Laghi di Sibari



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Pilot:  Italian Waters Pilot by Rod Heikell - 5th Edition published by Imray Laurie Norie & Wilson.



We visited Laghi di Sibari by train from Crotone on Wednesday 11th April, 2001.  The new manager, Duilo Valente, and the lady in the office (Maria) could not have been more helpful.  They both speak good English and, having answered all our questions, gave us a pass-key so that we could wander freely around the marina and the yard. We had lunch on a British boat and gleaned a lot more information from the occupants.  We also took many photographs, copies of which we shall place in the Regional File when next we visit Limehouse.





The marina development at Laghi di Sibari is in a rural location 6 km from the town of Sibari.  There are five ‘lakes’ (laghi), four of which are (or will be) surrounded by houses and contain berths for the exclusive use of the occupants.  Most of the houses are holiday homes.  The fifth lake contains the Public Marina and the small basin serving the Yard.  There are views over open country to the mountains beyond and pleasant walks through countryside and along the shore.



The Public Marina:


Visiting yachts are all berthed in the Public Marina, which occupies the northwest lake, close to the entrance from the canal.  In adverse conditions the gates across the entrance are closed.  Of the jetties shown on the plan on page 347 of the pilot, only those on the west side of the basin (marked ‘visitors’ on the plan) have been built.  They are wooden cat-walks supported on wooden posts.  The berths are what we describe as ‘box-berths’ with outer poles to moor to rather than laid moorings.  For members wishing to lay-up afloat they provide very secure moorings in waters totally protected from the sea and partially sheltered from the wind by both buildings and trees. 


Water and electricity are provided at every berth.  There is a toilet block near the south-west corner of the basin, which houses the most splendid facilities that we have encountered since we began sailing 25 years ago.  The block is spacious and well-maintained and, in addition to toilets and showers, contains two token-operated washing machines and large sinks for hand-washing clothes.



The Yard:


The yard is incorrectly positioned on the plan in the pilot:  it runs south from the small basin on the edge of which the 50-ton hoist is correctly shown.  It covers a huge area, one quarter of which is asphalted and the remainder is rolled, crushed stone.  It can house some 300 boats and is both clean and tidy.  There are engineers’ and shipwrights’ workshops on site.  Water and electricity points are provided throughout the site.  There are no restrictions on working on one’s own boat nor on living aboard whilst on the hard.  Steel cradles are available for most sizes of yacht though most motorboats and a few yachts were shored up with wooden props.





There is a supermarket and a number of shops and bars in the long block between the Public Marina and the Yard.  Unfortunately, most of these, including the supermarket, close out of season.  However, the owner of the chandlery apparently lives locally and, being on the end of a mobile phone, will open on demand throughout the winter.  There is a cash machine on site.


To compensate for the lack of shops on site the marina provides a free mini-bus service into Sibari twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays.  The bus leaves around 1000 and returns when everyone has finished.  Sibari is only a small town but the couple we spoke to told us that most things can be found there and it does have a large Conad supermarket.



Life in Laghi di Sibari:


The couple we spoke to told us that there was a good live-aboard community (25-30) last October but by the end of November it was down to 6.  There is a room provided for meetings that contains tables and chairs and, apparently, a television.  The marina office will send or receive faxes for a fee and they will also permit use of their computer (or their phone socket if you have a laptop) for access to the Internet.  Duilo Valente intends to buy a new computer for the office and put the old one in the Meeting Room for use (presumably metered) by yachtsmen.  He is so keen to increase numbers that I feel sure that he would be open to any further suggestions to improve life for live-aboards.


A few yachtsmen stay on board for the whole of the winter, but most lay up and travel home.  Apparently January this year was wet, windy and cold but October and November last year were pleasantly warm as it was when we visited in early April.


Sibari is well served by trains and buses.  It is possible to travel by train to Naples, Rome, Ancona or Bologna, all of which have airports served by the budget airlines.





Costs for over wintering are based upon a contract for the ‘Invernale’ that covers the 7-month period from 1st October until the 30th  April.  This contract covers time spent either afloat or on the hard.  For those wishing to lay up ashore there are additional charges for lifting, lowering, pressure washing and for provision of a cradle and/or shoring up.  The price list (unchanged since 1999) also gives a monthly rate but it is considerably higher pro rata than the ‘Invernale’.  When I noted this, Maria was quick to say that if I wanted to leave my boat for less than 7 months she would calculate the fee pro rata at the ‘Invernale’ rate.  Sample prices are given below in lire including IVA @ 20%:


Length              Invernale                      Lift, Wash, Shore-up and Lower


10                    1,330,800                    742,800

11                    1,552,800                    742,800

12                    1,753,200                    985,200



Accounts can be settled by Credit/Debit card.  There is no need to book in advance.



The Entrance:


The biggest problem with Laghi di Sibari is the entrance.  They had 2.2 metres the week before we arrived but high winds over the weekend had reduced that to 1.5 metres.  The dredger was working whilst we were there to restore the channel.  The marina company has obtained a Government grant to do the dredging this year and hopes to get on top of it, perhaps even dredging a straight channel out to sea.  However, there must be countless billions of tons of sand in the area at the mercy of the winds and waves so the problem will always be there.  Members thinking of over wintering in this delightful spot would be well advised to contact Duilo Valente for an update before heading up into the Gulf of Taranto.