The sailing catamaran Lagoon 42 will be presented for a fourth consecutive year at the Dusseldorf boat show. The fact that there are already over 800 yachts sold speaks for itself for the success of the model.

The thing is that Lagoon catamarans were never famous with any dramatic achievements for speed under sails or decent climbing angle against the wind. This is even more valid for fully equipped heavy charter modifications. The weight for multihulls is a total speed killer. That said, with the good choice of additional sails even with 6-8 knots of close reach wind and gennaker or code 0. The construction is sturdy and stable, even with waves on broad side the bow does not dig under the waves. The connection between the hulls solid and elastic in a sense it absorbs the twists. For a few seasons only few cracks on the gelcoat can be noticed in spots that take a lot of force. The gelcoat lacks the balsa sandwich ability beneath to absorb forces but this is not a problem at all. The boat is very easy to navigate. It has excellent visibility and maneurablility in narrow areas. Slightly rounded transom help a lot to sneak in easily between two boats in any packed Greek marina during the summer. Instead of staying at anchor and move with the dinghy all the time you could stay in the middle of nightlife in picturesque greek old town harbours on the islands. The big mainsail and the bimini cause slight disbalance during sailing. The catamaran always tend to turn leeward so the autopilot always have to turn to compensate that move. However if sailing and using the leeward engine  with minimum consumption the catamaran can reach 9 knots on halfwind. The new davits used in Lagoon 42 and Lagoon 46 provoke mixed feeling. Definitely it is very comfortable but causes lots of troubles in bad weather and hides a number of risk if the crew does not pay enough attention when working with it. If you could choose, I would prefer the classic type of davits.

The common impreassion is that Lagoon 42 is vet well-made boat, stable and not too expensive t maintain. The important parts are made seaworthy and experienced skipper can feel the decades of experience in multihulls of the French producer. It is not a coincidence that Lagoons are preferred brand catamarans for crossing Atlantic in the ARC race for amateurs. Bad impression cause small inexpensive things that the producer choose to mount cheapest version on order to save few coppers. At the same time almost all defects for elements under warranty are ignored by the producer. Often the buyer is asked to pay the difference in the price between the ordering list price and the list price at the time of the delivery. I would definitely give very low points to Lagoon for sale and post sale maintenance if it was not for the Bulgarian Lagoon dealer who was able to help me to sort half of the issues with the factory. Overall it is a decent service. Probably Lagoon 42 is the perfect catamaran to cruise the Greek islands with amateur crew. Eleven weeks for the coming summer are already sold out from last December. All charter bookings made during the Dusseldorf show from 18.01 to 26.01 will have 10% further discount.


 

Just right in midwinter Aurora got a new panoramic winter windshield. Apart from the additional comfort provided when sitting at the cockpit table it will help protect the teak deck from dust, rain and salt. 

 

 

  The custom work was done at a workshop based in Alimos marina using the original Sunbrella fabric.

 

 

 


 

Aurora Yachting chose MMK booking manager as a primary booking platform and received a Silver Partner certification.

 

 

 

Yachts are listed in the MMK database. The are accessible to charter agencies for booking via the online portal and are distributed via the search engines. All administration tasks carried out during the processes of booking, invoicing, interacting with clients, and port authorities documentation will be processed online via a local booking manager application. Booking Manager certifies that Aurora Yachting is a professional legal entity with its own fleet of yachts, duly registered for yacht charter activity in Greece.

 

 


Aurora arrives in Athens after passing through Corinth channel 12h before it collapses

Aurora and her crew though the channel of Corinth
When we entered in the Bay of Partas, we moved towards the southern side in order to pass via arch 3 and 4 of the bridge of Rion in order not to interfere with the  commercial traffic. It was not like there was much of it after Patras anyway. So finally after relaxed day of motoring surpassed only by high speed ferries  at the end of the day we could see the pillars of the Bridge of Rion.
Aurora in the Bay of Patras
Ferries quickly passing us

Five miles away from the bridge we have called the traffic control as stated in the navigation guide and as expected they told us to pass through the southern arch. Later turned out that from small boats no one was calling. I have stated our port of departure and arrival and crew number and we continued. Few miles after the bridge just as we were preparing to have dinner the border police had the their boat lights on us and in 15 minutes and they tied to us and boarded. After 2 hours checking all boat papers, passports, IDs, cabins and storage spaces we were free to continue. Somehow I was not hungry anymore and I went to bed. Later a wind appeared but with 25 miles remaining to the Corinth we were not in mood to open sails in the dark and continued with engine. At around 4 we moored in the town of Corinth port and had few hours sleep more until sunrise. Once we got up Georgi already had a bag of cheesepie. We called Corinth pilot control and we were told to go at the entrance. We drift there for 20 minutes and we were given permission to enter into the channel.

Aurora approaching the bridge of Rion
Aurora just before border police check
Aurora into the town of Corinth
Aurora drifting at the entrance of the channel
Aurora entering the channel

Once inside the channel there was no wind or noticeable current and within 30minutes we were on the other side. We were curious view for tourist groups on the bridge saluting us and occasionally we waved at them. We moored on the other side to pay the tax for the channel as this is probably the most expensive channel in the world per mile. For 3,5 miles we paid 108eur for 12 meters boat. That makes somewhere 30eur per mile. Never the less this channel needs a lot of maintenance and saves quite a distance so we were happy to pay the tax. We went back to the boat where Georgi already had found some local dog to play with and not the imaginary one. We released the mooring lines and find our way between the anchored tankers in front of the local oil refinery. According to our calculation in the early afternoon we would be in Alimos marina in Athens. We called Mirko to know we are coming and took small nap while Georgi was heading to the southern cape of Salamia.

Channel of Corinth
Aurora was a curious view alone in the channel
No wind or current noticed
Georgi with his real dog

Soon after lunch on the 20th day since we left Les Sables d'Olone we have entered into the Alimos marina. Mirko and Ani were waiting for us and we moored at Aurora new home port. In the afternoon we washed the sails and the boat and put all deck in order. Rado and Nikolay tested the dinghy out of the port just before sunset. Once we finished our activities was time to go out and celebrate the succesful  completion of our trip in a local tavern with live greek music. It was such a celebration that apart of Rado, Georgi and Nikolay  hardly got up to take the flight to Sofia on the next day.

Aurora trip successfully acomplished
Rado and Nikolay testing Masha
Both skippers Rado and Rado salute the crew for successful trip
All being saluted by the tavern singers

On the next day we got the news that the overnight storm was so strong that some stones collapse into the Corinth channel and now it is blocked for a month at least. Last 6 days since we left Capo di San Vito we were running in front of the big storm. We slept at sea and did not stop overnight in any port and we were quite exhausted at the end but now we were satisfied we did it in this way and we managed to sneak through all dangers and furies of the nature.

During the night Corinth got blocked for a month at least

Aurora is now in good and professional hands and is being prepared for the summer season. Apart of standard equipment , she will get generator, solar panels, air condition in salon and cabins and watermaker to ensure full boat autonomy. If anybody wants to sail with her is very welcome on board. She is being chartered with or without skipper. The area of sailing will be mostly the Saronic gulf and the Cyclades islands, however it is also possible to take her back through Corinth to Lefkada if someone wants to sail her there.

Aurora is now in good hands that take care of her in a professional manner

Storm in Ionian sea throws Aurora 60 miles off course but finally finds safe shelter in Lefkada

 

 

Once we lost sight of the Italian cost the sea started to get rough and southeastern wind started to increase. According to the forecast it was too early. We expected it on the next morning when we were close to Greece but not in the begging of our journey through Ionian sea. The bad weather came 12 hours earlier than expected. We  could easily go 40 miles north with that wind and find shelter behind the toe of Italian boot. Never the less we just corrected our course to point between Zakynthos and Kefalonya and now waves came at 80 degrees to the bow. We reefed the sails and prepared ourselves for a rough night at sea but what came with the darkness was spectacular. Far behind us on the Italian cost started a thunderstorm. With the clouds and the sea in the same colour and flashes from thunders every 5 seconds. We were running away from the storm but it was chasing us. Soon thunders started to appear to the north and even northeast at the heel of the boot. It was like Zeus himself was throwing thunders all around us but we were sailing in the middle into the eye of the storm.

Aurora in a safe shelter in Lefkada old town
 
Night in Ionian sea

With the sunrise the situation improved a bit. We were exactly on the sea border between Greece and Italy with nobody on a 30 miles distance except a tanker vessel called Neverland. Rado had an idea to ask him for the updated weather forecast since without internet coverage we did not know what to expect next. After a breif chat with the on duty officer he told him with stron indian accent today is 4-5 southeast but tomorrow there would be an improvement  6-7 west. He left us wondering how 6-7 stronger wind is an improvement from what we had now apart of may be the direction. We had to make it to Greece before the "improvement" comes.

Sunrise in the Ionian with passing Neverland
Neverland gave us weird weather forecast

In the late afternoon we got mobile network coverage and somehow we felt Greece closer. The waves got bigger but still bearable once we knew we are getting closer to the islands. We have been adjusting the course to the north whole day  to avoid crashing with waves and now we were hardly getting into the channel between Lefkada and Kefalonya. Before getting dark we furled both sails and prepared for strong wind and it came at midnight with heavy rain but luckily no thunderstorms. with 7 miles away from Lefkada we could hardly maintain the course. We missed the southern channel and now our options were to hide behind the north part of Lefkada and if weather allow to pass the north channel when retractable  bridge is open or stay close to the island and enter from western side. The continuing storm left us with no option we could only hide from the northern part of the island and by the morning the weather calmed down. We waited on anchor untill sunrise and slept few hours in front of the channel and once it opened at 08:00 we crossed it.

Lefkada retractable bridge
Rado crossing the channel once bridge was open
Entrance into Lefcada port via northern canal

Once safely moored in the old town Georgi and Nikolay run for cheese pie and  cigarettes. Since Ionian sea crossing took a day longer than expected and they had no cigarettes left they tried to smoke the mint teabags and now we had only 2 mint teabags left. Until they came back we refilled and started the generator and now it was nice and warm. We stopped at the petrol station to refill the diesel tanks a bit. Rado suddenly thought it is a good time to jump from the boat with the clothes to test the water. It was somewhere 15 degrees according to him. 

Georgi with bag of cheesepie
Lefkas Marina and the petrol station
Rado after swimming in Lefkada
Boots are not handy for swimming

Soon we were slowly motoring into the southern Lefkada canal into the bay of Pireaus. We could make a stop or try to pass Corinth on the next morning. With the storm following us if we had favourable conditions we would rather pass the channel once we can.

The most beautiful scrapyard in the world
South Lefkas canal
Canal stretches for miles
Georgi navigating via the canal
The boat flag after the storm
Canal view
Ionian islands view
Safely in to the bay of Piraeus. Time for a nap

Aurora in Capo di San Vito

We left Sardinia on the day after the carnival with the fair north west wind. On the following day in the afternoon we saw the lighthouse on the Isola Marettimo wondering how is possible to see it from 30 miles away. Possibly due to super refraction. Luckily this time everybody was able too see it and no one was afraid I am going mad. By the evening after a short but intensive rain we have entered in the north western port of Sicilia San Vito lo Capo. No one was listening on VHF or picking up the phone but once they saw us inside the staff wave at us and took our mooring lines in a fantastic bay with a village that's worth a visit in the summer.


A night of sailing towards Sicily
Easy downwind sailing
Full sails to Sicily
Sunset
Sunrise
Lunch with rain
Dolphins accompanied us to Sicily
San Vito lo Capo

After registering with the port authorities in the evening we had a small walk in village which was asleep during winter time. We made an appointment  with the petrol station to fill up Aurora's tanks and went to bed. On the next morning when I woke up and looked outside i felt like i want to stay a week here and watch this every morning. Never the less soon we were all up. Georgi and Nikolay went for food supplies and me with Rado moved Aurora to teh petrol quay just before the next portion of rain poured over the village and us.

Morning in San Vito
Weather changes within minutes
Nikolay doing morning exercises
View from the port
Local inhabitant promoting his favourite Italian food
Raining again
Aurora on the petrol station

Once we were done with supplies we have left the port in a very light wind. Soon we took out our gennaker and sailed all day with it. After filling the tanks with diesel at 1.75 compared to 0.49 in Gibraltar we decided to master the sails. Eventually we did  6-7 knots downwind in only 8 knots of wind. Most catamarans would not even think of opening sails and switching off the engine at that wind speeds however Aurora was performing quite well and her blue code 0 gennaker started to pay off. A quick gusts of wind that came with the morning rain made is do few exercises with sails and left us all wet. At the end we passed Palermo and with the calm afternoon weather we decided not to stop over night at Portorossa what original plan was but pass strait of Messina in the early hours of the next day.

Leaving San Vito
Georgi showing advantages of the Bulgarian flag
Gennaker already in use
A day to master the gennaker sailing
Wish we had more sail area so we did same trick as with the jib
6.2 out of 8.2 knots of wind

Just before the sunrise we entered in the Messina strait. We have heard terrific stories about it since 3000 years ago when Odyssey passed this place. Galin and Radoslav have passed it once with the sailing barkentina of the Vaptsarov Naval University during a tall ship regatta when engine was not powerful enough to overcome current when sailing into the wind. They had to come up the mast to reef sails further tight to minimum surface at 5m of waves. In guide there were marks at the point where whirpools were appearing so we had an eye on them. We have calculated our speed to enter in the strait at the time of no current (6 hours after Gibraltar high water) and calm weather. We followed the path separation untill we entered in the round about. It was already a morning so ferries started passing from both sides. Small fishermen boats were everywhere, big cargos passing in the middle and coast guard checking all this madness. We did the crossing exactly as IMO rules and the goddess Kirka advice to Odysseus to stay closer to Scylla and further away from Haredba. Haredba  liked us because she gave us only 0.4kn current and Scylla was sleeping under the ice. We spotted Etna and soon we were out of the strait. 

Norther post of Messina
Double sided ferry
300m cargo ship with Etna vulcano on the back
Aurora's track in Messina strait follows the Kirka goddess advice to Odisseus

We had a 3 day discussion with my co-skipper about our plan after Messina. We knew there is a storm coming within 24 hours from the west. By that time we would be half way to Greece. If we stay we have to wait 2 days until we can sail further east. For 2 days I have been convinced rather to stay and wait and Rado was saying that we run in front of the storm as in the Bay of Leon. Once out from Messina I saw the Ionian sea and thought he was right. At the same time he thought that my idea to wait was reasonable. With no good place to stop nearby we decided to go straight to Greece. What could possibly go wrong. Can not be something that we have not already seen. 35 hours more and we will be somewhere near Zakynthos. We decided to go and use the day ahead with moderate sea conditions. We have left Italy and what happened next will be in my next story.

 


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