Our winter season of seven night sailing holidays around Lanzarote got off to a great start last week. The warm wind from the east made it a little cloudier than expected but the temperature remained in the twenties. There was often a slight yellow haze in the air caused by the Sahara dust brought all the way from Africa. Despite the cloud the sun was warm and often peeked out into patches of clear blue sky, enough to warrant plenty of sun tan lotion and giving us the opportunity to wear shorts and t shirts.
We were joined this week by Mo and Andy from UK and Heather and Tony from Luxembourg. All had sailed before but as often happens had varied levels of experience and different reasons for being away. As usual we all got on well and had great fun sailing around Lanzarote, logging a total of 181 miles in 6 days!
The wind was varied, giving us a great opportunity to experience Velvet Lady at her best, 8 knots upwind in flat seas and 9 knots on a close reach. We also sailed beam reaches, broad reaches and downwind in fluky wind in the narrow channel between Lanzarote and La Graciosa.
We are often asked in advance of a sailing holiday what will it be like and where will we go? We try and answer these questions as best as we can on the itinerary page of the website, and again on the first night where we outline our plans for the week. Our aim is to provide a sailing holiday with enough time to explore the places that we get to. With a mix of short days, long days and one full day ashore. The best idea we can give of what it might be like is what we have done in the past.
So, this is how last week went:
Sunday our guests arrived on board at intervals during the day.
Charter Flights into Lanzarote arrive frequently, and it is a relatively short transfer of about 45 minutes from the airport. Our official joining time is 1800, to give all day to travel if it is needed. Inevitably it is impossible to get a flight that arrives bang on time, and we are happy for our guests to drop by and leave their bags on board before going off to explore the local area. There is plenty to do around Marina Rubicon and Playa Blanca before returning to the boat for tea and biscuits at 1800.
The first evening is a great opportunity to settle in and get to know each other. It doesn’t take long before the conversation gets around to the weather and likely route which is best discussed looking at a chart. Dinner is served on board at 2000 with a glass or two of local wine, and by the time dessert is finished there is always a good level of camaraderie and laughter.
Monday, after breakfast, we started with a safety brief.
We want all of our guests to understand how to stay safe on board, but we also want them to enjoy their holiday and feel comfortable on board. As well as talking about winches and lifejackets we also talk about making tea and helping yourself to goodies from the cupboard.
After the safety briefing there is enough time for a quick walk ashore and we set off from the marina just after noon. The forecast was E4/5 and with a prospect of a longish beat we decided to go to the marina in Puerto Calero. Although only 16 miles in a straight line, after quite a few tacks we sailed a total distance of 29 miles in 5 hours.
To see a Google Map of the route please click here
Tuesday morning it was time for a leisurely help yourself breakfast between 8.30 and 9.30 and a stroll around the marina. Late morning we left to sail further along the coast to Arrecife. East force 4/5 again and more tacking so it was 1630 before we picked up a mooring buoy in the old harbour. After tea and cake in the cockpit nobody felt like going ashore and were more inclined to head off for an afternoon nap. Tony and Heather had brought us some Luxembourg wine to sample which having been chilled in the freezer was perfect for a pre dinner cocktail
Wednesday, immediately after breakfast, we left preparing ourselves for a long sail up to La Graciosa. E4/5 becoming SE 5 gave us a beat for 2 hours followed by a fast reach up the coast and a surf downwind through the gap between Lanzarote and La Graciosa. The wind shifted to the south earlier than we expected, and we sailed the 40 miles to Graciosa in record time anchoring in the bay at 1600. Mo and Andy swam around the boat before sunset.
Thursday, a day ashore in Graciosa
Graciosa is a lovely island only reached by boat. It would be an awful shame to sail all the way here and not have enough time to explore, so our itinerary allows for a day ashore. There are all kinds of things to do, walk up the volcano, swim, snorkel, walk to the village for tapas or have a picnic on the beach. These all sounded attractive and Richard ran everyone to the beach in the dinghy at 11am. It starts to go a bit chilly after 4, and so we collect every one from the beach then and bring them back on board. Sunset is about 1800, and this week we watched it with a glass of Sangria in hand.
We made a prompt start after breakfast 10am and sailed back along the west coast of Lanzarote to complete our circumnavigation and anchor in Playa Papagayo at 1800, 50 miles later. We didn’t see any dolphins this week but we did see lots of turtles.
Papagayo beach is only 3 miles from Marina Rubicon, but a great setting to wake up to. This week there was some form of photo shoot going on on the beach, looked like some form of Bridal wear. Being so close to home gave us the chance to spend our last day enjoying sailing without worrying about having a specific distance to cover. We set off on a broad reach to circumnavigate the island of Lobos, just off Fuerteventura. Richard served hamburgers when we were in the lee of the island before we spent the rest of the afternoon beating back. Velvet Lady’s secret weapon is the staysail, no use when the wind is abaft the beam, but for going to windward it adds at least a knot to the boat speed. It also means that every time we tack we have to use all 6 winches in the cockpit which keeps everyone on their toes! By now a well oiled team we tacked every 20 minutes or so, just for fun and arrived back in the marina at 1600 in time for a bit of trinket shopping.
Dinner on board at 2000, Richard spoilt us with Lasagne, Garlic Bread and Salad followed by Tiramisu and cream, all cooked whilst we were tacking!
And, what better way to end the week than with a quick after dinner trip to the Jazz bar!
Why not join us next year – see here for dates