Greetings from Ibiza!
We have spent the last 9 months away from the blog, lazing around various sunsoaked beaches in Mediterenean Italy, France, and Spain. But all of that is about to change as we begin to prepare for an Atlantic crossing starting next month.
It’s time to get serious, people!
But before I walk you through the plans for our next big ocean crossing, let me give you a quick recap of what we’ve been up to since January. A lot can happen in 9 months.
We wound up staying at the marina in Licata, Sicily until April. We had a nice little community of live aboard boaters there. Cousins Alex, Susi, Jonesy, Andi, Caroline, and Alex visited. My parents (combined age of 177!) joined us for 2 weeks as well. It was their first trip to Sophie in 7 years.
It was much colder in Licata than we had anticipated. I am not sure if we will spend another winter in the Med.
We spent months exploring Sicily by rental car, conducting daily Sophie school, taking Italian lessons in town, eating way too much arancini, and sitting around waiting for some warmer weather to finally come.
We left Licata in late April and made our way around the southeast corner of Sicily to Siracusa and then up the Strait of Messina.
We spent a week in the Aeolian Islands before making the long run up to the Amalfi Coast. It was so nice to anchor out and swim again.
We hung out there for 2 weeks. Jenna’s parents joined us in Napoli and we made the overnight sail with them to Olbia in Sardinia.
We spent the next two months cruising Sardinia and Corsica, circumnavigating both islands while grooving to the Mediterranean beach life.
In July we headed back to the Italian coast at Cinque Terra via Elba. Jenna and Hazel left the boat for 3 weeks to attend a Miller family girls reunion in the US, and we carted Leo off to a summer camp in Germany for 2 weeks.
I took the boat back down to Sardinia with some friends and then picked up my son Max in Olbia. The two of us took Sophie up Corsica’s west coast for a week before making the jump back to Genoa. I dropped Max off there and then made the solo run from Genoa to Pisa.
The family reunited in Pisa, and we then left the boat in Livorno for a week in order to explore Florence and Rome.
After that, we all took Sophie back to Bastia in Corsica (via Elba, this whole summer was very Napoleonic) where we met my brother Rich and his wife Sigi.
They spent 16 days with us, exploring southern Corsica some more before making an overnight run to Menorca and then Mallorca.
Once Rich and Sigi left, the four of us took Sophie on another overnight run, this time to Barcelona, where we docked for a week in Forum Marina. Jenna’s sister Julie and her husband Silas joined us there. We enjoyed the fireworks of the La Mercè festival a week before the vote for Catalan independence.
From there we headed down to Ibiza, which is very, very quiet this time of year.
Whew! Now you can understand why we stopped blogging. We were too busy! 18 guests this year. Multiple overnight crossings. Hanging out with friends on Charm, Nikau, No Plans Just Options and other boats. We also made multiple side trips to the USA, Germany, and England.
But I also like to blog about Sophie Adventure Cruises, and this last year feels more like it was an extended vacation. Sophie Vacation Cruises.
But all of that is about to end.
We are currently planning to sail 2,600 miles from Las Palmas in the Canary Islands to Barbados in the Caribbean, departing early January 2018. From a trade wind perspective, January is the best time of year to do this passage.
To get to the Canaries, we will return to the Spanish coast, make stops in Malaga and Gibralter (The Territory) and then sail a short way up the Portuguese coast to Lagos.
From Lagos we will sail 450 miles to Madeira. My daughter-in-law Julie’s family is from there, and they have planned a 2 week extended family reunion in Madeira in November. We had better get there on time!
From Madeira it’s a single overnight sail to the Canaries.
So that’s our plan. We think the boat will be ready for the passage. We’ve ordered a new genoa and a new square-topped mainsail from Phil Auger at Zoom Sails, and we plan to pick them up in Gibraltar.
We also bought a small, barely-used parasailor spinnaker from a friend in Licata, so we are setup for tradewind downwind sailing in winds up to 25 knots.
We plan to replace our running rigging before we go. The engines, genset and watermarker have all been pretty happy this summer. It’s amazing how the heat and humidity of the tropics can take it’s toll on machines. The Med was much more gentle on Sophie’s systems.
Rich and his daughter Kate are crewing on the passage to Barbados, meaning they have signed up AND have purchased plane tickets. Two others have signed up but haven’t bought their tickets yet. (You know who you are, so please get cracking!)
Once we are in the Caribbean, we will have work to do. Jenna has signed us up to assist the International Rescue Group by using Sophie to ferry supplies to communities that were destroyed by hurricanes last month. We are very much looking forward to doing this.
We are now in the sixth year of our adventure. Leo is a teenager. Hazel has spent over half of her life on the boat. Our family is extraordinarily lucky to be doing this.