Ventotene to Procida (28NM)

Saturday the 26th of April

In stark contrast to the previous leg, Saturday was not the best of days to go sailing. The wind had turned and the swell had grown considerably (Force 6 on the nose is never pleasant) but there was no other option given the schedule I’d set myself. My entire trip hinged on making significant progress on a daily basis. Had I more time available I would have happily sat out much of the uglier weather in port, but I had to be back at work on the 5th and the longest part of the journey still lay ahead. At this point, nothing short of a gale would see me skip a day.

Broken Autohelm mount

Broken Autohelm mount

Just north of Ischia the mount for my Autohelm broke. Years of water seeping into small fractures in the timber had weakened the laminated block and it came away at the level of the evidently rusty screw heads. I was near several well-sheltered ports so rather than spend the night at an anchorage as originally planned I made for Chiaiozza (20Euros with water and electricity) to make repairs. Lavish use of 24hr Araldite had my tiller-pilot mount looking as good as new. I spent the rest of the evening taking in the sights of this unexpectedly pretty little port.

Ponza to Ventotene (23NM)

Ventotene Local

Ventotene Local

Friday the 25th of April

Effortless sailing to Ventotene, though the wind did get somewhat boisterous upon arrival. I made for the old port (originally carved out of the bedrock by the Romans) and moored bow-to to the quay.

I don’t even try to berth stern-to with Eileen of Avoca. The slightest breeze makes maneuvering in reverse (an arcane art practiced by only a few brave Yarmouth 23 owners) an unpredictable and potentially hazardous exercise.

This island is a scuba divers paradise but has little else to offer tourists on an extended stay. As I looked over the produce displayed on a small three-wheeled van the purveyor came to tout his wares. “Seven Euro and made with my own hands” he stated enthusiastically while I examined a jar of pickled capsicum. After this unexpected proclamation I couldn’t help but turn to examine his dirt-encrusted fingers as he reached for the jar.

I reluctantly abandoned my intended purchase.