Passage to Tunisia – Lessons Learned

So we sailed all the way from Valetta, Malta to Yasmine Hammamet, Tunisia via Lampedusa, and back again.

We achieved our RYA Coastal Skipper qualification in the process, which is essentially a confirmation of what we were supposed to already know.

So…what did I actually learn on this trip?

The list could be endless, but I’ll keep it to the big 3 for here.

1. Crew selection – This is my biggest take away form the whole trip. I didn’t discuss my interaction with one particular crew member too much in previous posts as it would have been nothing but negative text for most of the trip narrative. All that to say, a poison member of the crew poisons the whole trip.

2. Do Not Rush – Don’t allow yourself to be rushed into departing on a trip, and don’t head out at night when you’re inexperienced and haven’t been on board in a couple months. This one sound like a no brainer after the fact, but when you’re trying to think of others and their is an actual Skipper on board to fall back on, you may find yourself painting yourself into a corner. I’m used to the instructor-student relationship so I wasn’t worried about our safety, but with challenging conditions, at night, we just set ourselves up for a miserable experience for the first few days due to our motion sickness. Also, since we were late getting away, I didn’t insist on spending maybe 30 extra minutes at the dock so I could get familiar with the rigging and the onboard systems. I hit most of them underway, expect for the less than ideal reefing system that I discovered only when we were trying to use it at less than ideal time.

3. Sailing Performance – I’m a fan of comfort and space, which is why I picture myself cruising aboard a Lagoon 450, or similar vessel in retirement. On the sailing forums there is an on going argument about mono vs multi-hulls and how catamarans like the Lagoons can’t sail into the wind. I had no context for this argument with my lack of sailing experience, but on this Bavaria 46 I got a little exposure to it. I was surprised that even with15kts wind, we could not sail effectively beyond 40 degrees on the nose. Anything beyond that we slowed way down to maybe 3kts with a 135 genoa and a factory mainsail. I’m sure there is someone out there that could get the thing to go much faster, but this was a bit surprising for me.

Related to this was the fact that regardless of how strong the wind was, and whatever direction relative to the boat, it didn’t seem to want to sail any faster than 7-7.5kts unless we had the engine helping us. I didn’t matter if we were heeled over in a glamour/action shot, or with the sails allowing for a more comfortable upright ride, 7kts seemed to be the max we could get under sail alone.

What Christa though here.

Unfortunately back to work for a while until I can sneak off on our next adventure…


Passage to Tunisia – The Last Leg
Passage to Tunisia – Lessons Learned

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