The Godfather

Castellammare del Golfo and the Mafia

25th February 2014
San Vito lo Capo
Cefalu at anchor
Kite flying on the streets of Castellammare


Live aboard with the Mafia in Castellammare del Golfo

Being a live aboard on a boat.

When you are a live aboard on a sailing yacht nothing is permanent. We have our home in Cygnus III but no address. We have neighbours from time to time but they or we move on within a day or two. We don’t have a permanence of any kind really and I think that is what “normal” people may find difficult to understand. People like routines but as a live aboard we don’t have one. We usually have no fixed time to wake up and even then we don’t know if we will be moving on or not. As a live aboard sailing slowly around the world we are also slaves to the weather gods and hangovers from the night before. You do make so many friends during the year but often those friendships are short lived so to spend time with others who live aboard is so enjoyable. We have been lucky this season as we had sailed all year with others we have met and those friendships will never be forgotten or lost. The same is true of Tinkerbelle and Zazen, the two families we were sailing with. When we sail together they are our family and we are theirs.


Sailing to Castellammare del Golfo.

Tinkerbell in Castellammare

Tinkerbell in the harbour

After the storm of the previous day we wanted a gentle sail. We saw there was a sheltered harbour a couple of an hours south of us at Castellammare del Golfo (also known as Castellammare). The weather gods had decided that there would be next to no wind, flat seas and retina burning sunshine. The hangover gods had also spared me that morning. A live aboard has always got to have something to complain about and it is usually the weather. We like sunshine, flat seas and wind to sail. Unfortunately the ideal combination is rare. We did try sailing for a while but just ended up going nowhere with the sails hung like a bad case of man boobs. They were no good what so ever and weren’t even nice to look at. We needed a full “G” cup with them stuck firmly out and something we could appreciate.


Castellammare del Golfo.

Cygnus, Tinkerbell and Zazen in Castellammare del Golfo

Anchored in Castellammare del Golfo

After the previous day we had no problems putting the engine on and motoring the short distance to Castellammare del Golfo before anchoring in the large inner harbour. It gave perfect protection behind a large sea wall, good holding and we were even protected by a castle.  For the next several days this was to be our new address. Tinkerbell and Zazen soon arrived and anchored either side of us. From where we were it was only a short dinghy ride into town. There were two marinas in the harbour but anchoring saved us at least 50 euros a night and was far quieter.


Mafia connections.

Castellammare del Golfo is a town situated below towering hills on the northern coast of Sicily. The harbour is well guarded by a castle from where the town gets its name. There is a long and varied history associated with Castellammare which is fascinating. It was also until recently, and may still be as far as we know, a hot bed for the Mafia with many ruthless families being born here. A lot of them went abroad and are well known American Mafia figures there. This is supposed to have changed recently but knowing about the traditions of Sicilian families I thought it best not to wear my “Godfather tee shirt”. There is no doubt the Mafia are a force to be reckoned with but as a tourist it is very unlikely you will ever come into contact with them. If you do you will probably never know they are Mafia and find them as friendly and helpful as all the other Sicilians we have met.


Beautiful thriving town.

Going ashore we did not know what to expect but I was surprised to see that the town’s menfolk did not all dress in black suites, white ties and sunglasses. What we did find was a beautiful, thriving and extremely friendly town. It also happened that during the evening they were having some kind of festival. The good thing about a festival was that there was music food and drink.


Castellammare del Golfo festival…. strange!

Dresses in the street

Dresses in the street

As we walked up the hill we found trees with kites growing in them. I had thought that you make kites but no. Here they adorned every tree. Going into the main street they had obviously had a harvest because they were giving them away to everyone for free. Marina, Penelope, Paloma, Fred and Adriannes young children from Zazen were loving it and ran around the pretty streets trying to fly them. They also managed to take out a few locals as they did so but luckily none of them were carrying violin cases. There were also the strangest items just hung across the road. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason to them being there but it did add a massive splash of colour everywhere.

After so much running around it was time to eat. We decided upon a little pizza bar by the road.


Now that is what I call a pizza

They had so many pizzas’ it was hard to choose. Angelina decided that she would have a family sized one so she could take some back for later. The girl kept asking if she was sure she wanted the family one and when they came out we could understand why. You could have tied someone across it between the artichokes, spun it slowly and throw knifes between the victims outstretched limbs. I’m sure in Angelina’s mind that victim would have been me and she would happily have done it blindfolded. Anyway, the pizza was huge and I have to say totally delicious.



The dinghy had disappeared!

Pizza anyone

Angelina and her small sized pizza

Eventually we decided to go back down to the waterfront and collect the Tinkerbell’s dingy to go back to the boats. The dinghy had gone. We had left it pulled up on the waterfront but it was nowhere to be seen. Then we also noticed that there was actually a tide in Castellammare del Golfo and the waterline was a lot further up the beach. Could it have floated out to sea or had been commandeered by a Mafia raiding party? Neither option seemed good but then we saw it tied up to steps in the water. Someone had obviously realised it was in danger of being lost and had secured it to stop it going wandering around.

We stayed in Castellammare del Golfo for another couple of days and really loved the old town and each other’s company and the friendly people of the town. It was getting on in the sailing season though and there was still a long way to go around Sicily. Our live aboard address was about to be changed to somewhere new but at least we could take our neighbours with us this time.

For more images of Castellammare del Golfo click here



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1 comment

  1. Nice blog Cygnus3!!! Really enjoyed reading you. We’ll be sailing on september Eagadis, San Vito ….. hope don’t repeat your storm experience!

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