Making it Work in Menorca

in Life at Sea / Spain / Travel

making it work in menorca turf to surf sailing around the world

As I pulled on a layer of thermal underwear and dug out my buried collection of wool socks, I realized that Ryan and I had out-stayed the warmth of yet another region. Being October in Menorca and already too cold for flip-flops, it was time to leave the Mediterranean and the Balearic Islands and start making our way towards the Canary Islands, where we planned to make our jump across the Atlantic Ocean.

But we still didn’t have a working autopilot, freezer or ice-maker (poor Ryan, he was so excited about that ice-maker), not to mention we now had a long list of minor repairs to do on Cheeky Monkey after two rough passages across the stormy Med while supporting the Shoreseeker Challenge rowing race.

Shoreseeker Challenge crew of Cheeky Monkey

With 15 crew on board, running from storms, Cheeky Monkey took a beating.

And since Palma de Mallorca came up in every conversation with yacht owners and crew as the recommended place to get boat work done, we started making plans to depart for Palma almost as soon as we arrived in Menorca.

Ryan handed me my phone and a long list of marinas in Palma while I poured myself a stiff drink to celebrate surviving a harrowing few weeks at sea in a rowboat; I was ready to unwind, but it was clear Ryan wanted to get moving before I started buying up wool sweaters and scarves.

We’d never called ahead to book a berth before, so this was an unusual display of organization for me and Ryan. Our idea of forward planning is calling a marina on the VHF ten minutes before arrival to ask if they have a transient berth. We’d never been turned away, so scanning the long list of marinas in Palma de Mallorca, some of which had over a thousand berths, I didn’t anticipate any problems getting a reservation somewhere.

“None?” I heard Ryan say over the phone. “End of December? That’s two months away!”

I looked up from my list and shrugged. So, one marina was full. No big deal.

Then I started making calls myself and, one after another, I hung up the phone, dejected. Within half an hour, Ryan and I had crossed off every single marina on our list. Not even Real Club Nautico, with 1200 berths, had a single transient space for us.

“It’s the low season,” Ryan complained. “What is going on that every marina in Palma is full and yet Menorca is practically empty?”

It was looking like we wouldn’t be getting our boat work done in Palma after all. So we hit the streets of Mahon and started asking about rigging, canvas, fiberglass, electronics, refrigeration, Yamaha outboards, marine supplies and more. Which quickly led us to Pedro’s Boat Centre, where they promised to find us everyone and everything we needed to get Cheeky Monkey in full working order.

making it work in menorca cheeky monkey

Finally, we’re getting a freezer – we need ice for those G&Ts!

Pedro, the owner of Pedro’s Boat Centre, was a wiry, energetic man in his seventies who bounced into the room, shaking our hands vigorously and introducing himself and his sons in quick, impeccable English. We immediately warmed to him and his frantic energy and after he assured us his best workers would meet us the next day on the boat, Pedro excused himself and sped out of the room as his employees followed quickly in his wake, struggling to keep up.

Ryan and I looked at each other and smiled. This was a family business and we liked and understood family businesses. We also liked Pedro and his son, who carefully recorded our long list of requests and even gave us his own internet router to use on the boat when we said we were struggling to find WiFi access. Pedro and his family eagerly went out of their way to help us and we liked them for that.

So just like that, it was decided we would stay in Mahon to get all our work done on Cheeky Monkey. And, hopefully, we’d get a chance to see a little of Menorca in the meantime. Though we all know boat work and sight-seeing don’t exactly mix.

I guess sometimes you don’t have to travel as far as you think to find the things you need. If you ask the right questions and you meet the right people, you might find everything you need right within an arms reach. Palma de Mallorca may be the main hub in the Balearic Islands for boat work, but it turns out cute, quiet little Menorca not only had what we needed, but it had all the charm of a quaint, small village where we were welcomed like family.

mahon menorca cheeky monkey sailing around the world

Certainly not the worst place to spend a few weeks doing boat work.


Up Next on Turf to Surf

You might be asking yourself what kind of work we would need to do on a brand-spanking-new, three-month-old luxury catamaran?

*sigh* Where do I begin? Remember that post I wrote about The 80% Rule, where I said we were lucky if 80% of the boat was ever in working order?

Well, if you thought that was enlightening, you’ll want to read the next post — Lessons in Outfitting a New Boat: An Addendum to the 80% Rule. Let’s just say there will be a lot of sharing about all the stuff that doesn’t work on our Fountaine-Pajot Helia and why.

If you have your own experiences to share about outfitting a new boat, please share in the comments below — what have you learned?

making it work in menorca sailing around the world

Video Updates!

If you want to get a feel for what Menorca is like, check out this short film I made about my brief travels around Menorca on YouTube:

And if you haven’t already subscribed to our YouTube Channel, Chase the Story, GO DO IT! I promise, you won’t regret it. We upload a new video every week — subscribe now so you don’t miss a single update 🙂

In Other News…

Now you can get Turf to Surf updates in your inbox when you subscribe to my newsletter, which I’ll use to send you informal updates about our plans, where we are in the world and any crazy ideas we’ve got brewing. Because, well, there’s always a crazy idea brewing on board Cheeky Monkey.

Thanks again for reading, watching and for all your support!



0 Comments... Be the first to comment
  • Troy February 9, 2016, 11:26 am

    Great tips on outfitting in Mahon Tasha… cheers!
    We pick up our new Helia ‘Fly the Coop’ from La Rochelle soon, so extra keen to read your upcoming post on all the things we might need to fix… oh no!! 😫
    PS. We didn’t order the ice maker! 😬

    • Tasha February 9, 2016, 2:47 pm

      Hey Troy! Are you outfitting your boat in La Rochelle? If so, you’ll be very interested in the upcoming post…good luck and feel free to email me if you have any questions. It was an overwhelming process, outfitting Cheeky Monkey, but we learned a lot. Good luck!


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