This was the first time that we weren’t given a formal area briefing before starting our bareboat charter. SunCharter does provide the Imray’s Pilot guide for the Balearic Islands in addition to local port guides and charts. Fortunately there’s a wealth of information available on the internet. Here are a few sites I found quite useful in planning and a mapped version of the info I researched.
- Sailchoices.com (Mallorca) – Detailed descriptions of many anchorages and ports on Mallorca
- Bareboatsailngholidays.com – Two week bareboat sail around both Mallorca and Menorca
- yachtingexperience-balear.com (Menorca) -Detailed descriptions of various anchorages around Menorca
Generally speaking the wind was light for most of our 2 week bareboat charter and we motored more than we would have liked.During out two week bareboat charter it was overcast only 2 days and just sprinkled a few times. I used two smartphone apps via our WIFI dongle to get daily wind and wave forecasts: Windfinder Pro and PocketGrib.
Since the winds were generally light, we traveled clockwise around Mallorca contrary to the normal prevailing winds. This served us well in Mallorca since many charter boats appear to sail counterclockwise around the island and in some case don’t get to explore the naturally rugged Northwest coast.
We did need to accelerate our initial 45NM crossing to Menorca to avoid anticipated strong Northwest winds that would have made for extremely uncomfortable and dangerous seas. This afforded us a wonderful 20 NM beam reach and the protection of Menorca when exploring the beautiful southern coast of the island
Unfortunately, we couldn’t take advantage of the ideal light easterlies on the Northern Coast of Menorca. Anchor problems required us to take a buoy in Fornells before heading straight to Mallorca to exchange anchors. We missed exploring the beautiful northwest corner of Menorca – highly recommended.
Holding was good over sand and weed except in the following anchorages:
- Cala Teulera, Mahon, Menorca – this is the only recommended anchorage in Mahon Harbor so it gets very crowded. We believe the hard, stripped bottom caused the corroded anchor fluke angle stop to finally break, preventing the anchor to set. Fortunately, Marina Menorca had space on the overflow floating dock (70 Euros in 2016) in the middle of the bay just west of Illa del Rei (services available – water).
- Es Vells Marins Baixos, Badia d’Alcudia, Mallorca – An intended overnight anchorage that was both very crowded particularly at the recommended northeast end of the bay. This forced us into the rocky part of the anchorage which we abandoned once freeing our anchor from the rocky bottom. Only anchor if you can set the anchor in an adequate sandy patch.
Anchoring is prohibited in a number of bays. Mooring buoys are available and in some cases can be reserved:
Cabrera Island National Park (25 Euros in 2016) – A permit is required to visit the park which includes a reserved overnight buoy in the main anchorage. There’s a color coded scheme based on boat length. Buoys are reserved from 6p-5p the next day. We noticed that buoys may be occupied up to 5p when park rangers begin to manage the anchorage. Also, there are day buoys in L’Olla bay the only other area on Cabrera Island open to boats.
Sant Elm/Sa Dragonera, Mallorca; Illa en Colom & Fornells, Menorca – In these bays you can reserve a buoy (29 Euro in 2016). Anchoring is permitted on sandy patches, but, fines can be very high if your hook settles in the Posidonia Oceanica Seagrass. Reserved buoys need to be secure before 6p after which they are freed for waiting arrivals. Reservations recommended.
PortoColom (36 Euros in 2016) & Illa Formentor (near Puerto de Pollenca- 29 Euros in 2016), Mallorca–The buoy concessions in these bays are available on a first come basis. The buoy fields are actively managed so make sure you’re on the correct sized buoy for your boat length or you may be evicted in the early evening. We had no problem finding buoy space during high season.
The only dockage we reserved was in Mahon Harbor after failing to anchor in Cala Teulera. We were lucky that Menorca Marina had space on the overflow floating dock west of Illa del Rei (70 Euros in 2016). No land access dockage was available. Only water was available on the dock. For access to Mahon city center there’s a public dingy dock just west of Cala Figuera at the base of Costa d’en Reynes Road