The DOVESESTO is a vintage sailing ship, nearly a century old, anchored at the port of Cala Gonone. From here, it leaves at 10:30am every day for a mini cruise around the Gulf of Orosei, setting out to discover the coast’s most beautiful beaches and caves along the route of the “Wild Blue”.
Just outside the port, the sailboat skirts the imposing limestone cliffs eroded by the sea. Its relaxed pace allows guests to admire up close the alternating rock and forest landscapes, interspersed only with the numerous coves: Cala Luna, Cala Sisine, Cala Biriola, Le Piscine di Venere, Cala Mariolu, Cala Goloritze.
Having left Cala Luna, you arrive at Cala Sisine, and after an hour’s sailing, the first stop is Cala Biriola, a delightful little beach with a pinkish hue.
Here, the Dovesesto sailboat drops anchor, so you can reach the beach on the tenders or by swimming up to the shore in the radiant and crystal-clear emerald waters. After about two hours, the boat heads towards Cala Mariolu, but not before having made a short stop of about an hour, to dive into the bright blue waters of the Piscine di Venere. Cala Mariolu and Cala dei Gabbiani, two indescribably beautiful pearls of the gulf; it is on one of these beaches that our guests can enjoy the longest stop of the day.
We resume sailing and arrive at the base of the Aguglia, an imposing elongated rock which towers impressively out of the sea, and admire up close the spectacular natural arch of Goloritze on the beach of the same name.
A little farther north of this cove, we stop to take the dinghy into the hidden mouth of a cave, venturing inside and finding ourselves dazzled by spectacular light reflections and enticing pools: here, a dip is de rigueur.
When the wind is in our favour, we hoist the sails, the engines are silenced, and the boat heads home - a little off the shore, on the route where the dolphins often come and leap up to greet us.
THE EARLY DAYS
JUST LIKE ANY OLD BOAT, THE “DOVESESTO” HAS ITS OWN STORY TO TELL.
The hull of the “DOVESESTO” was placed on the ports of the “BAGLIETTO” shipyards in Varazze between 1942 and 1943. During and immediately after the war, the pleasure boating scene in Lussino went through a terrible crisis and the Baglietto shipyards, so as not to be forced to dismiss their extremely skilled workers whilst waiting for better times, decided to build a few fishing boats and three nearly identical military boats on their ports, almost certainly destined to become minesweepers.
Immediately afterwards, for reasons of international politics unknown to us, the Navy had suddenly decided to have the Italian Baglietto shipyards build, with the utmost urgency, four of its own warships, each 50 metres in length, extremely modern at the time. It is not known exactly what they would have been used for, due to military secrecy, but they were undoubtedly intended for the rapid interception of any possible type of enemy ship in the Mediterranean. It was due to the need to quickly free up the construction ports that the shipyards decided to put the boats up for sale.
Dr. Fassio (at the time a shipowner of over thirty merchant ships) was highly interested in purchasing one of the vessels which had fascinated him in particular, as it was the most suitable for being transformed, under the care of a competent enthusiast equipped with suitable means, into a prestigious sailing boat for private use. He turned to one of the best marine architects in the world at that time, namely the Englishman J. Laurent Giles, who personally oversaw the design and direction of the works which were completed, as regards the sail rigging, in the Sturla shipyards in Genoa. It was launched a few years later under the name of “CHRYSOR” (the name of a sailor known as the one who, according to Ancient Greek mythological tradition, was the first to place tree trunks tied together so as to form a rudimentary “boat” on the sea - a craft which Chrysor himself is said to have been the first person in the world to sail.). After about twenty years, the Fassio family sold the boat in England and received no news of it for a long time.
THE FIRST RESTORATION IN 2000
WHEN WE SAW HER THE FIRST TIME SHE WAS AT ANCHOR IN THE OLD PORT OF LA MADDALENA.
She was there, in a corner where everything seemed to be rust-coloured, like an old lady, resigned to oblivion and with the air of someone who has spent too long awaiting the loving care of someone who would make her seaworthy once more. Her imposing stern and stubborn bow did nothing to weigh down her elegant lines. Her time-worn wood and peeling varnish suggested something of an adventurous past. Despite the initial outlay not being an exorbitant sum, we could have put together a colourful spinnaker by sticking together all of the IOUs we were forced to sign. In any case, it seemed like a bet, both due to the disastrous state the boat was in - nearly reduced to a wreck - and due to the kind of boat, which was entirely different from the stereotype we were used to seeing in Cala Gonone, where tourists had been transported for over 50 years. After an initial patching up with a lick of paint and a little plaster flicked around, the boat reached the acceptable limit which allowed us to charter it. So we sailed far and wide around our proud sea. As we wandered through ports and shipyards over the past few years, we uncovered old documents and photos of the Dovesesto here and there. We have personally heard the testimony of people who we have been lucky enough to meet and who we are still in contact with to this day. The shipowner himself, Fassio, or Angelo, an old Genoese shipwright who was part of the team which built the boat, or Francesco del Carlo, the old owner of the homonymous shipyard in Viareggio where we carried out the restoration work. The discovery of these stories and other interesting material is the result of years of research which we have jealously guarded, waiting to use it to facilitate our work on the restoration so that it would be as faithful as possible, despite the fact that the original plans sadly went up in smoke during a fire at the Sturla shipyards. All in all, I am glad that I had to wait ten long years to see the dream of restoring the Dovesesto come true; first of all, because time has allowed us to consolidate that relationship of mutual love and trust that is established between a boat and whoever takes care of it; also, these years of work, study and research have given us the opportunity to increase our wealth of experience which, especially in our field, is seemingly neverending, and to put aside ideas and solutions which will make the restoration easier.
We spent a long time wandering the shipyards of Italy from north to south, but when we entered that small yard in the dock in Viareggio, perhaps by pure instinct, perhaps due to that smell of smoke from a boiler which is always lit to bend the large boards of oak, or perhaps due to the sight of those mountains of shavings and sawdust, we no longer had any doubt: that was our shipyard. Aware of the incredible of luck we had benefited from, it did not take long to understand that we had ended up in the hands of the last specimens, now on their way to extinction, of shipwrights, some of the best in the world. “Finally, in November 2000, as soon as the last customers had disembarked, we turned our prue towards Viareggio and set sail with a wonderful force 7 Gregale which gave us no respite until we reached the mouth of the port”. Opting for Viareggio was still the wisest thing to do, because we made the decision to oversee the work ourselves, as well as taking on the task of personally creating all the designs of the new deckhouses, hatches, large bronze portholes, and rails. It was then up to the carpenters, mechanics, and everyone else who was working on the boat to bring to life, with their unique mastery, everything which came from our pencil or the photos from our great archive. 100 of these pages would not be enough to recount the difficulties and problems that we encountered over those 9 long months lived between a house transformed into a design studio - but still, luckily, frequented by friends who were willing to lend a hand - journeys which took us abroad in search of unusual pieces, and the shipyard, where, especially in the final stretch, we worked day and night to keep to the deadline and stay within the budget, which was gradually becoming unbelievably tight. I cannot deny that there were moments of great discomfort when I saw the boat inside the yard reduced to its bare bones and a part of planking, but the emotions I felt when the Dovesesto, with its 23 metres LOA in splendid white and its masts, gleaming with copal, once again slipped into the sea were truly indescribable.
THE 2016 RESTORATION
After a careful restoration which brought its back to the splendour of yesteryear, today the Dovesesto is a magnificent vintage sailing ship which, whilst preserving all the charm of old boats, conceals new instruments and equipment between its boards, making it fully compliant with modern ecological requirements. Technological systems for sailing: computer, Internet connection and weatherfax to ensure that we always have up-to-date weather reports, all allow for safe and comfortable sailing, worthy of even the most modern and sophisticated sailing boats.
The precious teak deck offers ample space and the option of lying pleasantly in the sun, or resting in the shade of the large awning.
Below deck, the magical atmosphere takes you back in time. The cosy dinette, the cabins furnished with antique oak furniture, the original paintings and brass fixtures, all combine to create a unique atmosphere and the feeling of reliving the grand old sailing days of yore. Three bathrooms with two showers, a fully-equipped kitchen and a heating system allow for long and comfortable trips on the seven seas.
The four members of the crew, who are experienced sailors with an in-depth knowledge of the coasts of the island, will reveal the secrets of the Gulf of Orosei and Sardinia to you.
An excursion on the sea from Cala Gonone with Zio Franco and his Samatos is, in every respect, one of the best experiences for anybody looking for a boat trip in the Gulf of Orosei. Zio Franco’s unparalleled experience on the sea, combined with the comfort of the motor yacht, will make for an unforgettable day of your holiday in Sardinia full of DISCOVERY and FUN.
The Samatos leaves the port of Cala Gonone every day at 10.30am to visit all of the most beautiful beaches and caves along the coast of the Gulf of Orosei.
When you reach the famous beach of Cala Luna, the captain will drop anchor and guests can take their first dip straight off the boat, before continuing the trip towards a surprise peal of the gulf.
What follows is a visit to the beautiful Grotta dei Cormoranti and the beach of Cala Sisine, and a few miles farther on - at the captain’s discretion - there will be a stop in the picturesque little cove of Scala di Ferro or the beach of Cala Biriola for around an hour.
Once you are back on board, the captain will head towards Cala dei Gabbiani, but not before having enjoyed a wonderful swim in the bright blue, crystal-clear waters of the Piscine di Venere.
Once at the beach of Cala dei Gabbiani, the guests will disembark for the longest stop of the day, where they can have their lunch, rest a while and enjoy the location.
It will not be possible to stay on board during the stops where guests are expected to disembark due to the organisational needs of the crew.
In the afternoon, the journey will continue, as we set sail for the beautiful Cala Goloritzè, where you can admire the spectacular natural arch and swim in the sea.
The final stop of the day will be the picturesque beach of Cala Mariolu, and after around an hour, everyone will return to the boat in order to head home for the return journey (expected arrival time: 6:00pm).
Sedi (Cala Gonone):
box n.2 e box n.10, Piazzale del Porto
Viale Colombo 20
(+39) 342.6859900 - Trasporto passeggeri ed Escursioni con conducente
(+39) 349.7710377 - Dovesesto, Tenace, Samatos ed Escursioni con conducente
(+39) 347.4747028 - Noleggio gommoni con e senza skipper