Saturday, November 03, 2007

The Jazz Weekly

The Jazz Weekly

Well we have made our maiden voyage! Originally we were going to go down to Dubrovnik, Croatia the “jewel of Croatia”. That would have been about 250 nautical miles. That was scrapped for a cruise to Split, Croatia and so we began our voyage with our sites set there, but it would not be our destiny. Since it was our maiden voyage, Benetti sent along for the ride Carlo, their company Captain and Frederico, a Benetti engineer. About an hour into the journey one of them suggested a different destination a little closer to home. As this journey was really just to try the boat out and not for pleasure it was agreed that a shorter trip would be perfectly acceptable. So we changed our heading for Losinj, Croatia a cool 80 nm from Fano, Italy.

The weather and sea conditions were fine that day so it was a pleasant trip. We got an early start rising out of bed at 4:45am and arrived in Losinj around 2:30 in the afternoon. I guess they aren’t frequented very often by pleasure yachts as evident by the lack of ease with which we were received. As we came into port we contacted the Port Authority and they informed us that we would have to anchor out in port and take a tender ashore to clear customs. A bit of a pain in the ass! Luckily the conditions were dead calm so it was not necessary to drop the anchor, we simply left Neil (owner with captain’s license) behind the wheel to keep her in postion.

The difficulty lay in the fact that the tender is kept in the Lazzerette (the rear of the yacht, akin to your car’s trunk). To remove it we have to put the transom (the very aft wall of the boat) down into the water. It was calm so that in itself isn’t a big deal although it does mean that I have to wash it down afterwards. The problem was that the owners decided that the tender which was to come with the yacht wasn’t big enough so they bought a bigger one to stuff into the “garage”. Of course the yacht wasn’t designed for this new bigger tender so it’s a very tight shoe horn fit which requires some modifications to the Lazzerette in order to take it in and out safely and easily. Modifications which are still being finalized. The short of it is, as I said, it was a pain in the ass. However, we wrestled it out, Pierre jumped in with our passports and I drove him to the customs office.

The customs officer spoke English so all went well and after handing over some “dosh” (English slang for cash) we followed Jazz to our berthing for the evening. With the Benetti guys on aboard lending a hand we had plenty of hands to help with the docking and in no time we were situated. We fit the tender back in its home, I washed down the transom and Pierre gave me a hand rinsing off some of the salt we acquired on our trip over. I had just enough time to snap a few pics of the town as the sun was setting. Unfortunately I missed the good light thus the dark photos. We had a nice dinner in town and a little walk around which didn’t take long.

The next morning we began our journey back to Fano. The conditions for the trip back weren’t as nice. It started out at 2-3’ and got progressively worse throughout the trip. It was about 5-7’ and rainy as we approached Fano and we contemplated heading farther south to Ancona to put in. Fano has a very small inlet and often the fishing fleet will make its way down to the much more protected entrance of Ancona in bad conditions rather than chance Fano. It would mean a long day, so it was decided to get closer to Fano and check it out. In the end it wasn’t nearly as bad as we expected and although we were prepared for the worst we had no trouble getting in. We did however take a transient slip instead of trying to squeeze into our tight assigned slip. So all in all the trip was a success.

The next day we did have a sad event as the owner decided to let Pierre go. It wasn’t really unexpected and for days Pierre was telling me that he really didn’t want to stay so in the end it’s all for the best. He told me that he was happy for me to stay and make the best I could out of the situation and that is what I’m going to do. So I’ve said goodbye to my captain and friend and in the next blog I’ll delve into what that means for me…….