Sailing to Formentera with Denia Yacht Charters
As usual, we checked the weather that morning, and the forecast was for three to four winds blowing south easterly. Probably the best you can get for the trip from Denia to Formentera. Our initial destination was the Cala Saona, a stunning small bay on the western coast of Formentera, which is a favourite amongst the yachting fraternity. The skipper of our Denia Yacht Charters owned Harmony 38 got us all up at 6 am so we could prepare the boat early and enjoy the sail all day. The sun in mid June on the Costa Blanca, was already showing its promise of another hot day with a beautiful red sky appearing over the horizon, and as we scurried about the boat, I decided a hat was needed, even at that time of day, or I would undoubtedly burn.
Finally we were ready and we cast off the marina berth on a glassy surface with barely a ripple. Even the fish seemed asleep at that time.
We motored slowly out of the marina to be greeted by barely a puff of wind on our cheeks, and as many sailors will bear witness, it was bang on the nose as usual. We set the course to take us right into one of Formenteras Calas, the Cala Saona.
The crossing from the marina takes about 10 hours so the Denia Yacht Charters guy told us, and after about 30 minutes of motoring, we were able to raise the sails to the promised force 3 wind which gave us an easy sail, with the autohelm doing all the work. Breakfast was duly cooked and we sat and enjoyed the ride with the inevitable bacon sandwich and tea. After about 3 hours into the voyage, the ships plying their trade up and down the coast of Spain came into view and we passed their lane easily. Looking back, Montgo, the famous Javea/Denia mountain, slowly disappeared into a very slight sea mist, then sunk below the horizon. We settled in for the most perfect sailing weather, with the most perfect of boats. As we chatted and dozed, taking it in turn to keep a watch for the practically non-existent ‘other’ craft, I opened a bottle of rather good, very cold Spanish rosado wine, and considered myself very lucky indeed!
We were fortunate to see some flying fish, presumably being chased by some hungry sea creatures. They avoid being eaten by swimming faster than those chasing it. Tuna, squid, swordfish, birds and pretty much anything bigger than it are the main predators and the Mediterranean is full of them. Unfortunately however, none of the flying fish saw fit to land on board our little ship and provide us with a meal, as they quite unreasonably flew on right past us. They can be eaten, but are quite bony, and some say, not worth the effort. The flying fish is constructed of a long, thin and pointed body with large side fins that look like wings and it is these that help the flying fish to leap or “fly/glide” over the water escaping predators. They can swim as fast as 37 miles per hour under the water and can glide or “fly” as high as 4 feet above.
After about 7 hours of the predicted force 3 and enough chop to provide a cooling spray from the bows on occasion, Formentera appeared like a desert island on the bows, rising up as a thin grey line into the blue of the morning sky. This was my first trip, and although I have seen similar sights in many other areas of the world, I always get that eager thrill of anticipation for a new experience with the knowledge of there is generally a welcoming bar at the end of what was proving this time, to be an easy sail. It’s a tough life sometimes, but someone has to do this!
As Formentera grew in our line of sight, we checked our bearings, double checked the GPS and with tiny course adjustments, finally saw Cala Saona loom ever closer, in all its stunning beauty. There were already many other boats moored there, lying easily to anchor and slowly bobbing on the small waves. Ibiza, despite being a clubbing capital, also charters many boats, and we arrived to many a friendly wave from fellow yachtsmen and women. I have to say, the Harmony 38 provided by Denia Yacht Charters, was a really fast and easy boat to sail. We averaged 6 knots over the trip which was absolutely fine as we did have periods of light winds. She shows a good turn of speed in a blow with 8 knots easily attainable. She is easily managed by one, but we all just had to have a fiddle with trim to get the perfect balance. For those non-sailors out there, this is something we like to do. The autohelm hardly moves as she is so balanced.
All in all, if I had the choice between a Bavaria 38 or 39 and the Harmony 38, I’d go for the Harmony. All round, she is a nicer boat to sail, and she is easy and comfortable to live aboard for the 4 days we were on her. A big thank you to Denia Yacht Charters for a great charter experience. We will definitely book again this year, so look out for another article!