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Old 16-08-2011, 02:41   #1
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Tuscany, Corsica, SunCharter

I have just finished a week long bareboat charter in the Tuscan Islands and Corsica. The boat was a 45' Sun Odyssey and was a lastminute charter from SunCharter based on the island of Elba.

We noticed while sailing that there were very few boats from English speaking nations. This may be to do with the time of year - early August - but it may have more to do with the fact that there are none of the big charter companies from English speaking countries. Consquntly, I thought it would be useful to share our experiences as we would strongly recommend it to people looking for a charter destination in the Med.

Firstly, the area is wonderful. We had some wonderful sails in a variety of sea conditions and had a particularly memorable sail off the west coast of Corsica.

Our itinerary:
Portoferraio (Elba) to Capraia (Italy)
Capraia to Centuri Port (Corsica, French territory)
Centuri Port to St Florent (Corsica)
St Florent to Maccianago (Corsica)
A day spent around Maccianago
Maccianago to Porto Azzuro (Elba)
Porto Azzuro to Portoferrio

We covered about 200 nm in the week which is quite a lot for a charter but achievable without very long days of sailing.

With favourable winds we could have added St Florent to Calvi but with a SW wind on the nose it would have been uncomfortable.

The islands are volcanic and rise straight of the sea in a most dramatic way which also means there are not many anchorages though even in the high season we found no problem finding anchor space. However, the marinas were pretty full. We are not fans of marinas anyway and the 45' carries enough water to make a week long cruise without marinas perfectly doable.

Onshore the islands are very interesting especially the "finger" of Corsica and the Cape. Really delicious food, excellent seafood, great wines and very good beer. The islands have an extraordinary history and it is worth getting the Rough Guide to Corsica (for example) to get some background.

Weatherwise we had force 0 to 6 and it is important to keep an eye on the forecast in case of the Mistral which can be pretty nasty on the west coast of Corsica though on the east side and amongst the Tuscan islands the area is pretty well protected.

So, as far as the area is concerned it really exceeded our expectations and we would happily go back or perhaps try northern Sardinia with forays north to Corsica.

A word on Sun Charter:

Booking was straightforward via email. You may be required to transfer the cost of the charter by bank transfer which incurs a small transaction fee. You will also be required to show proof of qualifications - a scan will do.

There is a 2,000 Euro deposit or a 100 Euros insurance fee which reduces the excess to 300 Euros. Up to you but to me the additional 100 Euros is worth it for peace of mind. Final cleaning is 100 Euros though on some charters this cost is included.

I was more than impressed by the state of the boat and its equipment. Solid, well found and well maintained. The company's team under the eye of its very experienced Elba manager - Jurg Wagner - keep the boats in excellent shape.

Jurg Wagner is available at all times for the latest weather forecast or other advice and is at pains to emphasise that calling him is part of the charter and fully expected.

The boat briefing and post charter debrief were the most thorough I have had in any charter and I felt familiar with the boat before we left. Also, the debrief took into account every point I made. It was extremely professional and having become attached to "Pretty Woman" I was pleased to feel that the debrief was about making sure she was in good order for the future.

Pretty Woman (apart from a silly name) was an excellent boat equipped with laminated sails that made her sail beautifully both by and large. A very powerful engine gave an easy 8 knots when there was not enough wind to make way but even in light airs she did well. SunCharter has a range of different yachts and I would recommend looking at the cabin layout when you book. We had a four cabin version which meant that all the cabins were small. There is a 3 cabin version with a good sized owner's cabin which would have been better. As a last minute charter we did not have that option.

The nicest part was being treated like a grown up when it came to sailing. Night sailing is not forbidden or restricted and for an extra fee the company will even rent a gennaker.

The charter facilities on Elba include excellent showers and toilets in Portacabins and there is a big well stocked supermarket within half a mile. There is also secure parking at the base for 30 Euros per week.

SunCharter has tended to serve the German and (in Elba) the Italian market but they are gradually increasing their presence. They are a bit short on English language pilot books for Corsica though we had a good and up to date one for the Italian waters. This is a pretty minor criticism as the anchorage plans in the German pilot for Corsica were clear without us understanding the notes themselves.

This is a lovely area and I was very pleased with my experience of Sun Charter. We live on the continent so we drove to Elba but there are good connections on low cost airlines to Pisa.

Raggio Verde

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Old 16-08-2011, 15:07   #2
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Location: Bunbury West Australia
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Re: Tuscany, Corsica, SunCharter

Thanks for the detail

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Old 17-08-2011, 00:02   #3
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Location: Netsel, Marmaris
Boat: Selene 59
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Re: Tuscany, Corsica, SunCharter

Shame you didn't make it to Calvi. The Guide Books don't give it much of a rap but we went there twice (on our way down the west coast and on our way back) and we liked it. Very good anchorage except in anything from the north, lots of restaurants, the one right up in the Citadel overlooking the harbour is superb, sorry can't remember the name but easy to find.

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Old 17-08-2011, 05:15   #4
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Adriatic and Inland France (summer); New Forest, UK (winter)
Boat: Oyster 435 cutter-rigged ketch and Nowee 38 motor yacht
Posts: 289
Re: Tuscany, Corsica, SunCharter

Any chance you might register on the World Cruising Wiki (Italy - a Cruising Guide on the World Cruising and Sailing Wiki) and update the Italian islands pages where you can? We were there in 2003, so the information could probably do with updating.
Athene of Lymington and Cheyenne of Lymington
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Corsica, Sun Charter, SunCharter, Tuscany

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