Tempting Fate

For whatever reason, old salts always say two things about leaving on ocean passages. 

  • Never leave on a Friday
  • And, don’t bring bananas offshore 

So, here I am onboard Gibb Kane’s “Bounty” reluctantly leaving from Stamford, Ct. on a Friday bound for the British Virgin Islands with a “boatload” of bananas!!

The last time that I “forgot” and left on a Friday, we accidentally left a case of rum in Bermuda, had an electrical fire in the engine box, couldn’t start the engine and generate power for five days, and the cooking stove supply line caught fire!!

The time before that we left with a great forecast and ended up spending three days sailing in 35-45 knots of wind!

Gibb was with us on that first trip, and yet he still thinks “don’t leave on a Friday” is just an old sea story made up by captains looking for an extra day in port. 

We shall see…

– Jim

Negative Ghostrider The Pattern Is Full

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My very smart Brother-in Law Dan says that “cruisers don’t have plans, they just have suggested itineraries.”  I must agree, as little this year has gone according to “plan”.

Admittedly, we dragged our feet a bit in Greece.  It was too nice to rush away from.  And then there was the side trip to Albania.  That was never part of the “plan”

Now we find ourselves in a bit of a rush to get ourselves to Barcelona by the 15th of September.

We are making very few stops along the way and passing some great places.

We skipped the Aeolian Islands entirely, and are currently in Trapani, Sicily.  Basically, a fuel and grocery stop with some laundry thrown in.  (loved the pasta!!)

Now we are off for Sardinia, where we are lucky enough to find that we have friends from Germany (old Commerce One connections) very near our route, so we’ll stop for a couple of days to say hello.

The next stop will hopefully be by the 7th or 8th in the Balearic Islands either Mahon, Menorca or Palma, Majorca where with luck we will meet up with our friends Judy and Torben Bentsen who happen to be from our yacht club in California!!

Then Barcelona with Torben and Judy by the 15th, with Suzanne Rischman perhaps arriving on the 17th, Mark and Diana Rosenberg visiting for 1/2 day on the 18th (that should be a night!), and then the biggest event of the Summer in Barcelona….

The La Merce Festival!!

Strait of Messina Round 2

8/30, 1030

Monsters be damned!  We are off again on another attempt. Winds in 15 knot range but big seas. Not much fun. Deb wants to turn around. For now, I think that I am willing to endure 4 hours of this to reach the light air on the other side. 

We shall see…

Update – 1500

Success!!  We are out the Northern end of the Messina Strait. 1st few hours we tough. Then as we worked our way North the current, wind, and waves became more and more manageable. 20 knots to start, 12 knots as we exited, and now once again motor sailing in 6 knots of breeze.   Isn’t local weather interesting??

Strait of Messina Takes Round 1

Today’s attempt to transit from the Ionian to the Tyrrhenian Sea via the Strait of Messina was not successful.  No damage or problems, it was just windy (20-25 knts) against a 3 knot (and building) current.  The waves were big, the winds were strong, the boat was slamming around, and we just were not having fun.

So, rather than push our luck against the fearsome monsters known to inhabit these waters since the times of Greek Mythology, we pulled a u-turn and returned to Taormina.

It is supposed to be fun after all!!

“In ancient mythology the Strait of Messina between Sicily and mainland Italy was the home of Scylla and Charybdis, two much feared monsters  – both were female, and both, at least in several versions of their story, had previously been renowned beauties, who were turned into scabrous horrors only after setting off the jealousy of goddesses, to spend the rest of their days venting their rage on any sailors who dared to make their way through the Strait.

Scylla lurked in a cave amid the rocks and crags on the mainland side, ready with her six snake-like heads and twelve feet to pounce out and devour the crew of any passing ship. On the Sicilian side was Charybdis, often half-hidden beneath a fig tree, but who when the fancy took her would leap into the sea to swallow down huge quantities of water, creating a terrifying whirlpool that sucked whole ships down to their doom, before belching the same water back up again.

Because of the narrowness of the Strait – famously ‘only an arrow-shot in width’ – any ship trying to pass through it had to expose itself to one monster or the other.

Jason and his Argonauts only made it through because they were aided by the goddess Thetis.

In Homer’s Odyssey, Odysseus/Ulysses is warned of the dangers of the two by the goddess Circe. Considering Charybdis the worse threat, he sails his ship closer to the mainland, only to see six of his men carried off by Scylla, one by each head.

This myth was the source of phrases like ‘to navigate between Scylla and Charybdis’, meaning having to choose between two equal dangers. This in turn was supposedly the origin of the modern idea  of being ‘caught between a rock and a hard place’.”