A Winter Home

September 27, 2012

The First Mate hijacked my blog writing, which saw both the last entry and this as a single blog.  She didn’t like the fact that I dismissed the cultural visits in Barcelona in a couple of lines and by the time she’d added enough detail to my otherwise sailing oritented blog it was too long for a single article, so she decided to split it in 2.  Thus you now have the details of her excesses in Barcelona making sure the MA got her ration of culture but you nissed out on some of the exciting detail of sailing “Rampage” down to her winter home – well, now you’ve got it!

Last Friday we started to make our way south, looking for somewhere to call home for the winter.  Our default setting for this was Almerimar, a marina not far from Malaga on the Costa del Sol.  The reasoning behind this was twofold: reasonable prices plus a liveaboard community.  However, it is about 350 miles or so from Badalona, so we were looking at the best part of 2 weeks to get there, always assuming we didn’t wind up getting stuck anywhere by the weather, so we were prepared to look at other possibilities as we journeyed south. 


Lovely Josie who came to wave goodbye as we left Ginesta

Our first port of call was Ginesta, about 30 miles down the coast from Badalona.  The first half of the trip was on the motor but we picked up a bit of wind once we’d cleared the main harbour entrance at Barcelona; always a bit of an adventure, dodging the enormous ships entering and leaving.


Ginesta has turned out to be the new home for quite a number of folks from Port Vell, which has turfed out many of their long term residents in order to redevelop the place for super yachts.  We made a point of looking up Josie, our neighbour from our first winter aboard, as she and Doug have settled on Ginesta as their new home base, cruising the Balaerics during the summer months.

The local equivalent of the Cornish Pilot Gig – included mainly for the benefit of Polly and Tommy!  Note that the rowlocks consist of simple pin; the oar is fixed to the pin with a loop of rope.


From there we went to Torredembarra and then on to Calafat, with the marina fees dropping by a few more euros each night as we drew further away from Barcelona.  We almost decided to stay in Calafat for a couple for nights as the forecast was for strong winds round the Ebro River delta.  In the end, we looked at a more detailed forecast and worked out that we would have a broad reach to the tip of the delta, the wind would then die away and return from the south, giving us another broad reach into Sant Carles.  So we left reasonably early, caught the winds just as forecast and arrived in Sant Carles after a brilliant day’s sailing; we got to within about 200 metres of the marina entrance before we furled the headsail!


Looking across to DD pontoon, Sant Carles marina, with the town behind and the mountains beyond.

On our arrival, we were greeted by Patrick from the catamaran “Shecat”, who we knew from last winter in Messilonghi; he and Sheila have berthed their boat here for the next year or so.  We have been very impressed with the standards of this marina and the staff have all been inoculated with the ‘customer service virus’ and are a joy to deal with; nothing is too much trouble and we’re told that if they can’t sort it there and then, it tends to get resolved as quickly as it takes the specialist to arrive on site.  Magic.  So, we sat down and started to do some complicated sums.  We added up the cost of everything not included in the price at Almerimar, then added in the cost of getting there and getting back (as we plan to return to Greece via the Balearics next spring) and suddenly, Sant Carles marina looked more affordable.  Then we went to the office and they offered us a good deal plus effectively a couple of free weeks into the bargain and that was that.  Sant Carles de la Rapita is our winter home this year.


“Rampage” settled into her winter berth

This is a link to google earth showing where we’re based  http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=Sant+Carles+de+la+R%C3%A0pita,+Spain&hl=en&ie=UTF8&ll=40.619771,0.601158&spn=0.000912,0.001725&sll=53.800651,-4.064941&sspn=5.815838,14.128418&oq=sant+carles+&hq=Sant+Carles+de+la+R%C3%A0pita,+Spain&t=h&z=19 (the centre of the frame is pretty much where we’re berthed) and this link is to the marina website so you can see where we’re living: www.santcarlesmarina.com   The postal address for sending Red Cross parcels containing Cadbury’s Instant hot chocolate, should you feel so moved is as follows:

Julia and Duncan Byrne

‘Rampage’ Berth DD335

Sant Carles Marina

Ctra. Villafranco, s/n

Apartat de Correus 192

43540 Sant Carles de la Rapita



The skipper is much gratified to find himself on pontoon DD (Skipper puzzled by this reference as he’s always fancied quality above quantity…..)


Sunset last night. Sadly today is overcast – hence all the cloudy photographs in this particular post.

OK, that’s us for the season, just a little earlier than expected.  We will be doing a bit of pottering locally but not a vast amount, as beyond the lagoons of the delta there isn’t much for a good few miles up and down the coast.  However, there are some serious bird movements round here and we saw flamingos, egrets and other wetland birds on our last visit here with my brother Mike in 2009.



  1. Very glad to hear you have settled on a winter home. That must be a weight of your minds. I haven’t yet looked at the google link but hope there might an airport not too far away for migratory birds of a less feathered variety. xxx P.S. Going sailing tomorrow on a Thames barge from Whitstable to those strange forts in the North sea.

  2. looks fab – how long are you staying there?

  3. We have arrived back in Messolonghi for our winter but something is missing-its you! Enjoy your winter and we hope we may cross paths on our way home next year Best wishes Lee and Joan

  4. Thank you for the picture of the rowing boat. We saw similar ones in Collioure and wondered how they kept the oars in place! Xxx

    • Hi Polly, Thanks for the comment! Always welcome to know that folks read the blog. It is interesting the see from our stats that we seem to have a worldwide audience! Love Dad xxx

      Duncan and Julia Byrne

      On board Rampage

      Email: dive-byrne@talk21.com

      Blog: https://djbyrne.wordpress.com

      Mobile: +447872225781 http://www.plan-uk.org/share


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