Alghero to Tunisia and back in 2 weeks – Fabulous Experience on Andrea Jensen

We are so pleased with ourselves right now. Our long awaited plans to sail Andrea Jensen to Tunisia were realised last month. The 5 crew all arrived in Alghero from various parts of the UK on April 16th. The voyage was necessary due to Brexit and the 18 month rule for British boats located in EU waters and was not without its challenges. These however, were swiftly overcome, due to the experience and knowledge of Colin and the supportive crew we had gathered together for the trip. We left Alghero port not once but twice (due to a problem with the engine heat exchanger failing) and needed to be towed back into port for the 1st time ever. All engine issues now fixed (new heat exchanger installed) by Colin and our new friend and 2nd skipper Davide, who was part of our able crew, we finally departed south, 2 days late, on 18th April, down the west coast of Sardinia, on our maiden voyage to Tunisia (the day after my birthday).

The wind was favourable and we sailed 50% of the way to Oristano bay, arriving after 9 hours. Colin and Davide refined the new rigging for the main top sail along the way too and this was successfully flown for the first time on Andrea Jensen under our ownership. Colin was delighted to see it rise above the main sail. The sails were dropped and we picked up a mooring buoy and rested peacefully for the evening, quietly satisfied. We set off early the next morning on the 2nd leg of the voyage, (planned to take 24hrs) and headed for Carloforte Marina on the small island of San Pietro, west of Cagliari. This was our first overnight leg of the voyage and the crew were fantastic. We split the crew into 2 main, 4 hour shifts, one skippered by Colin and the other by Davide, our Sardinian born, 2nd in command for the journey. The rest of the crew namely Finn, Lauren, Paul, Lara and myself supported the 2 skippers, 4hrs on 4hrs off. This worked famously and we arrived safely In Sifredi Marina, Carloforte, on the morning of Thursday April 21st. We motor-sailed the whole leg as the wind was not strong enough to allow us to switch off the engine (and we did not want to delay the journey south). A true test of the engine which was now thankfully, performing well, much to our collective relief!

The 3rd leg of the journey to Tunisia was delayed by 4 days unfortunately, due to high seas and we did not set off from Carloforte until early Monday morning. With excitement in our hearts (and some trepidation, it would be true to say) we set off at 1st light, on the 24hour journey across the Mediterranean to Tunisia. The journey went exactly to plan and we arrived 24 hours later in Bizerte to a very friendly welcome. We remained awake a further few hours to clear Tunisian Customs but this was very straight forward and went with out a hitch. The boat was searched and a Dr came aboard to examine our Covid vaccination documentation. All as in order! We were issued with health passes and allowed to disembark and explore Bizerte further.

Tunisia was welcoming and friendly. We had pulled up alongside the main harbour wall outside the Marina Office and were allowed to stay there for 1 night as we were due to leave the next morning back to Sardinia. The crew took a well earned rest and after a few hours sleep and a shower, some of us went ashore to explore the local town of Bizerte. The town centre was buzzing, the open air markets were in full swing and Finn and I looked around with huge smiles on our faces. Of course, we could not resist some fresh local delights. The strawberries were ripe and the deepest red I had ever seen! Fresh bread, croissants, dates and sweet pastries were all enthusiastically purchased.

Paul, Lara and Davide did exactly the same and discovered tasty pistachios, salad, fresh peas, broad beans, freshly ground coffee and more Tunisia sweets and cakes were brought back to the boat. Our stores were replenished and the aroma from the galley and saloon was inviting and delicious. We all headed out in the evening, hopeful of eating some local Tunisian delights, only to discover that it was Ramadan (we had actually known this) and the food choices were very limited before 10pm. However, we did manage to find a friendly establishment overlooking the main old town fortress wall and had a meal together but it was nothing very special unfortunately. We discussed the next leg of the voyage together over the meal, 48 hours, non stop, back to Alghero, departing the following morning! Eat up everyone, sleep is required!

Most of the crew had flights booked to return to the UK the following Saturday, so we were under strict time constraints, to get us all back to Alghero and could not afford for there to be any further delays. It was agreed that non stop back to Alghero was a doable plan, with the wind and sea conditions, thankfully, favourable. We set off early Wednesday morning from Bizerte and set the sails as soon as we left the harbour. Andrea Jensen was homeward bound for Alghero!

The 4 on 4 off shift pattern continued well for the return leg and the crew discussed meal plans etc. I made my 1st ever Spanish Tortilla, having been taught a few days earlier by Lara (Spanish and a great cook), I was a little under pressure to pull it off and not to disappoint everyone. Thankfully the Tortilla seemed to turn out of the frying pan well, all but Colin (non egg eater) devoured it willingly, during the relatively cold nights sail. The sea was a little bumpy, with the waves coming from behind onto the beam most of the way, so we kept the sails up to try to steady the rolling motion, which worked well.

Paul and Finn had mastered the roasting of aubergines and fresh green chilli peppers on the galley’s small, gas stove, for their fabulous vegetarian curries. We were all still smiling even though the Tunisian fresh, green chillies were large and a little on the spicy side.

After motor-sailing for 46 hours, Andrea Jensen arrived, safely in her berth in Aquatica Marina, Alghero, on the morning of Friday 29th, with a very proud and relieved crew onboard. We had completed a sea journey of 485 miles in 5 days. This was a truly unforgettable experience, some of the crew were complete sailing novices. A fantastic boat and crew, pre planning, great team work and enthusiasm for the task was what made it successful. Thank you to you all of the crew for making this happen. See you in 18 months time to do it all again!

The 2021 Season is Finally Underway ( )

On 28th April 2021 we returned from Bosa, back to Alghero Port. We were in Bosa for 5 weeks for our bi-annual lift out and maintenance, repaint and all over thorough check over of Andrea Jensen. I have to say Andrea Jensen is looking stunning, even though I am a little biased!

After what seems to be a lifetime of isolation for everybody Worldwide, Sardinia is finally coming alive. It’s been a long winter here, but in May the vaccine arrived from the mainland and the Comune di Alghero went full steam ahead to get its citizens vaccinated, in time for a summer none of us believed would happen.

On top of this of course, is Brexit. We have been given all sorts of advise from all sorts of knowledgeable and not so knowledgeable people, about what to do with our British flagged boat and Colin’s British skipper license. The truth is and to cut a long story short, we did nothing, sat tight on our little ship in the port and applied for our licence from the Capitaniere of Alghero port as normal. We did however, have a copy of a letter from the Italian Transport Authority in Rome, which proved to be solid gold for us (thank you to Fabrizio of Aquatica Marina who helped us enormously)! It stated that as of 2021 all British sea farers qualifications would be recognised in Italian waters and to our great relief, on May 31st 2021, we were given the official letter from Rome stating this fact!

Hallelujah! You could here our celebrations for miles around. It is official, thank you Italy, we can operate our tour from Alghero Port, Sardinia, for another year.

The next obstacle to over come for us was finding crew to help us with sailing, once tourists started to arrive in Alghero. We use HelpX to find willing volunteers who receive food and board in return. We managed to contact a willing student who joined us on 2nd July for just short of a month. Welcome on board Ilia!

That’s you all up to date now with events on Andrea Jensen!

Have a great summer!

Andrea Jensen in full sail (well nearly) in Porto Conte Bay, Alghero, Sardinia 2021

It’s Nearly May

Well it’s going to be May next week and we are still in lockdown on the boat here in Alghero, Sardinia. We have had some encouraging updates from the Italian government this week, that they are easing some restrictions and this is to be ongoing throughout May. This is urgently needed, especially here in Alghero. The town is like a ghost town, with all bars, shops and restaurants closed. This is obviously hitting the our economy hard. We too are very worried about our future here. If tourism is slowed then our business becomes questionable as it is solely reliant on the summer tourist trade (as are most businesses here in Sardinia). Northern Europeans are our main customers like Germany, Netherlands, Sweden and France. If they stop coming to Sardinia, we will be in deep trouble financially. We always try to look on the bright-side but this is very difficult with Covis-19.

Best Boat Trip in Alghero

Andrea Jensen Best Boat Trip in Sardinia

Well, its now July and we are no. 2 on Trip Advisor thanks to our lovely guests who have given us rave reviews this year, after experiencing a day out at sea on Andrea Jensen. We have had my cousin Christine and her husband Paul as well as Colin’s uncle John and cousin on board recently. The fact that they all have said that our boat trip in Alghero, Sardinia is a magical experience is just amazing. We look forward to a great summer here in Alghero with more fantastic guests on board. But don’t take their word for it, come and experience it yourself. The Best Boat Trip in Alghero by far. If you want exclusivity, relaxation, great service, fun, great food and local wine, look no further than a Day Trip on Andrea Jensen. Well I am a bit biased I suppose.

Alghero Comes Alive on May Day!

May Day celebrations kicked off on Wednesday with a Latina Boat Regatta and the port was filled with market stalls from all over Northern Sardinia. It was a lovely day weather wise too and Andrea Jensen had her first ‘Mini Cruise’, evening trip. We attracted an audience as we hoisted the Mizzen sail in the marina and followed this with the main sail going up soon after. We raised 4 sails in total and sailed slowly and elegantly past the old town wall. There were on-lookers all along the wall and out past Villa Las Tronas. We clearly looked impressive! We popped the cork on a few bottles of Akenta and shared this out among our delighted guests. Aah the start of summer at last, such a great feeling.

Traditional Latina Boats line up in Alghero Marina

These Latina boats look lovely in the marina, ready for the Regatta tomorrow

These lovely traditional boats are along side us for the next few days in Alghero Marina. Tomorrow they will take part in a May Day Regatta. We will hopefully watch it all happening out on the water in Alghero Bay. The sails on these boats are not easy to master, so it takes well practiced sailors to skipper them. All adds to the fun I’m sure.

So the season has started quite well with a late Easter

We have had some nice trips out on the water over the Easter holiday and great guests on board, who have all been from Germany to date. The new crew are settling in very well, we are pleased that they have enjoyed the work so far, having been here only a week and a half! The weather has been mixed in between the trips, some rainy and windy days, but that does not seem to have deterred their enthusiasm. They are very keen to help which is just what we need.

The work on the boat continues between trips and Andrea Jensen really is looking spectacular with her new bright hull colours and varnished brightworks. We think she looks the best ever. It’s amazing what another pair of hands allows us to achieve. The maintenance list is definitely getting shorter by the day.

Alghero is starting to come alive with bars and market stalls popping up all over. Many locals have had a long Easter holiday with Labour Day bank holiday all rolled into one long break for them to spend with their families. The Ramparts around the Old Town have been buzzing with buskers and street entertainers all trying to make a few euros! But we are getting a bit tired of the same songs being sung over and over. Please learn a new tune, that’s our request!

NEW OFFER – Evening Sail 2hr ‘Taster’

We are very excited to offer an EVENING SAIL on Andrea Jensen. We will sail from Alghero port at 17.00 and return around 19.00. On offer is a FREE glass of Akenta, (with additional glasses for sale at 4 euros). The Evening Sail tour is available from 19th April.

Sunset from Alghero

See our website for more details www.ajsailing .com

Trip back from Bosa to Alghero with Dolphins

Nature at its best, free in the open sea

Such an honour for us to be part of this natural show

Yesterday we sailed back to Alghero from Bosa. We headed out of the marina at about 12.30pm, having just been put back into the water. The weather was just perfect. Slightly cloudy skies but the sun kept appearing through and that made it comfortably warm. The sea was exceptionally calm as there was little to no wind. Just perfect for spotting dolphins we thought and we were not wrong. As we approached Spiagga Poglina, with Alghero in our sights, Colin spotted them, slightly ahead of us, port side. I immediately grabbed the phone and went to the bow of the boat with the hope that the dolphins would join us for a play. They did exactly that, they headed straight for our boat to play in our bow wave. There were 4 and they were clearly having a great time, swimming together under the bow sprit net. I managed to get some great shots of them. Then to our surprise they chose to circle back behind us and began to jump and flip in and out of the water. Our own personal show that was clearly natural to them. To show off in front of a captive audience. Truly awesome for Colin and I.

Go to our Gallery for more fantastic photo’s from yesterday. You tube also has some fantastic videos to watch.

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