With thanks to:

The Moorings

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Grand-prix cruising

2: Skipperís briefing

All I can say is that Iím glad I took notes! Herve from The Moorings talked me through the key things I needed to use ó he also showed me all the things that were likely to go wrong. The key issues were fuel, engine, water supply, waste disposal, power/battery charging, GPS, autohelm, anchoring and of course the sails. Even dealing with the checklist was quite daunting and I was beginning to realise that being the only person who had the faintest idea about sailing onboard was going to make things tricky ó I was beginning to wish a few of the lads who sail the TP52 with me were coming too! I was glad to see there were some paper charts and a few books on anchorages and places to visit. Herve was very helpful so we also tapped his brain for all the best places; he was relaxed, knowledgeable and didnít mind stupid questions.

Once we had made a passage plan and bought a few more supplies (including the eveningís takeaway curry!) we set off. At least we tried to. My first test was getting the 40ft cat out of the 42ft space it had been parallel parked in on a lee shore against the concrete dock. I was more nervous doing this with lots of people watching than any start in the Americaís Cup. This was the first time I realised how good catamarans were ó in a monohull I would have had no hope but with an engine and propeller in each hull manoeuvring in tight spaces was no sweat. Herveís top tip of not using the rudder and just using the twin engines was a godsend.

We only motored four miles to a little anchorage called Las Illetas between Palma and Puerta Portals. I soon realised that I had no idea what the etiquette was for anchoring: I decided that as a catamaran we would draw less so the best thing to do was motor inside everyone else and take the best spot near the shore ó this strategy seemed to work quite well and only lead to one heated exchange in the week!

It wasnít a great nightís sleep as I spent the first half of the night wondering if the anchor would hold and the second half was noisy as the land breeze swung us round and the swell slapped continually under the back of the hulls, right where our cabin was ó I would have to find more sheltered anchorages with no swell in future. We couldnít go far the next day as I still had a TP52 race to do so we motored round to Puerta Portals and the family spent the day on the beach whilst I finished the MedCup regatta. We spent the night off Puerto Portals, which meant we could enjoy a nice meal in the marina.

With thanks to:

The Moorings

Previous page:1 Choosing a boat, and a holiday package

For our first cruising holiday we wanted the security and experience of a large charter firm

Next page:3 Finding a beach, and the rest of the holiday

The lovely beach for the kids made us decide to stay all day

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