The Hewson family aboard Sunday Island arrived in Marseille on the 19th May 2022 with a full crew including Rich, Emilie, Issy, Max, Rich’s Mum Lyn and auntie Amanda.
Amanda departed on arrival in her black limo and the rest of the crew set to work cleaning the boat, doing laundry in the Marina facilities, entertaining the kids, and preparing the masts to be re stepped.
One of the jobs prior to re stepping the rig (mast) was to run a new cable down inside the mast for the new B&G wind instruments. This is easier said than done as the cable conduit inside the mast struggled to fit another cable. Rich had been trying to get the cable through since Lyon, but finally we found success.
Mast spreaders, radar transmitter, aerials, wind vane(s) and halyards were re fitted, and Mum helped put the turn buckles in place ready for their respective stays.
We were booked to step the mast at 11:30am on Friday 20th May and arrived at the Naval Services rigging dock at 10.45am. Bookings must be made 4 days in advance due to the number of yachts stepping masts up or taking down their masts for the canals. Costs are €150 for the first half hour and €50 for every 15 minutes thereafter. The service do s not include a professional yacht rigger so any yachties need to know their stuff or pay the big bucks! If I were to step a mast in Australia we would plan for a crane for half a day so I was expecting a hefty bill to step two masts in the south of France.
We briefed the Issy and Max about the dangers of rigging the masts and instructed them to either stay below or stand well clear.
No sooner had we tied ourselves securely to the dock but the crane driver was in the crane and had started the engine. We scrambled to get Issy, Max and Mum off the boat and the rigger asked if we were ready. I gave a nervous, “wee” and nodes my head and up went the main mast.
Thanks to our studious preparation the first mast was up by 11:00. I was just getting the final turn buckle loosely fitted and the missen mast (aft mast as Sunday island is a ketch) went up and was loosely secure by 11:30 and the crane drivers walked away. I was astounded we managed to step both masts in 45 minutes, and I think the riggers were also impressed as we were only charged the minimal fee of €150.
We were allowed to stay at the rigging dock for the next two hours so Emilie and I set to work tightening turn buckles and getting the masts straight with correct tension. At 1300 we moved to another berth for lunch and spent the rest of the day rigging booms, sails and awnings. By the evening Sunday island was transferred from river barge to a beautiful ketch and ready to sail! It as time for a well earned beer!
Everybody was excited on Saturday morning 21 May. Max was especially excited pulling ropes here and there even before we left the dock. At 8am Issy started the engine and we let go lines for our 300nm sail to Palma Mallorca Spain. This would be Emilie’s first sail on Sunday Island and my first sail in the sea. Forecasted conditions were light headwinds to 10 kts which was perfect for our final rig tuning.
We motored out of the port, re checked the rig, and briefed the crew (Issy and Max) about the sailing and to not pull ropes or touch winches if they did not know what they were for and the importance of wearing life jackets. Then we hoisted the sails and re checked the rig. On the way out of the Harbour there was a sunken ketch buried deep in the sand spit, serving as a good reminder about what could possibly go wrong.
As the wind picked up, to justify our brief about life jackets I threw the Dan buoy in the water and we practiced man overboard drills with both Rich and Emilie having command. Issy and Max got involved and thought it was a great game.
50nm out of Marseille Em went below to cook dinner and a few minutes in to cooking came out and said “We have run out of gas!”
With all our focus on rigging the boat we had forgotten one on the basic rules before a voyage to check the gas! We have four (two Dutch and two French) bottles onboard, and we now remember only filling up one Dutch bottle in Lalystad before we left 6 months prior.
Considering the amount of coffee , tea and meals prepaired that one bottle had lasted well, but that didn’t help us cooking the pasta for dinner! The remainder of our trip was cold wraps, salad (Emilie’s favorite food) with coffee and tea made out of hot water from tap (heated by the engine).
The sail to Palma was beautiful, it was nice to be back at sea! The children enjoy d sailing however Issy sucommed to the dreaded sea sickness.
The Kids love putting on life jackets and going up to the bow, watching the waves to look for jelly fish, dolphins and watermoon unicorns. During the day we only spotted jelly fish, but Mum and I were lucky enough to spot a Finn whale later in the evening. Sadly we only saw one lone dolphin the entire voyage.
Monday 23rd May and after a bumpy rounding of Cape Gros, and Cape Llebeig, dodging ferries and fishermen and being spied on by a surveillance drone we had Mallorca well within our sites.
In the evening, having no fuel for the outboard motor, we rowed ashore in the inflatable dinghy for dinner to celebrate a successful voyage and Mums last night onboard. It was like “Who Sunk the Boat” – Five of us with bags and things in a leaking dingy!
The next morning was business as usual with everybody up early. Rich was off to SY Provenance in Palma and Em and the kids had to pick up the car before dropping Mum at Amanda’s house and taking the kids to school.
For the next few days we enjoyed being the life of a corporate live aboard – boaties at night while working / school by day. We enjoyed some nice anchorages around Palma before pulling into The Royal Club Nautico yacht club Palma (RCNP) while Rich did some work on the boat, Emilie began runs between our storage container and the boat, and the kids went to school.