Corsica

 

 

Pilot:   Mediterranean France & Corsica by Rod Heikell.   Second Edition.   Imray Laurie Norie & Wilson.

 

To download this document as an RTF file, Click here

 

 

Weather Forecasts:  (page number 17)  An excellent five-day forecast is broadcast on VHF Channel 79 three times each day around the whole of the Corsican coast.  The time varies according to the transmitter, but the channel is always the same.  The transmissions includes a detailed forecast for the day, a slightly less detailed forecast for the following day and a warning of any strong winds expected during the final three days.  Actual conditions at several places around the coast are given at the end of each broadcast. The time ‘windows’ in local time are
0733 to 0845,  1233 to 1345 and 1933 to 2045.

 

 

 

Saint-Florent

Corsica

Lat

42° 40' 8 N

Long

009° 17'.9 E

 

 

Information Date:

May, 2000

Pilot Page Number:

272

Cost per night:

133 FF

 

St-Florent was our first port of call on Corsica having sailed around Cap Corse from Isola Capraia.  We found it almost deserted.  We moored alongside (a rare treat!) on the outside of the long ‘T’ shaped quay to starboard after entering the harbour.  As the port is listed as ‘Charge Band 4’ in the pilot we were fearful of an exorbitant charge and were therefore pleasantly surprised to pay only 133FF including water and Electricity.  No doubt this was simply a benefit of arriving in May – many harbours make dramatic increases in July and August.  Saint-Florent is a very pretty harbour and the small town has several medium-sized supermarkets.

 

 

 

Calvi

Corsica

Lat

42° 34' 1 N

Long

008° 45'.8 E

 

 

Information Date:

May, 2000

Pilot Page Number:

221

Cost per night:

nil

 

En-route to Calvi we passed to seaward of Danger d’Algajola mentioned on page 277 of the pilot.  There was no beacon marking the danger.

 

On arrival in Calvi we anchored in 3.5m in the area shown in the pilot to the south-east of the harbour wall.  The Ferry turning area was marked with yellow buoys making it easy to avoid.  Calvi is an interesting port and the walk to the top of the Citadel is very worthwhile.

 

We heard from a fellow yachtsman later in the year that the harbour authorities had laid mooring buoys in the anchorage during high season for which a charge was made.  We are unable to confirm this personally.

 

 

 

Port Girolata

Corsica

Lat

42° 21' N

Long

008° 37' E

 

 

Information Date:

May, 2000

Pilot Page Number:

226

Cost per night:

nil

 

We motored from Calvi to Port Girolata in a flat calm and were able to keep well inshore as we passed through La Scandola Nature Reserve.  We nosed into Marina d’Elbo and then passed through the Gargalu Passage.  We had a least depth of 3.5m but we could see rocks less than a metre below the surface close on each side as we passed through the narrowest section.  We used the slick made by the ¾ knot south-going current to guide us along the deepest route.  This passage is very interesting and the rock formations are spectacular, but it should only be attempted in flat calm conditions with a lookout in the bow.

 

Port Girolata is one of the most beautiful anchorages we have encountered on our travels.  However, it only offers protection to a very limited number of boats and must become very crowded in the season.  There are some excellent walks ashore.

 

 

 

Cargèse

Corsica

Lat

42° 07' 9 N

Long

008° 35'.9 E

 

 

Information Date:

May, 2000

Pilot Page Number:

230

Cost per night:

nil

 

We spent a night in this small harbour for which there was no charge, we think because there were construction works in progress.  We moored on the north side of the northern-most pontoon.  However, whilst manoeuvring our keel struck a mooring block and chain.  Later inspection from the dinghy revealed many such concrete blocks making the whole area very hazardous indeed.  If using this harbour, the only safe berths for a yacht to approach are at the very end of the pontoons or on the inside of the end of the outer wall at the spot marked Accueil in the pilot.  There are no pick-up lines on the latter so it is necessary to lie to one’s anchor.

 

The northern edge of the harbour marked as rocks in the pilot has now been faced with a proper wall with staging over the rocks.  The new moorings look very attractive but they are only suitable for very shallow draft vessels.  This is the area where we hit the mooring block.

 

We walked up a very steep hill by the side of the cemetery in order to visit the two churches that overlook the harbour.  The long, hot walk was very worthwhile – the churches are fascinating.

 

 

 

Port de l’Amirauté, Ajaccio now called Port Charles Ornano

Corsica

Lat

41° 55' 8 N

Long

008° 44'.7 E

 

 

Information Date:

May, 2000

Pilot Page Number:

233

Cost per night:

114 FF

 

En-route to Ajaccio we passed through the inner passage between Îles Sanguinaires and the mainland detailed on page 233 of the pilot.  Although this passage looks difficult on the small-scale charts most of us sail with, it is, in reality, very straightforward.

 

We called up Port de l’Amirauté on the VHF as we approached and were met by the harbour master in a dory who escorted us to our berth.  He explained that the port is no longer called Port de l’Amirauté nor Port des Cannes but Port Charles Ornano.  It seems to be something of a local joke that it is now on to its third name!

 

There is a rare launderette within the marina and two huge supermarkets opposite the root of the now-redundant jetty north-east of the harbour.  We pushed a trolley back to the marina but it was not easy as the roads are very busy.  A dinghy trip would probably be easier though there is nowhere safe to tie up.

 

We went by train to Corte; the station is 100 metres south of the marina.  The journey was exceptionally beautiful and very worthwhile.

 

 

 

Campomoro

Corsica

Lat

41° 38' 9 N

Long

008° 48'.95 E

 

 

Information Date:

June, 2000

Pilot Page Number:

241

Cost per night:

nil

 

We spent a peaceful night at anchor in this deserted bay to save the long journey east to Propriano.  We anchored in 8.5m.  This beautiful anchorage is entirely protected from the open sea though exposed to a 4-mile fetch from the northern quadrant across the Golfe de Valinco.

 

 

 

Calanque de la Catena,

Bonifacio

Corsica

Lat

41° 23' 1 N

Long

009° 08'.8 E

 

 

Information Date:

June, 2000

Pilot Page Number:

247

Cost per night:

nil

 

We moored bows to our anchor, stern to rings in the cliff in Calanque de la Catena.  The harbour authorities have removed the pontoon shown in the pilot and no longer charge to moor in the calanque.  However, the rings in the cliff remain, as does the ground chain making it necessary to drop one’s anchor well to the east to avoid fouling it.  The skipper on a Tasmanian boat next to us had dived down and attached a heavy rope to the ground chain and enjoyed a couple of weeks on a secure mooring for no charge.  A resourceful sailor indeed!

 

We travelled to and from Bonifacio by dinghy and tied up to the harbour wall between the yacht quays.  The walk up the hill to the old town is a must.  We also enjoyed a rather longer walk to the lighthouse on Cap Pertusato.

 

 

 

Porto Vecchio

Corsica

Lat

41° 35' 4 N

Long

009° 17'.2 E

 

 

Information Date:

July, 2000

Pilot Page Number:

259

Cost per night:

152 FF

 

During a total of 14 nights spent in the Golfe de Porto Vecchio we spent four nights in the marina and the remainder at anchor.  However, on two occasions we made use of the concession that, provided there is room, the authorities will allow boats to moor in the marina for a few hours in the middle of the day without charge to take on water and go shopping.  There is a medium-sized supermarket just to the south-west of the harbour and a very large one about a mile along the road to the north.

 

On the night when we entered the Golfe at 0300 the final leading lights into the Commercial Port were not lit.  However, the beacon on La Cioccia rock was lit:  FlR2s.

 

Our nights at anchor were spent mainly in Baie de Stagnolo and east of the Commercial Port.  Baie de Stagnolo is very shallow, especially just behind the head on the south-east corner.  The best spot is just off the small jetty at the campsite on the east side of the bay.  We found no facilities ashore but there may be a small shop open in the summer season.

 

The anchorage to the east of the Commercial Port is noisy if there is a ferry moored, but otherwise quiet.  It is longish dinghy trip into the harbour or a shorter one to the beach from where one can walk.

 

 

 

Solenzara

Corsica

Lat

41° 51' 5 N

Long

009° 24' E

 

 

Information Date:

August, 2000

Pilot Page Number:

263

Cost per night:

147 FF

 

We left Retreat in Solenzara for five weeks from mid July to mid August whilst we returned to the UK to avoid the high-season crowds and heat.  It proved to be a very satisfactory and reasonably priced stay.

 

We moored bows to the quay, stern to a buoy on the inside of the outer harbour wall about 50 metres south-east of the elbow.  Unlike the berths on the pontoons which are all privately owned, the berths on this section of the wall are reserved for visiting boats.  They are a long walk from the toilet block, but this was of no concern to us.  Contrary to the statement in the pilot, there are no finger berths anywhere in the marina.

 

The harbour is subject to a considerable surge in strong easterlies.  We took local advice and bought some heavy-duty shock-absorbing springs for our bow lines.  For our stern, we shackled two strong lines to the chain riser so that we were not relying on the inadequate welded loop at the top of the buoy.  We just about had enough distance between the quay and the buoy to haul well off but a longer boat could find some difficulties.

 

Things must have changed a lot since Rod Heikell wrote the pilot for he describes Solenzara as pastoral.  All the shops lie on a very busy road that runs through the middle of the town.  Cars park all over the pavements forcing you out into the road making shopping an absolute nightmare.  However, there are two small supermarkets, a couple of chandlers and a launderette, so braving the main road does at least provide for the basic necessities of life.  In marked contrast the marina is quiet and peaceful and, from our mooring, we could see the spectacular mountain peaks behind the town.

 

We flew from Bastia airport.  There are two buses a day each way between Bastia and Solenzara so it is a matter of luck if they fit in with your flight.  On our return we paid 50 FF each for single tickets from Bastia airport to the town centre and 85 FF from Bastia to Solenzara.  If the buses don’t suit the only alternatives are a taxi (600 FF) or a one-way car hire (800 FF).

 

The harbour charges are reduced for stays of a week or more and reduced even further for a month.  We paid 5,200 FF for 38 days (a month (31 days) plus a week).