Sailing and Dancing our way to Madeira

Richard and I are enjoying the sunshine in Madeira, having just arrived here after a lovely 70 hour sail from Lanzarote.  The wind was kind most of the time, if a little light and we motored for 15 of the 70 hours.  As we approached the Islas Desertas, Velvet Lady got the bit between her teeth, and although we had been sailing to windward for the first 300 miles, we cracked off the wind a fraction for the last 60 miles and our speed rocketed.  We arrived in Funchal at 1200, just in time for a full English cooked on board by Keith.  He runs a bed and breakfast at home so we were in good hands.

Funchal, the capital city of Madeira is a great place to explore, and after breakfast the crew set off up the cable car for spectacular views of the bay.  A bit disappointed that the wicker sledges did not run on Sundays they returned also via the cable car and to the boat for dinner and dancing.  The dinner was planned, the dancing wasn’t, but Phil had a great selection of 80’s favourites on his I pod and we couldn’t help ourselves.  The volume got louder and louder and was accompanied by Richard on air guitar, Lin and Karen on the air keyboard, Margaret and Keith on the drums with Phil on air vocals!  The dancing followed, all washed down with a good bit of local hooch.

We had spent the previous 3 days on a rigorous passage routine, 6 hours on 6 hours off during the day, 4 hours during the night.  Sleep is often difficult to come by and getting dressed and undressed 5 times a day is tiring to say the least.  Watchkeeping on deck is rewarding in unusual ways – fabulous sunrises and sunsets, bright moonshine and twinkling stars.  There was plenty of nature to look out for and we saw dolphins daily, sharks, turtles and many birds.   Not a huge amount of shipping, but enough to practice identifying lights and seeing how the radar and AIS work.

This time of year, we are onto milebuilding trips, and this last week was the first of many.  We are happy to take people of all levels of experience on these trips, and last week we ranged from complete beginners to sailors who have done lots of chartering but not many overnight passages.  If you fancy joining us for a passage, the next two are full Madeira to the Azores and Azores to UK, but we do have spaces on our way north from Plymouth to Oban and on to Norway for the summer.

Although the Lofoten Islands is now sold out bar from one space we do have spaces on the milebuilding trips home, Bodo to Bergen and Bergen to Plymouth.  See the map below for the routes!

17th – 24th May, £695, Plymouth to Oban – 2 places left

28th May – 12 June, £1495, Oban to Bodo – 2 places left

30th June – 10 July, £1195, Bodo to Bodo, Lofoten Islands – 1 place left for a male guest

All of our other day sailing trips are now full until

12 August – 23 August, £1295, Bodo to Bergen – 6 places left

28 August – 12 September, £1395, Bergen to Plymouth – 3 places left

If you would like to join us and need any more information please do not hesitate to contact us, otherwise booking is easy direct from our website

We hope to see you on board, can always promise good sailing and occasionally good dancing too!

Adventure sailing week in Lanzarote.

‘An absolutely wonderful week.  We could ask no more from the boat, skipper or first mate.

Without doubt will join you again in the not too distant future’

The guest list for this last week read

Mike C, Mike R, Mike B, Mary and Ian.  Maybe one or more of the Mikes had nicknames or if not we would have to think of some.  Sitting around the table on the first night, we all drew a blank, except for the fact they were all wearing different coloured t shirts. But after 24 hours we had plenty to chose from

Mike 1 was: Fast Mike, Speedy Mike or Navigator Mike
Mike 2 became: Green Mike, Gambler Mike, Matchstick Mike or just Matchstick for short and so
Mike 3 became Mike Mike.  From then on it was easy.

The weather forecast was looking pretty unsettled and we decided not to head off around Fuerteventura as it would be a very hard beat to get back.  We sailed 193 miles  making best use of the wind by heading north first.  On the first afternoon Mike 1 became Speedy Mike after doing 8.5 knots in a rain squall – The heavens opened and he and I were the only 2 left on the deck!  After nights in Puerto Calero and Arrieta Bay we headed out around Rock del Este and Montana Clara to Graciosa.  After a morning ashore we set off in the late afternoon for a fabulous night sail back to Papagayo.  While we were at anchor in Arrietta Mike 2 asked if anyone new how to play poker so he could learn and so we ended up playing poker for matches.  Mike did seem to know what he was doing and ended up winning most of the matchsticks!

After 3 nights of poker, we also played the ‘charade game’ that Richard and I had learnt when skiing, describing famous people with words, then one word and then actions only – it was Mikes versus the rest with Ian as timekeeper and adjudicator.  Mary was the star at this game, earning the most points and leading her team (Richard and I) to victory.  We did plenty of laughing and a little bit of drinking!

The dolphins didn’t disappoint us, and came to play with us, leaping out of the water and on our last day we saw a really giant turtle but I think I scared him by shouting too excitedly and he rapidly disappeared.

Getting ready to go to Madeira now with quite a tight turn round.  Our 25% discount on the Lanzarote to Madeira passage worked really well, with all the places filling in 2 days.  We would prefer to be full from Madeira to the Azores as well, so we have now reduced the last place by 25% to £787.50 for 10 days, an absolute bargain. If you want to come, simply book on line.

Happy Sailing

Relaxing sailing holiday in the Canary islands

Our Canary relaxed sailing holiday 3 definitely lived up to its name last week as everyone went home fully chilled and relaxed after a week away. Early in the week, the sun shone and the wind blew a steady force 3 or 4, giving us plenty of sailing and time for sunbathing on the aft deck.

With strong westerly winds forecast for later in the week we headed off first to Arrecife, then to Graciosa and on the return trip we finally managed to visit the pretty fishing village Arrieta for the first time.

Our trip from Arrieta south to Puerto Calero was the best sail of the week, a fast reach down the east coast followed by a short beat to windward in a steady force 6.  The wind was off the land so the sea was flat and everyone loved it.  A huge school of dolphins joined us leaping out of the water and frolicking in the bow wave.  As we were approaching Puerto Calero the AIS showed us that we were on a collision course with Velsheda, a beautiful old J class yacht.  The collision was averted (Velsheda was tied up in Puerto Calero at the time with a wall between her and us) and we headed into the marina.

After tying in our berth we all set off for a closer look at Velsheda.  Fresh out of a 3 month refit she was gleaming and just taking a break from the westerly winds before heading out across the Atlantic.  At 39 metres she should have dwarfed everything in sight, except for another large yacht, the 43m Mystere who was also heading to Antigua.  We did spend a lot of time clicking with cameras trying to get Velsheda and Velvet Lady in the same shot.

Just getting ready now for our last trip in Lanzarote.   We then head north and are now fully booked for our trip from Lanzarote to Madeira, the response to my special offer e mail was fantastic, and all the places filled in 2 days.  If you still fancy a passage, there is one place left from Madeira to the Azores, 2 – 12th April.

In the past we had a problem with loads of spam comments to our blogs.  So for the past year we have had comments turned off.  This is a shame as we really would like to hear from you – so

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