It’s hard to believe we are in our 5th season on Andrea Jensen here in Alghero, Sardegna, one of the Mediterraneans stunning Italian Islands. AJ is dear to us and indeed to all who have been lucky enough to sail in her. But I do have to admit, it’s not all been plain sailing. We have experienced a roller coaster of emotions since we first became the proud owners of our little ship in February 2016. We left our families in the UK and moved lock, stock and barrel to Sardinia.
The season started with a disappointing panic in May 2016. We had bookings but no license from the Port Coast Guard Office in Alghero. We were the new British owners of Andrea Jensen and the Italian bureaucracy seemed impossible to navigate. We had to cancel the initial sailing bookings because without a licence, we could not operate. All we could do was keep turning up at official offices day after day and plead that someone would give us the official stamp to get started! This needed enormous patience but it finally paid off. On May the 10th we had our license and could confirm with our first 2 paying customers and of course – it rained!
I could not believe it when our 2 guests told us where they were from, Billingham in the UK. It’s the next town to the one in which I was born, in the North East of England. How bizarre was that? They were brilliant guests and did not mind the rain (it was only a light shower actually). What a relief, we had a lovely day out and received our first 5 star review on Trip Advisor. Our new life aboard Andrea Jensen had begun. What an adventure!
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.
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.
See our website for more details www.ajsailing .com
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.
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!