DUNJA III Crossing – 780NM on a Catalac 8M

DUNJA III safely took us 780NM across the Mediterranean, from Leros in Greece to Malta.

We sailed (actually mostly motored), from Leros to Aegina.

Then through Corinth canal to Porto Germeno.

From there to Port Killini where we had to be towed in for rudder failure.

From Killini we crossed to Syracusa for refueling and great Sicilian food, having the last leg from there to Malta.

It was an epic trip I can tell you… Lot’s of stories of broken rudder, 54kt of wind, high swell and currents that slowed us to 3kt… But we made it in less than 2 weeks, below and behind storm Daniel which devastated the Athens region at the time.

Anyhow, the autopilot worked on the 2nd half, engine(s) failed due to bad fuel more than once, rudder broke due to human error (don’t rest it sideways on the rocks), mainsail got torn on 1st reef.

Now upgrades, updates and redesigns are pending while having great family time on board.

DUNJA III is a Catalac 8M 16-1976 bought from her 2nd owner in late 2022, she was on dry, on the island of Leros, Greece.

The first owner used her in the Netherlands for some 20 years, then sold to the previous one who sail her thru France canals and the Mediterranean, and used it in Greece for the last 25 years. She was in great condition, equipped and used as day sailor mostly.

Two sets of preparation for my crossing were made, with generous help of the previous owner: 

  • One weekend in April 2023 – mast down to sort out cabling and prepare radar mounts, arranged rigging replacement with the yard. 
  • Two weeks in May 2023 – rewiring, major electronics upgrade, solar panel and anchor winch installation and some sailing training

Final crossing was done in first two weeks of September 2023:

  • Weekend of installations and finalizing
  • Both main and spare engine carburetors got clogged on start, returning to dock for service
  • Departing Leros, crossing 170NM to Aegina in approx 30 hours
  • A day of rest, crossing 25NM to Corinth in the evening
  • Crossing Corinth cannal, and 30NM to Porto Germeno with very strong wind 30+kt
  • Night of rest, leaving to Kefalonia midday, experiencing steady 40kt, maximum gust we have seen was 56kt!
  • Finding out broken port rudder after just few hours, decided to continue on one rudder.
  • Passing Corinth bridge with short waves that made impossible to keep straight course…
  • Experiencing broken pins of the steering wheel, after few repairs and steering by the tiller or with engine, sea state detorated to 1.5m waves and 25kt of wind. We decided to call a tow. Towed to safety of Kilini port to repair rudders after 110NM of crossing.
  • Two days of rest, rudders repaired, refueled and left to Malta
  • Constant head wind and current slowed us down to 4kt, sometime less. Decision made to make a stop in Sicily for refueling, crossed 300nm in 2.5 days on the open sea. Experienced moonless, cloudless night with no light polution, dolphin encounters and catched and cooked fresh yellowfin…
  • Few hours stop in Syracuza for dinner and refueling, heading to Malta overnight for last 90nm leg
  • Carburateur failure on the first third of the crossing, cleaned, continued. Than again just 2 hours to the mooring… entered harbour using auxulary engine, happy to be home!

750NM in 2 weeks overall, mostly motoring, some magnificant sailing bellow strom Daniel, reaching 7.5kt on main sail only. And lots of head wind and short waves – typical for the Mediterranean.

Dunja is now in Malta, and my endless project list is getting longer.

For now I had first set of LFP batteries installed, a monitoring PC and Victron monitoring system.

Rudders upgrade pending, will keep you updated on this one.

Springtime works on dry shall include freebord painting, davits upgrade and few “smaller” things.

3 replies on “DUNJA III Crossing – 780NM on a Catalac 8M”

As the privious owner i am very happy to see the boat in such good hands.
Any trip over the Med is eventfull, but Petar managed to make it a real adventure. Toi toi Petar

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