Italy Sailing: Sailing the Amalfi Coast, Ischia and Capri


Sailing the Amalfi Coast, Italy

Procida Marina

The pasticceria Dal Cavaliere is a friendly spot to wait for the incoming ferry from Naples. Bill and his family are due at 1530 which gave me time for a cool vino bianco while I completed my log notes from the prior week’s sail.

Bill joined us a few years ago for a family sail in Croatia. This time he was celebrating his and his older daughter Meghan’s birthdays. Bill’s younger daughter Shannon, cousin Barry and girlfriend Liz were along for the holiday. They planned a week sailing the Amalfi Coast and a week in a villa at nearby Praiano overlooking the sea. A good birthday!

Arriving overnight from various US east coast cities they looked tired upon disembarking the ferry. Fortunately, the ferry terminal is a short walk along Procida’s pretty waterfront to the marina where our

Sailing the Amalfi Coast, Italy

Aft Cabin, Blue Island

38 ft. Lagoon catamaran waited. Everyone except Bill collapsed for a nap in their queen cabins while Bill and I did a little provisioning at the small port shops.

Fresh tomatoes, olives, bread and cheeses are a perfect nap wake-up call. I go over safety procedures and give a few sailing tips while we enjoy our antipasto. We discuss possible itineraries and decide on rounding the north side of Ischia for our start.

Sailing the Amalfi Coast, Italy

Blue Island Catamaran

Ischia is only a few miles NW so it is a good first day plan for a relatively inexperienced crew.
We can look into Sant Angelo half way for a late lunch stop.

After their rest, everyone is looking forward to their first Italian meal. I’ve recommend Fammivento, a local spot on the waterfront across from the Church of Santa Maria della Pieta. We start with a few small fish, cheese and veg antipasti, I recommend to the hearty eaters the tagliolini allo scoglio; a very filling meal of seafood pasta.Mine is pasta and shrimp with almond cream. We share several carafes of light white wine.  Buon appetito! At €140 for 6 it is a delicious value.
The evening has cooled to a very comfortable low 70 ͦ F as we linger over coffees. Everyone is happy but looking forward to a good rest before starting our first day of sailing. There are a few more questions about possible itineraries; should we go to the Pontine Islands or have more time along the coast? We stroll back to Blue Island while I point out the several cafes that will be open early if anyone wants their morning coffee on the waterfront. My favorite is Cavaliere. We end our first evening with a gelato at the small pizza café next to Procida Hall where concerts are held in the large old white building facing the Marina.
Sailing the Amalfi Coast, Italy

Amalfi Coast Sail Itinerary

It’s a clear day with 15 kn SE wind as we motor out of Procida heading WSW along the coast towards
Ischia. When clear of the ferry channel from Naples, we talk through raising the sails. Bill and Barryare keen to polish their rusted skills; the women are keen to get on the forward trampolines for sunbathing. We head to wind to raise the main, fall off a bit and unfurl the jib.

We have a great first morning sail on a broad reach with the wind dropping to 8-12 kn. By noon, we are halfway along the south coast of Ischia enjoying the views of terraced vineyards and grey-green olive groves. The small along the south coast of Ischia enjoying the views of terraced vineyards and

Sailing the Amalfi Coast, Italy

Porto Angelo Shop

grey-green olive groves. The small village at Pto. Sant Angelo comes into view and we head on a beam reach towards its small harbor. Boats are anchored outside the harbor, off the sandy beach – tempting. But we’re interested in a couple hours ashore to wander a bit and have lunch so we drop sails and motor in.With the wind funnelling down the saddle of hills behind the village we take care with our med mooring. Bill cleats in the windward standing mooring line quickly. Once the stern is secure, we use the twin engines to fine tune the two bow standing lines for a tight mooring.

Sailing the Amalfi Coast, Italy

Pporto Angelo, Ischia

There’s a surprising number of interesting shops, winding little streets, picturesque doorways and inviting cafes in this small village. We find Meg, Shan and Liz at a small café with patio tables across the harbor from our mooring. Shan has tucked into what will
become her signature dish – caprese. I enjoy a more substantial risotto della mare for €15.The overnight mooring fee of €120 is too steep so we continue sailing around Ischia to the NE side bound for Casamicciola.

With low wind, we motor sail around the NW tip of Ischia and along the north coast being careful to bear off Pta. Cornacchia with its submerged rocks.  Marina San Angello at Casamicciola comes into view below green Rotaro. No worries, it last spouted in 1301!
Bill and Barry handle the standing mooring lines like pros; Meg and Shan toss the stern dock lines to the marina staff on dock. We’re secure for the night and ready to relax over wine and cheese. Liz
complements the appetizers with  fresh cherry tomatoes and olives before heading to the marina shower facility.
Everyone seems pleased with our first day sailing. We stroll along the small waterfront street lined with cafes, shops and gelato stands. Baskets of enormous lemons are everywhere. A block up a side street is the best pizza in town and humming with patrons.

Sailing the Amalfi Coast, Italy

Mussels at Zurosta

Zurosta is an large open room with bustling waiters. We order several heaping plates of mussels followed by a pizza each. My gorgonzola with onion is too much to finish…almost!Wandering back towards Blue Island’s slip, Shan, Meg and I stop for a gelato and coffee at a quayside café. The others are tired from their first day and head for their cabins. It is a perfect, cool evening full of stars.

Caffè latte freddo is a cool start to a warm day. Café Frennesia across from  dock on the waterfront serves it with a chocolate. Completing my log notes I then pay at the habormaster’s office €80 for the wide cat’s marina fee.The wind is down so we motor past Castello Aragonese on the rock cliff of Ischia Ponte and through  the Ischia Channel separating it from Procida. As we head for the NW tip of Capri,

Sailing the Amalfi Coast, Italy

Dip in Bay of Naples

the wind picks up enough for a lazy sail across the Bay of Naples. It’s a warm, sunny day, perfect for lounging on the decks. We heave-to for a late morning swim off the boat when approaching Capri.The wind picks up a bit to 8-10 kn as we sail along the west side of Capri. Our lunch destination is Marina Piccola, a pretty harbor and village on the south coast. As we drop sails to look for a mooring the wind suddenly shoots up to 18+ kn and holds. The harbor skiff tells us we’re too big for a mooring ball in this wind; we should anchor. Although tempting, I decide not to test the anchor in 40+ ft and 20+ kn of wind so we circle out towards the Boca Piccola Passage between Capri and the mainland.

Sailing the Amalfi Coast, Italy

The Faraglioni Rocks, Capri

The Faraglioni Rocks off the SE tip of Capri are a dramatic backdrop for photos. We round these heading short sail with the jib only.90 min later, we’re sailing towards Positano listening to excited descriptions of the taxi ride up the steep sides of Capri to Anacapri, the views from the cliffside and the shops not visited.

As we passed Marina de Cantone, the 10-12 kn wind sharply increases. We reefed both sails, Barry and Bill now handy with the lines.  The wind steadily edges up to 25-30kn so we put Blue Island head to wind and dropped sails. With sails in, we motor the final 30 min past the Galli Islands to spectacular Positano.
Sometimes called the wedding cake village, Positano rises steeply up both sides of its ravine with shops, villas and hotels colorfully piled up in pastel layers. I call Davide with Fumillo Beach moorings and remind him of our deal for €60 per night for the mooring plus water taxi. He asks when we want to be picked up for dinner.

Sailing the Amalfi Coast, Italy


A good deal at one of the most popular  destinations! We’re low on aperitivi so after depleting our supply, we call Davide and he takes us in comfort to the pier. We split up to wander. I go straight to the Pergola café facing the water for a cool rosé. Soon, Bill and Barry join me, having exhausted their wandering interests in favor of a beer. The rest of the group shows up and we go upstairs to Bucca del Barco for a leisurely, delicious dinner.

It’s been long day of sailing from Ischia past Capri to Positano.  We sailed about 27 miles in good conditions with winds starting low but reaching close to 30 kn. We’ll spend another day Positano!The morning starts with a swim off Blue Island’s stern. The view across the little bay of Fumillo is worth lingering over and the morning vanishes.  At noon we take our dinghy into town to shop, lunch andwander the narrow, pretty streets.Shannon chooses The Three Sisters restaurant along the quay facing the sea. The ravioli with pumpkin and cheese is molto beni! The grilled eggplant and mushrooms is a close second. With wine, a great meal at €120 for six. After dinner we walk up the narrow main street, covered with a screen of bougainvillea, to the small jazz club Zagara for drinks and dancing. A excellent end to a lazy day.

Sailing the Amalfi Coast, Italy

The ‘Wedding Cake Village’, Positano

Amalfi is a short sail 10km south so we enjoy a breakfast of local fruit, coffee and pastries. Those with a view towards the shops take Davide’s launch into town for a 2 hour spree. At 11 am, they appear motoring back to Blue Island with arms full of shopping bags.The wind is 7-9 kn as we drop the mooring ball and head SE along the curve of the Salerno Bay. With sails up, we enjoy excellent condition and sail for 2 hours on a beam reach out to sea under a blue, cloudless sky. The crew then has a difficult decision; continue sunning on the trampolines, heave-to for a dip in the sea or jibe back for a late afternoon in Amalfi. Decisions, decisions!We tack to a close reach with 12 kn wind. In an hour the outer harbor entrance to Amalfi is in view. As I call my contact to see if he has a berth on the inner quay, near to old Amalfi, a launch races towards us.Julio offers us a berth at his dock that is expensive but it is an excellent location with all included. We take the €140 berth after a little haggling and dock hands expertly assist securing Blue island. Arriving at 1530 we have one of the few remaining berths. Pricey, but next to a beach and a short stroll to the Old City gate.Another pastel town rises up the hillside. It is hard to imagine one after the other can be so inviting. We wander into town in twos and threes to explored Amalfi agreeing  to meet back at Blue island before dinner. Amalfi is a more ‘lived-in’ town than Positano with shops on the mains street and residential activities along the small colorful side alleys.
Sailing the Amalfi Coast, Italy

Approaching Amalfi


Having skipped lunch to focus on the excellent sailing, Barry and I stopped at a quayside café for beer and pizza. The anchovy and mozzarella pizza was too good so we considered another. But, Barry reminded me it was his night for selecting a dinner spot so we held back.

His choice turned out to be worth the wait. Through the main gate, past the old church in the square astride its wide steps, up the winding street about 50 meters, we came to Trattoria dei Catari. Six of us had: veal steaks, scampi, pastas, large fish, 3 antipasto and 3 bottles of wine for €180!

The evening is a comfortable temperature, the wine is a cool local rosé, the food had been abundantly delicious so we sat talking after our meal wishing we had more days to spend in Amalfi. There were

Sailing the Amalfi Coast, Italy

Amalfi Alleyways

many side streets yet to explore, inviting shops with huge yellow lemons piled outside next to bottles of olive oil, heaps of fruits and colorful clumps of hanging peppers. Meg asks: “Can we spend the morning here tomorrow?”

Our plan is to sail NW tomorrow to one of the small bays before Pta. Campanella. Since it is 12-15 NM, we decide on an 11 am start so we can enjoy a morning in Amalfi.At 8:30 am the main square in front of the church isquiet. Occasionally jotting in my notebook, I sip a
cappuccino and watch women stop for fresh bread and fruits at the small shops that line the square. Men saunter by with morning papers or sit at a cafes and munch pastries.

Sailing the Amalfi Coast, Italy

Amalfi Alleyway

A few tourists snap photos of the church in the early light.Meg and Shannon appear to join the folks snapping photos. They disappear down a winding alley looking for rarer scenes. I amble about and find a nearly hidden courtyard with a 30 ft. slender blue and gold antique galleon on display in front of a barber shop. Nearly convinced me to get a hair cut!All aboard, we slip between the narrow floating docks to the outer harbor and follow the coast NW.

A couple of miles past the Galli Islands, there are a few small coves to pull in if the wind is not from the SW. We had low wind from the N so pointed Blue Island towards Pto. Antonio. We had plenty of  time, the sky was blue, not too warm in the sun and lazily approached Marina de Canton until dolphins broke the surface in front of our bows. Everyone scrambled for cameras attempted shots as the playful pod ignored us, their gleaming grey backs and fins curving up out of the blue with graceful repetition.
As we pulled into the mooring field off Marina de Canton, three launches came streaming towards us looking for business. We chose Maria Grazia’s.Our friends at Blue Dream Charter had mentioned this restaurant. It didn’t look any different then the others facing the cove; small, a dozen tables comfortably spaced on its deck. Warmly greeting us, Anna recommends a large antipasto to share rattling off a half dozen items it included.

Sailing the Amalfi Coast, Italy

Marina de Cantone

It came and it was outstanding…and huge. Artichoke wrapped cheese, soaked rice balls, sautéed peppers, lightly fried dough, anchovies and salmon….and a block of mozzarella the size of your head! We didn’t need the pastas!

A launch taxi is included with the €30 mooring fee if you eat at Maria Grazia’s. An excellent deal and meal!We staggered back to Blue Island to sleep and swim off lunch.
Tomorrow is our last sailing day. We must round Pta. Campanella, through the Boca Piccola and cross the Bay of Naples to Procida by late afternoon. In all, about 20 NM so we plan a 10 AM departure.
Barry and I are up early so we take our dinghy into shore for a cappuccino freddo and pannini. Back at Blue Island, the rest of the crew is Ready. We drop the ball and motor to Bocca Piccola.

Sailing the Amalfi Coast, Italy


The wind picks up to 7-9 kn as we enter the Bay of Naples. Head to wind, the now seasoned crew raises the main and lets the furling line out on the jib. We enjoy a three hour sail with a SW wind on a broad reach towards Procida. Its 16th-century Castello d’Avalos appears with time to spare so we take a last swim off Marina Corricella.