Everything worked out and we traveled to France on the 15th of June, the re/opening day of the borders in Europe.
Ambra arrived safely a few days earlier via Sleepy Yacht Transport, who documented the trip from Finland to France via road and ferries. The Swan Service Team in Villefranche-Sur-mer under the leadership of Yves, welcomed Ambra in the med and launched the boat.
We had plenty of time to organise all the things we will need for Ambra over the winter and accumulated a lot of parts and equipment to take on board.
The sales process with Britta and Thorsten Flack was professional and fun. We highly recommend to visit the factory and meet the experts to discuss all options on-site. Britta and Thorsten organized the factory visit and were the perfect hosts and supported us with their experience. Thorsten came to the launch in France as well and stayed with us, to discover and test all the features during the handover. Thank you to the perfect sales team for all your advice and pictures.
Why Swan 48?
We looked for a performance cruiser with lifestyle onboard. The combination of the experience in performance boat building by Nautor Swan in Finland and the Italian design influence has made the Swan 48 for us the ideal choice. Being a small crew we decided on the Swan 48 for many more reasons. We can handle the boat without additional crew,we like the design and Swan offers all the features which are important to us.
The performance under sail is amazing and confirmed our decision. The Swan 48 is not only fast, but well balanced and agile. You do not need to heel, the best performance comes with the right sail trim at max 20 degree healing angle, which is a convenient way to enjoy sailing.
We decided on a furling mast and Elvstrom sails to make it easier for us. The profile of the sails and performance is absolutely a great combination. As another speed kicker, we have a light furling reacher sail in pink. The sail has not only a fresh color but is so much fun and easy to handle, even by the two of us. The steering with the two ruder blades offers perfect control. Our concern to maneuver the Swan 48 in a small marina has not been an issue. Going backwards we use less the steering and prefer the bow thruster to direct the boat.
We decided for electric winches to handle the setup and they make it easier to optimize the trim.
The combination of systems such as a watermaker, lithium batteries, solar panels and a genset make Ambra the perfect and independent performance blue water cruiser. We prefer to stay on anchor and enjoy the freedom and nature.
The cockpit is spacious and offers plenty of seating options while cruising or to rest. In addition, there is a sunbathing area on the foredeck. It is a perfect hide away to enjoy the scenery or read a book.
Coming from a centre cockpit yacht, our initial concern was do we feel safe with an open aft cockpit? We confirm, so far we have never had that feeling and enjoy the spacious cockpit area.
The dinghy garage is a key storage area for all our water sport activities gear and other items you don‘t want to take into the boat. On longer trips we store our dinghy with the aluminium floor there as well. The dinghy area is accessible from the transom door and from the top which is helpful to access fenders or lines.
Below deck offers so much light from the large hull windows. We enjoy the sunrise in bed with a coffee and view over the water outside.
We hope you share our passion for sailing and SY Ambra.
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Kisses from Greece!
If I had to choose one definitive best time of year, I would say that the prime time to see Paxos & Antipaxos is May. You’ve got perfect weather during spring and you are able to enjoy some peace and quiet before the crowds show up. The Ionian islands are often warm enough for swimming.
The Ionian Sea is renowned for its perfect sailing conditions with plenty of wind to have a really fun sailing holiday in the sunshine. Typically winds build about lunchtime and drop again at sunset. This means that you can spend the morning sailing gently to a lunch time stop to a secluded bay or pretty village and go for a swim or snorkel, have lunch on board and then have a great sail to your evening destination. The winds are fairly consistent and usually result in a very calm evening with still waters.
Here’s a list of the places we stopped while sailing around the Greek Ionian Islands:
1 Paleokastritsa Marina, Corfu – anchored (free)
2 Gouvia Marina (€60/night for 43′ yacht)
3 Corfu Town, Corfu – anchored (free)
4 Petriti, Corfu – anchored (free)
5 Lakka, Paxos – anchored (free)
6 Port Gaios, Paxos – 26 Euro
7 Antipaxos- anchored (free)
Imagine how Robinson Crusoe felt when he woke up to his first full day marooned on a desert island. Good morning from Antipaxos!
Italy offers some of the best sailing grounds in the Mediterranean. The lack of natural harbours and the limited numbers of places in the man-made marinas can make it challenging to find a berth during the summer months.
The food is absolutely superb! However, with careful preparation, a few key words in Italian and a little patience and understanding, the rewards will be well worth it. The strength of the wind varies greatly depending on the location and time of year.
The islands of Sardinia and Sicily tend to enjoy more wind than the Bay of Naples and the Riviera!
***Where to Sail:
Sicily is an attractive cruising ground, particularly along the northern and eastern coasts. It has a number of well-established marinas although they can be very expensive in the summer months. There are anchorages at Cefalu and either side of Palermo. At the western end, San Vito lo Capo also has a comfortable marina and anchorage, which can be very useful in a Maestrale. Off the western end of Sicily lie the Egadi Islands, which provide some spectacularly clear water and secure anchorages. The cities of Trapani and Marsala are attractive destinations, but further round to the south the facilities diminish somewhat. The eastern side of Sicily has some beautiful cities and interesting sailing destinations, in particular: Siracusa, Catania and Taormina are well worth a visit. The marina at Riposto provides ring-side seats for any firework shows that Mount Etna chooses to put on! A trip through the Straits of Messina is made more interesting by the presence of whirlpools at certain states of the tide!
The Tuscan Islands & Argentario.
The islands of Capraia, Elba, Giglio and Giannutri are all accessible to yachts and provide a number of attractive harbours and plenty of anchorages, some even secluded in bad weather. On the mainland south of Livorno, the harbours of Cala di Medici, Punta Ala, and on the Argentario promontory: Porto Santo Stefano, Porto Ercole and Cala Galera, are all relatively large and comfortable, and any one of them would provide a fabulous base for exploring the area.
The Bay of Naples.
It is not hard to see the appeal of the Bay of Naples for sailors. On the northern end, the islands of Ischia and Procida are both very accommodating to yachtsmen with several well-equipped marinas and a number of beautiful anchorages suitable in settled weather. In the centre, the famous outline of mount Vesuvius dominates the skyline with a number of marinas lining the coastline around Naples, some more attractive than others! On the southern end, the Island of Capri lies serenely off the Sorrento peninsular. Its harbour is famously expensive, but there is an anchorage to the side of it and a number of spectacular bays suitable for anchoring in settled weather. To the north of the bay, yachts can visit the beautiful Pontine Islands and to the south, the Amalfi coast beckons.
The island of Sardinia offers some of the best sailing in the world and has safe harbours more or less evenly spaced around the whole coast. The east side is more protected, and offers some spectacular beaches with white sand and clear water. It is a very popular holiday destination and the ‘Costa Smerelda’, in the north-east of the island, is very much a playground for the rich and famous. Harbours like Porto Cervo will let you stay for next to nothing out of season, but come the summer, they would be charging you hundreds, if not thousands of euros per night – if they would let you in at all! The western side of Sardinia is more rugged and more open to the Maestrale (Mistral). When it blows, great care must be taken by small yachts as the seas build alarmingly and there are few safe harbours to run to. The Strait of Bonifacio, between Sardinia and Corsica, is a scary place to be in a full Maestrale. Further down the western side, there are some delightful sailing areas between the Island of San Pietro and Capo Teulada, the southernmost point of Sardinia.
The Aeolian Islands.
Named after the God of Wind, Aeolus, the Aeolian Islands have a reputation for enjoying a little too much of it! However, most of the time they are delightful and they provide some of the most secure anchorages available in the Tyrrhenian. There are eight in all, the last being little more than a rock, jutting out of the sea. Visitors can anchor off the island of Stromboli, who’s active volcano occasionally provides a spectacular light show. The neighbouring island of Vulcano also has an active volcano, and here visitors can enjoy hot springs in the bay and volcanic mud baths ashore. The islands of Lipari and Salina are larger and have attractive towns with well established marinas. On the mainland, the attractive harbour of Tropea makes a good stopping off point when on passage to or from the Aeolian Islands.
The sheltered bays, dramatic coastlines of the West, and the tranquil calas and coves of the East make
Mallorca a beautiful spot to spend time on a boat in the Mediterranean sea.
July and August tend to be the busiest, and you need to be aware of this as marinas can get very crowded. There is lots to do and see in Mallorca, including cycling, golf, hiking, horse riding, rock climbing, diving and lots more.
When a dream is fulfilled, it is always a glorious feeling!
Feeling like a bohemian and experience how it is to be a hippie for a few days? Freedom, peace and happiness are in abundance at these places.
Be warned you might never want to return home!
Ibiza is not just for party-crazed teenagers in blaring nightclubs. Ibiza has been a hot hippie destination since the 60s and still sees many hippie travelers throughout the year. Even though it has become an overcrowded party island, the natural walking trails and whimsical architecture make it a much coveted hippie place.
Eine wunderbare Saison geht langsam dem Ende zu.
Wir haben so viele schöne Törns in der Ostsee erlebt (angefangen von Laboe bis rund um Rügen! ) und uns die "Dänische Südsee" angeschaut.
Richtung Norden sind wir bis Kopenhagen gefahren und sind erstaunt über die vielen Facetten der Ostsee-Orte. Wir planen im Frühjahr über die Biskaya in Richtung Mittelmeer zu segeln. Sind sehr gespannt und hoffen bis Portugal oder Spanien zu kommen.
I really don't know why it is that all of us are so committed to the sea, except I think it's because in addition to the fact that the sea changes, and the light changes, and ships change, it's because we all came from the sea. And it is an interesting biological fact that all of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea - whether it is to sail or to watch it - we are going back from whence we came.