I write this from Marseille, France, aboard my new acquired sailing vessel, the Black Rose, on the eve of its maiden voyage (hopefully). For those not up to date, check out this Youtube I made last month giving a little tour of her when I got the keys.
The plan now? To sail her some 650 nautical miles back home to Malta and be home by Halloween. My first sail since acquiring my skipper’s license, it would have been suicide to do it alone, so I’m sailing with another skipper more experience than I, with an Atlantic crossing under his belt. The plan is a straight run with no stops, rotating every few hours for the night watch. At 5 knots, in theory, it could be achieved in just under a week.
However, we’ve gotten off to a rough start.
When we first boarded Monday we ran into a few problems. The VFH radio wasn’t working, we found out that the power outlets wouldn’t work once underway, and we needed to replace the halyard (the main rope running up the mast). Power banks, rope, invertor, tools, food, drink, extra jerry cans filled with diesel… it was an expensive first day!
Then there was a horrible forecast, which I fretted over in my last Livestream.
The trip even inspired a sea shanty on the plane over.
*Thumbs chest at a plodding rythem.*
“Tis a wet and dreary day,
This day I leave my home town,
To make way for Marseille,
Where she lay wait for me.
Some say that she is old,
There’s prettier than she,
But her name is Roisin Dubh,
And she belongs to me.
Yes she is my Black Rose,…
my chariot at sea.
Just twenty-seven feet,
She is small to be sure.
Some say that we are mad men,
To take that thing offshore.
The forecast’s looking rough,
The sailing season’s o-over,
The wind is at our nose,
This week in late October.
Hope I don’t join the ranks,
On the da-ay of the dead.”
And so yesterday morning, we set off from the coast of Marseille and were greeted with this…
Gusts over 30 knots, rolling waves, a building breeze, and a speed of only 2 knots completely against the wind didn’t inspire confidence on a boat we barely knew, so sadly we were forced to turn back.
And thank God, but this is what’s it’s like today…
Tomorrow morning we will try again, heading directly south tomorrow to get out of danger zone and then turning towards Corsica when the weather turns in our favour on Friday.
Poseidon willing, the next time you hear from me (if there is one), we’ll have made it to Corsica.
Wish us luck!