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!

First Day Trip of the Season under our belt

Ant and Ella hard at work with our German guests onboard for the day

Good Friday 2019 and we went out on our 1st day trip of the season. We had a full boat thanks to Matt and his family choosing a day out with Andrea Jensen. Everyone onboard seemed to enjoy the great scenery along the way. Sorry there were no Dolphins today!

Ant is Up the Mizzen Mast

Nice day for a bit of block replacement

The wind dropped and the sun shone so why not get our new volunteer to climb the mast? Welcome on board Ant and Ella! No time to waste, we start our fabulous day trips in 3 days time and there is still lots to do
(I cannot believe its Easter already). Something important is missing from the boat? Yes you guessed it, the SAILS! We are not going to get far with out them. But before they can go back on we had some blocks to change at the top of the MIzzen mast. Thankfully we had a brave volunteer. Thanks Ant!

Ella, in the meantime was getting to work on some sanding and painting. Those all important finishing touches make all the difference! Great work guys. Thanks.

Rainy week in Villanova Monteleone

We still have a lot to finish off on the boat before next week which is Easter. We want to be ready for paying guests by 19th April. Our pre season on-line bookings are very slow this year and we think maybe Brexit is to blame. But that is all I am going to say about that! Our volunteer crew arrive from the UK on Sunday too, which will mean lots of training needs to start next week and we hope they catch on quick!

So back to Villanova Monteleone, we came here at the weekend due to the rain forecast in Alghero. I have posted some pics which I took this morning from our roof top terrace. As you can see the sky is a bit gloomy, but we never tire of the fantastic views across Monte Minerva, Rocca Doria and beyond, which we overlook from our roof top vantage point. Isn’t it stunning? We are 576 meters up above Alghero and on average it’s about 5C cooler up here, so today it was 8.5C when we go up, a bit chilly!

Our mountain top village is very rural and very traditional Sardo, that’s why we love it. It’s worlds apart from bustling Alghero city, but only 23 Km away. There are about 2,000 inhabitants who rely heavily on a Pastoral existence, most men being farmers, shepherds mainly. Families tend to share a small holding, somewhere in the surrounding countryside with small numbers of sheep, goats and cattle (and of course the loyal sheep dogs) which provide both their food and livelihoods. There is a large, local modern looking dairy cooperative in the village, which employs locals making very well known Pecorino cheese for the export market mainly. The locals speak Sardo, not Italian (so much for us trying to learn Italian, which we are doing, all be it very slowly) and are predominantly erderly. Life here is very simple and very family orientated. The young leave the rural villages (once they have finished school) for the busier towns and mainland Italy, where they try to find work. English was not taught in schools in Sardinia until very recently, so only young Sardinians know any English.

Views from our roof terrace in Villanova Monteleone

March already (part 3)

To catch up on our previous blogs, see below.

Well, we are more than a month into our annual boat maintenance program and finally we can cross a few jobs off the ‘to do’ list. We have painted the main sail and the stay sail this week, with specialist preservative, which will hopefully prolong their lives a few years. New sails are very expensive so the longer we can use the ones we have the better. We have painted the bits at the bow, metal work and bowsprit too, which has made a big difference. (We had some new strengthening metal work added to the bits at the bow before Christmas, as we were worried about old splits in the wooden bits which were clearly getting worse and these take all the strain from the bowsprit and bowsprit stays).

Colin tried twice this week to go up the mizzen mast to remove the blocks at the top, but he could not quite get to them, some repairs required to the ratlines and I wasn’t able to hoist him up by myself. We are going to need some help to get them down, any volunteers? We have started to remove the more accessible blocks to be serviced and re-varnished which is progress, only about 20 to go. Colin has nearly completed the rewiring down stairs too, after we finally got delivery of the new fuse box from the UK, the parcel seemed to get lost in Sardinia for a week before we got it! Everything gets here eventually, but you just cannot be sure how long you will have to wait!

On a slightly different note, today we started making inquiries about converting our UK driving licenses into Italian. This requires us to go to Sassari to the l’ufficcio di Motorizzazzione on Monday to apply. We are going with an English friend call Barbara who has lived in Sardinia for over 50 years and lives in Villanova. There is not much she does not know about the Italian bureaucracy and is a great help with the language barrier too! We also need to get our UK reg plates converted to Italian plates which will be the next challenge!

On a positive note, today we received our new registration ‘certificato’ from the Camera di Commercio di Sassari (Chamber of Commerce) which now correctly describes our boat charter business here. The previous certificate, which has been deemed acceptable for the last 3 years by the Guardia Costiera, was suddenly rejected last week as incorrect (we knew it was actually, long story), so our license to operate this year has not been signed yet. We are now officially ‘Trasporto Marittimo e Costiero di Passeggeri’. We are very happy about this as it brings us a step closer to being in the same category as the other tour boats in Alghero Port.  Another trip is required next week however,  to the Coast Guard’s office to hand this new document in for official approval. Hopefully then we will get our 2019 operating license approved. Something else crossed off the list, well nearly!

Next week we hope to head off to Bosa to get Andrea Jensen lifted out for anti-fouling etc, so lots more work coming up for us two. Can’t wait!