Logbook 2017

Welcome to the Online logbook & blog of S/Y Stella Polaris.

We are a Finnish family of 3 sailing a Vancouver 32. In 2017 we’ll be sailing at the Mediterranean Sea.

From the Online Logbook below you can see where we are now and where you might find us next. You are welcomed to follow our journey!

DAY 386, 24.6.2017 – Saying goodbye to family and heading to Sardinia

From: Cala Covas, Menorca, Spain

To: Porto Conte, Sardinia, Italy?

Via: Cala de Porter, Menorca, Spain

 

DAY 385, 23.6.2017 – Midsummer evening piknic turns into seaking shelter from the waves

DAY 384, 22.6.2017 – A day sail with family

DAY 380, 18.6.2017 
From: Cala Covas, Menorca, Spain (anchorage)
To: Sou Bou, Menorca, Spain
Length: 16.6 nm

DAY 377, 15.6.2017 – Fuel, water and provisions from Mahon
From: Cala Covas, Menorca, Spain (anchorage)
To: Cala Taulera, Menorca, Spain (anchorage)
Length: 17.3 nm

DAY 374, 12.6.2017 – Getting to know Menorca -day
From: Cala Satandria, Menorca, Spain (anchorage)
To: Cala Covas, Menorca, Spain (anchorage)
Length: 21.6 nm

DAY 373, 11.6.2017 – To Menorca
From: Porto Cristo, Mallorca, Spain
To: Cala Satandria, Menorca, Spain (anchorage)
Length: 38 nm

DAY 371, 9.6.2017 – Escaping the massive swell to a marina
From:
 Cala Barques, Mallorca, Spain (anchorage)
To: Porto Cristo, Mallorca, Spain
Length: 5.6 nm
Crew: Charlotta

DAY 370, 8.6.2017 
From:
 Porto Cristo, Mallorca, Spain
To: Cala Barques, Mallorca, Spain (anchorage)
Length: 6.0 nm
Via: Cala Magraner (anchorage)
Crew: Charlotta

DAY 368, 6.-7.6.2017 – Tailwind sailing on the east coast of Mallorca
From:
 Colonia de Sant Jordi, Mallorca, Spain (anchorage)
To: Porto Cristo, Mallorca, Spain (anchorage & marina)
Length: 28.0 nm

DAY 365, 3.6.2017 – Seeking shelter for the upcoming strong winds
From:
 Illa de Cabrera, Mallorca, Spain (buoy)
To: Colonia de Sant Jordi, Mallorca, Spain (anchorage)
Length: 11.2 nm

DAY 364, 2.6.2017 – Visiting a nature reserve
From:
 Playa Trench, Laguna del Salobra, Mallorca, Spain (anchorage)
To: Illa de Cabrera, Mallorca, Spain (buoy)
Length: 14.1. nm

DAY 363, 1.6.2017
From:
 Cala Portals (Portals Vells), Mallorca, Spain (anchorage)
To: Playa Trench, Laguna del Salobra, Mallorca, Spain (anchorage)
Length: 23.6 nm

DAY 361, 30.5.2017 – Sailing in the rain to a spectacular bay
From: Cala Santa Ponsa, Mallorca, Spain (anchorage)
To: Cala Portals (Portals Vells), Mallorca, Spain (anchorage) (picture)
Length: 9.00 nm

We played it smart: Cala Portals is very popular among sailors and day-trippers. We had been warned that it gets crowded in this cala. The weather forecast predicted some rain and possibly some thunder for the morning and we figured it might scare off other people. And we were right: when we arrived to Cala Portals in rain (no thunder) there were couple of boats there seeking shelter (from what?!) but other than that the cala was empty. We anchored in the best spot right at the beach and when the sun came out at 4pm, we explored the mysterious caves (picture) at the cala and just enjoyed the calm atmosphere and green pine tree hills. What a scent after the rain!

The following day was another story: we counted about 20 vessels from tiny motorboats to super yachts in the bay. But almost all of them were gone by 7pm and the tranquil atmosphere returned. This cala is a gem but play it smart – arrive on a rainy/cloudy day or after 7pm to get a good spot for the following day.

 

DAY 357, 26.5.2017 – Sailing in a convoy to Mallorca
From: Cala Portinatx, Ibiza, Spain (anchorage)
To: Cala Santa Ponsa, Mallorca, Spain (anchorage) (picture)
Length: 51.2 nm
With: Señora de Mar (Finland) and Bora Bora (UK)
Well… it didn’t turn out to be a sailing day. We motored or motor sailed the whole way. Good day though – got lots of things done onboard and arrived to Santa Ponsa in good time for sundowners.

Santa Ponsa turned out to be an excellent anchorage to get provisions and other supplies. We run into several familiar sailors there and it felt that the whole sailing community was there! The anchorage was sheltered enough to leave the boat for a day and we used to opportunity to visit Palma city with a local bus.

DAY 354, 23.5.2017 – This was not our day
From: Cala Vedella (Badella), Ibiza, Spain (anchorage)
To: Cala Portinatx, Ibiza, Spain (anchorage) (picture)
Length: 22.7 nm
Via: Puerto de San Miguel and Port de Beniras.
Cala Vedella was just beautiful but the swell came into this tiny cala during the night and resonated from the high rasing cliffs surrounding it. We hardly slept because the boat was rocking so violently. The buoy we took added to our pain by banging against the hull of the boat no matter what we did. We left Cala Vedella at 08am without morning coffee. Not because we wanted but because there was a block in our stove.

The rest of the day was not success either. The continued easterly winds created swell on the north side and we ended up motoring against the wind and the swell. We visited Puerto de San Miguel and Port de Beniras but we were unable to stay in either of them because of the swell. Finally ended up to Portinatx which turned out to be a wonderful place.

DAY 353, 22.5.2017 – To go around Ibiza clockwise or anti-clockwise? 
From: Isla Espalmador, Formentera, Spain (anchorage)
To: Cala Vedella (Badella), Ibiza, Spain (anchorage) (picture)
Length: 14.7 nm
Desicions, desicions… We decided that the clockwise route would have less swell in easterly winds. Don’t know about that but Cala Vedella was just adorable! It had a white sand beach that extended all the way to the shops and restaurants. We picked a buoy because the cala is fairly deep and has very little room to swing around. There were 4 other sailboats in the cala with us with two of them anchored a long way outside the cala.

 

 

DAY 352, 21.5.2017 – Re-visiting the tranquil Isla Espalmador
From: Sabina bay, Formentera, Spain (anchorage)
To: Isla Espalmador, Formentera, Spain (anchorage)
Length: 4.0 nm
The west coast of Formentera was off limits because of strong easterly wind. So went back to Isla Espalmador that we really liked.

DAY 351, 20.5.2017 – Back to Formentera to explore it a bit more
From: Cala Talamanca, Ibiza, Spain (anchorage)
To: Sabina bay, Formentera, Spain (anchorage)
Length: 11.0 nm

DAY 349, 18.5.2017 – Provision stop in Ibiza City
From: Isla Espalmador, Formentera, Spain (anchorage)
To: Cala Talamanca, Ibiza, Spain (anchorage)
Length: 9.2 nm

DAY 348,17.5.2017 – Meeting more winter-time friends in Formentera
From: Cala Comte, Ibiza, Spain (anchorage)
To: Isla Espalmador, Formentera, Spain (anchorage)
Length: 19.2 nm
With: Spirit of the Sea (Gibraltar)

DAY 346,15.5.2017 – To an anchorage with crystal clear waters and friends
From: San Antonia bay, Ibiza, Spain (anchorage)
To: Cala Comte, Ibiza, Spain (anchorage)
Length: 4.4 nm
With: Let’s Dance (Australia)

DAY 345-346, 14.-15.5.2017 – Ibiza: here we come!
From: Valencia, Spain
To: San Antonia bay, Ibiza, Spain (anchorage)
Length: 84.5 nm

DAY 333, 2.5.2017 – Sailing 6 knots with reefed main sail only
From: Calpe, Spain (anchorage)
To: Valencia, Marina Real Juan Carlos I, Spain
Length: 62.7 nm

DAY 332, 1.5.2017 – Crossing over to the Eastern hemisphere (and a swordfish!)
From: Torrevieja, Spain
To: Calpe, Spain (anchorage)
Length: 55.2 nm

DAY 331, 30.4.2017 – Nice sailing day in increasing wind
From: Cartagena, Spain
To: Torrevieja, Spain
Length:  39.4 nm

Update 3.4.2017
We’ve decided to get to know Cartagena a bit better and wait for the waters to warm up before we sail to Ibiza, Formentera, Mallorca and Menorca. Therefore we will be staying in Cartagena for a month. You can find us in the YPC Marina Cartagena.

DAY 302, 1.4.2017 – The wind plays April Fool’s Day jokes on us
From: Carboneras, Spain (picture)
To: Cartagena, Spain
Length: 60.7 nm
With: S/Y Kastehelmi (Finland)
After motoring out of the fishing marina and admiring the beautiful sunrise, Saku went back to sleep. Sanna enjoyed the view and morning coffee while motoring in calm weather. At 9am, the sidewind started and raised to 25-28 knots in 10 minutes. We sailed 6-7 knots with reefed main sail and the staysail. But as quickly as the wind had arrived, it died out at 10.30am and we were motoring again. The wind did pick up again after lunch but died again before we reached Cartagena. However, when it was time to go to our berth (had to wait and motor around in front of YPC marina for 30-40 mins) the wind was back to 20 knots, very nice… It felt like the wind was playing April Fool’s Day tricks on us! We also might fooled couple of people in Facebook by saying that we are on our way to Cartagena, COLUMBIA. :)

DAY 301, 31.3.2017 – We found something unexpected
From: Almerimar, Spain
To: Carboneras, Spain (pictures below)
Length: 58.5 nm
With: S/Y Kastehelmi (Finland)
Early morning start from Almerimar to round Cabo de Gata (picture) and head north for a change. First motoring, then motor sailing and finally doing over 6 knots just with a reefed main sail. We checked out couple of anchorages in Carboneras and dropped the anchor to the beach just north from the fishing marina only to realize that it was too rocky to stay there for the night. Motored to the fishing harbour, tied up to the fueling station and were warmly welcomed to stay for the night.

Carboneras does not look very inviting from the sea with industry buildings and factories. After dinner, we went for an ice cream to the town. We expected a quiet industry-fishing village but found that we had arrived to a lively beach town with beautiful palm trees on the beach and busy city center. We will keep this town in mind for future holidays!

DAY 293, 23.3.2017 – This is surfing, not sailing – in Goretex!
From: Mortil, Spain
To: Almerimar, Spain (picture)
Length: 38.3 nm
The strong winds continued, cold air arrived and we felt like surfers in Goretex with a substantially bigger surfboard! We only had the genoa and we did over 8 knots time to time on our way to Almerimar.

We called in advance to check from the Almerimar marina office that it’s safe to enter the marina because the RCC pilot book says isn’t not a good entrance in strong SW wind which we had. But it was fine -nothing like Mortil. The wind was still 30 knots when we moved from the welcoming pontoon to our berth. It was not the easiest mooring we’ve done.

At first, the Almerimar marina did not appeal to us (e.g. the showers need renovation and Anton’s scooter was stolen from in front of our boat) but after some days we got the hang of it. We got a good berth close to a food store in a safe bay where Anton can sail his S/Y Amme.

DAY 291, 21.3.2017 – Gigantic gross waves at the Mortil harbour entrance
From: Marina Del Este, Almunecar, Spain (picture)
To: Mortil, Spain
Length: 12.3 nm
After visiting the surreal Caves of Nerja in the morning and hitchhiking back to the boat, we decided to sail a short leg towards east. At this part of the Costa Tropical, you can admire the wonderful snow topped mountains of Sierra Nevada (picture) from the sea. What a contrast!

We anticipated large waves and strong wind to give us good speed. The waves were large indeed and the wind only seemed to pick up. It was ok at sea – the larger waves came in sequences of 1-3. Saku hand-steered the boat almost the whole way which is exceptional in our boat.

But the Mortil harbour entrance was another story. The large waves resonated back from the breakwater generating gigantic gross waves to the harbour entrance. The wind was 25-30 knots and the captain reports seeing waves higher than our wind generator. The horrible sea state lasted only for couple of minutes but we were soaken-wet on the safe side of the breakwater. And very happy that we made it into the harbour safely.

The Mortil Puerto Deportivo was very welcoming private boat club and we enjoyed our stay but there is very little to see or do in Mortil harbour area. The city itself is a 5 km drive away.

DAY 290, 20.3.2017 – Postponed departure due to heavy winds
From: Fuengirola, Spain (picture)
To: Marina Del Este, Almunecar, Spain (anchorage & marina)
Length: 45 nm
We spend some weeks in Fuengirola enjoying Finnish sauna and rye bread. Stella Polaris was also on dry land for 3 days where we polished her sides and gave her new anti-fouling. Saku started the project of changing some of the Treadmaster anti-slip covers of the foredeck.

From Fuengirola we also took a day trip to walk the Caminito del Rey, the King’s path. Don’t miss it if you are in the neighbourhood, it’s a must do!

Our departure from Fuengirola was postponed for several days due to exceptionally strong wind that closed the entrance of the marina and splashed water over the breakwater to the marina. After the sea had calmed down, we left Fuengirola on a beautiful sunny morning and motor-sailed to an anchorage at Ensenada de los Berengueles, right next to Marina del Este. Jenny & John (who we had met last year in Ayamonte, Spain) met us at the beach and offered afternoon tea at their new apartment. It was lovely to see them again and catch up! After tea we returned to Stella Polaris to find out that our anchorage was not at all sheltered. Before the sunset, we lifted up our anchor and motored to the very beautiful but expensive Marina del Este.

At Varadero de Fuengirola 10.3.-13.3.2017

DAY 270, 28.2.2017 – Changing wind conditions and following seas
From: Estepona, Spain
To: Fuengirola, Spain
Lenght: 31 nm
Alternating wind conditions from 2 knots to 20 knots and sudden change of wind direction (180 degrees) when approaching Fuengirola. The weather man did not get it right today but we enjoyed the ride anyway.

DAY 269, 27.2.2017 -Start of the Mediterranean adventure!
From:
Marina Bay, Gibraltar, UK
To: Estepona, Spain
Lenght: 22.1 nm
We are off to the Med!!! :) Algeciras marina never managed to give us a lift up time so we left Gibraltar as soon as our postal packages arrived. Since our planned repairs are not urgent kind, we will lift up Stella Polaris later somewhere in Costa Del Sol.

We had a wonderful and challenging day sailing around the Rock of Gibraltar to Estepona, Spain. The wind was strong (15-25+ knots) and gusty at times. We sailed among the cargo ships anchored on the Med side of the Rock of Gibraltar and the wind would suddenly die totally followed by a gust that ones tilted us to 35 degree angle. The captain saw it coming and we managed just fine. We had a reefed main sail and genoa partly open. Our yankee would have worked better in these conditions. We were advised not to sail too close to the Rock just because of these winds but obviously the 1-1.5 nm distance was not enough. Likely these unsteady winds only lasted the time we were under the influence of The Rock. We remembered a time when we stood at the Rock looking at a sailboat going through a similar kind of wind patterns and now where were there ourselves… :)

The wind was supposed to calm down by the time we got to Estepona but did the opposite. We had about 25 knots of wind at the marina entrance where, in a controlled jibe, our reef line snapped. We took the sails down, motored to the marina and walked to the old town of Estepona for well deserved dinner.

Update 23.2.2017
We are back in Marina Bay, Ocean Village, Gibraltar. We are waiting img_0095for a lift-up time from Algeciras marina (El Rodeo Isla Verde) and hoping to spend couple of days on dry land.  The exceptionally strong levante has mest up the schedules at the boatyard and we were informed that we won’t get up from the water this week either but have to wait until next week…  Will keep on doing maintenance work on the boat and wait for the postal packages that should arrive any day now. After boatyard, we will hit the Med!

DAY 260, 18.2.2017 – Motor-sailing back to Gibraltar to meet friends and get shelterimg_0094
From: Ceuta, Spain
To: Marina Bay, Gibraltar, UK (picture)
Lenght: 17.7 nm
We sailed with genoa + motor back to Gibraltar in beautiful spring-like warm weather. The wind had died and the remaining waves rocked the boat. Efforts to sail ended quickly when we realized that we are only going to break the main sain in the waves and drift to Tarifa with the current…

Originally we expected to sail directly to Algeciras boatyard from Ceuta but since we got no lift-up time (the boatyard is full) we decided to go back to Gib and meet friends while we are waiting for our turn. And what  a welcome we got! We got the same berth as we had for the winter weeks and truly felt like coming home. We were pleased to see that the crew of Catamaran Spirit of the Wind was back from Germany – now Anton has a playmate! Also, we experienced some heavy rocking at the Ceuta marina and figured that the upcoming exceptionally strong levante would not make the situation any better – we are better off at Marina Bay.

On our way to Gibraltar, we took a swing to see S/Y A – one of the biggest sailboats in the world – anchored at the Bay of Gibraltar (and that time arrested by the Gib officials.)

DAY 256, 14.2.2017 – Valentine’s Day cruise to Africa, perfect start img_0092for the sailing season 2017!
From: Marina Bay, Gibraltar, UK
To: Ceuta, Spain (picture)
Lenght: 17.0 nm
Imagine a perfect sailing day and you’ll get the picture how our sailing season 2017 started. :)

We had perfect side wind of 1-13 knots and passage to African continent was effortless. Everything worked in the boat and we were happy just to sit in the cockpit and enjoy sailing after standing still for some weeks. The dolphins came to say hi couple of times and wished us happy sailing season 2017.

There were lots of traffic in the Strait of Gibraltar but we only had to give way to commercial ships at the Ceuta marina entrance. The Ceuta marina (Hercules Marina) was nicely located at the city center and provided a good spot to make a day trip to Tetouan, Morocco. The staff was helpful & friendly but we found the marina a bit pricy and the facilities cannot be praised.

strait