Magrathea News

06 July

Here comes the wind – now that we are leaving

Day 7

The following morning dawned sunny and…calm!! So back to motoring for Magrathea to Maslinica at the west end of Solta island. This popular spot attracts many curiosities but the highlight was the group of four young lads (plus dog) attempting to circumnavigate some of the small islets in their pedalo whilst sheltering under a couple of pink umbrellas. It all looked curiously reminiscent of the two decoy pirates in the first Pirates of the Caribbean. We tore our eyes from them (and the nude chap hiding in the woods) and turned to lunch. Frittata of artichoke potato and rosemary. Tomato salad with bread crumbed aubergine fritters green salad leaves, pine nuts, lambs lettuce Parmesan and avocado and pancetta. Sage focaccia with red onion and Gorgonzola.

Somebody senior had spotted that this was our last afternoon and hence the last chance for a sail. So it was that we sailed north to our final destination of Trogir in a stiff breeze of 18knots hard on the port bow. We had to thread the needle between rocks near the entrance to the bay but carrying 10 knots of momentum we managed even when the wind eased or moved. The only real danger was the stream of Sunsail flotilla yachts setting off (and straight at us) for the start of their holiday. We are never quite sure if these guys know anything about the ColRegs – but all was fine.

Neatly anchored just outside the town there was time to cheer the dozens of party flotillas storming in at the end of their holiday before turning to our final dinner.

Seared scallops with cauliflower purée and cumin velouté. Turbot with homemade tartare sauce and capers, potato croquets. (Better even than Yorkshire fish and chip.) Chocolate and black chocolate stacks with blackcurrants, kumquat and gold leaf.

Posted by: Chris Shea 6/7/2013

05 July

Finally the gods pass wind

Day 6

Setting off into the Korcula strait (surrounded on both sides by high mountains) we raised full sail in the gentle 10knot breeze – only to find it suddenly shooting up to 30knots (and back down again) and coming from behind and then in front of us. The water was completely flat in this narrow stretch of water but even so going downwind at 12 knots in such a gale and contemplating heading up into the wind was a scary prospect. Fortunately (sic) the wind dropped at the exit of the straits so we reverted to M/Y mode and headed for Scedro island and the anchorage of Lovisce anchorage for lunch. Duck and orange salad with rosemary and raisin bread.

After lunch it was time for a cracking sail sail (without mountains to confuse the matter the wind blew strongly and in one direction) up to Hvar. This town is another full of interesting Venetian buildings. Of more interest generally is its reputation as the St Tropez of Croatia – very popular. We decided to test out the reputation and after getting recommendations from Ecclestone and Abramovich (mmm – perhaps not the most sensible sources) we went to Divino’s overlooking the harbour. Outstanding food and wine.

Towards the end of the evening (Friday 9 pm UK time)I received a call and a text from the guy who had sold me Magrathea. “No Barry I am not thinking of buying another one – and especially not at this time of night.” “No Chris I have had a message that you are in Hvar and your anchor may be dragging.” Sure enough back aboard we had to sort out some movement – but more remarkable was the message system. A yacht nearby had seen us, recognised us as an Oyster. The skipper was married to a lady who new someone in Oyster. He called his wife in the UK, she called her old colleague, she called the salesman on the basis that he probably still had my contact details and 20 minutes letter we had our warning. How’s that for after sales service?

Posted by: Chris Shea 5/7/2013

04 July

Quit boating - start Cycling

Day 5

Awaking to yet another windless morning we decided on a change of activity and hired bikes to explore the interior. This half the island is a nature reserve so plenty of unspoilt woodland, forest trails and a large lake - that is actually an almost totally landlocked bit of sea. Half way around we discovered that you cannot do a complete loop (no bridge!) so we had to reverse direction and track back to our start point. At least there was a legitimate excuse for a halt for a refreshing beer. Back aboard comfortably before lunchtime we could relax and enjoy Chef’s latest offering. Chorizo, red pepper and caramelised onion tart, American potato salad, panzanella salad (cucumber, tomato, bread and dressing).

Then we poked our nose out of the ring of islands to confirm that there was still no wind and the donk was back out as we made for Korcula. This walled and battlemented town stands out into the middle of a west facing strip of water – so the sunsets should be remarkably good. Skipper recommended a bar at the top of an ancient tower. Drinks are brought up on a dumb waiter (customers must use the more prosaic ladders to the top). Despite staying for a number of cocktails to witness the sunset we soon realised that it was going to be some time and the dumb waiter mechanism would never be able to carry us down so we departed for dinner aboard.

Chilled cucumber soup with smoked salmon ribbons. Monkfish wrapped in Palma ham with herb risotto, with red wine sauce. Wild strawberry shortcakes with elderflower ice cream

Posted by: Chris Shea 4/7/2013

03 July

Warmer Water at Last

Day 4

We came on deck in the blazing sun of the early morning to review the carnage of the night before. "Snowdrifts" of tiny black insects were all over the decks. Even chef's battery Dyson gave up after 30 minutes of sucking up the pesky critters and a second recharge of the machine was needed before the decks were shiny white once more. Fearing an extremely muddy anchor and chain chef cleverly persuaded Skipper to reverse roles and winch in the chain while she took the helm. Despite the unfamiliarity of the task skipper managed admirably and even somehow managed to bring up the anchor without a trace of mud. Ho hum chef, better luck next time. M/Y Magrathea set forth for the island of Mljet.

We pulled into Prozurs bay for lunch. This pretty little bay is guarded by two small islands at its entrance that in turn have strings of small rocks connecting them just below the surface. Do not in any circumstances use these passages said the guide book. We therefore watched bemused just after we had anchored as a sunsail yacht came in through one of the gaps, swung violently to port half way through and emerged unscathed in the bay. Must be something to do with not actually owning the yacht. After all the excitement we settled to a quiet lunch of crispy Camembert salad with hazelnuts and morello cherries accompanied by pesto Chelsea buns. Then it was more motoring up to the main town of Polace on the west end of the island. There are more tiny islands just off the town producing a maze of inlets and pieces of coastline where yachts can anchor stern to and feel as though they are the only boats for miles. The water is shallower around the islands so swimming was a little more comfortable in the slightly warmer water. We gave the chef the evening off and went ashore for dinner at the Restaurant Calypso. Here we discovered local specialities of slow cooked lamb or fish in a "bell" and the fact that they make some very good wine in this country!

Posted by: Chris Shea 3/7/2013

02 July

Cruise Ships

Day 3

First order of the day was to hop the small distance to Dubrovnik ready to do the tourist bit. No wind again ( this is starting to become a habit) so after a short motor on glassy smooth sea we ran into the port on the rib and jostled our way between the tens of launches delivery hundreds of people off various cruise liners. Mmmm- perhaps not the best planning? Sure enough the place was heaving but using local knowledge gleaned many years ago we found an undiscovered access point onto the city walls and managed a tour away from the Hoi Polloi. Back at ground level we visited Gils Bistro for an excellent lunch of local produce. For once our efforts to give chef a cooking break had paid off with a thoroughly enjoyable and well produced meal for her.( no money has been paid or received for the aforementioned recommendation).

We rejoined Magrathea (now renamed M/Y rather than S/Y) and motored up to the south bay on Lopud in the late afternoon. This is a beautifully quiet and almost deserted bay and with the still conditions the visiting crew were tempted into the water. Clearly the Gulf Stream does not reach this far east so the water was distinctly chilly. At least though we felt able to indulge fully when dinner was served. Parmesan, apple and goat's cheese wafer salad. Then venison loin with leek and potato mash, beetroot purée and poached pear. All this finished off with a chilled raspberry soufflé with almond tuiles. Dinner was so good that it attracted a never before seen swarm of midge like biting insects so we beat a hasty retreat below decks and grabbed an early night.

Posted by: Chris Shea 2/7/2013

01 July

Party Party?

Day 2

Today marks the accession of Croatia to the EU. (Has nobody told them?). To mark this momentous day we decided to cross into Croatia to join the celebrations - well that and the fact that we wanted this trip to be around the Croatian islands.The Bay of Kotor is in fact a large virtually landlocked bay - it took an hour and a half of motoring to reach the exit. Along th coasts on both sides are numerous ancient towns with churches, houses and ochre clay tiled roofs everywhere. It certainly looks rather Italian. We anchored for lunch just outside the bay and watched bemused as a guy in a fancy motor lunch attempted to pick up a mooring from the rear bathing platform with the engine running - the inevitable occurred. We wondered if the two decorative young woman on board were his daughters- they certainly did not show much interest in helping him. After many dives under the boat wielding the bread knife he freed the boat. We decided that they were not daughters but they were now going to have a very quiet afternoon. And so to lunch. Salad of scallops and rosemary roasted new potatoes with green beans, asparagus leaves and an aioli dressing. This was accompanied by rosemary herb bread. Afterwards the forecast 25 knots of wind on the nose did not materialise so we motored up to the port of Cavtat. We managed to come stern to and depart again after clearing in. This despite the chaos of small flotilla yachts tangling anchors all around us. "Small boats- big problems" - as someone commented. We were also pleased to see a brand new welcome to the EU sign on the harbour wall - somebody had been very quick off the mark with that. Then it was around the corner to anchor for dinner. Warm salad of quail with black pudding and walnuts was followed by sea bass with crab mayonnaise, crab sauce, roasted fennel and orange. We finished with fig tart tartin with vanilla ice cream and burnt orange syrup. There was no evidence of any parties ashore to celebrate this momentous easy so we retired - comfortable in withers knowledge we were safely ensconced once more in the embrace of the EU!!

Posted by: ChrisShea 1/7/2013

30 June


Day 1

A leisurely arrival time courtesy of Montenegro Airlines and a short taxi ride from Tivat airport brought us to Magrathea moored at the picturesque town of Kotor by 7 in the evening. Magrathea looked as immaculate as the first day we saw her - clearly plenty of elbow grease was around but fortunately none of it had dripped on the cushions. Canapés of filo baskets with seared duck breast and tomato chutney. Followed by a starter of beetroot cured salmon with a horseradish cream dressing. Then lamb with pea purée, wilted lettuce and mint foam with sautéed wild mushrooms. Dessert was an elegant and tasty white chocolate mousse with marinated strawberry salad. OMG why do we ever get off this boat? A late evening stroll around the cobbled streets of this old walled town helped to shift some of the earlier calories but sadly the stop off in one of the squares for large beers somewhat dissipated the effect.

Posted by: ChrisShea 30/6/2013

01 December

Magrathea Archive

Oyster 56

Yacht Magrathea Oyster 56 web site archived:-

Posted by: DaveSaunders 1/12/2010