With thanks to:

The Moorings

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Grand-prix cruising

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

Leaving at 0945hrs on day three I had planned a nice gentle crossing over to Cala Pi, nine miles across the Bay of Palma, before the sea breeze picked up. I hadn’t bargained for a south-easterly gradient wind that made things a bit lumpy. Still we got the sails up and just about laid the cliffs of the Capo Blanco, which mark the eastern edge of the bay. It became very quickly apparent that this boat did not want to go upwind and I made a mental note to not even try again. We managed to sail okay at 50 degrees true with a full mainsail and a half unfurled jib, sitting at about 7 knots to make good progress. It was an awkward motion in the seaway and we had two bouts of seasickness in the first hour — not good as it was only 15 knots of wind. I started praying for lighter or northerly (offshore) winds.

We made Cala Pi by lunchtime and found it was a beautiful narrow inlet. The Imray Pilotage book explained that you had to anchor in the middle of the channel and then tie your stern to the cliff face. Worried about damaging the tender in the swell, I decided to do this by swimming, which — apart from the sea urchin spines in my foot — proved very successful. I was glad to be at anchor even if it was nerve-wracking being only half a length from a cliff wall. The lovely beach for the kids made us decide to stay all day and as the wind swung north we even got some sleep.

On day four our original plan was to go to the island of Cabrera, five miles offshore but to anchor there you need a special permit. There are only 50 permits a day issued and, despite having tried to obtain a permit months in advance, ours was never confirmed. We decided to stay closer to the main island which, whilst it was disappointing to miss out Cabrera, proved to be a good decision as we made good time motor-sailing towards a huge golden sand beach called Playa Trench.

This was a great spot and for the first time we were really able to start relaxing. Fellow dad Rob was mastering the electric windlass, I was getting more confident every day and the girls and the kids had perfect sun, flat water and a lovely beach to enjoy. The only problem was that we were running out of water. We headed to a fishing village called Puerto Colonia where 400 litres (could we really have used that much so quickly?) cost us a few Euros. We enjoyed a nice meal and headed back to sea to find a more sheltered anchorage. Cala Entugores was the perfect spot — it was nerve wracking navigating there by night especially as it was only two metres deep — but this was good news as it meant only catamarans could sensibly get in there: I was beginning to think like a cat sailor. We had our best night’s sleep yet with no boats around to hit and a dead calm sea.

The next day we turned the south-eastern corner of Majorca, past the picturesque Punta Salinas lighthouse, and started to motor into a headwind up the east coast where we’d planned a rendezvous with some friends at Cala Mondrago. Cala Mondrago was a heavenly place — a beautiful cove with two nice beaches and not too many anchored boats. We popped to Porto Petro and picked up a visitor mooring to go for supper — this was to be the furthest away from Palma that we went. Not wanting to leave ourselves any long passages in case of adverse weather I decided to make some miles back to Cala Entugores where we knew we would sleep well.

Another day, another short sail and another fantastic beach: the wonderful Playa des Carbo — again too shallow for keelboats so there was lots of space. In Puerta de la Rapita we took advantage of the local sailing club where we had our best meal of the trip. By now realising that the kids were only interested in the beach and the sailing was the most boring bit of the day for them I decided to take advantage of the millpond-like conditions and motor 22 miles across the Bay of Palma to Cala Portals — a lovely anchorage on the west coast of the bay. What I failed to appreciate was how popular this spot would be so close to Palma. Added to the fact that it was one o’clock in the morning when we got there and we’d had a couple of glasses of red wine this was to prove the ultimate test in my precision anchoring. The next day the anchorage became very busy by lunchtime so we were glad to make a leisurely sail downwind back to Palma, arriving back mid-afternoon.

With thanks to:

The Moorings

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He didn’t mind stupid questions

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The young ones went from being scared of standing on a jetty, to being happy to jump in and out of the rubber dinghy

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