Maps and GPS coordinates, routes, itineraries, ports, marinas and marinas, bays, landings and beaches, what to see ashore-a complete guide to planning your boating vacation.
Sicily is the largest island in the entire Mediterranean, with more than 1,500 km of coastline full of stunning beaches and coves that can only be reached by boat.
Characterized by a succession of wide gulfs, if one navigates it coming from the west and from Sardinia, the northern Sicilian coast creates some problems for sailors only near its final part when, having passed Cape Milazzo, one enters the stretch of sea of the Strait of Messina. Devoid of any real dangers along the lines of its two coastlines (Calabrian and Sicilian), the Strait should always be approached with caution, whether traveling southward or upward toward the Tyrrhenian Sea.
The main reason is certainly the presence of strong drift and tidal currents, which, even during the summer if the mistral blows hard, create the so-called “garofals.” These are eddies that are very dangerous for lighter boats to deal with, but fortunately they are fairly easy to spot with the naked eye because of the eddies of water they create at the surface.
A necklace of gulfs
Sailing eastward past Cape St. Vitus, a point considered the extreme western offshoot of the north coast, one immediately encounters instead three more or less deep but all hospitable and well sheltered gulfs, within which there is no shortage of sheltering points and landings that protect against winds blowing from the north and west. They are those of Castellamare, Palermo, and Cefalù: sailing on their clear, calm waters throughout the summer season does not create any particular problems.
Boating vacations: ports and marinas from San Vito lo Capo to Terrasini
1. SAN VITO LO CAPO
(200 places) 38°10′ 75N – 12°44′ 30E
Set in a small bay positioned O of Cape San Vito, it is dominated by the rocky outcrop of Mount Monaco (532 meters high). Approach: the Cape St. Vitus Lighthouse (44 meters high and located 0.5 miles N of the harbor) and Mount Monaco are the two conspicuous points for entering the bay. Arriving, the two piers and the entrance to the harbor are well identified: coming from E remember, however, to check the sandbar that forms in front of Punta Solanto. Dangers: in bad weather, the sea in front of Cape St. Vitus becomes swollen and dangerously crossed for small craft. Siltation in front of Punta Solanto can cause problems even at nighttime entrances, facilitated, however, by the highly visible presence of the Cape San Vito lighthouse.
Mooring: as you enter the harbor keeping to the right, you first reach the docks of the Diporto Nautico Sanvitese, then those of the Circolo Nautico Costa Gaia, docked directly at the south pier and well equipped.
If there are no places, it is instead possible to anchor in the bay to the N of the breakwater and 300 meters from the town beach.
Maximum boat length: 25 meters. Depth: 1-7 meters.
Facilities: water and electricity (220 V) at all private moorings.
Fuel on pier N.
Available: electrical and motor repairs. Toilet facilities. On the ground: in the village numerous
stores, bars and restaurants, as well as banks and post office.
2. CASTELLAMMARE DEL GOLFO
(640 places) 38°01′ 90N – 12°53′ 10E
Marina located immediately O of the town and in the center of the gulf of the same name dominated by Mount Inici (1,064 meters high).
Approach: the entrance from the harbor is easily identified at the end of the bay by a long, conspicuous concrete wall that also surrounds the village of Castellamare. The entrance is wide and well-marked even at night, but it is very open to O winds and subject to undertow especially in summer. Other conspicuous points are the castle and the roofs of the houses in the village itself.
Dangers: near the harbor entrance beware of a shoal (called “the Grouper’s”) coming out to sea from the tip of the castle: give bottom towards S with 2.5 meters of water.
Mooring: follow staff directions and head to the S side where the docks are located: if room can be found moor near the town or at the root of the outer breakwater.
Maximum boat length: 15 meters. Depth: 1-5 meters.
Services: water and electricity at the dock.
Available: toilet facilities and motor and electrical repair services.
Ashore: in the town numerous stores, bars and restaurants, many of them directly overlooking the harbor that is the center of the town’s social life.
(500 places) 38°03′ 06N – 13°00′ 36E
stands in the middle of the long golden beach overlooking the Gulf of Castellammare, in the heart of the delightful town of the same name and overlooking its recently renovated promenade-a veritable balcony from which to look out over the harbor and the wonderful neighboring beaches such as Forgia and Forgitella, with their crystal-clear waters full of life.
Equidistant and easily accessible from both nearby Palermo and its international airport and from Trapani by car or train, it is located on a coastal stretch rich in beautiful and comfortable beaches, and at the center of an area with a well-known wine and food and beach tradition.
The Marina, through two phases of progressive intervention will count at the end of work on 645 berths equipped with all the main services to the yachtsman and the boat, according to the high quality standards established for all the facilities belonging to the Marinedi Network, thus enriching the tourist offer of the town and the entire surrounding area. Maximum boat length: 30 meters. Depth: 1-4 meters.
Facilities: planned with the completion of the work to install water and power outlets (220 V) at the berths.
Available: slipway and slipway are currently provided. Ashore: stores, bars and restaurants.
(200 places + 10 for transit) 38°09′ 90N – 13°05′ 15E
Small village fishing port located about 2.5 miles SO of Punta Raisi, where Palermo airport is located.
Approach: protected by a three-leg breakwater pier should be approached at minimum speed because of local fishing boat traffic. A conspicuous round tower placed on the low point of Molinazzo at half a mile N from Terrasini is a good landmark. Best to approach with SE course and then parade toward the inner pier S. Dangers: advance with caution, because the harbor is subject to silting and depths may be different.
Mooring: at the S dock, but if there is no room you can anchor in the forebay. Maximum boat length: 12 meters. Depth: 1-6 meters.
Facilities: water at dock and fuel at Pier S. Available: 16-ton crane and engine repair. Ashore: stores, bar and restaurant.
Don’t miss the other installments of Boat Holidays:
- Boating vacations, the best places to sail in northern Sicily
- Ports and marinas between San Vito and Castellammare
- Ports and marinas between Castellammare and the ruins of Tindari
- Bays and landings from the coves of Palermo to Cape Milazzo
- Sights ashore: walking through the island’s history
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