Passing the marina at Messina, the wind finally steadied from behind and pushed us around the toe of Italy. The water was flat and we were going faster than everything except the big ships. As we curved around the land, the wind bent with us so we hardly had to adjust sail at all. Our wind angle was such that we were just barely converging on the shore by about two or three degrees. We’d converge and converge until we’d be getting worried about an upcoming rock or to the waders on the beaches, then we’d gybe the main, turn 20 degrees and run wing and wing until we were a couple hundred meters off, then we’d start it all over again.
We converged on a Swiss boat that was giving us a pretty good run for our money. I was doing everything I could to try to get every last ounce of speed out of Footprint when Maryanne noticed their engine exhaust. They were motorsailing, the dirty cheaters!
Once we left land and stared diverging into the Ionian Sea, the wind thinned out until it could barely hold the sails up, leaving us at last in the wake of the Swiss. On a couple of occasions, we just gave up entirely and pulled them down to get a break from the noise of the slatting until a breeze picked up again.
Is I’m writing this, we’ve been underway for 51 hours and have sailed just under 140 miles. In our slowest hour we advanced just over 2000 feet.
The weather has been beautiful so far – t-shirt weather 24 hours a day. The sky has been blue and absolutely cloudless the whole time, making for scorching days in the still air and crystal-clear stargazing at night. The stars are visible right down to the horizon, where they shine with a tinge of red – a thousand little sunrises from other suns. The last two dawns in a row I’ve been lucky enough to see the green flash each time.
Rounding the toe of Italy looks just as fun from that road