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November '05: Off we Start - Change of Plans

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After our Lady 'MELMAR Y' had the word herself we take over again. We had TIME or maybe we have to say that we are still learning what it means to have TIME and also FREEDOM – surely quite luxurious in our so hectic (working-)world. And too often one forgets about having time or freedom… Our time was so packed with work on our boat the last couple days and months as well as the pressure of leaving not too late onto our way to the Canaries we were under an enormous time pressure.

But for once we took our time. Thanks to the generosity of the ShipYard, we stayed some days in the Marina of Izola after the launch. On our leisure we sorted, packed and finalized several small things to be ready to start our journey.

October 26th was our starting date: all tanks filled and all official paperwork done we sailed off – under engine since there was barely a breeze. First on a westerly course then we soon turned southwest. After quite a nasty intermezzo during the evening in midst of huge buoy fields we reached very exhausted Garibaldi/Italy. We had the feeling that the gods of weather weren't with us: grey, depressing weather, from time to time with fog, other times with rain but barely any sun for the whole trip along the Italian east coast. Our moods were rather depressed, stress started to come up again.

Like this we went on from city to city, day by day: Garibaldi, Ravenna, Pesaro, Ancona, Giulianova, Pescara, Termoli, Vieste. Mostly we spend the nights in marinas, we didn't want to run by night into one of these huge buoy fields again – unfortunately most of them are not correctly marked or lit! We also tried to anchor. In front of the Marina of Ancona we managed it. The local police was happy about it and did a late evening check on us – for all sailors in Italy: be ready to have a kind of 'proof of ownership' also for the outboarder of your dinghy! A simple entry of the serial number on your Italian insurance certificate is sufficient.

In the bay south of Vieste we realized that it was not only us what made our anchor not hold: it needs some help or better some modifications…

More and more we also had a look 'around the corner' of Italy regarding weather situations. Well, that didn't look very promising. Along our route towards the Canary Islands the stormy weathers of fall and the coming winter already started. Gale and thunderstorm warnings kept come up for the Sicily Strait or the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Mistral starting in France blew sometimes already with full force. Only then we started our more exact planning of our trip. Prevailing winds at that time of the year were not to our favor (being somewhat delayed…). And we wanted not only to reach the Canaries but also return to the Med for our next season: two times 2000NM!

From Vieste we went directly to Brindisi to relax a few days and do some more planning. For the second time only we sailed under our brand new sails with a beautiful sunset behind us into the night. Far out (not to run into any buoy fields) we headed directly to Brindisi. Once we arrived at the quite new Marina di Brindisi we moored our MELMAR Y. Very soon we made friends with other long term sailors at the marina: Rufus from California (on CORNUCOPIA), Hansjörg from Switzerland with his sporty ARIETE and Margrith and Brian on their stable GIPSYDAYS from Australia.

After a few enjoyable evenings with our new friends we 'worked' on our till then unspoken thoughts about not going further to the Canaries. They all advised us not to run into any risks along the still quite long way – it would be possible of course, but is it really worth the stress??

Remembering to have the FREEDOM and the TIME we decided to stay right here in Brindisi for the winter. Anyway it's a perfect spot: we can easily return for a quick visit to Switzerland to finish a few last things and to start next spring towards Greece, the Greek islands and maybe part of the Turkish coasts…

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