It is absolutely time to write a status report for the homepage again. In the meantime some months have passed since our last status report. Christmas and the turn of the year are over, we have the repairs in Canet en Roussillon behind us and are in winter camp in Almerimar in Spain since a few months.
The repair, service and modification work on Zubenubi actually went as desired and almost as planned. As usual, there were of course delays and our departure from Canet was postponed to November.
For the distance from Canet en Roussillon to Almerimar we needed almost 4 days or 3 nights, whereby we had to cover about half of the way also with the help of the engines. In the middle of November we docked in Almerimar and met our friends Sabina and Ruedi from the sailing yacht Wasabi as well as Beate and Bernhard from the catamaran Alamea again.
We like Almerimar very much. The harbor is safe, although there are partly strong west (Poniente) and east winds (Levante) (the main wind directions in the Alboran Sea) and the people in the harbor are very nice. Although Spain is also suffering from the second or even third wave of the Corona virus, it is bearable here in Almerimar. There is a strict curfew at night, but most stores and restaurants are open during the day. Wearing masks is mandatory everywhere and hygiene distances must be observed. Due to the Corona situation and the associated travel restrictions or quarantine requirements, we had decided not to travel back to Switzerland over Christmas and New Year. We hope that the situation will recover somewhat by spring and that the vaccines now available to them will help to normalize the situation.
As mentioned in the previous status report, we had to leave the EU tax regime with Zubenubi. Gibraltar and of course Africa offered themselves for this purpose. Gibraltar is about 130 nm away and Africa (Melilla or Morocco) about 85 nm. Since Melilla belongs to Spain, but is neither a member of the Schengen area nor of the VAT regime of the EU, we decided to sail into Moroccan waters and to Melilla. We were unable to access a port in Morocco itself, as the border had been closed for a long time due to the Covid-19 measures. Gibraltar would have been a good option as well, but since the prevailing winds here are either from West to East or then East to West, a suitable weather window would have had to be found which would have shown winds to the West for two days and then within a short time a 180° turn with winds to the East. With a long lasting wind to the east we would have been stuck in Gibraltar for an indefinite time. Since Africa respectively Melilla is located exactly south of Almerimar and can be reached without any problems within about 12 hours, we decided to sail to Melilla. On the way there as well as back it does not matter if the wind blows from east or west. For both directions it would be wind from the side.
So we decided to sail to Melilla at the beginning of March, weather permitting. For us it was a welcome change for the time in the winter camp. Despite the fact that Melilla belongs to Spain, a current PCR test was necessary for entry into Melilla or Africa. We reserved a port berth through Navily and were very nicely received in Melilla at Puerto Noray. The port is very safe and the port staff absolutely nice. The Corona measures were more or less the same as in Spain. The stores and restaurants were open during the day, masks were mandatory everywhere and there was a curfew at night. We had reserved the port site for 2 nights and used the day after our arrival to visit the fortress of Melilla. Then our stay in Melilla was almost over. The next morning we used the opportunity and filled the diesel tanks to the brim, because the diesel price in Melilla (duty free area) is a lot cheaper than in Spain. After the fuel stop we left the harbor, set sail and headed north. As so often, the wind and wave forecast was not quite accurate. Instead of 15-20 kn wind from west it was more like 20-25 kn and waves of 1-2 meters from the side. The Alboran Sea can have its pitfalls and depending on the wind waves of 4-5 meters can pile up. However, we had a very nice crossing back to Almerimar and moored again at sunset at our winter place. We were surprised by the visit of many dolphins on the way there as well as on the way back.
Now we are moored again at our winter place, waiting to see how many more waves of the Corona pandemic will rush over Europe and hoping that soon enough vaccine will be available so that everyone can be vaccinated and the spook of this pandemic will finally come to an end. We are following the local news and of course the news in Switzerland and its neighboring countries. A real season planning for 2021 is not possible from the current point of view. We are curious to see where we will be in summer and autumn 2021.
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Your Zuben Ubi Team
Since the end of June we are finally on the road again and enjoy the "new found freedom". But first a short flashback to the time of the lockdown in Sicily, what we were so busy with and our change of plans for 2020.
Despite the partly strict curfew during the lockdown in Marina di Ragusa (MdR) we had a pleasant time. We couldn't explore Sicily during our winter camp in MdR as we had hoped and we had to rent our rental car for 3 months because we couldn't bring it back to Catania during the lockdown. Instead we were busy with cleaning, sewing covers for the winches and tender and cooking and baking bread. At the end of April Ruedi and Sabina our Swiss dock neighbours returned from Switzerland. First they had to spend a 10-day quarantine on their boat. Unfortunately, shortly after the quarantine Sabina broke her left arm in an unfortunate bicycle accident, with the result that she had her arm in a cast for 6 weeks. When in May the curfew was relaxed a little bit and visiting restaurants was allowed again (of course with adherence to the prescribed hygiene and distance regulations), we also visited a restaurant together from time to time. At the same time the do-it-yourself shops were reopened so that repair material etc. could be bought again. From the beginning of June the rules for travelling by ship were also relaxed. From now on it was also possible to call at Italian ports from Italy. However, countries such as Greece, Tunisia, etc. generally prohibited entry if you were coming from Italy, or you had to anchor at a certain coordinate in quarantine and were not allowed to leave the ship during this time. Everything was not so attractive yet, but you could see that some yachts could not stand to be in the same harbour all the time. Slowly some yachts left the harbour with the aim to get to another place at least around Sicily. Of course with the hope that the relaxation would soon be extended. When it was announced towards the end of June that the borders in the EU would be opened again in principle (partly still with restrictions), we decided to leave MdR too. We had changed our plans for this year. Instead of spending the summer in Greece and Turkey (both countries had still severely restricted entry) we wanted to sail to Canet en Roussillon in France and then on to Almerimar in Spain. In Canet, some service work and desired changes were to be carried out at the shipyard BMS.
Together with Wasabi, Ruedi and Sabina's ship, we left MdR at the end of June for Syracuse and Taormina. There our ways separated. Ruedi and Sabina sailed on to Otranto to visit relatives and we sailed further north through the Strait of Messina to Vigo Marina. From there we sailed on to the Amalfi Coast, then past Capri and Ischia to the island of Procida. After a few days we sailed on to the island of Ponza and spent some nice days there. From there we continued our journey, past Civitavecchia to Porto Ercole, then past Giglio to Elba. After a few rest days we continued our journey northwards. We sailed to the northeast coast of Corsica and from there across the Ligurian Sea to Menton, where we moored in a port for the first time since MdR and visited Monte Carlo. We continued via St. Tropez to Bormes les Mimosas, where we waited for the mistral to subside at anchor. During this time, Rolf's childhood friend Jürg Weber suddenly contacted us via Whatsapp on Rolf's mobile phone. Jürg was in St. Tropez on business and asked if he could visit us. He had seen via AIS that we were nearby. Together with Jürg, Rolf's active sailing started more than 45 years ago with regatta sailing on a 470. We were happy to accept the visit, as all the other visits from relatives and friends planned for this year could not take place due to the uncertain corona situation and travel restrictions. Jürg spent 3 days with us on the ship. He and Rolf could once again rave about the old times. After Jürg's visit, we left Bormes les Mimosas and continued with good wind to Cap d'Adge and from there to Canet en Roussillon.
Now we are once again in front of the shipyard BMS at the pier with Zubenubi. The work has already begun and we hope to sail on to Almerimar to our winter camp in mid-October. But before we park Zubenubi in Almerimar for a few months, we have to sail all the way to Gibraltar, as Zubenubi has to leave the EU respectively its VAT regime within 18 months. Whether everything works out as planned now depends very much on the Corona development. Almost all of Europe, especially Spain and France at the moment, is affected by a second wave of the Corona Pandemic and everybody hopes that there will be no further lockdown.
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Your Zuben Ubi Team
We are still in our winter quarters in Marina di Ragusa. Like everyone here in Italy, our lives are affected by the Corona Virus, which has been rampant in Europe for weeks. Italy (especially the north) is the first country in Europe to be particularly affected by it and the government imposed a curfew on the whole country at the beginning of March. However, the first restrictive measures were already taken in early/mid February. But first from the beginning.
In November 2019, the day when Zubenubi had to get out of the water came closer and we had to move together with Chili into a rented apartment in a villa in the village. It was planned that the work on Zubenubi would take about 20 days. As a precaution we rented the apartment for the whole month of November. Taking it out of the water actually worked very well, although the space in the bay of the crane was very narrow and Zubenubi had to be parked backwards. Zubenubi had the maximum size that could be lifted out of the water here in Marina di Ragusa. In the bay there was just 30 cm space left and right of Zubenubi. It was so narrow that even the fenders, which were normally mounted to protect the ships, had to be removed. The manoeuvre worked very well without any contact and Zubenubi could be lifted out of the water. Zubenubi was now ready for a completely new underwater paint job, replacement of the folding propellers with new rotary blade propellers and repair of the engine on the starboard side, which had recently lost oil or diesel. As always in such situations, however, things turn out differently than originally planned. The weather here in Sicily put a damper on our plans. Although the old underwater paint could be removed after several attempts, it was raining for a long time and the hulls of the ship were too damp to start work on the new underwater paint. The work was delayed more and more, it was closing towards the end of November and we had to extend the rent of our apartment. A welcome change in our apartment was the visit of our Swiss ship neighbours Ruedi and Sabina, who brought Raclette cheese from Switzerland. It was a successful raclette party. Since the weather did not improve in December and the work could not be continued, we decided to travel back to Switzerland over Christmas and New Year. The shipyard hoped to be able to start with the new painting in early 2020, when the weather would be better.
We travelled to Switzerland just before Christmas and spent the holidays with our families. At the beginning of January we met friends at a big birthday party. In mid-January we received a message from the shipyard that the work on Zubenubi was completed and that the ship was ready to be put into water. At the end of January we flew back to Sicily, checked the work on the ship while it was still dry and accompanied Zubenubi back into the water. At the beginning of February Alice flew back to Switzerland to be present at her mother's birthday party. When she flew back to Sicily in mid-February, the effects of the corona virus were already noticeable. In certain areas in Northern Italy the virus had spread exponentially and at the airport in Catania the temperature of everyone was already measured. Towards the end of February, the first measures against the spread of the virus were already taken in Sicily, such as safety distances and hygiene rules, and at the beginning of March a curfew was imposed on the whole of Italy and all non-essential shops had to close. Since this ordinance, only grocery stores, pharmacies and some kiosks have actually been open. Travelling on the island has been more and more restricted and since mid-March, when you go outside your apartment/house (for us this means outside the harbour) you must always carry a personal document on you, in which it is clearly stated why you are going outside. This document will be checked during police checks. For us this means that we only go shopping for fresh products every 7-10 days and for durable products once a month. Actually nothing special for yachties, as this is also the way it is handled on long distance cruises. But the social life here in Marina di Ragusa, which made the harbour so pleasant, is completely stopped. Unfortunately the post and parcel delivery has been reduced and of course the shops of shipchandlers and do-it-yourselfers are closed, so that you can't get the necessary material for repairs, cleaning etc.
So at the moment we have no other choice than to stay in the harbour and wait and see how the situation develops. We could leave at any time with Zubenubi, but where to go? In the meantime, all the countries around the Mediterranean have imposed entry restrictions. Here in Marina di Ragusa we feel well taken care of, we are in a safe harbour and in the shops here in the village we still get everything we need. As it looks at the moment, we will most likely not be able to leave here before the end of May or June. We will revise our plans for this year as soon as it is clear how and where to travel.
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Your Zuben Ubi Team
On the evening of the last day of September, Franziska, Lara and Jürg came aboard Zubenubi. Together with them we planned to sail to Marina di Ragusa. But first we planned to visit the Aetna the next day. We had already seen the Aetna from far away while driving over the Strait of Messina, how he constantly sent clouds of smoke into the sky again and after a night in the bay of Taormina Zubenubi had also noticed some ashes from him. So Alice, Franziska, Lara and Jürg set off on the first day of October to see the activities of Aetna up close. Impressed by the landscape on this active volcano they came back to Zubenubi in the evening and the next morning we started towards Marina di Ragusa. Our first planned stop was the bay of Syracuse. But after a few hours in the sun on the flybridge a bath stop in a bay before Augusta was announced. The water was still 24 degrees. After the short stop we continued into the bay of Syracuse. The next 2 days we visited the old town of Syracuse and the historical buildings. Due to the weather forecasts we decided to sail from Syracuse directly to Marina di Ragusa. After we had passed the southeast point of Sicily, we got strong west wind and waves up to 3 meters high on the nose. After a good 2 hours with motor against wind and waves we ended this venture, turned around and looked for an anchorage in the bay of Porto Palo. Here we had a good anchorage and no swell. According to the current weather forecasts, the weather should improve a little after midnight. The westerly wind should be a bit weaker and also the wave height should decrease. This weather window should last until about noon, afterwards the west wind would become stronger again for several days. With these views there was actually only one way to sail back to Syracuse and wait a few days for the weather to improve or the other way to make a second attempt in the night towards Marina di Ragusa. We decided to start a second attempt at 02:00 o'clock and to master the approximately 30 miles with machine, against wind and waves. So we started shortly after midnight and after passing the Isola delle Correnti we had wind and waves against us again. Both were a little less strong and we continued our trip to Marina di Ragusa. There only the harbour entrance was a bit critical, as the water depth of the entrance is affected by a sandbank. But we were picked up by a Marinero in front of the harbour, who went ahead with his rubber dinghy and instructed us to follow him exactly. Mooring at the quay was almost routine and we arrived safely moored at the Marina di Ragusa.
The following days we got to know the quite active community of the yachties in the Marina di Ragusa and the place itself. We visited together the cities Ragusa, Modica and Scicli and shortly before the end of the holiday Franziska, Jürg and Lara visited the valley of the temples near Agrigento. Afterwards it was time to say goodbye again. From Catania they travelled back to Switzerland. For us it meant sitting together with the responsible people of the shipyard and discussing the work on Zubenubi in detail. At the same time we had to find accommodation for us and Chili on land for the time Zubenubi was on land. In mid-October Tina, my childhood sweetheart, asked us if she could relax for a few days in the south of Sicily from the stressful life in Zurich and get some sun. We were looking forward to the visit and the reunion. We picked up Tina at the airport in Catania and visited together with her again Ragusa and then also the valley of the temples and also the Turkish stairs at Agrigento. The weather did not play along every day, but it was certainly a lot warmer than in Switzerland at this time of year. We enjoyed the days together with Tina and on the day of departure, on the way to Catania, we visited Syracuse together.
Back in Marina di Ragusa we had to slowly prepare ourselves for the move to our "Landquartier". We had agreed with the shipyard that Zubenubi would come out of the water at the beginning of November. So we only had a few days left on our floating home.
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Your Zuben Ubi Team
After we had left the bay of Kotor, we sailed north along the coast to the bay of Cavtat, where we first moored at the customs quay in the evening, this time with Croatian flag and Q-flag under starboard Saling. We went to the police station (which interestingly enough has its offices in a restaurant) to check in in Croatia. Here, too, everything went very smoothly and at an amazingly high speed. As the customs had already closed their offices, the police advised us to anchor in the bay and to come ashore the next day with the tender to take care of the customs formalities. As recommended, the next morning we went to the customs office, where we, after we had found it, were received very nicely but also consistently. Here the customs demanded the original ship documents for the first time. So far we had always prepared copies, whatever was sufficient. Of course I didn't have the originals with me, so I had to go back to the ship and make another attempt. With the original documents the clearance then proceeded without problems. But already here it became clear that Croatia is not one of the cheapest places in the Mediterranean. In order to be allowed to sail the Croatian waters, one must buy a permit, which amounted to approximately 400 € per month for our ship. Moreover, as it turned out later, one has to pay a so-called national park fee in many places, which amounts to between 20 and 30 € per night. This fee is collected in many bays, in which one only anchors in the proximity of a nature reserve, by national park guards, who drive around with rubber dinghies, directly at the boat. In addition to all these fees, there are also sometimes horrendous harbour fees, which make you not to stay too long in the waters of Croatia. Nevertheless, we wanted to see a part of Croatia, because the islands and coasts are really very beautiful. So we solved a permit for one month (you have to pay the money in the local currency Kuna in cash, credit cards were not accepted) and finished the clearance in Croatia and the Schengen area with it. Since our two guests soon had to return to Switzerland, we drove from Cavtat north towards Dubrovnik. Actually we wanted to stay there one night, but the anchorages and the harbour were already overcrowded, so that we drove past the historical city Dubrovnik further to the north. A little north of Dubrovnik we found a bay where we could anchor well protected from the weather. From this bay we could reach Dubrovnik by taxi in 10 minutes and Dubrovnik airport in 20 minutes. After two nights in this bay it was time for Philipp and Silvan to fly back to Switzerland via Airport Dubrovnik. We put them and their luggage on land, from where they took a taxi to the airport and travelled back to Switzerland. Meanwhile we set out to sail to the island of Mljet, where we had reserved a place for two nights in the sheltered bay of Mljet-Okuklje at the pier of Konoba Maran. Then we went for three more nights to the island Lastovo, where we found the bay Skrivena Luka, a very sheltered bay, where we moored at the modern quay of the marina Skrivena Luka. In addition to the fee for the marina there was also the national park fee. During a trip over the island to the village Lastovo, Alice almost took another inhabitant with her for Zubenubi. A young, beautiful and very affectionate cat had taken a liking to her. As we waited for our taxi at the village square on a park bench, the little cat immediately sat on Alice's lap and felt really safe there. But you can't just take everything you like with you. The taxi driver said that Alice had already been able to take the cat with her. There were enough cats in Lastovo.
After Lastovo we went on to the island Korcula, where we found a good anchorage in the passage between the island Korcula and the small island Badija, directly in front of the monastery there. The weather prospects for the coming days were very bad and proved to be true. One storm front on the other crossed this area and we were forced to wait more than a week for a weather improvement. In the meantime it had become September and autumn sent its first signs of strong winds and rain. Nevertheless we had hourly opportunity to make two or three trips to Korcula. Korcula city is also very worth seeing, has good shopping possibilities and a variety of good restaurants. At the same time, as the weather improved again, we got the news that a good friend together with her boyfriend, sister and father would spend their holidays on the island of Hvar in the next few days and would be happy to meet us. We agreed that we would meet in Starigrad on the island of Hvar in the next few days. In Starigrad we got a harbour place for a still acceptable price and spent very nice days together with our friends. Since they had been visiting the island of Hvar for years and had arrived by car, we enjoyed the opportunity that they showed us the island and especially very good Konobas. Chili also took advantage of this visit. Thanks to the arrival by car from Switzerland and Austria, we were also able to place an order for cat sand for Chili's litter box. The cat sand, which Chili really likes, was rather hard to find in Croatia. When we saw our friends in Starigrad approaching the ship for the first time, we were amazed at the amount of cat sand they were towing. Such a bag with cat sand is not exactly easy and of these bags they just towed several, to the astonishment of many pedestrians at the pier of Starigrad, to our ship.
After the really very nice and especially enjoyable time together with our friends, it was time to say goodbye again. Their holidays slowly came to an end and we had decided to sail back to Italy. Since spring we knew that we had to have the underwater paint of Zubenubi generally overhauled this autumn. We had written to several shipyards to find out where such work would be possible. The problem was that there was no shipyard in the vicinity of our current location capable of lifting a 9.5 metre wide catamaran out of the water. The shipyards that were able to do this were in Tivat in Montenegro and Marina di Ragusa in Sicily. Since we would also spend the winter months on the ship at the same time, we decided finally for the south of Sicily. Seen from the degree of latitude we were there at the height of North Africa, which is probably more pleasant from the temperatures than in Montenegro. After saying goodbye to our friends we sailed due to the good weather window from Starigrad directly to Manfredonia on the east coast of Italy. From Manfredonia we sailed in stages past Bari and Brindisi to Santa Maria di Leuca, where we anchored at the same spot on our outward journey. Then we went back over the Golfo di Taranto, along the Calabrian coast to the west, over the Strait of Messina to the bay of Taormina. Then we went on to Catania, where we moored at the end of September at a terrible floating jetty in the port of Catania, in a much too narrow place. A niece of Alice, together with her daughter and her boyfriend had registered for 10 days vacation on Zubenubi. They would fly to Catania and from there come to us on board.
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Your Zuben Ubi Team
At the moment we are already in our "winter camp" and finally have time to report about the past months.
2 days after we said goodbye to the sisters of Alice in Castellammare del Golfo and they made their way home to Switzerland, we set sail on the north coast of Sicily towards the east. Knowing that August is the main holiday month in Italy and we will probably find full bays and marinas and that prices are seasonally highest now. We passed Capo Gallo and Palermo, the capital of Sicily and were amazed how varied and green the coast of Sicily is. Our destination for the day was the bay of Cefalù, where we hoped to anchor under the shelter of the harbour mole and the rocks in the east of the bay. The bay was well visited, but we found a good anchorage near the rocks at about 5 meters depth and on sand. The old town of Cefalù is really worth seeing. Not only the church "Chiesa di Cefalù" but also the narrow lanes with their many small shops and the many restaurants. With the dinghy one can moor in the northwest of the harbour at a quay of the boat rentals there and leave the tender parked for a fee of 5 € the whole day. Moreover, the harbour offers a shuttle service with several golf carts into the oldtown (again for 5 €). We liked Cefalù so much that we stayed at anchor in the bay for a few days. Moreover, we wanted to wait for the suitable wind for the onward journey.
When the wind was favourable, we started to sail further east. Our stage destination was the Capo d'Orlando, where we dropped the anchor into the sand west of the new Marina Capo d'Orlando at a depth of about 7 meters. From there we wanted to sail in the next days to the Lipari or Aeolian Islands. But first we visited the Marina Capo d'Orlando. This new harbour facility is exemplarily built with a lot of space, a generous gas station, an own place for the dinghies, several good restaurants, shopping possibilities, pharmacy etc.. The harbour is very clean and the marineros were all very nice and helpful. After a good dinner in one of the restaurants the next day we went on to the Aeolian Islands. We sailed past the islands Vulcano, Lipari and Salina to Panarea. In the bay of Drautto we moored at a buoy. In the price of the buoy the water taxi to the village Panarea was also included. The buoy fields here on these islands are quite extensive and anchoring is possible only in few places with sufficient security, since the reason is mostly rocky and steeply dropping. It is therefore advisable to take a buoy, even if the prices are not the cheapest. To get a water taxi is very easy, because many of these rubber dinghies go around and pick people from the boats to bring them to Panarea. In Panarea itself there are simple shopping facilities and a variety of restaurants. After visiting the village and having dinner we went back to Zubenubi with a water taxi. The nocturnal return trip by taxi through the mostly not illuminated buoy field was a bit adventurous, as one could not see anything in the darkness. But the taxi driver drove quickly through the buoys and skilfully avoided the unlit buoys. Probably he knew the location of each buoy by heart and delivered us precisely to our ship again. Actually we wanted to sail to Stromboli the next day, but the weather and the wind made us a line through our travel plans. We got stronger north wind and the weather forecast for the next days announced rain and north wind. So we decided to travel south again and pass the Strait of Messina.
As expected we had quite a current in the Strait of Messina which supported us on our way south. The narrow between the mainland Italy and the island Sicily is very interesting to navigate. You have to keep an eye on the many ferries that cross the road every 5 minutes. In addition, the swordfish fishermen with their adventurous boats draw attention to themselves. They travel in the Strait of Messina, sometimes at a quite high speed, criss-crossing in search of the popular fish. The men in the high, tower-like lookout on the ship must really be seaworthy during these manoeuvres. After the Strait of Messina we sailed east along the Calabrian coast to Crotone. Sort we stopped for one night to cross the Golfo di Taranto the next morning to Santa Maria di Leuca, at the southernmost point of the Heel of Italy. Since the harbour and the bay of Leuca was full, we drove up a little north of the coast, where we found a good anchorage on sand. There we waited a few days for a weather window, so that we could sail around the Heel in the Adria north to Brindisi. In the meantime we had received the inquiry from our nephew Philipp and his colleague Silvan (the two were already in Ibiza with us on Zubenubi) whether they could come a few days to us on the ship. Brindisi with its international airport and the very nearby city harbour was the perfect place to take the two on board. The visit was also convenient for us, as we had 4 more hands on board for the crossing to Montenegro. The harbour in Brindisi is actually perfect and at the Stadtquai one lies free of charge. There is neither electricity nor water, but the harbour office and the customs are easily reachable on foot. After a few days in Brindisi and the arrival of the two guys, we decided to leave the EU in Brindisi and started the crossing to Montenegro. After a rather bumpy night crossing, we reached the entrance of the bay of Kotor the next morning at 09:00 o'clock, set the Montenegrin and the Q flag under the starboard Saling and drove up to Zelenika to check in Montenegro. For us it was the first time that we entered a non-EU country, but everything worked without any problems. Port authorities, police and customs officers in Zelenika were all very helpful and the formalities were completed in a short time. After we were now officially allowed to sail the waters of Montenegro (we solved a vignette for 9 days), we took down the Q flag and left the bay of Kotor again. Via internet we had reserved a harbour place in the Lustica Bay Marina, which is located a little south of the bay of Kotor. The Lustica Bay Marina had very good references (which we are happy to confirm today) and offered the harbour at a good price. The marina and also the houses belonging to it are all very new and were "planted" under the direction of Orascom or Sami Sawiris with a lot of feeling for the landscape in this bay. We were welcomed professionally and cordially and lay for 4 days in this new marina, freed Zubenubi from its salt crust, enjoyed the good restaurants in the port and from there explored also the port city Tivat in the bay of Kotor. We would soon explore the bay and Tivat by sea. After 4 days in the Lustica Bay Marina we said goodbye to the very nice and helpful harbour staff, set off the ropes and sailed back to the bay of Kotor. There it went then with machine into the bay up to Kotor, where we anchored before the historical small town. We stayed 2 nights before Kotor and explored the historical town extensively. Kotor is really worth seeing, the old narrow alleys, the good restaurants, the nice people and the cats that can be found everywhere, which will soon become the heraldic animal of Kotor, impressed us very much. The cats were to be found in the whole town. They are fed by the locals and almost enjoy a paradisiacal life. Slowly it was time to say goodbye to Montenegro, which we liked very much. We drove back to Tivat, because we had decided to check out Montenegro. At the customs quay of Tivat we were received by an employee of the port, who accompanied us to the port office, to the police and to the customs and thus made our departure very easy. Everything went perfectly and soon we were able to leave customs quay and set off for Croatia, which is just around the corner.
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Your Zuben Ubi Team
In the meantime some miles have flowed under our two hulls again. After we had organized everything in Aranci for the exchange of the hydraulic pump of our primary autopilot, we sailed back to Porto Rotondo. There we spent the waiting time until the new pump arrived in Olbia. We enjoyed the clear water in the opposite bay for swimming and also the very pleasant and pretty harbour with its very good restaurants and the nice people. Recommended restaurants in the port of Porto Rotondo are: Paramare, I Pirati, Del Molo and the Bar Boccondivino for an excellent aperitif.
After we were informed that the new hydraulic pump had arrived, we sailed back to the Gulf of Aranci. There we could reserve a place in the port of Aranci and change the hydraulic pump. Worth mentioning is the Marinero Franzesco, who picks up the yachts professionally and also skilfully helps with the occupancy of the quay.
On the same day, when we replaced the hydraulic pump of the autopilot, two sisters of Alice came to us on Zubenubi for a few days vacation. For the two it was the first time to spend their holidays on a sailing yacht. All the more carefully we wanted to make sure that they really enjoy their holidays. Fortunately, the wind and the waves took part and showed their best side. First we sailed with Genacker from Porto Aranci south to Porto della Taverna, anchored in the crystal clear water and enjoyed the swimming and the peace at anchor. As the wind turned 180 degrees during the night, we sailed north to Porto Rotondo the next day and spent the night at anchor (with a good dinner in the port of Rotondo, of course). Then we continued northwards through the Maddalena Archipelago via the road from Bonifacio to Bonifacio. We made a short visit to the port of Bonifacio and returned to Sardinia due to a lack of good anchorage and a turning wind. Back in Sardinia we anchored at dusk in the bay La Marmorata. We enjoyed the clear water for swimming and spent a quiet night sheltered from wind and waves. Due to the meteorological situation we decided to continue our journey the next day towards Castelsardo. In Castelsardo we got a harbour place (180 € for 1 night !) and of course had to explore the village. The next day we went through the passage Rada dei Fornelli to the west coast of Sardinia. In the Rada dei Fornelli all marveled at the crystal clear turquoise water. If we had had more time, we would have gone snorkelling and swimming. But we had to go on. Due to the good weather situation we decided to travel on the west coast from Sardinia to Cagliari. After 12 hours the anchor fell in the beautiful bay of Cala sa Codulera and for everyone the jump into the crystal clear water was a welcome cooling. The next day we went on towards Buggeru, where we anchored in front of the long sandy beach in the Spiaggia di Portixeddu and enjoyed a good dinner in Portixeddu in the Ristorante Bar L'Ancora. The landing and departure with the dinghy is a little bit adventurous as there are many rocks and no real jetty. On our way back to Zubenubi we noticed that we had forgotten to switch on the anchor light, so that we had to find our ship again first. The next day led us to Porto Pino in the southwest of Sardinia, where we anchored in front of a beautiful sandy beach with high sand dunes. On the following day we reached our destination Cagliari. There we could make the most necessary shoppings and with partly strong gusts with over 25 knots an adventurous refueling stop at the floating jetty of the gas station. Since we did not like the noise and the water quality in Cagliari very much, we decided to go to Cabo di Pula and anchor there protected from the swell. In the meantime Mistral had come up, which turned from the Golf du Lyon east towards Sardinia and brought the corresponding wind and waves with it. For the next day, the weather forecasters predicted that the Mistral, which was somewhat waning, would be the Tyrrhenian Sea between Sardinia and Sicily. We discussed the situation with our guests and asked them, as the end of their holidays was approaching, whether they would prefer to travel home to Switzerland from Cagliari or Palermo. We also explained to them that the crossing to Sicily would not be the most pleasant in these weather conditions, but that most of the wind and waves would come from astern, so that it would still be bearable to take advantage of the weather situation. Together we decided to take advantage of the weather and travel to Sicily the next day. The next day's trip was as expected. We had wind strengths partly over 34 knots and wave heights partly over 3 meters. The crossing was then partly more a ride on a Rodeo bull than a comfortable glide. But we made quite good progress and after 29 hours and over 190 miles we reached Castellammare del Golfo, where we could drop the anchor of Zubenubi with a slight swell and partly protected behind the pier. The following 2 days we recovered at this anchorage and visited Castellammare del Golfo and its good restaurants a few times. Then on 31.7.2019 the day of the departure of our guests had come. They wanted to celebrate the birthday of Switzerland together with their family on August 1st. We enjoyed another good lunch in a restaurant in the port of Castellammare del Golfo and said goodbye to Ursula and Silvia, the two sisters of Alice somewhat depressed when the taxi picked them up and drove to the airport of Palermo.
Click on photos to see the pictures of this status report.
Your Zuben Ubi Team
Right now I'm sitting in the shade in the cockpit at 31 degrees. We are anchored in the Golfo degli Aranci on Sardinia. In the last 4 weeks a lot has happened. Let's start from the beginning.
Shortly after I had written the last status report, once again the repair devil came forward. Sailing and living on a yacht would probably be the non plus ultra if something unforeseen didn't always happen. This time fate struck in the form of the defective washing machine on board. The washing machine was actually the only helper we hadn't changed on board. Some of you may have already read the story from Rolf's or Alice's Facebook. We wrote Denis Ranjard from BMS a WhatsApp and asked him if he knew an address near Saint Tropez which could help us. As usual Denis reacted very quickly and gave us the address of Antoine Hutter and his company NAUTIPLUS in La Garde (Toulon). Unfortunately Antoine was still on the road in Germany during his holidays and with his motorbike. Thus he was only difficult to reach. When we finally had contact with him (for us it was half an eternity, although it lasted only 4 or 5 days), it went actually in no time. We ordered a new washing machine from Miele France and looked for a possible port near Toulon, where we could moor alongside a quay if possible. Finally the old as well as the new washing machine each had over 100 kg weight and had to be hoisted out of the ship and/or the new one again into. In Le Lavandou, near Hyères, we got a place alongside a quay for the time of the planned delivery date, so that the exchange of the washing machines could take place. That this exchange was not quite easy can be seen on the photos of this status report. But thanks to Antoine's mobility we managed to do this quite well.
As luck would have it, friends of Alice and Rolf were on holiday nearby at the time of our harbour days in Le Lavandou and used the opportunity for a visit on board. In the end it was very entertaining and varied days in Le Lavandou. We can only recommend Le Lavandou. The harbour is very clean and the harbour staff very nice and helpful.
But we had not lost sight of our destination and so we left Le Lavandou after about a week and made our way to Corsica. Unfortunately the wind did not mean it too well with us, so that we often had to use the engines. Fortunately in June the days are the longest, so that we reached Calvi with the last sunbeams and could drop the anchor again in the bay of Calvi. During the following 2 days we explored Calvi with its impressive citadel and enjoyed the hustle and bustle in the narrow streets. Afterwards it was called anchor on and further direction south. The next stop was at Girolata, where we found a very nice anchorage in a small bay next to the small village. At the bar in Girolata we had a cool beer and watched two cattle which made themselves comfortable in front of the bar. The wild area with the reddish rock, the rich green of the trees and bushes and the partly interesting rock forms is really very beautiful. Generally the west coast of Corsica is worth seeing. From the deep, partly winding bays with the high mountains in the background and the rich blue of the sea in the foreground, the eye can almost not get enough. In Caselle, at the southern end of the bay of Propriano, was our next stop. In Caselle there is the Restaurant des Amis which has its own jetty where one can moor very well with the Dinghy. The food in the restaurant is very good and the staff very nice and professional. The next day we used the light wind from the northwest to sail through the road from Bonifacio to Sardinia. We spent the night in Porto Puddu near Porto Pollo, a small bay. But at night it smelled as if we had anchored next to a sewage treatment plant and we were glad to be able to sail on the early morning of the next day. A nice breeze with up to 20 knots from north-northeast carried us southwards through the Madalena archipelago to the Golfo degli Aranci, where we are currently anchored. In the night we were surprised when one of the mega yachts emptied its black water tank shortly before she left and we were surrounded by faeces. The next days we will explore the north of Sardinia a bit, and then in the middle of July we will take announced relatives on board in Olbia.
On the way to Sardinia we unfortunately had to find out that the hydraulic pump of our primary autopilot is now making strange noises. After a short consultation with Denis Ranjard of BMS it was decided to change the hydraulic pump in Olbia.
Click on photos to see the pictures of this status report. The promised video will also be available soon.
Your Zuben Ubi Team
Juhuii, we're on our way. It was a nice and pleasant time in the harbour of Canet en Roussillon at the shipyard BMS, Azure Boat and our neighbours at the quay. In the middle of May the time had come and we were able to release the lines. The conversion and repair work was completed. Actually Zuben Ubi was ready to travel by the end of April. But then we noticed that the solar panels, which were mounted on the roof, did not work properly. 4 of a total of 6 panels did not supply electricity anymore. A further guarantee case, since they were not yet a year old. Bernard of Azure Boat started to remove all solar panels mounted on the roof in laborious work, since the panels were fully glued with Sikaflex and exchanged them for new panels. The new panels make a much better impression in terms of quality. When this work was also finished, we waited for a suitable weather window, filled the diesel tanks and let Zuben Ubi "free". The planned route led us first over the Golf du Lyon to the island Porquerolles, where we stayed a few days. We found a nice anchorage bay and enjoyed being alone and freedom. At this time of the year there were not many charter ships on the way.
After a few days in front of Porquerolles it was time to raise anchor and set sail. New destination was the Côte d'Azure, namely St. Tropez. Just beside St. Tropez there is a small bay, where it is possible to anchor relatively sheltered and on good holding ground. From this bay, you can reach the harbour of St. Tropez in a few minutes by dinghy. There are also jetties in the small bay where the dinghy can be parked for a few hours. With a 20 minutes walk along the beach and past the really beautifully situated and well-kept cemetery of St. Tropez, you also get directly to the harbour of St. Tropez. Despite the many visitors, St. Tropez still retains its charm. Of course it is not as it was 40 or 50 years ago, but the small alleys, the restaurants etc. are still there. Of course, the prices in St. Tropez are higher than in the countryside of France (but this is the case all over the world, where supply and demand follow the free market economy), but it also offers a lot.
At the moment we still enjoy our "holidays" in St. Tropez. But as soon as weather and wind are favourable, we will travel on with Zuben Ubi. New destination will be Corsica.
Click on photos to see the pictures of this status report. A video with the experiences will soon be uploaded to the homepage and published on Youtube.
Your Zuben Ubi Team
At the moment it's March 6, 2019. Alice, Chili and I are back in Canet en Roussillon on Zuben Ubi. Our winter holidays in Switzerland are over. We travelled back to Canet en Roussillon with a lot of luggage and very nice impressions from Switzerland. At this point a big thank you to my sister, who gave us her Mercedes Viano for the transport to the South of France and of course for the hospitality we enjoyed during our stay in Switzerland. It's hard to imagine what you can find in the various shops with a lot of free time and everything you could need on board. Whereby one will notice later that one did not need much of it then nevertheless :-). But let's start at the beginning.
Shortly before Christmas we drove back to Switzerland with bag and baggage and of course Chili. Before we had discussed all the work that had to be done on Zuben Ubi with the shipyard BMS in Canet. The aim was to return at the end of February 2019 and to explore the next areas with Zuben Ubi. So we drove back to Switzerland and were happy to see our relatives and friends again. We spent a very nice Christmas and a happy New Year with our relatives in the lowlands. Afterwards we travelled for 10 days to the Upper Engadine to enjoy the snow and the cold temperatures. Chili didn't like the travel activity and especially the snow in the Engadine so much. Everything was a little too white and too cold for him. When we arrived back in the lowlands, he was all the happier and spent the days outside on the meadow, in the forest or somewhere in a bush. He only came back to eat or to sleep in the warmth. Alice and I spent this time looking at our photo/video material, meeting friends and relatives, shopping and visiting the sick. The longer we were in Switzerland, the more we felt the urge to return to Zuben Ubi. Although we had contact with the shipyard, we were nevertheless curious to see how far the work on Zuben Ubi had progressed. Towards the end of February we were no longer able to keep up. We packed our things together, marveled at how much had accumulated and said goodbye to our relatives. The farewell was not easy for us and one or two tears flowed in silence. Alice was particularly struck because her mother's health had been very weak shortly before and she had to move to an old people's/nursing home. We promised to stay in close contact and exchange news as often as possible.
Now we are back in Canet and as it is, not everything is ready for Zuben Ubi. So we will be here for 2-3 weeks before Zuben Ubi is ready for the next trips. In the meantime also Chili can get used to the life on board again.
Click on photos to see pictures of this status report and the time in Switzerland. In the videos we also posted the last video from last year. This is a summary of the last 4 months 2018. If you like the video, we would be happy for a Like 👍 .
Your Zuben Ubi Team
After a very pleasant time in the Marina of Roda de Bara we used a suitable weather window to sail to Canet en Roussillon. With Denis Ranjard from the shipyard BMS we could arrange a harbour place from the end of October. We had to return to Canet en Roussillon because the problem with our two Quattros from Victron could not be solved in Roda de Bara and we were forced to return to the original installer or supplier. Also our problems with the on-board computer should be solved there or with Robin Marin in Les Sables d'Olonne. We also want to change or add a few other things that we have noticed during the past weeks and months around the Balearic Islands. These include a second water maker, changes to lighting, improvements to water pumps, awnings on the flybridge, etc.
Now we are already 4 weeks in Canet en Roussillon again and the work is progressing. We have decided to have Zuben Ubi stationed in Canet until February so that all the work can be done and the ship can also be taken out of the water and the underwater cleaned and repainted. We also use Zuben Ubi's stay in Canet to spend Christmas and New Year in Switzerland. So we can visit our families and friends and spend the holidays with them. Maybe we even get to go skiing. At the same time we use the time to view our many photos and the video raw material and to post one or the other on our homepage, YouTube and also on Facebook. We hope that we can also make some impressive pictures and videos of the hopefully winterly Switzerland and present them on the mentioned media.
If you like the pictures on Facebook or the videos on YouTube, we will be happy if you like them and/or share them with your friends. You can also subscribe to the YouTube channel "Catamaran Zubenubi". This way you are automatically informed about the latest videos.
We wish you already now quite nice Christmas days and a happy new year. Arrive healthy in 2019. You'll hear from us again.
Your Zuben Ubi Team
Unbelievable how time passes. Today is an anniversary in two ways. One year ago we were able to complete the purchase of Zubenubi and at the same time I get my 60th annual ring today. A year full of variety is behind us. This includes the change to self-employment, purchase of Zubenubi, sale of our house in Switzerland and move to Zubenubi, some months of conversion of Zubenubi, beautiful trips around the various islands of the Balearic Islands, anchoring in beautiful bays, trouble with technology, wonderful sunrises and sunsets, interesting culinary experiences, waiting for suitable weather windows, etc.
From Mahon on Menorca, from where the last report came, we sailed further north on the southwest coast of Menorca. Finally we landed again in Cala Galdana, where we waited a few days for a suitable weather window to sail back to Mallorca. One noticed that the autumn slowly arrived. The water temperature was still over 26 degrees, but Mistral and Tramontana were present every week and sent wind and waves to the Balearic Islands. When the weatherman in the form of Windy indicated that in 5 days very strong Mistral with over 40 knots will hit the northern points of Mallorca and Menorca, accompanied by waves up to 5 meters high in the strait between these two islands, we decided to move our location to the leeward side of Mallorca. We said goodbye to the Gala Galdana and sailed to the bay of Sant Jordi on Mallorca, where we firstly knew the anchorage well and secondly were protected from the weather caprioles. We had a pleasant and quiet time at our anchorage and the number of ships at this beach showed that the charter season was over. Nevertheless, in the first 24 hours when we were there, some motor and sailing yachts came into the bay, which probably had the same intentions as us. After 3 days at anchor we had to realize that our two Quattros from Victron didn't change to the status "inverter" anymore and so we didn't have 220 Volt electricity on board anymore. The Quattros didn't even recognize the generator, which supplies 220 volts of electricity directly and didn't let the electricity through to the devices in the ship. Only the maintenance charging of the batteries by means of the solar cells was accepted by the electronics. The charging of the batteries by means of the two main engines still worked, so that the danger of a deep discharge of the lithium batteries was at least averted. Now it was time to make coffee water hot on the grill. The contact with the electrician, who had carried out the whole installation in spring, did not bring any solution. We had no choice but to sail to Palma and hope that an electrician with appropriate knowledge of Victron systems would be able to help us on site. From two received addresses, which we could contact, we got at least from one an answer. Unfortunately this was also negative. Since now nevertheless some things did not function any more or no longer correctly (FM radio does not function still correctly, board computer with communication module does not start any more, Quattros of Victron etc.), we decided that we sail Zubenubi back to Canet en Roussillon, where the shipyard would surely worry about the lacks. In Canet we were able to reserve a place from 29.10. onwards. The prevailing east/northeast winds induced us to sail for the first time to Roda de Bara, where we luckily got a place for Zubenubi immediately. We caught a passable weather window for the night trip to the mainland, had at the beginning 25 knots wind from approx. 45 degrees and waves between 1 and 2 meters from the same direction. Although close to the wind (not the preferred sailing direction of a cruising catamaran) and waves, the crossing was surprisingly pleasant. Partly with two reefs, towards the end only one, we reached the mainland of Spain the next morning. Here again many thanks to Knut and Petra Richter, the TO base manager in Roda de Bara! They take really good care of the yachties here in Roda de Bara. I can only recommend them and the harbour! Knut even organized the electrician here in the harbour so that he could have a look at the Quattros of Victron. But even he couldn't find out the mistake and asked Victron in Barcelona for support. Perhaps this will lead to a sense of achievement this week.
Now we are already 14 days in Roda de Bara and wait for good weather conditions to leave for Canet en Roussillon. So far we had almost exclusively easterly winds and partly even 3 meter high waves outside the harbour. In order not to get bored we rented a car from Knut and Petra and explored the surroundings of Roda de Bara. Tarragona is only 20 minutes away by car and of course the wine-growing area Penedès, which actually reaches to Roda de Bara. Tarragona has a really very nice old town and is worth a trip and while driving through the Penedès we also came to Sant Sadurni d'Anoia, the capital of the Cava. Meanwhile we know that from Sant Sadurni d'Anoia almost 95 % of the whole cava production comes from Spain and the best cavas are actually vinified there. A welcome addition to the Zubenubi wine cellar.
We now hope to have good weather in the next 10 days to travel on to Canet en Roussillon. We have decided to station Zubenubi there for the next 2-3 months so that all deficiencies and necessary service work can be carried out professionally. We will also use this time to visit our friends and relatives in Switzerland and of course to celebrate Christmas with our loved ones.
We regard the past months on the road with Zubenubi as an extended test drive. We have found a lot of trust in our ship and it has become our real new home during this time. We are already looking forward to next year when we will be able to release Zubenubi from the lines again and explore further areas in the Mediterranean Sea.
This status report comes definitely not from Canet en Roussillon but from Mahon on Menorca, where we are currently with Zubenubi. After almost two months the first time again in a marina. What has happened in the meantime? In mid-July we had actually made it and the renovation of Zubenubi came to an end. One last time we went again to the beach restaurant Le Swim, which only exists in summer, and enjoyed the view to the beach of Canet, the food and of course the wine. Then we stocked up our provisions, bought our beloved Rosé Miraflores (one of our favourite Rosé wines) from the wine producer Lafage for the wine cellar on board, said goodbye to our new friends from the shipyard BMS and loosened the lines. Our destination was the Marina of Roda de Bara between Barcelona and Tarragona, where we were able to reserve a harbour space for Zubenubi for a good week through the TO base manager Knut Richter. The reason for this stop and our only registered date in the second half of 2018 was the wedding of a nephew of Alice in Switzerland and the invitation to the newlyweds to spend a few days of rest with us on the yacht after the wedding. Actually, we wanted to take the couple on board on the Balearic Islands, but the suitable harbour places on the Balearic Islands were mostly fully booked or so expensive that one could have booked a trip around the world for the required price for the few days. At the same time we looked for a care for our Captn Chili, which we wanted to save the flight to Switzerland and back for the few days. Petra Richter (Knut's wife) and her grandson Tyler, who spent his summer holidays with her, offered to take care of Chili during our absence. Arriving in Roda de Bara, Knut and Petra took very good care of us and Chili. The up-and-coming marina in Roda de Bara is actually only recommendable. Also the staff in the marina (Marineros, Capitanerie etc.) was very nice and helpful. A special and heartfelt thanks goes to Petra and Knut Richter and to Tyler (the grandson of Petra and Knut) who had taken care of Chili during our absence. Oh yes, I almost forgot. Hardly arrived in Roda de Bara, the long ordered gennaker was also delivered. The test assembly still in Canet en Roussillon showed that the sail had to be adjusted again. Unfortunately, the delivery did not last until our departure in Canet. Will it be our favourite sail?
On August 2nd we flew together with the newly married couple from Zurich to Barcelona and took a taxi in 45 minutes to Roda de Bara. The next day, after a good dinner in the small old town next to the harbour and the most necessary shopping, we went on to Mallorca. After a night with not much wind we reached the bay of Pollença the next morning, where we first anchored and had a rest. Then the journey went on to Menorca, then back to Sant Jordi on Mallorca, circumnavigating the islands of Cabrera and finally to the bay of Palma, from where the couple returned to Switzerland.
In the meantime, we had also noticed that our newly installed B&G VHF radio was not working properly. We had great reception, but couldn't transmit. Although Palma is actually regarded as a yachting hotspot, the repair of the radio took a good week. In the high season of the yachting sport on the Balearic Islands many technicians of the specialist companies on Mallorca also seem to go on holiday (as if most of the ski instructors in Switzerland would go on holiday in February). Anyway, it took strong nerves and very intensive mail traffic until finally someone was found to take care of the problem. At this point I would like to thank Gaelle Linais from Navico France, who took care of the coordination for the repair.
After the long wait in the bay of Palma we went on to the bay of Paguera and from there to the Cala San Vicente on Ibiza. Then we drove further into the bay of Sant Antoni de Portmany, where we stayed a few days at anchor and rented a car ashore to explore Ibiza by land, visit hippie markets and replenish our provisions. In Sant Antony we were not very far from Café Mambo, where a new DJ hung up almost every evening and sounded the bay accordingly. For a certain time it was a welcome change, even though the daily arriving and departing ferries and the dear comrades of the motorboat brigade produced quite a swell during the day. From midnight this calmed down, so that one could sleep well.
After Sant Antony we had the need for clear water and drove on to Formentera, where we first anchored in Cala Sahona and then in Cala Sabina. In the Cala Sabina we waited then for another nephew, who stayed with his colleague on the mainland in the holidays and wanted to visit us at the end of his holidays still a few days. Together with the two new guests we drove then the southeast coast of Ibiza up direction west point of the island, from where we took then the crossing back to Mallorca into the bay of Camp de Mar under the two hulls. From Camp de Mar we went back to Palma, where we once again entrusted the ship to the anchor in front of the harbour of Portixol. From Portixol it is a stone's throw to the city of Palma. After an aperitif at the Moll Vell in the harbour of Palma we went to the common farewell dinner in the old town of Palma. The next morning early (05:00 o'clock) there was an atmosphere of departure. Our guests had to go to the airport to fly back to Switzerland with the first plane from Swiss.
We ourselves stayed another night in the bay of Palma. Afterwards we made our way to Menorca. After a stopover again in the bay before San Jordi we ran with sail and engine (the wind came mostly on the nose) direction Mahon. In Mahon we could reserve a place in the Marina Mahon from 14.9. on. The high season is slowly over and there is some space in the harbours again. Now we lie here in the marina in Mahon and once again enjoy being able to go ashore directly from the ship. As we are situated alongside the pier, we enjoy the noise of the streets again. A noise that we didn't really know about the past months.
We will stay a little longer on Menorca and explore the various bays here. Now in the low season there should be more and more space. After that we will set off in October with a good weather window towards Canet en Roussillon, where we will have to have two or three warranty work done and will also commission two or three changes to our wishes. Finally, towards the end of November we will travel back to Switzerland for a month or two and enjoy life on the mainland a little, visit our relatives and maybe even go skiing. Let's see what the last quarter of this year will bring.
Now it is already almost a month and we are still in Canet en Roussillon, but we are approaching with "giant steps" the end of the reconstruction of Zubenubi. The interior is finished and we like the new salon and the guest cabins. We could get more accustomed to Zubenubi and already know the ship quite well. In the meantime we also had the opportunity to carry out various test runs and so we discovered one or the other which had to be repaired or corrected. Among them were the inverters, which didn't charge the batteries properly, a defective alternator on the port engine, a defective anchor chain, defective switches on the anchor winch and on the main sheet winch, fatigue break on the traveler and some other small things. In the meantime, the new Miele dishwasher, the Parasailor, the gennaker and the hatches to be replaced have arrived. The hatches will be installed this week, so we can actually start at the end of this week (if the new alternator is delivered in time). All in all we enjoyed the harbour life in Canet en Roussillon. A big change was the visit of a sister of Alice with her partner. Together we enjoyed the first trip with the Parasailor, the life at anchor and of course the culinary offers in Canet. Rolf was also happy that with Marius someone came on board who also likes to cook. A welcome change, not having to go into the galley. In the photos are a few pictures from the last 4 weeks. Today I am sure that the next report will be from on the way.
And we're still in the port of Canet en Roussillon.
In the last four five weeks Zubenubi's equipment slowly took shape. In the meantime many things have been installed. These include a new LazzyBag, a new Bimini, all the navigation and communication equipment, new sheets and lines, new EPIRBs and PLBs, new life jackets and much more. After the first test sail, we also found that the equipment for reefing the mainsail and attaching the mainsail itself needed to be improved. In addition, the traveller with its pulleys had to be replaced due to a break. The second autopilot, which we absolutely wanted to have installed, also needs a second GPS antenna so that it works absolutely independently of the primary system. We had to get a new Iridium phone, because there were no spare parts available for the old device, which had certain problems. KVH's black box for the TracPhone also had to be replaced. Since last Friday, however, both of them have been working flawlessly. Unfortunately, in the meantime, the old dishwasher has also given up, so that a new one had to be ordered. The code 0, which in the meantime has changed to a genaker with 220 m2, has not yet been delivered. The Parasailor with 280 m2 we couldn't try, although prepared, because of the upcoming strong wind (Tramontana).
Therefore we had time to read, to buy fresh herbs for the kitchen and to get to know the restaurants and wine growers in the area. Of course, the Green Egg has already been put into operation.
To our great astonishment, the TV reception via TracVision TV from KVH has been working smoothly and in excellent quality since the beginning (which I honestly never expected). So during our "harbour holidays" we can enjoy the latest news, one or two detective stories, Roger Federer at the ATP tournament in Stuttgart and now of course the World Cup. Variety and good advice were also provided by Beat and Iris Häusermann, two friends from Rolf's youth. They were in Canet to accompany the sale of their SlowMotion, a Lagoon 570 with which they had been travelling for 10 years. The conversations with them were informative, educational and often funny. There is hardly anything better than listening to experienced yachties and profiting from their experiences. At this point we would like to thank Iris and Beat for the good information, the pleasant evenings and also for your friendship.
The new dishwasher and the parts for the Traveller were promised for the beginning of next week. At the same time the Tramontana should give way from the middle of next week. It looks as if we will have to wait another week and can finally sail off. We are curious whether we will actually be on the way by the end of next week and hope of course that the next status report can then be written from other coordinates.
The day of departure has arrived. On 16.4.2018 we packed the rest of our material (and of course Chili as well) into the Viano, which was kindly made available to us by my sister, and made our way to Canet en Roussillon. After a trouble-free drive on the French motorways (which I would like to mention here), we arrived at our destination after 10 hours. Zubenubi was dressed up, the new railing, the new dinghy, the new sun protection for the cockpit and the new cushions were mounted, the conversion of the saloon has become very nice and comfortable and the new kitchen is almost perfect. As soon as Chili was on board, everything had to be inspected. For us it meant to move into the new home or our cabin and after a short dinner we first had to get some sleep. Finally we had to be fit again for the next morning, when the rest of the luggage should be delivered.
The luggage arrived on time the next morning and was reloaded to Zubenubi by the forwarder. We were really sceptical whether all the material could be stowed on the ship. Finally we moved the remaining material from a detached house to a ship! From time to time we thought that this would never work and that we would have to raise the waterline of the ship a lot. From time to time the ship looked like a flea market at Bürkliplatz in Zurich or like the return station of a library. All in all, it took us about 2 weeks to clear everything, but there was the danger that we would only find half of it again later. It's amazing how much space there is on a catamaran. My sister's Viano did us very useful service during the first two weeks. Finally we had to go shopping and that's not always just around the corner in France!
After 2 weeks it was finally time. Ralf and Philipp, two of our nephews and godchildren, visited us to drive the Viano back to Switzerland. They flew from Zurich to Barcelona, where we picked them up and spent 3 days with us on the ship. Of course we were very happy to welcome two such helpful sailors on board. On May 1st we were ready. We had to say goodbye to Viano and our nephew. They drove our "load donkey" the nine-hour journey safely back to Switzerland.
Now we are already nearly 4 weeks on the ship. Chili has settled in very well and has already found his places of retreat when there is a stronger wind outside again or when many craftsmen make the ship unsafe. Also the last 2 weeks we still had a lot to do with tidying up. At the same time we had a good opportunity to get to know Zubenubi better. Some things were installed and repaired during this time. With the life on board also still the one or other improvement desire came to light and one notices relatively soon, which works well and which less well. Some things (code 0, LED lighting in the cockpit, etc.) have unfortunately not been delivered yet and other parts (bimini, instrument panel on the steering positions, etc.) will be installed in the next few days, partly still parameterized and programmed.
As it looks at the moment, we will have to stay here in the harbour for another 2 weeks, i.e. most likely until Whitsun. Our thanks go to the shipyard BMS, to Denis and Pascal, who really support us and do a great job. We can only recommend BMS and its employees!
In the photos are a few pictures from the last 4 weeks. We hope very much that the next status report from somewhere on the way then takes place.
So, it's Friday the 13th (April 2018), if that's not a good sign. We packed almost everything and this morning the forwarder came and filled his truck with a lot of boxes, kitchen utensils and clothes bags. The removal goods will arrive in Canet en Roussillon next Tuesday, 17.4.2018. We ourselves will go on the trip to Canet next Monday and take the remaining things with us. Zubenubi isn't quite finished yet, but until we've put everything in place and tested all the new equipment, our ship should be ready to set sail, as should ourselves. Let's see where the wind takes us. Oh yes, of course we don't forget Chili, our ship's tomcat and actual captain of Zubenubi. He took care of the luggage the whole last night and, just to be on the safe side, he also made sure that nothing gets away and of course that he doesn't forget.
Current photos of the ship will follow. We are curious ourselves how far the conversion has progressed and what it looks like in the end.
The Zubenubi refit is in full swing. All sea valves have been replaced. The underwater lighting was installed, new on-board toilets were installed and the heat exchangers for the refrigerators were replaced. A longer anchor chain and a seawater high-pressure pump were installed to clean the anchor chain and anchor. The first half of the solar panels were mounted on the roof (the second half is mounted above the Davids), the mast was removed to replace all wire ropes, all rollers, fittings and traps were checked and replaced if necessary. In addition, the electrical installations such as radar, lighting, antennas, etc. will be replaced. In the ship itself, the furniture in the saloon was removed, the lead batteries replaced with lithium batteries and at the same time the capacity increased and the kitchen equipment dismantled as necessary to make room for the new equipment. At the Boot 18 in Düsseldorf we could order our Parasailor with the Zubenubi logo at the ISTEC booth, our Code 0 at the INCIDENCE booth and the Seabob F5S at the Seabob booth.
During our visit to the BMS shipyard in Canet en Roussillon in mid-February, we were able to assess the progress of the modification and discuss further work with Denis Ranjard. We are curious to see how far the renovation will be in a month's time. According to the current schedule, the conversion should be completed by mid-April at the latest.
As soon as the new year has begun, the holy 3 kings have just left, and we are moving on in big steps. Zubenubi was watered out before New Year to do the work on the hull (underwater lighting, checking and possibly replacing the sea valves, replacing the stuffing boxes, etc.). At the same time the mast will be removed to carry out the new lighting (all LED), new antennas for navigation and communication, new cables as well as the control and possible exchange of the rigging (pictures will follow as soon as possible).
We also had to take care of a new dinghy. Our wish was to have an AB aluminium hull (reason: problem-free and stable hull, lighter weight). We found it via internet at Boote-Gauert in Heiligenhafen. There we could order our desired dinghy (see pictures below). It is to be delivered fully equipped at the beginning of March to the shipyard in Canet en Roussillon. At this point we would like to thank Stephan Gauert for the professional, efficient and trouble-free handling. We are already looking forward to the first "round trips" with our new tender.
Since we also want to be mobile during land excursions or longer shopping trips on land, we decided to look for two folding bikes, which have space on board and would meet our requirements. In the end we chose the E-Bike Tern Vektron folding bike (see picture below). The quality of these e-bikes convinced us. The e-bikes will be ready for collection in approx. 1 week, i.e. we can already subject the bikes to first tests here in Switzerland.
Since we will only be at Boot 18 in Düsseldorf for a short time, we can concentrate on the remaining "little things" which are still missing for the start of our adventure.
So, a part of our new stage of life is done (with a crying eye). We sold our house in Switzerland. Now it is time to accompany the conversion of our new home. Most of the offers for the refit of Zubenubi have arrived and with the start of 2018 the conversion will be pushed forward. A few minor details are still missing, but these will also be clarified in the coming weeks. Then towards the end of January we will go to the boat show in Düsseldorf, because we hope to be able to buy some things there. At the beginning of February a visit to the South of France will be due again to see the progress of the rebuilding of Zubenubi.
Due to the weather forecast and in consultation with Bertrand Rayon, our professional skipper for the crossing, we decided to cross the Golf du Lyon only on 19.10.2017. For the 18th and the night on 19.10. there was relatively strong wind from ESE and waves from SSE. But this should calm down during the 19.10. and make the crossing a bit more pleasant. Wind and waves should decrease in the course of the day and should come up for us more aft. Moreover, the waves in Canet en Roussillon on Wednesday were very unfavourable, so that one had to expect at any time that the harbour would be closed for incoming and outgoing ships.
So we started on 19.10. at 03:30 with the preparations for the departure and could finally leave the port at 04:30 o'clock. The engines ran with 2000 rpm and after about 4 nm we could set the Genoa, which was very useful on this course. As soon as we were out of the land cover, we also felt the surprisingly high swell. We took the first photos in the harbour and in the bay before La Ciotat, afterwards the hands were used for the own stability. According to the weather forecast, the further we approached the middle of the Gulf of Lyon, this should turn to our advantage. And behold, when the day slowly began and the sun sent its first rays from the horizon to us, the swell calmed down visibly. We only had waves of max. 2-2.5 meters, but the wind remained quite brisk. Shortly before noon we had gust peaks that loosely exceeded 40 knots, but the autopilot steered unimpressed further in the direction of Canet. As it turned out later and we learned from the navigation recording, we once had a top speed of more than 17 knots. We ourselves felt absolutely safe and Zubenubi moved absolutely stable through the waves. Alice even took the time to catch up on some sleep and test if the ship didn't make any unpleasant noises even with such wind and waves.
Two hours after noon it was time for a snack. The ups and downs had stimulated our appetite. At the moment it was even a little sunny and the moving sea looked great. The ship went well and we could expect to arrive in Canet before dark (ETA was 18:30). Alice used the time to catch up some sleep in the saloon.
Shortly before Canet en Roussillon the weather got worse again and the sky darkened. It looked like thunderstorms. We were registered in Canet and hoped that the waves were not too high and that the Capitanerie left the harbour open. The entrance is considered critical with wind and waves from the east. When we were in front of the harbour, the waves broke in front of the harbour entrance, but the harbour entrance was not closed. Bertrand knew the harbour entrance very well and steered Zubenubi safely through the "eye of the needle". Hardly in the harbour it began to rain. Denis Ranjard already waited for us at the pier of BMS and helped us to moor. The thunderstorm was exactly over us and it was pouring out of buckets. In a few minutes we were completely wet. Denis was so kind and offered us another vehicle from BMS that evening, so that we could go to the city for something to eat.
Friday we spent with meetings concerning the refit of Zubenubi and chose the new fabrics for the upholstery. In the evening Denis and Pascal surprised us with champagne, foie gras and fresh baguette. They toasted to our arrival and our birthdays. On Saturday morning we started packing again. A taxi finally brought us back to La Ciotat, where we could change back into our own car. During this time La Ciotat was in the middle of their 4 day historical festival "Un Spectacle Son et Lumière pour la 15ème édition du 19 au 22 octobre 2017". It was really a Spectacle. Young and old were dressed in historical clothes, old craftsmanship was shown and of course pirates.
All in all there were 5 very pleasant days in the South of France.
On 17 October 2017 the time had come. Alice and I met our broker Catherine Relandeau and Bernard Oberlé, the owner of MARANIA, at the shipyard in La Ciotat in France. The aim was to carry out the agreed test drive with the test of the machines, generator, water maker and the other equipment on board in order to get a final picture of the Privilège 615.
In recent years, La Ciotat has become one of the most important ports in the Mediterranean for work on megayachts. Therefore, it is not surprising that a 60-foot sailing yacht is not exactly conspicuous. MARANIA, as the ship was still called, was embedded between such megayachts. One yacht behind her, for example, was the impressive 86 metre long private yacht MUSASHI. You don't need an oracle to find out who owns this magnificent yacht :-).
We prepared everything for the test drive and ran in beautiful weather and with support of Patrick Maurel of Sailing Concept from the port of La Ciotat to carry out the tests. We had also agreed that we would test the sails later in Canet en Roussillon (after the refit). The tests were all to our complete satisfaction and we were able to return to the port with good feeling. Back in the harbour Catherine prepared the final administrative part for the final signing of the contract, which we signed and sealed with a glass of champagne. Now only the tank truck had to be ordered, because we wanted to store a few litres of diesel for the crossing across the Golf du Lyon to Canet en Roussillon. When this was also done and customs also gave us the go-ahead in the evening to leave the port and the region, Alice started to temporarily adapt the ship's name and the home port at the stern. Finally, the Privilège 615 is sailing under the Swiss flag under the name ZUBENUBI. From now on we are the new owners :-).
We found the ship we wanted. We are about to buy a Privilege 615, year 2008. The handover of the ship is scheduled for October 2017. After that the catamaran will be refitted according to our wishes before we finally set sail. The aim is to register the catamaran under the Swiss flag. The coming weeks will be exciting, intensive and perhaps a bit annoying until all administrative requirements have been met. How long the refit will take will also be clarified in the coming weeks. Will it be a 100-meter or 400-meter hurdles race? As soon as there are new facts, we will continue here.
First pictures are filed with the photos.