Look closely to see Chona and Margit on the dock, waving us off

On Friday August 12, 2022 at 19:30 we departed Barcelona on our passage east to Turkey; first stop Soller, Mallorca. Ed and Shona, and Margit and Erv were on the dock waving us goodbye.  Tina, a multi-lingual Danish friend from the Club, was on board. She joined at the last moment as Cliff and Nancy, from the US, had to cancel over Covid concerns. The preceding few days had been somewhat hectic, getting the boat ready, buying a new dinghy/tender, stocking with provisions, and recovering from several farewell bashes.

Tina on her way to meet up with the bloggers “Sailing Uma” in Port Sóller with Lady M behind

Our first port of call was Sóller, on the north coast of Mallorca. The ~100nm overnight passage took about 16 1/2 hours.  Giles and Julia, friends from Cartagena and Turkey, had arrived there the previous day. The anchoring field was quite crowded, but we found a nice spot and were confident our anchor had set well. Unfortunately, a Bali catamaran in front of us, who had not put out enough chain, caught our chain with his anchor and dragged us into some other boats when the wind started gusting to around 30 knots. People from several nearby boats, including Sailing Uma, jumped into their dinghies to help out. The charterer of the catamaran was not on board. We anchored further out after that in deeper water. A bent stanchion and a section of the toe rail now need repair work.  Soller is a very pleasant town and the five of us enjoyed a meal ashore, in a beach-side restaurant.

This is after Howard had somewhat straightened our bent stanchion

Tina has sailed these islands for many years and was a great guide to the multiple anchorages along the coast of Mallorca and Menorca.  Our next stop was going to be on the west coast of Menorca at Cala de s’Amarador, but rather than sail close-hauled into the fresh southeasterly wind, we instead headed for Cala Algairens, a beautiful anchorage protected from all but N/NE winds.  The snorkeling was good, with quite a variety of fish. 

We had a super sail once we had passed Cap Formentera at the end of Mallorca, the flukey winds steadied into a nice close reach.

We took a look at a couple of calas on Mallorca, including this one, Cala de Sa Calobra on our way to Menorca
The SUP came out again in Cala Algairens

Because of the forecast, the next day we decided to head to Es Grau, which offered some protection from the forecasted northerly winds. However, after rounding the NE corner of Menorca the sea conditions forced us to stop at Cala Addaia, a long narrow inlet with a small town near the entrance. We slowly motored past numerous boats until at the far end of the inlet we found enough space to anchor, in about 4m of water. The storm started soon after midnight with amazing sheet lightening. Slowly but surely the wind rose and the first anchored boat, another Bali catamaran, bumped into us as it swept past around 01:30. By 02:30 the torrential rain was horizotal and the wind was gusting to 40 knots. Several other boats swept past us during the gusts, with most running aground on the shore close behind us. We motored slowly forward during some of the strong gusts to take the strain off the anchor. By 05:30 it was all over, although late in the afternoon we faced some more strong winds and rain, but nothing like the morning’s event. We had 20m of chain out in 4m of water and had made sure it dug in. The catamaran put out over 40m of chain and still managed to drag. The captain did a good job manouvering his boat engine, after the initial encounter with him. All but one of the grounded boats was pulled into deeper water during the day, although a powerboat remained firmly stuck on some spikey rocks. 

The rocks behind us in Cala Addaia before (with cormorants) and after (with motor boat atop) the storm.

Cala Addaia. We were at the far end.

Just to make life more interesting the aft cabin filled with smoke when we turned the generator on. The insulation on three cables exiting the bottom of the new Victron 24v battery charger had somehow overheated  and charred. 

Charred cables entering our battery charger!

As Lady M is a power hungry boat (lots of systems) we need the generator to charge the two service banks (each with four 125Ah batteries; there is also  a 12v charger for the engine and generator starter batteries). The main engine will also charge the batteries, but the 11kw generator is more efficient. Given the need to resolve the situation we headed for Mahon, the largest port in Menorca. Thanks to Tina, her fluent Spanish and determination eventually enabled us to dock on a pontoon in the middle of the harbour. We had tried numerous marinas who all stated that they were full. However, with dogged derermination Tina persauded Marina Menorca to give us space as we need to have work done on the boat. We are currently waiting for feedback from Pedro Boats who took a look at the electical units yesterday, and we have another company on standby for tomorrow, just in case. We also have a rigger coming down to replace/repair the continuous loop mainsail furling line, as the core splice has parted. A fairly traumatic, adrenaline rush first week of our passage. Hopefully, things will calm down soon.

Our farewell evening with Tina enjoying great tapas overlooking the impressive port of Mahon. We miss you already, Tina!