Aannsha’s Blog #43 – Flying Four Flags

British Red Ensign

We’ve had a few flag changes in the last two weeks.

We sail under the British Red Ensign that hangs off the davits at the back of the boat – well gets tangled up between the flag pole and one stainless steel bar of the new davit system. When we had the stainless steel support installed for the dinghy and the solar panel arch, we didn’t take into consideration that the flag that shows everyone which country our boat is registered in would be so restricted in its ability to fly in the wind. It’s on the list to change the flag pole position, but we have a very long list (already) of things that we want to do to A B Sea since we’ve been on our passage from Spain to Greece, so I’m not entirely sure when we’ll get round to that particular job.

But back to our flags. While your country’s flag flies proudly (or tangled) at the back of your yacht, you also have to fly the flag of the country in whose waters you’re sailing. This particular flag has to fly on the starboard side of the mast. Our mast has two thin lines hoisted on either side and while the starboard side is for the host country, the port side can support flags representing the crew’s nationalities. We are all travelling on British passports, so there are no extra flags flying on the port side.

However, on our 14 day journey to our destination in Kefalonia we hoisted several country’s flags.

Leaving home port on the Bandera de España

Spanish flag

We left A B Sea’s home marina at Mar Menor in Murcia, so the Spanish standard was our first flag. After we hopped over to Mallorca (which took 18 hours on an overnight passage), then to Menorca (which took us 10 hours overnight), we made our way to Sardinia which is an Italian island just south of Corsica, which is French territory.

A brief moment for the French Tricolore

French Tricolore

It took us 42 hours after leaving Menorca to arrive at Porto Rotundo in Sardinia and for that trip we flew three flags. The first was Spanish, the second as we approached Corsica where we intended to anchor, was the French standard. But as we arrived after sunset in the Straits of Bonifacio, we realised that it would be too dark to attempt entering the narrow anchorage there, so made a decision to pass through this renowned waterway and instead, anchor in a bay in Sardinia that was a lot easier to navigate than our original choice.

Night sailing through the renowned Straits of Bonifacio