OPTIMUM 3 – ASPIDA is in Malta!

We have completed 48 hours at sea already. We have covered 400 miles (a few with sails, the rest on engine). There are still 120 to go! On our watch we will break the 100 miles “barrier” from our destination. We are all very excited and we are monitoring our progress closely. Every so often we go below to check the remaining distance on the navigation computer (and also exchange the bitter cold of the night outside for the relative warmth of the navigation station).

109…107…102…100!!!!!!

It is the second “barrier” we break on our watch! Time to be relieved …..

When I wake up the situation has completely changed. We are surrounded by 28!!!! ships… (more traffic than that found in the Saronic Bay) and beyond the bow Malta is just discernible! Still 20 miles to go. Time passes while we fold the sails and clean the boat. Everything is now in order and we are ready to sail into the harbour.

From a distance the fortress walls seem beautiful and create a feeling of awe. Off-course, typically, the new city with the tall monolithic gray buildings spoils the view. As we are getting closer they disappear and we focus on the different but also familiar buildings of the old city (to some of us they remind those of Melos, to others Venice). We see boatyards, uphill streets, arched arcades, multistory apartment buildings, hotels restaurants and cafe. All are almost touching the sea and have the same colour from the local stone used to build them or cover their facades. We moor at Grand Harbour Marine. The setting is beautiful. We tied to the quay very easily and quickly. We removed our staff from the boat. Those of us returning by plane to Athens took a shower at the marina and we all settle for a bite to eat. Next to us, a mast was being stepped on a boat, a procedure that drew my interest as I had never witnessed it before. It was Ran 2 an English Mini Maxi of 72 feet -with a Swedish owner/driver- winner of Rolex Fastnet Race of last year. The marina had several amazing boats but none of them combined simplicity of form with grandeur as well as Optimum 3 did… (sic)

Time came to retire to the hotel for a refreshing shower, to feel human again. Before that we visited the yacht club to complete the registration. I was impressed by the cordial reception the crew received from the (female) registration staff! Now we are siting at the club watching the efforts of other sailors trying to reach their boats on the pontoon. The considerable swell in the harbour has carried away the ramp to the pontoon…

From OPTIMUM 3 – ASPIDA
Eugenia Mavraki, Bow-person

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