to head back to sea at about 4:00 PM. I left the dock at 4:15 PM and headed northeast into the harbor. The wind was out of the north, so I needed to get to the east end of the harbor before turning northwest to head out of the harbor. It took me about 30 minutes to get out of the harbor and to get established on my course to Brindisi. I have a little over 60 nm to sail. With the light winds, I should easily be there in the morning.
At dusk, the wind was changing a lot. The direction switched to southeast, which was bad because that’s the direction I’m trying to go. It’s weird that, when I sailed up here from Greece a couple of weeks ago, the prevailing winds in the Adriatic were from south to north. Ever since I left Venice about a week ago, the opposite has been true. Wouldn’t you know that’s how it would work for me, making challenging sailing conditions in both directions.
I sailed direct as long as I could. At around 10:00 PM, I had to turn to port and head east-northeast to get farther way from the coast. I sailed that way for about 90 minutes, then turned back toward Brindisi at around 11:30 PM. By that time, the wind was out of the east at about 6 knots. I set the autopilot to follow the wind and to sound an alarm if the wind direction changes drastically. Time to get some sleep.
Day 7 – Thursday, June 14, 2018
I was up at about 6:00 AM and found that the wind had just started to pick up shortly before I awoke. I didn’t travel a great distance over night because of the light winds. I was still almost 20 nm from Brindisi. At least the wind direction had changed to the northeast, which gave me a much better wind angle.
I arrived at a dock in the marina at 9:50 AM. I will spend the rest of the day checking things on the boat that need attention. My next stop will be Messina, which is a little over 300 nm from here. The last leg of this voyage should take me a little over 2 days of sailing. I checked the wind forecast when I arrived this morning. If the forecast is correct, I should have favorable winds all the way to Messina. So, if all goes well, tomorrow morning after breakfast, I will head out for my final leg.
06/14/2018 0850 UTC – 40º 39.54′ N 17º 57.82′ E
Day 8 – Friday, June 15, 2018
I worked on Tahiti Dream yesterday and did some repairs that were needed. I also got enough supplies for a week at sea. It won’t take me that long to get to Messina, but it’s best to be prepared.
At 6:25 AM, I brought my lines in from the dock, pushed off, and headed south toward the harbor entrance. Today was overcast and about 67ºF. I was hoping for some clear weather today.
By 7:00 AM, I was out of the harbor and on my way down the coast. The wind was just barely over 4 knots, so I wasn’t moving very fast. The forecast is for stronger winds this afternoon. In the meantime, I’ll have breakfast and enjoy the slow cruise.
Today was an easy sailing day. The wind was never more than about 5 knots. The sky finally cleared later in the day. At about 8:15 PM, I was about 10 nm from the point that is the “heel” of Italy. After that, I have about 160 nm until I reach the “toe” of Italy. My sail overnight should be easy. The wind, although light, is blowing from behind me, so I should be able to set the helm on a heading and leave it until the morning.
Day 9 – Saturday, June 16, 2018
Shortly after midnight, I was awakened by more than usual motion in the boat. I went topside to check the helm. The wind was really blowing. The wind speed was 15-20 knots and the boat speed was just about 8 knots. I didn’t remember seeing this much of a wind speed increase in the forecast, but it is welcome. If the wind keeps up for a while, it will improve my time to Messina. After making sure the autopilot was set properly, I went back to bed.
06/16/2018 0508 UTC – 39º 4.59′ N 17º 32.61′ E
I was up at a little after 6:00 AM. The wind was really cranking. The wind speed was 18-20 knots, gusting to 22 knots and the boat speed was 8-9 knots. The sea was much rougher than it was when I checked the helm after midnight. I checked the wind forecast and this strong wind is not supposed to last. I’m taking advantage of it while I can to get some good distance. It was overcast this morning, so I can leave the sunscreen below for a while.
Over the course of the day, the wind speed lessened and the sea calmed. It was still rolling a bit from the blow last night. It stayed mostly cloudy all day. In afternoon, the wind up ahead was blowing directly opposite of my course. However, as the sun is setting, the wind direction is shifting to the north, so that should allow for a good sail overnight. As soon as I pass the southern tip of the Italian mainland, I will likely have to tack back a forth on my way up to Messina because of the northerly winds.
At about 9:00 PM, I set the autopilot to stay on course and I headed below for the night. There is no wind forecast tonight like it was last night, so tonight should be a smooth ride.
Day 10 – Sunday, June 17, 2018
I passed the southern tip of Italy at a little after midnight. The winds were still light and the wind direction was basically from Messina. I decided to sail straight to the west toward Sicily. As I got closer to Sicily, the wind picked up some and was 8-10 knots. At around 5:00 AM, I decided to turn north-northeast on the port tack. The wind direction closer to Messina seems to be more from the west, so I figured I would be able to sail more direct once I get farther north.
At a little after 8:00 AM, I was about 1 nm south of the harbor at Messina. The wind direction is not right for a direct approach, so I will sail a little to the north, then turn southwest and head for Marina del Nettuno.
At about 8:45 AM, I entered the marina and secured my boat to the dock. In the past 24 hours, I’ve traveled almost 150 nm. The strong wind yesterday certainly help speed my arrival. Now I will spend a few days enjoying Sicily, before continuing my journey north along the coast of Italy.
06/17/2018 0645 UTC – 38º 11.94′ N 15º 33.55′ E