I love sailing the Mediterranean and have sailed this sea many times; around numerous Greek Islands, Malta, and along the coasts of Italy, Croatia, and Turkey. With no significant tides, lots of sun, clear warm water, good food, fun, and champagne, endless Champagne, what more could a man want? It was, therefore, with little hesitation, that my S&CA compatriot, [Redacted], and I, enlisted as crew of [Boat Name], one of six yachts that formed the S&CA Ibiza flotilla, the others being [Boat Names Redacted]. As many of you will know [Boat Name] is the yacht of our Rear Commodore Mediterranean, [Redacted], who has lived on his boat in this part of Spanish waters for nearly eight years. It’s thanks to [Redacted] that this charter transitioned from an idea to reality. Our boat [Boat Name], along with [Boat Name], was allegedly berthed in the marina at San Antonia. The other charter boats were located in other ports around the island. We flew out a day early and in style; Easy Jet Speedy Boarding, with extra leg room, plus luxury transfer from airport to our 5-star hotel (oh yeah, pull the other one – Ed.) in San Antonio, near the marina. We touched down at 1am on the 3rd Sept, located our transfer and, after a torturous journey in a clapped-out mini bus packed with drunk and high teenagers, at speeds to die for(!), we flew passed our hotel, only to be dumped unceremoniously at the local bus station. (Ah, that’s more like it – Ed.). Having walked back to our hotel and checked in, we had a quick recce of the sea front and then headed to bed with the A/C turned full on – it was hot! The next morning, we were awakened by a call from our boat’s captain, [Redacted], and arranged to rendezvous with him and a number of fellow flotillerados, for breakfast. It was whilst tucking into my Eggs Benedict that we learned that our charter boat ([Boat Name]) and that of Captain [Redacted] ([Boat Name]), were not in San Antonio marina, but on the opposite side of the island, in Santa Eulalia. Fortunately, our hero of a captain, had already persuaded the charter company to provide a free minibus transfer for us all, plus a couple of additional trips back and forth in the evening, so as not to ruin [Redacted]’s great “welcome night out” in San Antonio. This proved a great beginning to the week’s fun and frolics. Held at Rio Ibiza, a roof top restaurant, the location was great, although the food portions were a touch on the tight side, much like [Redacted]’s shorts! It was, however, a great opportunity to meet up and mingle with our fellow charterers and especially with the rest of the crew of [Boat Name]; [Names Redacted]. [Boat Name] was a modern Beneteau 50 with three heads, and six cabins. [Boat Name] was an older Beneteau Oceanis 47 with a more traditional wooden interior and it was better equipped. The constant sound of trickling water betrayed the presence of an Air Conditioning Unit on [Boat Name], which poor aunt [Boat Name] sadly lacked. Neither did [Boat Name] have the water maker as promised on the charter companies’ website. If we had not already realised, we very soon appreciated that air conditioning transforms an almost unbearable floating sauna into a very welcome comfy refuge. Envy aside, it was, however, with some amusement that we learned that [Boat Name]’s crew, having used Google translate to request a kettle, had been provided with a smart glass teapot from LIDL. So not everything was perfect on [Boat Name]. Our first night on board [Boat Name] was spent acclimatizing to sauna sleeping. [Redacted], who had drawn the short straw for cabin allocation, and was up front in the rabbit hutch of a cabin intended for ‘staff’, decided wisely to sleep in the cockpit. The following morning (Sunday 4th) everyone was up bright and early. Being in residence in the cockpit [Redacted] had been a particularly early riser (up with the sun no doubt) and seemed very keen to speak to me. I prepared myself for a tale of woe about his poor standard of accommodation, but was almost relieved to hear that it was nothing of the sort. Apparently, whilst disembarking, somewhat drowsily, at 4am, to attend to a call of nature, his phone and credit cards had taken

an early morning dip from his shorts pocket! Luckily for [Redacted] I am a proficient underwater swimmer and ‘dropped items’ retriever. In one mighty bound (triple backward somersault, with tuck – fake news) I was over the side and said items speedily recovered. Miraculously, after 3 days in the heat, and cocooned in rice, the phone burst back into life. The first ‘rendezvous’ of all six yachts, was at Playa Tramuntana, on the nearby Island of Formentera. It was a jolly, somewhat alcohol fuelled affair, and most definitely bare boat. There was much swimming and paddle boarding between boats. Being at anchor, meals were had on board, with yet more alcohol, resulting in some visiting crew remaining rather longer than intended! Monday 5th saw the flotilla weigh anchor bound for a bay called Cala Llonga, on the east coast of Ibiza, back towards Santa Eulalia. An easy 4 hour sail with steady wind on the beam – glorious. The bay was more of a long, narrow, cove; very scenic with a small beach tucked at the end. It was also rather rocky. Rocky, as in waves bouncing off steep cliffs, a motion which continued throughout the night. Skills other than just culinary are definitely required when cooking Chicken Basque in a rolling sea. Well done [Redacted]. That evening was one of the most pleasantly chilled evenings of the holiday; lounging on deck under the stars, playing ‘name that tune’ to songs sung by [Redacted] – he has a very good voice. 9 On Tuesday 6th we were off again. Another wonderful day’s sail with perfect wind and just a couple of tacks required to achieve our next destination of Cala Zucia; a large bay with crystal clear water and visibility to a depth of some 11 metres on one side, but shallow on the other. Safely anchored, and in the calm of the bay, I thought some discreet paddle board practice was in order to improve my definitely novice technique – I could just NOT stand up. I wobbled and swayed, much to the hysterical amusement of my unsympathetic companions, before finally, and somewhat ignominiously, resorting to simply sitting astride the damned thing. After our evening meals aboard, all crew swam or tendered ashore for more drinks and nibbles. It was there that lambent [Redacted] (I too had to look up that word – Ed.) persuaded a rather less lambent, but definitely more voluptuous, scantily clad young lady to take a group photo – see over the page. [Redacted] couldn’t resist commenting on her minimal attire. She proudly revealed that it was new on that day to which [Redacted]’s response was that he hoped it hadn’t cost much as there wasn’t a lot of it! Oh, really [Redacted]. That’s the whole idea. Rather like a gay man wearing a thong! The following morning (Wednesday 7th), as if to confirm the sauna like cabin environment, [Redacted]’s mobile refused to wake up, claiming that it was feeling too clammy. Fortunately, it perked up once in the fresh air, on our way to our next destination of Cala Bassa. This is a small resort on the south west coast of Ibiza, complete with large sandy beach, sun loungers, four poster beach beds and lots of restaurants. The sail to Cala Bassa, under the attentive helmsmanship of [Redacted], and perhaps with the help of a strong wind, saw dear [Boat Name] achieve 9 knots. The passage itself was otherwise uneventful save for the meal cooked on route by [Redacted]; delicious chicken fajitas made to his secret Mexican recipe. Oh, and the loss of a fender overboard which was then skillfully recovered by the crew of [Boat Name]. Unfortunately, whilst attempting to anchor near [Boat Name], [Boat Name], perhaps now exhausted, threw a wobbly and refused to engage her forward gear. Quick thinking by [Redacted] resulted in a rapid retreat from [Boat Name] and much arm waving from a puzzled [Redacted]. Subsequent investigations, once safely anchored, revealed that the problem wasn’t with [Boat Name], but was due to an accumulation of rubbish bags on top of the gear cable. A tidy ship is a safe ship as they say! The early part of the evening was spent catching up with an old friend of mine who I hadn’t seen since my days in Colombia 2003, and who just happened to be in Ibiza and Cala Bassa that same evening. Intending to meet up with the others later that evening, I was ignominiously refused entry to the restaurant, due to my inappropriate dress! However, a rapid purchase of what can only be

described as an eye catching Hawaiian style shirt soon put that to rights and a super meal was had by all. On returning to [Boat Name] we found a familiar person passed out in the cockpit. We all stepped over him and went to bed! On Thursday 8th we set sail for Ses Salines, located at the south end of the Island. An easy sail made memorable by a wonderful pasta lunch cooked by [Redacted]’s mother – well, it was her recipe, plus plenty of interesting conversation about flour milling! [Redacted] had organized a group evening meal ashore that evening in Sa Trinxa restaurant. After a bit of table re-arranging, we all settled down to a hearty meal, Prosecco, beers and, of course, good conversation. It was during this meal we received the news that the Queen was gravely ill. The following morning (Friday 9th) the flotilla headed back to spend the day anchored in another small bay on the Island of Formentera; this one famous for its full emersion natural mud baths – they do pong a little, but it makes for great holiday snaps. I gave these amiss as wallowing around with numerous others in a muddy bog did not seem particularly hygienic, although the strong sulphurous aroma wafting from those returning suggested that perhaps I need not have been concerned. Those that did partake felt that it was a life changing experience, although none of them looked any younger! Other notable incidents included an encounter with drunken tourists off a very large catamaran, plus [Redacted]’s encounter with a harmless but nevertheless intimidatingly large, brown, jellyfish, complete with frilly knickers! The shock triggered cramp in both of [Redacted]’s legs requiring much massaging aboard the fortunately nearby [Boat Name], to effect a full and speedy recovery. Sadly, Saturday 10th saw the end of our glorious holiday, with all boats returning to their home ports. For us on [Boat Name] this was Santa Eulalia. Our thanks are outpouring to [Redacted] for organizing such a wonderful time which, as the photos confirm, included superb weather, perfect winds, with wonderful food and company.

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