New Year Aboard Velvet Lady

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Happy New Year 

We welcomed in 2008 at anchor in a secluded bay off the beautiful island of La Graciosa.  After 2 days of sailing to get here we were all rather tired, and after having a BBQ on board washed down with lots of Sangria we were struggling to keep our eyes open until midnight.  We were all determined though, and at midnight we watched the fireworks.  From our anchorage we had a clear view of the north coast of Lanzarote and so as well as the fireworks on La Graciosa we could see 6 other firework displays, even ones from Arrecife above the volcanoes, quite spectacular.

The weather this week worked out ideal.  We had two days of medium winds to get to La Graciosa via Arrecife.  New Years day there was no wind at all giving us a great opportunity to explore ashore and climb the volcano.  The following day again in light breeze we sailed north from La Graciosa and circumnavigated Alegranza. We spent the evening anchored off the tiny village of San Pedro.

The wind as forecast became blustery for the last two days of the trip.  We reached along the coast from La Graciosa to Arrecife, and then had a 2 hour beat in 30 knots of wind to Puerto Calero. 

Puerto Calero this year is home and training base to the Ericsson  team entered in the next Volvo Ocean Race.  Richard and I spent some time looking at one of their race boats and its mast, all being prepared for launch next week. We talked to one of the team members, and they will be going out on sea trials from next week onwards, we hope to see them out there during our remaining sails, but since their chase boat has trouble keeping up with them, we will surely only get a quick glimpse.

Our last day we only had 12 miles to go to return to Marina Rubicon, but as it was blowing 35 knots on the nose, we had the opportunity to put Velvet Lady through her paces.  The sea was flat until we entered the strait between Lanzarote and Fuerteventura then after reefing down to very small sails, we had a good sail with lots of spray.  Exhilarating for a couple of hours, but we all agreed that we were glad we did not have far to go.  A great day for the last day of a trip.

A great way for us to welcome in 2008, and we wish you all a very happy new year with plenty of good sailing.

Lin and Richard

Christmas aboard Velvet Lady

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What a week. We lived like kings, sailed around Lanzarote, swam on Xmas day. I would like to say that I have learned to sail, but alas we have only scratched the surface this time. Lin and Richard were tremendous. Would we do it again? Where do we sign? – The Sparkes family

We have just completed our Xmas week with the Sparkes family and what a great time we had.  Iain, Alison, Tom, Dan, Phil and Grandma Anne really enjoyed themselves and they were a pleasure to have on board.  The weather was kind to us and we spent the early days sailing north up the east coast towards La Graciosa, stopping on the way in Arrecife.  The anchorage in La Graciosa was deserted and the sunshine on the beach fabulous.  We decided to stay here longer than one night and have time to explore ashore on Xmas eve.  It turned out to be a long day for some as they hiked up to the islands highest volcano.  The rest of us swam and snorkelled.  We also had a Xmas eve birthday, and with it being low water and a bit difficult landing on the beach we set up the BBQ on board and toasted Iain with lots of Sangria.

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Not many people get to spend Xmas day in a deserted lagoon, so we decided to spend another day in the glorious island of La Graciosa.  Santa found us and there were presents all round.  Books, chocolates and Scrabble for the family, a battery drill for Richard and a barometer for me – how practical Santa was this year.  We swam and sunbathed in the morning before a full Xmas dinner complete with Xmas pud and brandy butter.  In need of some after dinner exercise we then went for a walk and beach games ashore.  No Xmas is complete without a movie, so we spent the evening watching Matt Damon as Jason Bourne – a real treat for Richard and I as we never get to the movies.

Sadly, boxing day, our last day it was time to leave and sail down the west coast of Lanzarote.  We arrived back in our base at Marina Rubicon, late afternoon having circumnavigated the island of Lanzarote just in time for a last swim and one last game of scrabble before dinner.

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Tuesday morning we said goodbye – 6 more people have gone away armed with lots of leaflets and full of enthusiasm to pass on the good word.

Wow – what a great Xmas, now its time to get ready for New Year!!