Posted on Jul 1, 2013

At high school I had a classmate who was 3 spans higher the average of all other mates.
He had a great talent for artistic design and for years the students and teachers of our school appreciated his personal style expressed in the vaults and the walls of the school.
It was called Majoleni, or so pronounced his surname one of our teachers.

After the stories connected to our "arrival" in Croatia, pending the arrival of Mazzoleni (Majoleni) and his family, we headed out Kukljica, a small town on the island of Ugljan.
Kukljica was formerly a thriving tourist resort but in recent years due to its inability to adapt supply to the new demands of an increasingly young and international tourism, has lost much of its luster.
We end up to Kukljica thank to the suggestions given by Ana, the courteous employee of the Port of Zadra.
Ana and her husband Edo have created a series of apartments on the hillside Kukljica that they rent to touris. The structure they called Lavender, in fact their home is literally overwhelmed by this wonderful plant.
But the epic character of the day was Mary, a charming lady met in front of her beautiful house by the sea, who invited us for a coffee athat last almost the entire day.
We will devote a story soon to Mary.

Beside the Mazzoleni family we were also waiting for my brother Francesco flying from London.
Francesco had not yet been aboard Angelique II, except for a few hours in Le Havre before my departure.
An intenset envisaged week of "sicilianity" was expected, starting from the menu.
Parmigiana, pasta alla norma, puppetta of mulinciani, pasta and zucchini so this step have marked our days, because young Majoleni's support their youthnes with a diet of 1,000,000 calories per day.
And they are by no mean fat. Athletic body as the one of their father ..... at their age!
The Majoleni  
tribe has undoubtedly characterized this week of sailing.
The last time I had spent time together with Majoleni was in 1979! more than 30 years since we saw each other.
But over these 30 years  Majoleni has really 
built a lot: a honorable tribe, proud, cohesive and especially cheerful.
The big boss Antonio was definitively oustanding in this concern, although 
I found most of these virtues in the character of Monica, the beautiful Modenese that entertains you in a perfect Catanees dialect.

Boarded the crew we head toward the south: destination Kornati Islands National Park.
Throughout the week we enjoyed a good and steady wind from the north, in its oscillating variations from the west and east.
But in general the weather was unstable, with a couple of sounding showers!
The Kornati are a maze of islands, bays, inlets with dizzying depths up to a few meters from the coast. Barren, wild, deserted but with an irresistible charm. We will stay in the area for a few days and we will tell you in detail about this paradise.

Enjoy our short video here ???

Posted on Jun 22, 2013

This morning we finally arrived in Croatia, after having left Ortona and having saill along the Kornati National Park, heading north to reach Zadar. Great sea and many remote bays as far as the eye can see. Once in Zadar the music changed and we have experienced a series of events that could have been part either of a Jerry Lewis movie or ups Jack Nicholson in The Shining.  Once inside the bustling harbor of Zadar, carefully flying our yellow "quarantine" flag (which shall inform  authorities of the fact that we come from across the border and that we need to carry out all entry formalities) we went straight to Port Police office. We were greeted by a very polite cop who asked us where we came from. Here the first blow. The agent informed us that we had broken the law coming from Italy because we would have to make a stop for customs formalities at another port of entry and not Zadra, for which we had sailed in Croatian territorial waters as illegal! News that not only left us dismayed but somewhat perplexed. I sail since over 2 decades and I have never heard such a thing. It 's like saying that flying from Zagreb to Rome, a plane should land first in Trieste to allow passengers to go through customs and then resume the flight to the final destination. As far as I know and and according my experience, what you can not do is to go ashore until you have done all the formalities for a country. In fact, without going ashore you can navigate in the territorial waters of a country. However, I know from experience that in these circumstances it is not worth discussing. So we paid a fine of 75 € and everything was solved. Once left the Port Police office we went to the Coast Guard for the registration of the vessel, the registration of the crew and  the purchase of the famous "vignette", a kind of stamp (like what you buy in order to pass on Swiss motorways). The zealous police officer asked me all the documents (navigation certificate, insurance, crew list) and he also ask for my Skipper license. 

Now friends, you should know that I have achieved my Skipper license, for motor boats, in the 80s. But having been for over 20 years owner of vessels registered in countries where it is not 'required a boating license for the conduct of sailing vessels under 50 tons (England and France), I was never pushed to achieve such a certificate. Beware that in over 20 years of sailing and almost 50.000 miles, this request was ever made to me. This because the rules that govern the handling of a vessel are those of the country of registration. But the Croatian official told me that in Croatia they apply their rules and they do not care about international rules! The outcome being that I could not buy the "vignette" and even not sail back to Italy with my boat since I was already in Croatian territorial waters!  Can you imagine my face?
I did really struggling to hold back a 
epic laugh. Regained control I asked what were the alternatives presented to me. The officer calmly told me that the only possible solution was to take a boat license! I asked if that meant that I had to return to Italy, take exams and then return to Croatia to recover my boat. The conscientious official told me that I could also take the exams in Croatia. He sent me to another office of the Cost Guard where I found out that discovered at 13:00 that exam session would begin. it was 12:30! 

I omit the details on I spent that 1/2 hour but synthetically I prayed on my knees a dozen officials order to be inserted in the group of examinees, I had to go to a post office to pay tuition fees for exams, I had to make 3 passport photos and at 13:15 I finally entered the classroom where two officers were waiting for the Croatian Skipper license exam. The examiners were informed of the exceptional nature of my position and they were much more 'interested in the stories of my journey rather than usual questions. However, I have been asking about navigation lights, rules for preventing collisions at sea, they made me draw a couple of routes (also a lossodromic one). After 23 years of sailing I finally got a Croatian Skipper License

.Of course all this I think it is paradoxical, especially considering that Croatia in less than a month will be an effective member of the Euro zone. But  honestly I have to admit that officials can not avoid to enforce the laws even if they are in direct contradiction with international law. But all the people I met were kind and helpful to me and they all tried to put myself in a position to resolve tragic - comic a situation!
This  Croatian summer promises unforgettable!

Posted on May 19, 2013

Our dismasting in October forced us to a long stop, but time ashore run really quickly.
In a little more than 3 months we got married, I spent almost a month with my parents, we moved all my wife belongings in the premises where I keep mine, I sold my apartment in Milan and I had also room to spend time with my old best friends.
But on March 2, when we moved again on board I felt going like being back home.
Certainly a return, but full of great news. This time Valentina was at my side.

The effort of those first days of March was only the prelude to the work that awaited us.
During my first year at sea, I had noted a series of improvements that sooner or later I wanted to do, but the idea of ​​being in Outremer premises (the builder of Angelique II), to rely on their advice (and equipment) and the delay in the supply of the mast made me decide to do most of the work I had in mind.

We practically turned Angelique II in a small shipyard.
We started with the port front peack where we store our scuba dive gears, sanding it to bare fiberglas and complimenting it with few coats of epoxy paint. We also refurbished the whole seawater desalination system
, repainting the electrical engine, replacing all the piping and many of the electrical components.
The same approach was addressed the star board  front peack, which was completely repainted and equipped with self containing shelves to store spare parts and equipments.
We installed a new satellite phone, a new windlass and a new anchor chain. We added 2 solar panels to the existing 4 and installed a small 
panel to monitor  electricity and energy consumption. We added some dorades on the deck to give more ventilation to forward cabins. We installed new shower trays in all showers. Not to forget all standard routine maintenance, i.e.. engines, generator, pumps etc..
I really want to emphasize that all the above works were carried out entirely by us. And Vale magically turned into a painter, carpenter, electrician, mechanic, all with an ease that left me really surprised.
As if all her life she was a "bricoleur".

This intense work significantly affected our PR performance although we still met wonderful people which we will definitively meet again in the future. Among them Daniel, one of the two founders of Outremer, today freelancer and actually assigned by Outremer with many responsibilities on the intervention on our boat. 
Really a simple man, sympathetic, generous. He offered to us a lot of help and suggestions on the work we have carried out on our own. We also had him for lunch on board with its charming wife and their young Micole. I hope we will have the chance to have them on board in the future in one of our cruises.

And finally Jean Michelle, Anna and their beautiful Isabella. A Brazilian family who has lived in France for many years and that has made our own choice: they bought an Outremer 55 and are about to start a trip around the world for few years. Isabelle will study through a program promoted by the French Ministry of Education for expatriates. Jean Michelle came to introduce himself in a cold March morning and immediately invited us for lunch in his boat. He was about to leave to Paris to join his family. Knowing that we were without any means of transportation he offered us to use his car while he was away. Sympathetic, generous and hospitable, we promised to meet in September in south of Spain to  continue along at least to Cape Verde.
This is one of the many awards that this kind of life offers us. The spontaneous and simple friendship of the people we meet. When "arriving" from the sea and "heading" to the sea people down their defensive barriers. No threat of any kind. You are not measured depending on your social status, people do not question " what is your job?" They rather ask you where you come from or where you're heading to and often they offer you to share a leg of an ocean passage with them, or rather a "leg" of their life.

We left La Grande-Motte on April 21, about a month after our initial hypotheses, but we did not feel late, on the contrary, the feeling of not being slaves of time continues to move a comfortable serenity. We decided to take it easy, no long voyages and especially avoiding bad weather. I wanted the harmony that had been established between Vale and Angelique II not be altered by some unexpected spring storm. We sailed to Porquerolles, beautiful as ever. We spent a couple of days to immediately appreciate the harmony consolidated between the two "ladies" of my life, even away from the sheltered waters of a safe harbor.

My princess was turning into a real passionate about the sea. Every day all that had frightened her in the past became an element of appreciation. So the loneliness of being at anchor turned up in peace to enjoy away from the chaos of a marina. The unbearable pitch turned into a soothing lull that induces sleep.
But were the nights spent sailing, sharing the sofa in the saloon which has sanctioned the complete transformation of my wife Valentina.
The long nights away from the coast, alone, with outside temperatures often below 10 degrees, the radar hissing warning us that we were not alone, that someone was out there like us.
The cakes prepared and consumed at 2 am, the "Forrest Gump" or "Into the Wild" watched to keep us company when conditions require "vigilant" 
presence in the cabin, have granted Angelique II the dignity of abode, refuge, lair that Valentina was fearing to lose.

After Porquerolles and a short stop in Antibes, we sailed straight to Port de Saint-Florain in Corsica. The initial idea was to sail along the east coast of Corsica and then continuing south along to Sardinia but the weather conditions prompted us to opt for a more
Italic route.
We made it just in time to reach Elba when a storm with winds over 30 knots joined us.
We were in the shelter of the island for a couple of days, then we pointed our bow towards Ponza.
Beautiful in this season even though we struggled just to find a pizzeria to enjoy a tasteful, real Italian pizza.
The infallible predictions of our weather system gave us a 72 hours window to reach the Aeolian Islands and so we left Ponza just 24 hours after our arrival. The first stop in the Aeolian Islands' was Pollara in Salina Island. It was 8 o'clock in the morning, the ideal time to enjoy the beautiful colors of this wonderful cliff. Pollara, a tiny fishing village stuck in a plateau overlooking the sea. Special features of this cliff are the refuges of the ancient fishing boats of Pollara digged in the tuff and in the rock. An enchantment.
From there we sail to Lipari where we anchored in Canneto, in front of that hotbed of goodies called "Papisca", a rotisserie, pastry, ice cream maker run by the Merlino family.
Gianni the pater familias was already informed of our arrival. Man of other time, a big man seemingly hard, but with a heart made out of sugar, which has been able trough sacrifices, hard work, ability and honesty to build a business appreciated and respected by everyone passing from Lipari. Of course despite the qualities of this man nothing would have been possible without the sweet Caterina, tireless cook, sweet woman
, careful wife and dedicated mother. All qualities recognizable in Marco and Lucia, the second generation of Papisca, a second generation without shackles on their head, but solidly anchored to the principles and values ​​that have made mom and dad not only successful entrepreneurs but above all a united family, appreciated and loved by all.
Lipari offered also a visit from my "compari", although in reduced force due to work commitments of Giovanni, Carmelo and my cousin Riccardo.
But Salvo and Gianni, the "originals" were there. We spent a wonderful day together when the dining table played a leading role as usual. We had also time to dust off my guitar. With the departure of my "compari" we hailed Lipari heading to Stromboli 
- with a quick stop in Panarea - which Valentina had at all costs to see before leaving the Mediterranean.
Always  magic Stromboli, in every season and time of the day. The continuous murmur of the Volcano, the contrast between the blue sky, deep blue of the sea and black beaches give it an atmosphere of austerity,  that makes you realize how small and insignificant we are in sight of nature around us.

Left Stromboli we set sails to the Strait of Messina and from there we turned north towards the Ionian targeting Savelletri, few miles away from my parents' house. The navigation of the first 2 days was very pleasant, a little but constant wind, pleasant temperatures, very little traffic.
On the second day the weather forecast informed of a low pressure front expected for the weekend with winds from the north, north / east up to 35 knots. So we decided to skip the scheduled stop in Santa Maria di Leuca and head directly towards our final destination.
We docked at the port of Savelletri Saturday, May 11th at 14:30 after having sailed over 1,600 miles, the first of this long The Lifetime Cruise 2013.

For a short video on this cruise click here

Posted on Mar 17, 2013

After almost 5 months finally we got the new mast. It is far more modern than the previous one and we can't wait to test it. Unfortunately there was a mistake from the manufacturer and the front stay is 80 cm shorter, so the have to change it. We are also working out some more tasks, like re painting both front peaks and installing new cabinets inside. Installing a new satellite phone and a lots of reorganization of space on board.

Valentina is getting acquainted with this new lifestyle an moral is quite high.

As usual we have posted on YouTube a video

Posted on Jan 19, 2013

Dear friends after 6 long beautiful years of love me and Valentina decided to bind our life for ever. We celebrated our wedding the 2nd of January in our beautiful city of Catania in Sicily.
We will spend some more days in south of Italy enjoying our family and than we will be back in Milan waiting till Angelique II will be re masted.
We hope to be able to be back in the water by mid of March when we will be heading to Sicily where we plan to sail till May.
In the coming weeks we will publish our "The Lifetime Cruise 2013 Program".

Posted on Oct 27, 2012

Dear friends,

after having left the Egadi Islands we had a short stop over in Cagliari where we had great time with some of my Sardinian friends. 

Than we sailed to Ibiza and Formentera where I spent my birthday togheter wit Mr Owen Supertramp and my closest family whi flew there for this great occasion (Ipromise a dedicated report on this subject).

Left Formentera we headed to Almeria in South Spain where we arrived yesterday night.

Over the passage we had a very strange exeperience as testified by this video ???

Keep following me, all the best

Posted on Oct 5, 2012

Egadi Islands were a real surprice for me, as big and unuspected ti leave me speachless.

We had great time here with Ray, also because it is already the end of the summer and the huge crowd populating these islands in the summer is all gone.

Walking trough the shadowed street of Marettimo I found engraved on a wall 3 quotes in sicilian dialect, which perfectly describes the "connection" of these islands with the sea.

"Quannu lu suli all'orizzonti mori e tuttu taci, senti un'armunia di'ntornu 'ntornu chi duna a lu cori paci, ristoru, gioia e puisia". - whe the sun on the horizon dies and everything is silent, feel around that harmony that gives to the heart, peace, relief, joy and poetry.

"La vita 'nata sta isola è biata. Cu li so casi bianchi e  li biddizzi: lu piscaturi di vita luttata aspetta di lumari ricchizzi". -life born on this island is blessed. With its white houses and its beauties, the fisherman with his hard-fought life waits for riches from the sea.

"Marettamu, di Egadi Regina, terra di sonni si, terra d'amuri, isola d'oro, parla si divina lu marinaru è lu tò canturi. - Marettimo, Queen of Egadis, land of rest you are, land of love, island of gold, speack, be divine, the sailor is your cantor.

Enjoy our adventure in this short video   ???