Passage to Sant Carles de la Ràpita

View across Puerto de los Alfaques towards Sant Carles de la Ràpita

We made the 135 nautical mile crossing from Port de Pollença (northeast tip of Mallorca) to our new marina on mainland Spain (Sant Carles de la Ràpita) a week ago (September 13/14).

The weather forecast looked great, with a predicted 14-16 knots from the southwest for most of the trip, and quite calm seas. Unfortunately, the weather forecasts did not take into account the huge wind shadow we had for the first five hours as we traversed the western side of the island, effectively blocking out all wind. It was a beautiful passage, though, and with the stunning mountains of Mallorca to gaze at, we did not mind motoring for a while. At 9:00 pm, four hours after we departed, I went down below to try to sleep, but was awakened an hour later to the sounds of the engine alarm ringing, and Mark calling out to me that I needed to come up on deck right away.

The engine had over-heated and had to be turned off and the wind had still not come up, so we were left bobbing around uncomfortably in the swell. It did not take Mark long to diagnosis the problem (most likely the engine impeller was damaged, disabling the cooling water pump), but the engine was extremely hot and he did not want to replace the impeller until the engine had cooled down a bit. We tried to set the sails so that we could make a little progress and also stop the uncomfortable motion of just bobbing in the swell, but there was almost no wind, and the best we could do was to turn the boat to the north and cruise along at about 1 knot.  Luckily we were at least 20 miles from the nearest point of land on Mallorca and there were no other boats in the area at all, so we did not have to worry about running into anything.

By 1:00 a.m. Mark had the new impeller in place and the engine started and ran perfectly. Within an hour the wind came up STRONG, and we were able to sail for the next 10 hours with SW winds of a steady 22-24 knots and large seas. We sailed at over 8 knots, which is a great speed for us and helped make up for the 3 hours we had lost with the engine problem. Lots of noise, lots of wind, lots of waves banging against the hull, and a ton of water washing over the deck. There was also a lot of large boat traffic going in various directions as we were in a major shipping lane and the freighters and tankers were all out and about. It was not an easy night, but nothing out of the ordinary around here.  By 11:00 a.m. the wind changed direction and died down quite a bit, so we mostly motored the last six hours to our marina.

We each got just a few hours of sleep during the trip, so we were exhausted upon arrival, but very happy to have arrived in Spain. The marina staff seem to be super friendly and helpful, and it is a delightful place. We may do a few short sails around here before the end of the season, but for the most part, the sailing part of our sailing season is done.

A few days ago, our Texan friends Barbara and Frank on Destiny arrived.  We have been trying to meet for more than two months but the weather and other events did not cooperate until now.  They joined us on a trip into the mountains to hike and go to a well known mountain restaurant in our rental car.


Laura poses in Pollença (Mallorca)
Pollença (Mallorca)
Reservoir at Benifasar above Sant Carles de la Ràpita
Barbara (from Destiny) and Laura in the mountains above Sant Carles de la Ràpita