Forecast called for 15 knots wind, the blue. Instead we got the green/yellow stuff!
We had planned to stay in Puerto Pollenca in Mallorca until the end of August and then sail to Menorca, another
to the east. We’ve enjoyed the summer in Balearic Island Mallorca,
taking many trips inland by bus or rental car, and have enjoyed visiting the
many scenic, historical inland cities. The weather was hot in August – in fact
the high temperature broke the 50-year record in Mallorca.
But on the boat in the anchorage there was always a cooling breeze and rarely
But at the end of August there was a major weather system across the whole Med., a Mistral that roars down from the
and blankets the seas with gale force wind. It lasted for a whole week, and by
the end of that we were feeling bottled up and were anxious to get moving. We
had two choices – leave on this day with remnants of the sea and winds, or the
next day which will have little wind. We picked the windier day, and on this Tuesday
morning we waved goodbye to the many sailing friends we made here and departed
for the 35 miles trip to Gulf of Leon Menorca.
Eliza enjoying the ride....most of the time
The marine weather between Menorca and Mallorca is notoriously unpredictable, as the strong north wind gets deflected by
Menorca, and may leave the strait between the two islands
relatively calm. But Menorca is a low-lying
island with no tall mountains, so the deflection does not always work. As was
the case on this day. The forecast called for a very manageable 15 knots,
overcast sky. But once we left Mallorca, we
were hit by a squall. Dark clouds filled the sky and cold rain poured down in
large drops. Wind picked up to 30 knots, and waves quickly built to over 3
meters. We were caught with too much canvas. With a deeply reefed jib and full
main, we were surfing down large waves on a board-reach at 8.5 knots – a record
for us. But the Nauticat was in complete control, and rock-solid stable. Her
directional control is excellent, despite the large quartering waves. Often
when we were in marinas or anchorages, we watched those ‘Med boats’ with envy
as they turn on a dime with nice maneuverability in tight quarters. But those
light-displacement boats with narrow keels will not do too well in these
conditions. I will never complain again about my heavy displacement boat with
her long keel!
Nothing feels better than arriving at a beautiful, sheltered anchorage after a tough passage!