Cruising the West Coast of Italy continued, Share the Sail, See you at the Southampton Boat Show | Distant Shores Sailing Newsletters

Cruising the West Coast of Italy continued, Share the Sail, See you at the Southampton Boat Show

Hello Everyone,

Boy, the summer months go by fast! Hope you are all having a great time on the water!

West Coast of Italy
After a fascinating but exhausting day exploring the ruins of the ancient city of Pompeii and climbing the upper slopes of Mount Vesuvius to take in the fabulous views of the coast surrounding Naples, we hopped back on the train and were back on board Two-Step in Maratea in a couple of hours. The gates on the pontoon were locked (good security) but when we identified ourselves to the night guard, he quickly opened the gate door from his post down the quay using a portable remote – like the electronic key fobs for opening car doors. Although the Porto Touristico of Maratea is small, it's high tech! We were glad we had opted to stop here and take the train to Pompeii versus making the sail to Naples whose marinas appeared to be in large and industrial surroundings.

We spent a quiet day on board in Maratea the next day, stocked up on lovely fresh vegetables from the green grocer's cart right at the quay and only bought a few items from the little grocery store there since everything was quite pricey, but in fairness it was well stocked with all you might ever need and saved a long walk or taxi ride into town to the main grocery store. There was also a little chandlery at the quay but it was mostly set up with gear for fishing and diving. We had topped up at the fuel dock with diesel when we arrived and had paid 1.30 euro ($1.78 US) per litre. Before we did our train trip, we had moved Two-Step from the free guest pontoon which was open to the public and paid 25 euro/night (34.00 US) which included water and electricity to be on one of the two main pontoons with locking gates so we could leave the boat and go touring without worrying about the boat.

We were up with the sun the following morning to begin our voyage south to Tropea. We had made a quick stop there on our way north and were looking forward to going back to spend a relaxing few days exploring the upper town, sampling local cuisine in the numerous restaurants, and enjoying the beautiful beaches there before we would sail on to Sicily to meet Two-Step's new owners to do a hand-over sail back to Malta with them.

Once again, winds were light but we had planned for this so that we could enjoy lazy sailing along the magnificent mountainous coast and still get in to Tropea before dark. We were savouring every minute of our final days of sailing aboard dear little Two-Step.

A few hours before our arrival in Tropea, Paul called the marina office manager, Francesca, on our cell phone to confirm our ETA and when we arrived just at sunset there was an attendant waiting for us who took our lines as we went bow to the quay in the new modern marina there. The facilities here are excellent for cruisers with numerous clean showers, a top-notch coin-operated laundromat (the office doesn't provide change so save up your coins before stopping) that includes a couple of large and one-extra large washing machine that handles double loads, duvets, etc.; shops and restaurants nearby, and yachting repair services on the premises. We paid 27 euros per night (37.00 US) including water and electricity.

Our main mission in Tropea was to learn and film the art of true Italian pizza-making in one of the quaint pizzerias there. This region of Italy is famous for its authentic thin-crust brick-oven-baked pizza so Francesca arranged for us to film at “Il Normanno's”, one of Tropea's top restaurants specializing in local cuisine which also has a pizza oven. It has a breath-taking view over the harbour as well. Chef Pino was a great teacher and lots of fun on camera so look forward to seeing this hilarious segment in episode 57 of Distant Shores!

We also explored the narrow little streets and shops of the upper town which has a spectacular views of Tropea's famous beaches. Seeing the sparkling clear water and sugar sand beach it is no wonder that Tropea is rated as one of the top summer destinations in this region of Italy. Despite it's popularity with tourists it has managed to maintain its charm.

Reluctantly we said goodbye to Tropea, Francesca, and the friendly staff there, heading south for the Strait of Messina. With light winds behind us and a strong following current we shot through the Strait at 10 knots speed over ground. Whoohoo! What fun! The wind stayed with us most of the day as we sailed wing and wing almost the whole way to the anchorage at Taormina on the west coast of Sicily. It's a lovely spot with the town perched on the hilltop but is an open roadstead and only good as an anchorage in calm summer weather.

In our next newsletter, I'll tell you about sailing to Catania, the main port on this coast of Sicily, which has risen from the ashes of several volcanic eruptions over the centuries, and of our hand-over sail back to Malta with Susan Howard and Tony Camilleri, Two-Step's new owners.

In the meantime, here's a few items of news on our latest projects, contests, and boat show appearances....

Sail with Us in the Caribbean this Winter
For a few weeks this fall and winter, Paul and I will be conducting “Offshore Passagemaking” and “Introduction to Cruising” training cruises aboard our new boat. Many of you have enjoyed our annual boat show seminars about outfitting and provisioning for cruising and have suggested that we offer a practical hands-on version of these popular seminars aboard our boat in a tropical location. Well, our lovely new boat has the amenities for this so in response to your requests we are introducing our new Share the Sail program!

Early Bird Discount
If you and your crew would like to join us for a fun yet educational week of sailing in the Caribbean or for an Advanced offshore passage we encourage you to sign up quickly so we can hold the space for you. Share the Sail schedules and locations are posted on our website. During the weeks that we are home working in the studio, the boat will also be available for regular crewed charters with a qualified captain aboard. (Note: The boat will not be available during the weeks that we are filming for Distant Shores.)

So get your friends and family together for a week they'll never forget and take advantage of the group rate - 4 people are ideal but we can accommodate 6 comfortably. An additional 10% discount is also available if you book before August 31/07. It would be really fun to have you and your crew join us on board! For information contact our reservations manager, Jill Schaffner at Expedition Yacht Services, Monday to Friday 9-5 ET. Tel. (705) 484-0862, fax (705) 484-5968 (Country code for Canada is 1) or Email

See Photos of our new Southerly 42 under Construction
Construction of our new boat is well underway and Paul has been posting photos showing its progress on the New Boat Blog. The hull is now out of the mould, the interior is taking shape, and the swing-keel has been installed, a very interesting process. Paul has also been writing about the equipment we're adding and the reasons for doing so based on 18 years of cruising experience. Anyone thinking they might someday buy a new boat will find his blog enlightening.

See you at the Southampton Boat Show in September
The Southampton Boat Show which runs September 14-23, 2007, is one of England's most popular boat shows and Paul and I will be there on the first weekend to announce the launch of our new boat. We'll be at the Northshore Yachts stand as well as the Raymarine stand to answer your questions about cruising and electronic navigation. For times and locations, please check the Seminars/Events page on our website:

Wishing you fair winds and great fun on the water this season,

Sheryl and Paul Shard
SV Two-Step

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