Malta is a very central place in the Mediterranean. From here you have the Balearics, Sardinia, Sicily, Greece, Croatia and Turkey not to far away.
As Malta is a tourist and expat destination for many north Europeans, there are a number of inexpensive flights.
The other advantage is that everyone speaks English. At Manoel Island there is an excellent marina, MIYM and a boat yard, MIYY. Within walking distance you find 5-6 chandlers and a number of restaurants.
There is two yard for winter storage on the hard in Malta. A number of cruising friends had stayed at MIYY and had only good things to report.
The yard has 24/7 security, and you do not get in or out, whiteout an electronic card. We feel we can leave BL here without any worries.
The travel lift is capable to lift up to 50 t. The weight is not really the issue. But the height under the travel lift is. With a 50 t travel lift, we have to lower the radar pole to get under the beam of the travel lift. Not a big job, but it would be nice if it could be avoided.
MIYY is a very clean boat yard. Boats are standing on a concrete surface, propped with wooden supports. Wooden supports are unusual in northern Europe, but very common in the eastern Mediterranean. It looks scary, but if done correct I would say it is as good as a cradle. The wooden stick method can be dangerous if the surface is dirt. In case of heavy rain fall, the dirt under the supports washes away and the boat falls over. Normally high winds also means heavy rain falls.
Before we left the marina we contacted Michael who came with his fuel truck. He rolled out about 80 m fuel hose and filled our tank with bio free diesel. It is important that the fuel tank is full to avoid condensation in the tank. Fuel is much cheaper on Malta than on Sicily.
We were lifted out as the first boat at 7:15 in the morning. The MIYY crew covered the slings in bubble-wrap to protect the freeboards.
It was a short ride up to the spot were BL will spend the winter. We got a spot just behind an HR 54.
Propping the boat the right way is important. It was comforting to see that the staff was checking the propping on all the boats yesterday as high winds was expected over night. They also have people checking propping 24/7 if high winds are forecasted.
After propping the high-pressure water guy came and started his work cleaning the bottom. Bella got the best pressure wash ever, and was clean like never before.
In April/May we will continue our cruise. Will then be back with an updated report.