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Sailing Holliday on the Italian Riviera: The week Guy came to stay…

August 25, 2012

Having done a full boat change and waved off the family of 5, we had an hour to do the shopping and no sooner had I put the last bag of salad in the fridge, our guests for the week, a family of 2, were at the marina gate! Arriving in style by marina buggy to the yacht, Guy, 9, decided it was going to be a great holiday!

On Sunday we headed over to Chiavari and stopped under the cliffs for a swim and some lunch. We’ve been on healthy(ish) eating this week so we had homemade burgers (better than McD’s!) and a big salad followed by cheese and fruit for lunch. We tried to catch jellyfish in the bucket but they’re pretty good at dodging blue buckets! After another tight squeeze over the shallows into the marina, we enjoyed a stroll around the quiet streets and the promenade before a lovely quiet night in the marina.

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Monday saw us making a move for the beautiful Portovenere. We motored along (the high pressure is not moving and there’s still very little wind) and stopped off at Levanto for lunch. Being very calm, we opted for a spot in front of the small breakwater and close to some good snorkelling over the rocks. Whilst Phil and Guy snorkelled and checked on the anchor (wedged under a rock!) I prepared a delicious peach, chicken and rocket salad, followed by the ‘best ever’ banana cake!

Luckily we had our new crew member on board to expertly free the anchor from the rock without having to dive for it and soon after we were on our way. With an eager eye on the wind speed we passed the Cinque Terre at close quarters and struggled to decide whether we would like a house at the top (which could slide down onto the others) or at house at the bottom (which would be piled on in the case of a land slide)!

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We dropped anchor about 30 minutes before Portovenere and had a much needed cool down in the sea. We bobbed around for a good 30 minutes and admired the boat from the cool water (a mere 29C) and then made the final trip into the ‘stunning’ Portovenere. Dinner of melon and ham, local Trofie pasta with roasted vegetables and all topped off with a good old fashioned bar of chocolate!

Another calm and quiet night was followed by a morning of exploring the town, a trip in Terry the Tender boat into the caves on Isola Palmaria and lunch of local hams, salad and chocolate cakes at anchor in the lee of the island. After lunch, the much longed for wind didn’t disappoint and we were off! First heading out to sea at a max speed of 9.1 knots and then heading across to Lerici, the navy base at La Spezia and eventually into Le Grazie to anchor under the stars for the night. Guy by now had anchoring sussed and could organise the raising of the anchor ball and the dropping of the anchor just like Phil does!

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Wednesday started well with pancakes, got better with a trip ashore to Manarola, one if the Cinque Terre, improved immensely with pizzas and panna cotta for lunch at Bonassola and ended amazingly with a refreshing dip in Sestri Levante before a quiet night tied up in Santa Margherita Ligure.

Thursday dawned and we took a trip under the cliffs back to Sestri Levante for some dinghy sailing. Having chosen our ideal houses, (some with ski lifts up and down the cliffs!) we anchored up and enquired about dinghy hire. After a quick snack Guy and Phil took off in a Laser 2 and although 5knots of wind does nothing for a 27tonne yacht, a laser 2 shifts!

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Lunch was a quiet affair of Greek salad for the ladies and local pasta for the boys all followed by lemon drizzle cakes that apparently were ‘award winning’! A little while later we upped anchor, narrowly avoiding skewering a jellyfish, and headed across the bay to Portofino, one of my favourite places. We had a lovely dinner with our guests in a restaurant and then did some serious shopping. Having visited Kiwi and got the boys shorts, another shop for sunglasses, t-shirts and a bag and then across the square for ice cream where Guy asked for a cone ‘senza Gelato’! we had a peaceful night in a beautiful town.

Friday morning and the wind was up. We, however, went shopping!! Leaving about 12, we raised the sails and sped off downwind at a rate of knots. Having had the fastest trip past the monastery at San Fruttuoso ever, we sheltered round the corner at the beautiful town of Camogli and had a final swim and a lovely light lunch of chicken, apple and walnut salad.

Raising the sails again we sailed all the way back to Genova and had onboard under a lovely city sunset. A beautiful end to the week that Guy came to stay…

If you’d like to join us for an action packed week onboard First Essential with your budding little sailors, call us now on 0845 653 0126.

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