Four Whales and a Fridge

Vigo to Madeira via Porto Santo

We’ve arrived in Madeira – and we are all really happy to say that the weather was nowhere like last years. We made it to Porto Santo, where the tiny harbour was busy so we spend 2 nights on a buoy and used the dinghy to go ashore. Our painting is still on the wall from when Lizzy did it many years ago.

We had great sailing for the first half of the trip and then motored in no wind the second half – we had loads of dolphins with us, 4 whales and a floating fridge. I wasnt quick enough to capture the whales or fridge on camera, but did manage a shot of the dolphins.

Ready to set sail to Lanzarote next week. The web page at Lanzarote information says it is 32 degrees. Wow. On our way we will be able to stop at our favourite spot in La Graciosa. You can visit here too, join us in Lanzarote for one of our 7 night adventures during December to March. Christmas and New Year too

velvet lady anchor la graciosa

See you on board

New Look Blog

Velvet Lady in Spanish Rias
beautiful eevening in bayona

A lot of you are avid followers of our Blog – and we apologise for the lack of entries over the past few weeks.  Our custom code (which was written back in 2009) got corrupted, and guess what – the web guys cannot find the original code to put it back up.

Instead of messing about trying to get a reasonable ‘copy’  we have  gone for an all out new look blog – hope you like it.

Ocean Passage Weather – avoiding Joaquin

com joaquin

Ocean passages are often more about planning, preparation and thinking than they are about complicated sailing manoeuvres.  On our passage from Plymouth to Vigo last week we sailed 640 miles by the log during which we we tacked once and gybed twice to avoid a fishing boat.  Most of our time was spent studying the weather.  We have HF weatherfax on board and are able to print out weather maps much the same as the one above.  The weather was dominated by Hurricane Joaquin which was heading East across the Atlantic – we wanted to make sure we did not arrive at Cape Finisterre at the same time that it did!

With some good planning – sailing into the Bay of Biscay instead of directly across – and sailing slower than we needed to, we arrived at Cape Finisterre 24 hours after Joaquin and just as the sea was settling down.  Unfortunately we arrived there at the same time as the rain, no wonder Galicia is so green.

Its warm and sunny here now – we’ve been wearing our shorts and t shirts whilst doing jobs on the boat and enjoying a couple of nights at anchor in one of our favourite bays.

At the end of the month we start to head south to Lanzarote for our winter season of real deal sailing holidays. £725 per person fully inclusive on board.  Flights are extra, but there is lots of choice on our Sunday and Thurdsday turn around days.  Our aim is to circumnavigate Lanzarote and spend a day at the tiny island of Graciosa. Why not join us there for a week of winter sunshine and fabulous sailing.  See sailing in the Canaries

Norway to UK with a dolphin escort.

dolphins alongside

We had a fantastic sail home from Norway – I will especially remember it for 2 reasons.  Most of the way we were either downwind or beam reaching.  The only beat was the last 50 miles from Lands End in Easterly winds!  The other reason is for the number of dolphins that escorted us, playing in the bow wave and leaping out of the water on the beam to entertain us.  After the long leg from Norway we spent a night at anchor in Portree – where I have never been, waiting for the tide through the Kyles of Lockalsh and then a very pleasant night in Mallaig.  We then sailed non stop to Falmouth and spent a lovely day exploring there before arriving in Plymouth.

We’ve been busy in Plymouth preparing for our annual code inspection – which went without a hitch yesterday so we can now relax.  A week more of general maintenance and we will be ready for the Bay of Biscay.  If you fancy an adventure there is still one space left

Sailing across the Bay of Biscay is on the to do list for many yachtsmen.  Why, because it has gained itself a fierce reputation for strong winds and big waves and so crossing it safely is a big achievement.  This will be our 9th southbound crossing of the Bay of Biscay aboard Velvet Lady.  Yes the weather can be rough, we choose carefully when to leave Plymouth, but what better way to experience it than on a good solid 55 foot Oyster.

This passage is ideal for milebuilding, experiencing sailing in more challenging conditions and gaining experience towards a future Yachtmaster certificate.   You will be able to learn from us about course shaping and plotting, tides (including secondary port calculations), passage planning and passage making, how to interpret weather forecasts and collision regulations.   There are also plenty of opportunities to practice navigation and work out tides as we approach the Spanish coast.

Our milebuilding trips are all about enjoying sailing and the beauty of being at sea without the pressure of being on a course.  We are not working to a syllabus, but planning the tides and deciding the course based on the conditions around us.  Plenty of time to look out for even more dolphins – these are ones off Falmouth

Full details here, why not think about joining us