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Sardinia sailings

August 2020 - Sardinia West and South coast

The west coast of Sardinia is a savage coast, often difficult to navigate when the strong mistral blows and without many shelters. 

We left Asinara after a great moon night.

These are our suggested spots:

1. Fornelli passage

2. Grotta di Venere

3. Capo Caccia

4. Port Conte

5. Alghero

6. Bosa Marina

7. Mal di Ventre island

8. Cala Domestica

9. Porto Flavia e Pan di zucchero

10. Carloforte island

11. Porto Scudo

12. Porto Giunco

13. Villasimius

1. First nice passage from Asinara island is the Fornelli; one mile long and less than 80 meters wide with an average of 5 meters shallow waters. Westward follow 301° dromes alignment, eastward 72° alignment.

2. The Grotta di Venere, is a cave reachable only by land climbing down 650 steps. By sea you just can approach it but anchoring is not allowed.

3. Capo Caccia is the culmination of an impressive 15 miles long cliff up to 400m high.


4. Port Conte, a protected large bay just between Capo Caccia and Alghero. Very good holding and 3 sides where to drop your anchor if North Westerly or South Westerly winds.

5. Alghero, a Catalan small town with a good Marina Sant'Elmo (VHF 09 or +39079980829). Among many restaurants Mambrouk is our first choice (ph. +39079970000). Away from the row of restaurants on the ancient walls, hidden in the alleys. You sit down and they do it all ... real Sardinian fish cuisine. Unbeatable for quality and cost. Some dolphins came joking with us.

6. Bosa Marina, actually was a good natural shelter for anchoring but since 2019 is not allowed to drop anchor from 20h00 till 08h00.

7. Mal di Ventre island, a flat long rock to explore...inhabited just by rabbits. Dropping anchor is forbidden but a dozen of buoys are available.

8. Cala Domestica, a small creek where anchoring only with E or SE winds. Nice to snorkel inside the cave.

9. Porto_Flavia in front of Pan di zucchero, is called Porto just because it served as the mineral production hub of Masua in the west coast of the Sardinian Iglesiente area. Built in 1923–24, it is named after Flavia Vecelli, the daughter of Cesare Vecelli, who engineered and designed the harbor. 

On the SE side of the Pan di Zucchero (reachable only with the tender) there is the access to a unique Via Ferrata. 

10. Carloforte

A must for a real Sardinia descovering. Its historical roots are quite interesting. Carloforte was founded in the 18th century by around 30 families of coral fishers, originally from the Ligurian town of Pegli, near Genoa. They had left their hometown in 1541, and had settled in the island of Tabarka, off the coast of Tunisia, to fish for coral. After centuries, the coral in that area was exhausted[3] and the families, while setting off back to Italy, found there was plenty of coral in the sea off the Sardinian west coast. They asked the King of Piedmont-Sardinia Charles Emmanuel III for permission to settle down on the once uninhabited San Pietro Island instead. When he granted them permission, the island was colonized (1739); the name Carloforte ("Charles the Strong", but also the "Carlo's Fort") was given to the town they then proceeded to found, in the Piedmontese king's honour. 

That's why the Carlofortini (Carloforte citizen) speak ligurian and no sardinian dialect. 

Wonderful to get lost in its narrow and fresh "Ligurian" alleys

The very famous Carloforte Tuna.
Let's start by saying that the most valuable species of tuna transits in the Mediterranean, the bluefin, scientific name Thunnus thynnus, commonly called bluefin tuna, rich in omega 3. 
The tuna that goes canned, to understand us, is usually the yellow fin, definitely less valuable. The bluefin tuna performs a sort of circle of the seas. Its strategic passage in the Mediterranean is called running tuna, because when it passes through it it is in the race for reproduction (it is also one of the fastest fish in the world). We are in April. 
Coming from Newfoundland, the tuna crosses the Strait of Gibraltar and enters the Mediterranean to reach ideal waters for spawning; females and males are ready for fertilization and have flesh at maximum consistency. In the crystal clear waters between Sicily and Sardinia, the shoals remain for about 60 days; then they focus on Spain and France, lay down and in September leave the Mediterranean, licking Italy again.

Since ancient times, tuna were fished with the fixed trap, a controlled capture system replaced in modern times by other techniques including the flying trap (purse seine) and longlines, which however led to reckless catches; today the fixed trap is a method in constant revaluation because, also according to Greenpeace and other environmental associations, it allows sustainable fishing as it is selective of the fish that can be caught. Carloforte is extolling this ancient tradition (apparently existing since 1400) and is one of the two fixed tuna traps with ministerial authorization (the other is in Favignana, Sicily). The revival of the two homegrown traps should also restore a certain Italian prestige in the Mediterranean, after years of production quasi-monopoly on the part of Malta (...)

The massive fishing of the past, indiscriminate and often illegal even for undersized specimens, has led in recent decades to an impoverishment of the bluefin species, up to the total loss of its stable presence in the Mare Nostrum, so much so as to determine the progressive reduction of fishing quotas (Tac, Total allowable catch) allocated to the various European countries; Italy also paid the price in terms of turnover and employment, experiencing the heavy crisis in the sector (the Favignana trap remained closed from 2007 to 2017). The protection choices have begun to bear fruit, and for about ten years the bluefin tuna has returned to the Mediterranean, a truly significant event, so much so that the quotas (set by the European Union and Iccat - International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic tuna) are gradually recovering, with increasing allocations in favor of the fixed trap, a method favorably favored also by the European Commission. However, it must be said that bluefin remains an endangered species, above all due to the considerable consumption by the Japanese in the form of sushi and sashimi, food culture which is increasingly fashionable in the rest of the world

The Saline (salt fields) occupy a large area that starts west of the port along the  south coast. A beautiful cycle path starts right there and winds its way between the coast and the hinterland.
A specialized tourism has therefore developed for some years with rental also of electric bikes.

11. Porto Scudo

Capo Teulada area is a wild area beacause is a military zone, so no one can build houses, go to the beaches ets. So anchoring is not allowed but in some small creek is still admitted, as Porto Scudo. 

At sunset the few boats of the day cruisers leave the bay and peace remains sovereign....alone (end of August!).

12. Porto Giunco

Beyond the extreme southeastern tip of Sardinia, known as Capo Carbonara, the island of Cavoli opens navigation to the South East coast of Sardinia which begins with Cala Giunco and the Serpentara island with splendid anchorages (protected only from the N, NW, SW winds ).

13. Villasimius, the extreme Sardinia south bay and harbor. Perfect to relax just before the crossing to Sicily.

 In the small harbor we moored beside the multi-victorious IMOCA 50  "Vento di Sardegna" with its skipper Andrea MURA with whom we have made a beautiful friendship. He won 2 times the Ostar Regatta.

Now retired from competitions with two small children, he is preparing to sail around the world but with a comfortable Prestige Catamaran.

That area in summer time is often struck by strong thunderstorm. What happened right after we moored in the harbor. 30 minutes of fear with gusts up to 52 knots!

Now it's time to relax...tomorrow 1st od September we will cross the Sardinia channel headed to Marettimo (Sicily) a 16 hours leg for around 140 nautical miles.


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