A desert island Christmas

ashore in la Graciosa

A fantastic week of varied sailing, with the wind mainly in our favour.  Getting to the tiny island of Graciosa was our aim for Christmas day, and we anchored in the bay at sunset on Christmas Eve.  Just enough time to turn the fairy lights on and get the BBQ going.   It was warm and balmy and so we ate our BBQ outside and then entertained the rest of the bay with our singing of Christmas Carols.  We left the boat teddies  under the tree waiting for Santa!

teddies waiting for santa

Christmas day, there was time swim after breakfast and then walk up the volcano and into the village for Tapas, before returning to Velvet Lady for  a traditional Christmas Dinner.  Boxing day morning the wind shifted making the anchorage rather rolly so it was just as well it was time to set off back to Marina Rubicon.  Yet another great sail with John reaching our top speed of 8.5 knots and attracting a large pod of dolphins

I’m keeping the blog short today as this is our shortest turn around of the year, we are still busy getting ready for the New Year guests to join us tomorrow

Just enough time left to wish you a Merry Christmas and Prosperous New Year or as we’re in Spain,

Feliz Navidad y Prospero Annuo Nuevo

Fun in the sun on our New Year Sailing Holiday

Velvet Lady with ‘Live band on foredeck’!

Usually when you find out you have to work for New Year there are a few groans, but not so for us.  We were looking forward to our New Year week, and although we were working, we really did have fun!   One of our guests said, that however you feel at New Year will be carried forward throughout the year.  We hope so as we had a great time, with great sailing and we look forward to more during 2013.

When our guests arrived last Saturday night, Velvet Lady was moored in a new place right in front of a bar with a live band.  The band started playing at 9pm just as we finished dinner and we were singing along whilst doing the washing up.  Luckily they only played until midnight and so did not keep us awake.

We started the sailing week with a couple of short sailing days and a pleasant night at anchor before arriving in Puerto Calero for the New Years Eve celebrations.  We played scrabble, cards and charades after dinner, ‘waiting for the bells’. We brought in the New Year in style, dancing on the pontoon with sparklers and watching the fireworks ashore.

There was a good breeze on New Years day to blow the cobwebs away, and we had a great sail to Arrecife.  We continued north to Graciosa on the 2nd and spend the day ashore on the 3rd.  With a bonus night sail this week to dodge a southerly wind and sandstorm, we ended up sailing  180 miles.   Whilst not sailing we also had a great time, with lots of swimming, walking and after dinner games.

One of our aims is to make all of our sailing holidays fun and enjoyable to be on.  There are still a few opportunities to join us for some fun in the sun, in late January and early February, but late February and March are nearly full so if you want to join us we recommend booking soon!

Happy New Year and hope to see you aboard during 2013

Merry Christmas Everyone

Merry Christmas everyone or should I say, Feliz Navidad.

We are in Spain after all.

The guests arrived on board for Christmas week after only a few flight hold ups caused by the UK weather and were greeted by blue sky and sunshine!  The winds for the week were great and we sailed 160 nm in 5 days and also spent a fabulous day ashore in La Graciosa on Christmas Day.

The anchorage at Playa Francesca was popular and multinational on Christmas Eve with boats from Italy, Germany, France, Spain and Poland joining us.  We kept them all entertained with our on board Carol Service, as we sang along to many popular Christmas Carols with songsheets provided by Malcolm and Mary.

Velvet Lady looked very pretty with all her Christmas lights on, and with some lights wound around the main sheet Santa even managed to find us!  Dan worked hard with the signal flags and we also had a Feliz Navidad banner flying from the forestay.  For his efforts he was nominated to play the role of Father Christmas or should I say Papa Noel and spent the hour before dinner wearing a HO HO HO hat and handing out presents.

Boxing Day was our day to complete the circumnavigation of Lanzarote and we had a fast downwind run in 25 knots of breeze, a fitting end to a brilliant week – with of course turkey sandwiches for lunch.

Here in Lanzarote we are definitely having a hotter winter than usual, on mid winters day the daytime temperature was 25 degrees with the evening temperature a mild 16 degrees!  We are definitely looking forward to more of the same in January, February and March and still have opportunities for you to join us – why not look at our schedule and join us for a quickie winter break.

Happy New Year, Fair Winds and Great Sailing in 2013

All Inclusive Christmas Sailing Holiday – Aboard an Oyster 55 in Lanzarote

Why not do something completely different for Christmas this year and go on an all inclusive skippered sailing holiday leaving all the festive planning and hard work to Lin and Richard, your hosts for the week.

Learn to sail in the sunshine on board our fabulous yacht Velvet Lady which will be berthed in Marina Rubicon, Lanzarote.  Velvet Lady is a large comfortable live aboard Oyster 55 sailing yacht, and the week will be spent sailing around the island of Lanzarote.  The plan is to spend Christmas Day at the peaceful island of Graciosa situated to the north of Lanzarote.

Here we will have a day off from sailing and you can spend the day swimming, snorkelling, sunbathing, walking up a volcano or joining the locals for tapas in the town before returning to the boat in the late afternoon (when it cools down) for a full traditional Christmas dinner.

During the week we will sail for 4 – 6 hours per day, allowing plenty of time ashore in the morning to look around new places and in the evening to sample the Spanish Tapas in the local bars or when we are at anchor, relax at sunset with a drink on the deck of the boat.

Sailors of all level of experience are welcome on board and encouraged to take part in sailing the boat.  We are happy for you to do as much or as little as you like.  Beginners are very welcome as either Lin or Richard are always on hand to show you the ropes.

You may book on these holidays as an individual, a couple or a group.  At the moment it is still possible to take a group booking for Christmas and if you book the whole boat you are welcome to bring the family (as long as they are over 12) with you.  Usually our minimum age is 18

Christmas week will run from 1800 Thursday 20 December to 1000 Thursday 27 December.  The cost is now reduced from £745 to £670 per person all inclusive on board but not including your flights and transfers.

Lanzarote is only 4 hours by plane from the UK, but a world away in terms of weather and daylight.  The temperature is usually about 20 degrees, and it is daylight for 11 hours. Sunset is 1800ish a perfect time for a sundowner on deck!  We do not include flights, but you can find your flights at Skyscanner

We will run the same itinerary for New Year week, including being in port in the fabulous Porto Calero on New Years eve for fireworks and festivities

New Year week will run from 1800 Saturday 29 December to 1000 Saturday 5 January.  The cost is again £670

This week long sailing itinerary also runs for weeks throughout January, February and March 2013

Full details and booking can be done through our website at or contact us by telephone or text on 07801 627660

New Years sailing in Lanzarote

We would like to wish a Happy New Year to all

What a great way to start the year.  Whilst sailing around Lanzarote we had sightings of sperm whales and dolphins on the last day of our New Year week.  It really rounded off a fantastic trip.

The weather was extremely kind to us and we had fantastic sailing wind and sunshine all week.  After 2 short day sails and plenty of swimming we spent the evening of New Years Eve in Puerto Calero marina.  We spent the evening eating, drinking and after Richard reloaded the CD player, playing ‘Name the Tune and the Artist’

We heard the bells from Madrid broadcast by one of the local restaurants, and brought in the New Year with champagne on the deck watching the many firework displays along the coast.

We made our way slowly up to La Graciosa, and as planned spent a whole day on this lovely island.  The swell from last week had totally disappeared, and so Richard didn’t get as wet as last week.  This was the hottest day of the week and with blue sky and sunshine the guests enjoyed walking up the volcano and then lunch in the local village before returning for a BBQ on board.

Evenings this week were spent playing ‘team scrabble’ it is amazing what a different game it is with 2 people contributing to each set of letters.  We even managed to get reasonable scores!

The sail back from La Graciosa is always the longest of the week, and so we have to leave promptly.  This week there was no wind in the early part of the day and we were motoring along.

‘Are those Mares Tails’ asked Ian pointing up at the sky where there were lots of high wispy clouds – cirrus – that with some imagination look like mares tails.’  Yes.
But what do they mean asks Ian.
This led me on to a detailed description of the approach of a low pressure and one of my favourite Rhymes

Mackerel Sky and Mares Tails make Tall Ships carry Small Sails

Sure enough by later in the day we had a typical mackerel sky, falling barometer and some wind to sail with.

It was as we were tacking along the coast that I spotted the telltale ‘blow’ of a whale.  The blows were regular for about 10 minutes as we were getting closer, and with each blow we caught a glint of the whales back in the sunshine.  Eventually just as we hove to to watch the whale we were treated to a spectacular tail fin as it dived. After much looking in the whale book we came to the conclusion that it must have been a sperm whale.  We waited for a while but sadly it did not reappear in the same place.

We gave up sailing as the wind died an hour before dark and within minutes of motoring we spotted ‘sea monsters ahead’.  Lots of dark fins that belonged to some slow moving dolphins that I cannot identify.  We drifted with the pod for half an hour or more, and of course it was dark by the time we returned to the marina.  Never mind, what a way to end a great week

We are now doing some maintenance jobs for a week before heading off  to Italy to ski.  Yippee!!

Christmas Sailing Holiday

We have just enjoyed our fourth Christmas on Velvet Lady, and after shopping and tidying we are ready again for our New Year week which starts on Wednesday.

Thankfully the snow in UK didn’t cause too much of a problem and all of our guests arrived in Lanzarote on time for their Christmas week holiday.

Our plan was to circumnavigate Lanzarote during the course of the week and spend Christmas day in La Graciosa, the tiny island at the northern tip.

Our first 2 days sailing were with a strong offshore westerly wind, fast reaching in flat seas at 8 knots. We spent a peaceful night in the marina at Puerto Calero followed by a night at anchor off the tiny fishing village of Playa Quemada.

Arrecife was our destination for the third night, and as the wind died out just after lunch we motored the last few miles and arrived early afternoon. The harbour here is a little suntrap, and soon everyone was going in for a swim. We took advantage of the early finish to set up our BBQ, and enjoyed eating on the deck just as the sun went down. With our BBQ we serve a typical Canary Island side dish – Pappas Arrugas with Mojo sauce. The potatoes (pappas) are boiled in very salty water (preferably sea water, plenty of that!) before being crisped off in the oven for half an hour. The sauce is made from a lot of garlic, coriander and olive oil served on the side.

We enjoyed a long sail up to La Graciosa on Christmas Eve arriving just as it was going dark – with one other boat in the anchorage. We went to sleep listening to the sound of the waves breaking on the reef that was protecting us.

Christmas day was special as we lay to our anchor in this secluded bay, and there was plenty of room for the third yacht which arrived just after breakfast. With the whole day to explore, the guests set off for the beach at about 11am bearing sandwiches for lunch. Tony and Stephen climbed up to the top of the Volcano whilst Fran and Marcus walked the mile into the local village. Later in the afternoon all went for a swim and sunbathe before it was time to return to the boat.

By late afternoon as the tide was rising an unexpected swell had built up in the bay which made it a bit more difficult for Richard to collect everyone in the dinghy, and it ended up taking 3 trips. One particularly nasty wave managed to catch Richard and the dinghy broadside and so he ended up totally soaked.

Like children we had waited patiently for the time to have our presents. With glass of Champagne in hand and just as the sun was setting we looked to see what Santa had left under the tree. We all did very well – with Lanzarote caps for the boys and local perfume for the girls. Dinner next – full traditional Christmas Dinner with Turkey and trimmings and Nut loaf as an alternative. Traditional flaming Christmas pudding for dessert with lashings of cream. After dinner, instead of snuggling down and watching a movie, we set about completing the crosswords and puzzles of the most recent newspaper on board.

The week flew past and in no time we were heading back through the piers of Marina Rubicon. Although we provide for all meals on board, we decided to round off the week with a meal ashore in one of the fabulous restaurants on the harbour front.
We are now in Lanzarote until March, and offering 7 night sailing holidays with an itinerary similar to this for £595 per person. Why not join us.