PORTO FINO, ITALY

We planned to leave August 1 but impending low forced us to make the decision to let it blow thru. It just amazes us how quickly the sea state changes in the Med once the wind starts building so heading north was really not an option without falling off waves which is not one of our favorite pastimes.

Finally after 2 1/2 weeks, at10:30am, we left La Grazie on lumpy seas left over from the gale. Winds were light and coming to us directly down our rum line (as always). It was a major challenge for us to get a tack angle.

We sailed past the typical Italian coastline, houses clustered on great plunging rock cliffs above the sea, densely populated hillsides, villas, mansions, resorts, castles, and churches amidst the terraced greenery and flowering shrubs.

We sailed north to Portofino but couldn't find a suitable anchorage amidst the Italian super yachts and power boats with the unique Italian styling, dark and sinister with their smoked windows. Many of the yachts had helicopters on top and we even saw one with a car!


We dipped our nose into the harbor at Portofino and saw an absolutely charming fishing village. If we had more time, the area looked very interesting to explore further.


Santa Marguerita.

We continued into the bay and anchored in front of the marina at Santa Marguerita.

We were so delighted at the sight of the
town.The waterfront was a spectacular
sight with decorated buildings, colorful
statues, palms and cedars. The beachfront
was covered with umbrellas and sunbathers.



Santa Marguerita was probably the most beautiful Italian town we have ever seen.

After a quiet night, we left without going ashore.


Having to remove the dinghy from the foredeck is always a deterrent and we tend to miss out on many shore excursions if we don't plan on being at any one spot for very long.

We spent the day tacking, tacking, tacking but still remained practically the same distance from our destination. Very frustrating!

We slowly said goodbye to the west coast of Italy and as the horizon gobbled up the mountainous coastline, the seas flattened.

Four pilot whales appeared beside the boat. I had just read the book "117 Days at Sea" where a couple survived in a liferaft after they boat had been sunk by a pilot whale. So we watched the whales with more than a little apprehension....

It was almost a drift sail along the bit of Italian coastline that connects to France. Highly populated, houses peppered the steep high green hillsides with dense clusters of buildings concentrated at major centers. The wind remained light from the west but the seas were relatively flat so it was a comfy sail until just before dark.

Suddenly the wind switched and the seas quickly built form the SW, exactly on our course line. We pounded through the watery moguls until we found a little private island to duck behind. On the top of the island was a magnificent church and castle but nothing else. No sooner had we got the pick down, the wind switched, turning the boat onto a lee shore with rock only meters behind the boat. So we pulled up the anchor and off we went into the darkness.

We sailed under a bright white ball lighting a trail in the inky waters. About midnight the wind picked up again and we were once ineffectually trying to motor into the lumpy seas, barely making headway as the steep seas would stop us in our tracks. Suddenly the engine was coughing and complaining so we found a spot to anchor beside a marina using the radar to guide our way in. Despite the rolly polly anchorage, we managed to get some sleep.

The next morning after replacing the fuel filters we set off on glassy flat seas under ripped up mackerel clouds smeared across the sky. Ahead a solid cloudbank blocked the horizon to the S. We knew we were in for some nasty weather soon and hoped we could just make the 40 more miles to Ville Franche before anything major occurred.