Adventures continued on board 'La Luna' - Nautitech 40 Open

Adventures continued on board 'La Luna' - Nautitech 40 Open

The Ensign Yachts team have been delighted to follow along the amazing adventures of Craig and Donna on board their new Nautitech 40 Open 'La Luna' as they travel through Europe. In this latest edition, they recount their experiences cruising from Lagos to Corfu. To find out how you can save with European delivery on your new yacht, get in contact with us today. 

The below article has been written by Craig and Donna Brumby. 

 La Luna 1 La Luna 6

Above: 'La Luna' and crew

It sounded easy enough.. A couple of thousand nautical miles, with 60 days to do it. Hey, its Spring, things are warming up in the Med… Winter storms are over. Right??! 

We learnt a heap on this trip. That the Mediterranean can be absolutely gorgeous and very dangerous. All in the same day. We discovered that our beautiful Nautitech 40 Open sailing catamaran, La Luna, is tougher and more capable than we are. And that we are tougher and more capable than we thought! 

La Luna 2

But first, let’s go back to leaving Lagos.. The Euro Schengen Rules require that in any 180 days, non-residents (us) can only spend 90 days in the Schengen Zone. We had been in Portugal for 30 days and by early March it was time to go. 

Reluctant to make a straight run for Gibraltar due to the Orca encounters that had sunk a few boats and disabled hundreds, we hugged the Coast on the 20m depth contour (no orcas, pure luck). The coastal day hops revealed a fantastic cruising experience including The Culatra barrier islands off Faro in Portugal (exquisitely peaceful) and Cadiz - the oldest city in Western Europe with a grand Old Town offering traditional tapas and velvet smooth local wine. The great sailing conditions treated us to regularly travelling smoothly at ten knots down the side of South West Spain. Approaching the Gibraltar Strait, our senses on full alert, the currents stepped up to 3 knots and dozens of huge ships sped past us through the narrow channel between Europe and Africa. A quick visit to check out the famous Rock with the cheeky monkeys, fill our tanks full of duty-free fuel, and we were around the corner, into the Mediterranean. 

La Luna 5

A flash up through Spain’s Costa De Sol (yes, gorgeously sunny) delivered us to Sierra Nevada. Famous for being able to snow ski in the morning and water ski in the afternoon! The terrain was awe-inspiring - soaring snowy mountains, desert landscapes and sheer cliffs falling into a deep and clear blue sea. Two friends joined us as invaluable crew, as we pushed on East towards the fabled Balearic Islands. Our first swim of the season (13C), in Mid March, literally took our breath away, while an unexpected detour for hydraulic fluid to Cartagena (founded 227BC) turned into a highlight of history, white marble architectural beauty, delicious tapas and spice-laden Sangria. 

But the days were ticking and we had to move on.. 

La Luna 4

Above: Arriving at Formentera (Craig and Donna)

Our first overnight passage for the season brought us to Formentera and Ibiza in high spirits. But it was the last favourable sailing weather we would encounter, until arriving in Greece, weeks later. Our dreams of turquoise waters and white sand beaches turned dark, grey and stormy. With weather systems building and no decent shelter, we pushed straight on, overnight to Mallorca and the super yacht haven of Palma. A few days of calm there gave us some respite before our weather Apps, Predict Wind and Windy, made it perfectly clear- For a vessel with limited time to cross the Med, it was go now, or probably wait for weeks. This pattern was to be repeated many times over the next 1000NM. Pushed past, and missing Menorca, we sailed 300NM, straight to the southern tip of Sardinia. We were just ahead of punishing gales, as we pulled into the indented sheltered bay of Nora, on the island’s rump, sandwiched between the two giant storms flanking the island. Unexpectedly, the bay also boasted one of Sardinia’s most important archaeological sites, founded by the Phoenicians in 400BC. 

By now, we knew the drill. Spotting a navigable break in the low-pressure systems, we pushed back out to sea for the 30 hour passage to Italy. It was rough, over thirty knots, with wild electrical storms encircling La Luna and an angry, heaving sea. Our boat never faltered and handled the surging swells safely with two reefs in the mainsail and a deeply reefed solent. Four weary sailors were grateful to arrive at San Vito Lo Capo on the North-West corner of Sicily, offering majestic scenery, a picturesque safe harbour and a laid-back beach town. For our intrepid friends, the adventure was over and it was time to go. 

La Luna 3

Above: Arriving at Kefalonia

Back to a crew of two, a day hop across the top of Sicily past the majestic snow-clad Mt Etna (3357M, Europe’s highest active volcano), led to transiting the famous Messina Strait past the Italian boot. La Luna then sped straight on to avoid yet another developing low-pressure system. We finally found safety, after a non-stop 400NM passage (four days, three nights), at Kefalonia in the Greek Ionian Islands. Happily, the storm-induced pace from way back in Ibiza had, in fact, delivered a special bonus. After arriving early in Greece, we had a couple of extra weeks before our 90 days was up, to enjoy their stunning islands before checking out of Corfu for Montenegro. 

You can follow La Luna on Instagram: donna brumby (Sailing La Luna)