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Exploring Corsica & Sardinia by Sailboat

Posted In: Charter Sailing Holiday Destination Guides , Italy

It is hard to consider Sardinia without including Corsica or vice-versa. With just four miles separating the French Corsican Isle of Lipari and the northern tip of the Italian La Maddalena Islands, this can be considered one big charter territory, all with easy access within the EU.

Even separately, both islands provide sizeable cruising grounds. The Corsican coast covers 240 miles all the way around, and Sardinia is too big to consider circumnavigating on a normal charter holiday. So to get the best of both islands in the time available, the accepted itinerary takes in the north of Sardinia, La Maddalena National Park and the southern end of Corsica.

Itineraries that start in northern Corsica provide easy access to the many interesting places at the top end of the Island, while the crossing from the mainland just 45 miles distant gives the chance to take in the fascinating Elba islands on the way. 

I consider a Sardinia / Corsica itinerary suitable for more experienced charters. The region can experience isolated thermal patterns, and one should plan with some understanding of what is creating the wind. The high land and deep water causes the wind to accelerate through the pass between the two islands, often in strength exceding that predicted. When planning to navigate this stretch of water, be prepared to wait for the wind to pass. Any such change in plan can be managed easily within a two-week charter period, which most allow if wishing to see these parts of both countries.

An itinerary of just one week, however, will generally allow visiting just one island or the other. The winds when they do come are fleeting, often just getting up in the afternoon and dying as the heat goes from the day. This is great for keeping cool and hiring a windsurfer or dinghy to blast along in the brisk but soft breeze.

Visiting both Islands offers a depth of contrast both cultural and geological. Corsica is a white rock island where Sardinia is red. Apparently back in Gondwana days, Sardinia was on a different tectonic plate, over by the Balearics to the west. When it almost collided with the plate containing Corsica, Sardinia broke off, and from then both islands travelled together to their current location. This contrasting composition of the geology of two countries so close to each other while so far from the mainland is what makes these islands unique. The main and many small Islands have developed their own diverse reasons for being, providing a huge variety of experiences as you go.

A good read for more information on Corsica and Sardinia is to be found on these tourist board websites. They do a much better job of images, so I have left it to them to display the beauty of the region.

These websites make irresistable reading about Sardinia and Corsica. But remember what you know to be true. It's always better exploring by sea on a bareboat charter. We would love to see you do just that, and help you plan your next sailing holiday.

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