Mediterranean Cruise — Crossing to Sicily

Iten Taormina

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As we left Pylos, there was a sea running into Navarino Bay that left us pitching as we motored out with Vangelis announcing our departure. As soon as we cleared the rocks and turned toward Sicily, this became a rolling surge. There is nothing quite like traveling under sail. The surge and roll of the ship is dampened by the sails even as they pull it along. That night we ate dinner well short of the 15.26 degree freak-out angle* the Captain had told us was the limit of most people’s tolerance, no matter how much they liked sailing. After dinner, he upped the ante, and it was necessary to raise the railing on the berth to keep us in. Whooooah! We slept like babes.

It is 312 nm from Pylos to Taormina, Sicily. We sailed. We averaged 8 knots. Sometimes it was much faster. Sometimes it was slower, but we sailed. Sometimes it was blindingly bright. Sometimes we had clouds. The thunderheads crossed many miles behind us. I never heard a soul complain. This elemental leisure is part of the Star Clipper experience. It is why the transatlantic repositioning trips sell out so fast.

For the crew, it was work the ship and work on it. For most passengers it was how to get an even tan. A few of us watched the world go by from various locations, mostly the bridge (we missed out on deck chairs). A few of us took advantage of the gentle (antenna-friendly) motion to get a WiFi link that would allow us to make tour reservations in Rome. I called the bank using our satphone to get them sorted out on the travel notification for our ATM card. [No, putting a notice on your charge card doesn’t automatically take care of the ATM card — but it should.] The main issue with the phone was the ship’s rigging, and it took a while for me to find the sweet spot — and then I defended it!

Before dinner, we had “Captain’s Stories,” which from this Captain were a bit unusual. He is Russian. He went to the merchant marine academy for six years (their norm). He has a master’s degree, and his thesis was on the hydrodynamic causes of sailing ship disasters. Seems like a good thing if you are in his line of work.

The second night at sea involved a great deal less heeling, and the next morning numbers of folks said they missed it.

*Apparently Star Clipper has actually researched what the freak-out angle is and has a policy of staying away from it while guests may be trying to maneuver on deck or through the dining room. We have found the same angle is about where Brilliant Star starts getting less efficient, and we start eating one dish meals.

Please enjoy the photos. Click on first one to scroll.

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