• Ana

2020-10-18 Valletta, Malta > Portopalo, Sicily, Italy

Time zone UTC + 0.00

Local time (Malta) +2.00

Local time (Italy) + 2.00

04.50 - Departure from Marsamxett harbour - full mainsail

Coordinates 35º53’973N 14º30’105E


Wind speed: 12 knots

Wind direction: 30 degrees port

Cloud coverage: 30%

Visibility: 90%

Sea state: confused swell of 1 to 1.5m


05.30 - Full Mainsail and 1 Reef on the Jib

Coordinates 35º56’040N 14º52’450E


Heading: 45 degrees

Wind speed: 12 knots (gusting 17 knots)

Wind direction: 30 degrees port

Cloud coverage: 30%

Visibility: 90%

Sea state: big swell

SOG: 7 knots


06.00 - 1 Reef Mainsail and 1 Reef on the Jib

Coordinates 35º57’695N 14º34’625E


Heading: 47 degrees

Wind speed: 12 knots (gusting 17 knots)

Wind direction: 45 degrees port

Cloud coverage: 30%

Visibility: 90%

Sea state: big swell

SOG: 6.2 knots


With the new Hydranet Radial sails the boat seems to be heeling more than it did previously with the old sails in similar conditions but not necessarily feeling overpowered. Because it has been so long since our last real sail (nearly one year), we decided to take it slow and sail more conservatively. The new sails performance seems to be significantly different than our old DCX.


09.40 - 1 Reef Mainsail and 1 Reef on the Jib

Coordinates 36º13’358N 14º51’655E


Wind speed: 11 knots (gusting 17 knots)

Wind direction: 35 degrees port

Cloud coverage: 30%

Visibility: 90%

Sea state: light swell

SOG: 6-7 knots


Out of the shallower depths that surround Malta, the sea state has improved significantly, 1m swell. Average speed is between 6 and 7 knots under Reef 1 on both sails.



11.00 - Steering problem

Coordinates 36º20’300N 14º56’900E


Heading: 25 degrees

Wind speed: 10 knots (gusting 15 knots)

Wind direction: 30 degrees port

Cloud coverage: 30%

Visibility: 90%

Sea state: light swell

SOG: 6 knots


After trying to sail under full sails we heard a loud grinding noise that seemed to come from under the emergency tiller cap (rudder top), the second time we heard the same sound just moments after the first one we identified it as indeed coming from the rudder.

We immediately put a reef on the Mainsail and on the Jib so we could keep making progress because we were in an area busy with cargo ships although none was in position to giving us difficulties. In the process of reefing we tore the back of the sail bag maybe a 20cm tear.

A quick inspection of the cabinet where the rudder stock and the steering quadrant are joined, we quickly identified the problem. The rudder had somehow moved upwards a couple of millimetres, just the enough for the quadrant to rub on the metal angle that prevents the quadrant from moving freely in case of steering cable failure.

It seemed that when heeling under full sails the movement on the rudder is bigger than we had previously experienced since we returned The Dream to the water after repair works and our inspection of the rudder stock condition in Turkey.

We decided to keep sailing on a reef on both sails and make way to Portopalo instead of Siracusa due to its proximity to our position some 25nm away.


14.00 - 1 reef Mainsail - Engine on

Coordinates 36º35’795N 14º08’105E


Heading: 25 degrees

Wind speed: 8 knots

Wind direction: 70 degrees port

Cloud coverage: 40%

Visibility: 90%

Sea state: calm

SOG: 6.3 knots


Coming under the protection of the most southern cape of Sicily.

Preparing to approach anchorage.


15.20 - Arrival to Portopalo, Sicily


(The following morning we adjusted/corrected the position of the steering quadrant in less than 30 min, the quadrant showing signs of rubbing and ware along the top edge).

Total hours of the trip: 10h25

Total hours sailing: 6h

Total hours motoring: 2h

Total hours motor-sailing: 2h

Maximum Speed Over Ground: 9.5 knots

Average Speed: 5.8knots

Distance: 60.3nm


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