Sailing in the Golfo dei poeti 

Autumn weekends. The warm long hazy days of summer are over. Evenings are getting shorter. The colours are changing in the trees and there is a fresh crispness in the air. It’s time to pull your jacket out from the depths of your wardrobe.

Or is it…..?

When it came to the weekend, we decided it was time for ‘one last sail’ for the year before it got too cold and miserable (yes I hear you , I am becoming more Italian by the day….my Irish girl toughness is softening ever so slightly!).

We grouped up with some friends and charted the wonderful beauty that is 45” Botep and her captain Mike for the weekend.  We all jumped aboard on Friday evening in the Port of La Spezia.

After finding our cabins and exploring our new home for the weekend, on the Friday evening we walked across the bridge to the marina of mirabello to do some serious yacht watching.

photo-3 The stunning bridge to the Marina

Beauty in everything (this is part of the bridge!)
Giorgio Armani’s floating Palace

What followed was a delicious dinner of pasta with sausage and cream (I hear you light dining!) washed down with a few glasses of wine.  Lucky to have a chef with us on board!

It’s no surprise we slept like babies.

Which was needed as just after dawn on Saturday morning we set sail in the Gulf of La Spezia , venturing to the stunning harbor of Portovenere and circling around the Island of Palmaria.

When the wind is in your hair, and the sun is kissing your cheeks ….the whole world melts away.

How can you explain what the sea is to someone who looks and just sees water?


​Lunch time arrived and some crazy fools went swimming.  I on the other hand got shivers just watching them and took a much needed siesta!

Then more sailing and then another indulgent evening ensued with large plates of pasta served duck Raghu (yes heavenly). We ate like kings, and slept like babies (again).

Sunday was a day of sailing practice with a gusty breeze.  We worked up and sweat and enjoyed the wind blowing in our hair.

It is always simply a marvel to watch in wonder the waves caressing the bow of the boat.  Even some curious dolphins came to playfully say hello in the bow waves!

If you ever want to switch off from the world and view the majesty of Italy from a new perspective..,,, come ride the salty waves with us!

I promise you won’t be disappointed.


One of the most incredible spots in nature to have a church – Portovenere


I hope you are curious to experience the beauty of Italy from another view point and be serenaded by the wonderful Captain Mike, you can find him at his webpage Nema Vela or on facebook.



Super Sailing on Lake Garda


I grew up on the sea.  My first memories are of being on a sailing boat coming into a small picturesque Scottish harbour……and then being hauled up the ladder by my harness like a wet sack of potatoes! Sounds romantic right?

Sailing is in my blood, but if i was to tell you that it was warm, sunny and pain free I wouldn’t be being entirely honest with you.

How things have changed now.  Although I am no longer by the sea, with the fresh salty breeze in my hair, and the soft sound of the waves breaking on the shore, I have the good fortune to live close to Lake Garda.  The largest of the Italian lakes, and she is marvellous.

Whatever your imagination can dream of,  it is a reality there.

You can windsurf, kite surf, paddle board, sail: catamaran or monohull.  We’ve seen olympic sailors and Americas Cup team members all train here. Oh and i shouldn’t forget to mention foiling!

Innovation is alive here and the limits of technology are being pushed every day.

So i was really excited to see the launch of Super Sail Academy on the lake this summer where the team are bringing the formula one of sailing, the Extreme 40 to Lake Garda.

What you may be asking is an Extreme 40, so here are the stats:

  • hull 12 meters long
  • mast 19 meters high
  • displacing 1250kg of water (constructed in carbon fiber)
  • Sail area 200mq
  • Speed more than 30 knots

The Extreme 40 was designed to bring sailing to the public in the form of a fast, high performance, inshore catamaran.  The boat has been used since 2007 in the Extreme Sailing Series™ stadium events where the worlds top professional sailors battle it out in fast paced, adrenalin filled races.

From this year, 2016, the extreme 40 racing boats for the Extreme Sailing Series ™ have been replaced with the hydro-foiling GC32s. Which means that us mere mortals now have the opportunity to hop on board one of these beasts and experience the thrill for ourselves!

Its a strange experience as you step on board, yes the hull is 40 feet but for a boat this size it for sure is no floating caravan.  There is no ‘below deck’ , no kitchen (galley for those true seafarers) and all other luxuries you would expect on a boat of this size.  Its like an overgrown dinghy, pumped up on steroids.  You are on a catamaran built for speed.  Hydraulics are everywhere so it is as nimble and quick to handle as a dinghy.

The crew are well experienced sailors.  A mix of true professionalism and a relaxed confidence which made us feel immediately at ease.  Taking the time to walk us through the manoeuvres and explaining the technical aspects of the boat.

You can simply enjoy the ride or as we did actively participate in the boat handling.  What an unforgettable experience to take the helm of a super boat that this, simply amazing!

The helm was light to handle and very responsive and boy does she fly!  Sitting up on the side of the hull, watching the water speed under you is incredible especially when the hull and daggerboard lift out of the water!  It really feels like flying or gliding, as the boat is so fast the hulls slice through the water with ease.

For those wanting to train their muscles there is also work to be done on board, trimming the sails and grinding the winch don’t happen by themselves.  Throwing up the gennaker and gybing downwind is so much fun, if a little sweaty!!

Here is a video of our day, i hope it conveys the emotion we felt!

Thank-you Super Sail Academy!