Thursday, 12 September 2013

Giannutri, Santa Maranelli and onto Rome.

July 12-15, 2013

 A brilliant sunrise greeted us as we prepared for our early passage across to the nearby island of Giannutri. While it was only a 13 nautical mile trip, the horseshoe shaped island is what’s left of a volcanic crater poking above the water and we wanted to get over there with plenty of time to relax and have a look around.

A neighbouring catamaran also making an early exit from Giglio about to motor through
 the light beam of the spectacular sunrise we enjoyed.
The passage was fairly uneventful but when we entered the submerged caldra of the island we discovered suitable spots to anchor are few and far between. After exploring all over the place we settled on a sheltered nook in the north eastern corner where two yachts currently sat.  We picked a patch that looked like sand in almost ten metres of water and dropped our anchor. The boat sat nicely on the end of the chain but when Rob snorkelled down to check the set he discovered the ‘sand’ was in fact a large sheet of light coloured rock the anchor was simply sitting on. There was actually no sand anywhere to be found.

Our corner of the submerged volcanic crater was nice and sheltered but being so close to
the rocks we stayed aboard rather than heading off to explore the island.

A lazy afternoon catching some rays was no burden though.
Fortunately the wind was very light and the still conditions were predicted to last through the night. With this in mind, we dropped some extra chain and decided we’d rely on the weight of it and the anchor to hold the boat in place. It did mean we needed to stay on board just in case the wind changed so our ideas of exploring the island changed to an afternoon of swimming, reading and relaxing.

Giglio to Giannutri – 13.4 Nautical Miles – 2 hours 51 minutes 
Average Speed 4.7 knots – Max 7.2 knots
The water in the centre of the submerged volcanic crater is 60 metres deep
At almost Forty miles our trip the next day was a lot longer but we did enjoy a fantastic downwind sail all the way to just outside the marina at Santa Marinella on the Italian mainland. The wind was almost directly behind us and we were able to go wing on wing with the mainsail out the starboard side and genoa out the port. Alcheringa sails very nicely in this configuration and we were maintaining high six knot speeds for most of the day before the breeze weakened in the afternoon.

Sailing wing on wing requires a bit more work on the helm to keep
the wind balanced between the two sails.
We selected Santa Marinella as it gave us the option of going into the marina if the weather warranted it or anchoring outside but still behind the shelter of the breakwater if things were settled. When we arrived we found more than a hundred large and small boats anchored all over the place outside the marina. We found a spot to drop but were again sitting on a rocky bottom. Fortunately as sunset approached most of the fleet disappeared back onto their berths inside the marina and we were able to move in closer onto a nice patch of sand with good holding for our anchor. By nightfall we were one of only two boats left outside the marina.
We moved into the sand patch closer to the breakwater after the day trippers
all went home. It was an excellent spot to anchor - FREE.

Giannutri to Santa Marinella – 38.3 Nautical Miles - & Hours 38 Minutes
Average Speed 5.0 knots –Max 7.3 knots
A few boats were already staking their ground around us for a day of
sunbaking as we went ashore in the morning.

Definitely a tourist spot. It’s a popular getaway place for the citizens of Rome.

Who are we to argue with the rules.
The following morning we headed ashore in the dingy for a wander around. The shore here is lined with villas belonging to good citizens of Rome who use them as weekenders and holiday homes. Away from the marina and beaches though there is still a very attractive old town area with a vibrant square frequented by locals. We chose a café here for lunch and despite ordering from a menu we didn’t understand from a waitress with zero English we were rewarded with a huge, multi course meal of local specialties and a bottle of local wine at a very cheap, non-tourist price. Every time we thought desert and coffee must be on the way the waitress turned up with another platter of incredible food.  Much nicer than the fare on offer down by the very densely populated beach but we did need a long walk after lunch. By the time we returned to the boat mid afternoon we were again surrounded by hundreds of anchored pleasure craft that had journeyed all of 150 metres from their marina berths for a day in the sun. These Italians love their boats but don’t seem to go far on them. They are used much more as expensive, floating sun beds.

Look how many boats anchored outside the marina for the afternoon.
Our final leg to the marina at Porto Roma was a straight run down the coast. We motor-sailed most of the way before, in true Murphy’s Law fashion, the wind picked up as we neared our destination at the mouth of the Tiber River which flows through Rome twenty kilometres or so inland before emptying into the Tyrrhenian Sea. Still we had a nice little blast under sail before dropping everything to enter the new Porto Turistico di Roma Marina. This was to be the Alcheringa’s home for the next eight days while we did some land travel playing tourists.

 We headed for Porto Roma with zero wind but fortunately a breeze sprang
up later in the day for a nice sail towards the end of the trip.
Santa Marinella to Porto Roma – 25.0 Nautical Miles – 4 Hours 32 Minutes
Average Speed 5.5 knots Max 7.4 knots.
MARINA REVIEW: Porto Turistico di Roma -Italy  ****1/2

Weekly rate for our 43 foot (13.2m) yacht – 330 Euro (including VAT, water, power and car parking space)

This is a brand new marina and offers exceptional protection from all weather due to a very innovative design. They even pump in sea water to each end of the marina to ensure flow through and good water quality. Fuel dock on site, small but reasonably well stocked chandlery is located in the marina and other marine services are available. Retail shopping, a number of cafés and bars ares also onsite. Bathroom facilities modern and clean. Token operated washing machines are located in the bathrooms.  A COOP supermarket is located in the township about three kilometres from the marina. There is a bus stop right outside the marina which connects with trains to Rome.

‘Friends’ café restaurant had excellent WiFi available, great food and good service.

This is a great place to visit Rome from and excellent value if you take advantage of the weekly rate. We gave it four and a half stars. If WiFi was provided on the pontoons we'd happily rate it a five out of five.

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