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Click on the blue balls.
Don't know if you've heard, but Voltair is to be sold.
It's been a hard decision, but Anno Domini and various medical problems have made us decide to call it a day and put a "For Sale" sign up on the yacht. So if you are interested in purchasing, now is the moment!
There will be some sailing in 2016, but this could be the last year, as we have known it, of continuous operation during the season.
Here's a bit of fan-mail that arrived on our desk recently.
Can't think who it's from, but it seems to describe our "Sailing" pretty accurately! Click here to read it
Sailing in 2015 - We're heading for the rising sun!
Part 1: Starting in Minorca, refloating, commissioning, testing
Robin and John both had committments in the first half of May, so we started later than usual, on May 25th. Voltair was launched a few days later and we completed the shakedown by June 2nd (Tuesday) having sailed right around the island, which neither of us did last year. We had the usual problems with diesel-bug, but a new filtering technique seems to have sorted this out and we had no further breakdowns. The new gearbox is going both forwards and backwards without complaint, and the new seals on the front of the engine have helped a lot in reducing the oil leakage that became such a problem last year. The jib has a splendid new sacrificial strip on it and the yacht is generally looking very tidy, with a particularly shiny starboard side toe-rail.
We have also changed the way the fridge is wired into the electrical circuit, and all crew members will now have to undergo a fortnight's training before they can figure out the switch and meter settings that will allow them to have ice in their gin or a really cold beer!
Part 2: Minorca to north Corsica, via Sardinia's west coast
John skippered this leg, beginning on June 3rd, and finishing ten days later on Saturday 13th June in Bastia on the NE corner of Corsica, with flights home to Birmingham on Sunday 14th. Will and Vaughan were crew for this period, Terry and Jenny being unable to make the trip at the last moment. We had two nights at sea, and took in one of the beautiful islands between Sardinia and Corsica, the stunning harbour at Bonifacio, a short tour of Elba and made our return to Corsica at Bastia on the windiest day of the trip.
You can view the first postcard from this trip, titled "Sardinia, Slime Lines and the Life Sybaritic" by clicking here.
... and the second postcard follows on "Even Slimier Lines and the Life Sybaritic" by clicking here.
Part 3: N Corsica to Southern Italy.
This is a three-week leg skippered by Robin, sailing south, possibly via Elba, the western coast of Italy, and some harbours in the Aeolian Islands north of Sicily (including the volcanic Stromboli), the north coast of Sicily, and the straits of Messina, where he hopes to avoid both Scylla and Charybdis! The dates are from June 18th to July 9th, and Robin has crew for all this period although he possibly could do with some more volunteers.
Part 4: The Toe of Italy to Corfu, via the small islands of Paxos and Antipaxos.
John returns for a second session lasting 10 sailing days - sailing at a more leisurely rate, but once again including an overnight sail, this time across the Ionian sea from Italy to Greece. Plans are for JK and Graham to fly out from Bristol to Catania (Sicily) on 9th July to meet the arriving yacht. Harriet and Maarten from Holland will join on Saturday 11th July and we expect to set sail on 12th. Return to UK from Corfu will be on 22nd July back to Bristol, but we may dock a day or so earlier to allow the Dutch crew to get back to Holland.
A carrier pigeon has arrived just now, with news of the first part of this trip - and the report can be found by clicking here .
Part 5: Corfu to Levkas - Robin already has a crew for this cruise from 22nd July until 12th August, at the end of which we expect to haul the boat out for a few weeks rest while we avoid the busiest and hottest part of the Mediterranean summer.
Part 6: Autumn cruise - Ionian.
We have decided to overwinter at one of the yards in the Levkas area. There will possibly be a cruise at the end of September to explore the area and deliver Voltair to a secure land-berth for the winter. It will probably last a fortnight or so. Dates not planned as yet, but possibly Sept 23rd to October 9th. Some crew spaces are likely to be available for this trip too.
This plan has been updated on June 14th 2015
Logbook, 2014 - Faro to Minorca
One of the hottest days of the year was the day we arrived in Faro in the second week of May. It was 36C in the cabin when we opened up the hatches, and we never saw anything approaching that heat for the whole of the summer - thank heavens!
Our path took us first to Gibraltar, and then along the southern coast of Spain as far as the corner pointing to the Balearics. By the middle of July we had jumped the gap and circumnavigated Ibiza, coasted around the E side of Majorca, enjoyed the north coast of Minorca, and completed the circle around Majorca.
All was going well until, in the space of a few days, the batteries died, the gearbox broke and the engine started leaking large quantities of oil. After that, Robin had to rely solely on the wind to get him back to Mahon in Minorca where we had decided to overwinter.
Logbook, 2013 - mainly in the Algarve
Following a second winter at Povoa, Robin and crew brought Voltair down to Lisbon by the beginning of June. There we did a bit of canopy repair before pressing on towards Faro. We had arranged to haul out at Faro at the end of June for a compulsory insurance survey. There were one or two items to be fixed so these were done by JK and team before their fortnight, mainly up the River Guadiana and along the Algarve to the west. Robin then took over for a rather more adventurous trip to Tangier, before returning once again to Faro for an August haulout.
By this time we were getting the hang of the tortuous and shallow channel to Pedro's Boatyard near the airport in Faro, and we launched once again for a short autumn cruise, once again going up the Guadiana and visiting the other attractions local to the Parque Nacional da Rio Formosa.
This year we started our sailing at Povoa de Varzim, where V last year passed an agreeable winter with 6 months out of the water.
We headed further south and visited both Morocco and the Mediterranean before returning from Gibraltar to spend some time on the Algarve coast. Voltair has now visited both the most northerly point of mainland Europe and also the most southerly.
The first section of this year's sailing was completed during May, with Voltair residing on her own in Queensway Quay marina in Gibraltar for a while. You can follow her track southwards by downloading our track-file and viewing it in Google Earth. To download the file, right-click on the link PovtoGib in your browser and select "save link as". This should start a dialogue to allow you to save a file called “PovtoGib.kml” to whichever location on your computer you choose. Now start Google Earth on your computer and then do "File: open", find the file you just downloaded and click on it. Our track should then appear on the map and the program will zoom into it. You can then see exactly where we went, and also look at various photos loaded up by other people around the route.
Robin made two one-week cruises to Morocco in June, the first heading east and south and the second heading west and south. You can download and view his tracks in a similar fashion by right-clicking on this link Morocco
At the end of June, John began what was supposed to be a two-week cruise along the mediterranean coast of Spain. Unfortunately, the first 8 days were spent stuck in Gib, while the gearbox was removed and a replacement fitted. Eventually we were able to make a short visit to two harbours in Morocco on the med side, Robin having shown us how!
Then, in mid-July, a new team joined John for the first part of the return to Povoa, spending a pleasant 10 days cruising to Vilamoura, just west of Faro.
Robin and crew sailed back to Povoa and have written a postcard which you can read by clicking here.
Tracks for the last two trips, John's to Vilamoura and Robin's further voyage back to Povoa can be found by downloading:
John's trips around Gib and back to Vilamoura and Robin's trip from Vilamoura, back to Faro and thence to Povoa
A final cruise for the year, back up to the Rias of Galicia, took place in September after which we have layed up again at Povoa.
The track for this gastronomic perambulation is at September Cruise and there is a rather late postcard from the most northerly Ria called "View from the Ria"
Our first leg, achieved in May, was to exit the Vilaine and make some distance south, finishing in Santander. During this cruise, Robin was skipper for the duration, with Vaughan as #1. Clive and Tony sailed the first week to La Rochelle, and then flew home, being replaced by John K, Jenny and Terry. This team of 5 then sailed to Bilbao, where Terry and Vaughan got off, and Dick got on for the short trip onwards to Santander.
To have a look at the track of the yacht and see some pictures taken en-route, click here.
In June, Robin and John flew back out to Santander and sailed onwards along the north coast of Spain, encountering some difficulties with the weather and scarcity of ports, but making it to La Coruna by the end of the month.
You can explore the coast with us in Google Earth and see some more pictures by clicking here.
You can read the first proper 2011 postcard "Getting to Galicia" by clicking this link
In July, Voltair lazed around in the very splendid Royal Yacht Club marina in the centre of La Coruna, doing very little except bake in the sun. JK paid a short visit to check out the diving in the vicinity, finding it somewhat disappointing in rather adverse weather conditions. Perhaps it would have been better in the sunshine and with less swell and wave.
At the end of July, Robin again skippered a trip, this time exploring the Rias of Spain's western coast, and finishing at Povoa de Vazim in Northern Portugal, where there is a big marina with excellent shore facilities, at which we shall overwinter. You can read his postcard about this trip "The Coast of Death" by clicking this link. It sounds a fearsome title, but I think the death was more that of the shellfish consumed by the crew rather than the seafarers themselves.
Once again, the track can be found by clicking here.
What happened, 2010
Well, the plan we laid, which you can still download here, didn't quite work out. Click here for the plan. If the system asks for your username and password, click "cancel" and then you should be able to view, the spreadsheet. It was pretty much right until mid summer, but then we discovered we couldn't berth for the winter south of Brittany, partly due to the storms of March 2010 which had wiped out a lot of marinas on the west coast of France around La Rochelle. We ended up with Voltair secure in the Vilaine river, at a lovely spot called Foleux.
From Holland towards Spain, 2010
April/May: Going Dutch - through the canals from Harlingen to Vlissingen (Flushing, as was), then out into the briny to Eastbourne.
May: To the Granite, Rose! (Chichester Harbour to L'Aber Wrac'h)
June: Furthest west for the season (L'Aber Wrac'h to Lorient)
Sailing towards Holland, by the scenic route through the Baltic, 2009
May: Deja Vue in Kvitsoy (Haugesund to Goteborg, leg 1)
May: Go East, old girl! (Haugesund to Kristiansand)
May: Bunads, Botany and Borders (Kristiansand to Gothenburg)
June: Waya and Means (Up river from Gothenburg)
June: We Wanna Canal (Travelling the Gota Canal)
June: The Season Starts Now (Swedens Blue Coast)
June: Midsummer around Stockholm
June: The Starting Gun (In the Swedish Archipelago)
June: In the Finish Archipelago
July: Back to Marienhamn in Åland, with a bump
July: Night watch
July: Wafting back towards Stockholm
July/August: The East coast down to Oskarshamn
August: Sweden Southeast - Oskarshamn to Ystad
August: Across the Ostsee - Ystad to Lubeck
August: Return to the North Sea - Lubeck to Harlingen
Sailing in Norway, 2008
May to September: Cruise and crews
May: From Haugesund to Bodø - first leg
May/June: From Haugesund to Bodø - second leg.
June: From Bodø to North Cape - first leg
June: From Bodø to North Cape - second leg - the Vesterålen
June: From Bodø to North Cape - final leg - the Cape
June/July: About Alta
July: "Sørøya Circular Saga" - A circular tour from Alta
July: Starting back - Alta to Tromsø
July: Tromso southwards - Sailing Senja
August: Back to Bodo
August: Bodo to Namsos - Girls just want to have fun
September: Namsos to Alesund
Sailing in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Germany: 2007
May & June: From Haugesund to Oslo - first leg
June: From Haugesund to Oslo - second leg
June: From Oslo to Copenhagen - First postcard
June: From Oslo to Copenhagen - Second postcard
June: From Oslo to Copenhagen - Third postcard
July: From Copenhagen to Lübeck - part one
July: From Copenhagen to Lübeck - part two
July: From Lübeck to Aalborg - part one - Sailing in the shallow end
July: From Lübeck to Aalborg - part two - All belted up
August: From Lübeck to Aalborg - part three - Shore leave and desert islands
August: From Lübeck to Aalborg - part four - Limfjord at last
August: The return journey - from Aalborg to ....guess where? ..... Larvik (Stavern)
August: From Stavern to Lindesnes
Sailing in Norway: 2006
June: Robin, John, Vaughan and Clive make it to the Arctic circle
July: John's crew sails around the Lofotens
July: John, Simon, John G and Trevor, fellow Worcester Divers, set off for Narvik
Diving in Narvik
Diving in the Lofotens and back near Bodø
August: Sailing southwards from Bodø with John, John R and Eric
Sailing in Norway: 2005
August: John, with divers Charles, Frank and John G's and helmsman Bob sail and dive around Haugesund and north towards Bergen
Rudders, Races and Ragtime - all near Haugesund.
Espavaer - diving and exploring Rovaer, then back towards base
North to Hiskjo, southwest to Rovaer, then back towards base
September: John, Jim, Peter and Tony cruise towards Stavanger, making it to Kvitsoy
To Stavanger and the Oil Museum
An excellent trip to Lysefjord and a ramble to Prekestolen.
Sailing to Norway: May-June 2005
1. Oban to Skye
2. Skye to Stornoway
3. Stornoway around Cape Wrath, via Kyle of Tongue to Stromness
4. Time travelling in Orkney
5. Stromness to Kirkwall, Sanday and points east
6. Landfall in Utsire - Norway at last!
7. Flying Frank, fjerries, fjshing and fjords
8. The Priest and Lyse's Bottom
9. TGI Friday