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Sardinia Sailing Journal by Louise, Nautilus Yachting

Sailing Journal - South Ionian, Sun Odyssey 440

Supplied by Louise, Nautilus Yachting

What better way to mark a special birthday than sailing with a group of  your closest friends.  We could not have chosen a more stunning, glamorous destination.  Sailing from Sardinia with Boomerang Charter over to Corsica and back.  

This heady mix of uniquely Sardinian & Corsican culturelanguage, wine and food delivered a celebration beyond our expectations.

Incredibly, in eight years of sailing this was the most amount of time we have spent under sail covering 149 miles and broke 8.8 knots!


Sailing Journal - South Ionian, Sun Odyssey 440

Day 1 - Portisco

A short 20 mins transfer from Olbia airport to the base at Portisco and straight onboard  our Sun Odyssey 490 ‘Aurora’.

It is for good reason that the Boomerang team are consistently one of our top rated fleets in mediterranean.  

‘Aurora’, as we would expect, was in immaculate condition.  Boomerang maintain and clean their yachts to the highest standards but it is the thoughtful touches they provide that sets them apart especially for a special occasion.  The abundant fruit basket and sparkling wine were very much appreciated.

A friendly and thorough show around the yacht and a briefing of the area was given by Sergio; useful tips, highlights and hazards all pointed out.

Our pre-provisioning was delivered by Gusto Cambusa.  As a largish crew it was a good idea to have the heavier items brought straight to the yacht.  A top up shop was then required in the adequate supermarket within the marina to top up with fresh fruits, salads, deli meats and cheeses.

Some obligatory bunting strung around the cockpit for the birthday boy ! and then we were lucky to be able to take advantage of our early embarkation and set sail.

All in all an early morning flight and a long day so we moored up not far away from Portisco and cooked a lovely meal onboard.  Let’s get the party started.


Sailing Journal - South Ionian, Sun Odyssey 440

Day 2 - Arzachena Bay

Early morning and the weather looks to be fair for our  first dip in the ocean followed by a hearty breakfast

The plan had been to sail to the north side of the Maddalena National Park however a squall mid passage caused us to double back.

These things happen and we found shelter in ‘Arzachena Bay’ with its impressive Neptune sculpture where we were quickly joined by dolphins to lift our spirits

There is a nice restaurant here which looked to be popular despite the weather but we decided to cook onboard and make our own fun.  


Sailing Journal - South Ionian, Sun Odyssey 440

Day 3 - Maddalena National Park

A beautiful sunny day to wake up in the wonderful Maddalena National Park is nestled between Sardinia and Corsica.

We made a brief stop at Gavetti Marina to enjoy a wander around the so pretty, venetian style streets with pastel coloured buildings.  We enjoyed boutique style shopping and there were some wonderful bars and restaurants.  There is also an excellent fish market right in the marina and a whopping supermarket just on the outskirts of the town.

Skipper Tim was happy that we finally managed to secure a basil plant for the cockpit.

Back on track we had a fun afternoon at Cala G Marino, a beautiful bay between Isola Razelli and Budelli. Paddleboarding, diving competitions, water hammocks and a friendly visiting Seagull. 

While it is necessary to obtain a permit to visit the Madalenas in mid and high season. During our visit in early June it was not possible to advance purchase one and the authorities, although visible, did not charge us.

Like many people we had been under the impression that this exclusive area, playground of the rich & famouswould be pricey and this is undoubtedly true in the high season. However, by eating onboard (not every night !) and choosing our moorings carefully we managed to avoid costly marina fees and permits.

It was so lovely here we decided to stay overnight. More great food and hilarity and a stunning full moon.


Sailing Journal - South Ionian, Sun Odyssey 440

Day 4 - Corsica

 And we head to Corsica !

Up and coming captain Gus was put through his skipper skills today! Sailed to Cala di Zeri on Ile Cavello for lunch and afternoon anchorage.  An equally stunning location with fabulous holiday homes discreetly nestled amongst the rock face.

Lots of relaxing and swimming.  As the afternoon progressed a flotilla of jet skis came through to dramatic effect.

Our overnight anchorage at Baie de Rondinara.  There is a restaurant here that is open until around 6 o’clock. In the mornings they also provide french pastries for breakfast - mouth watering pain au chocolat, pain almond and croissant; all at such reasonable prices it would be rude not to!


Sailing Journal - South Ionian, Sun Odyssey 440

Day 5 - Bonifacio

Bonifacio! has to be high up the bucket list of destinations for any sailor and a place I have been longing to visit for many years.

An epic sail along the rugged coastline escorted by pods of dolphins, to the jaw dropping cut in the cliffs where the old town teeters above and leads to the historic town of Bonafacio.  The entrance only visible when you are right on top of it winds it way into this charming, bustling harbour. 

Here you will find yourself neighbours with some of the world's largest superyachts.  Watching ‘‘Cocoa Bean’ mooring at the far end of the harbour with her crew of around 25 was a sight to behold.

Being early June we paid 85€ for our 49 footer which was pretty reasonable whilst this is likely to be more in the high season iworth every euro and definitely not to be missed.

Climb the steep steps up to the old town to experience incredible views where you will find} plenty orestaurants and bistro’s offering delicious french cuisine; corsican mussels, wild boar (sanglier) followed by an icecream down at the harbour to finish off the evening nicely.


Sailing Journal - South Ionian, Sun Odyssey 440

Day 6 - Spargi and La Maddelena

The next morning some of the crew walked up to the cliff top again to take one of the nature trails - the left hand fork this time away from the town rewards you with unbelievable views of the ocean.

A good day sailing to Isola Spargi, Cala d’Alga; a relaxing lunch onboard and then an afternoon swim ashore.  We were surprised and delighted to see a wild boar frollicking on the sands.

We then headed back to La Maddelena to explore this delightful town and have the obligatory team pizza night. It’s worth booking Gavatta Marina ahead of your visit as it is understandably popular, we hadn’t but found a newish marina ‘di Punta Nera’  just a short walk over the hill into the main town.

The marina crew were very friendly and charged just €60 and the small bar serving sundowners and snacks was our perfect pre supper Sundowner spot. For a group meal we can highly recommend the rustic pizzas and jugs of very good house red wine at Il Curciareddhi - simple but delicious and well set up for larger groups.


Sailing Journal - South Ionian, Sun Odyssey 440

Day 7 - Back to Portisco

A good day under sail  back to Portisco excellent winds - 8.8 knots made it good fun for all of us. Just a couple of yachts ahead of us on the fuel pontoon then a guide was sent to bring us back to the Boomerang jetty.


Sailing Journal - South Ionian, Sun Odyssey 440

Day 8 - Farewell

Our return flight was mid afternoon. The lovely Boomerang staff were happy for luggage to be left and we were given directions to the nearest beach, a short stroll over a hill. We whiled away a few hours at the fabulous beach bar enjoying a leisurely brunch before heading back to say farewell to our great friends at the base and jump in our minibus transfer back to Olbia Airport.

 Arrivederci (and Au Revoir!)