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

Lifejacket demonstration

Our sailing holidays always start with a safety briefing and full details on how to use our Ocean Safety lifejackets.  During the week we also had an impromptu demonstration of how the lifejacket inflated when on the last afternoon I accidentally caught the red toggle and set mine off!  This proved a good opportunity for everyone to examine the inside as well as the outside, including looking at how the sprayhood is fitted and also seeing how to change the gas bottle.

Our weeks sailing around Lanzarote was great, sailing 168 miles in 5 days and a spending a fabulous day ashore in Graciosa.  Temperatures were in the mid 20’s and so there was plenty of swimming and snorkelling but not much walking as it was too hot!

We circumnavigated the island and created the term Velvet Lanzarotarians.  We will be running the same trips in January, February and March aiming to circumnavigate Lanzarote so why not join us and join the elite group of Velvet Lanzarotarians.

For now we are busy with preparing for Christmas.  The decorations are up, the presents are wrapped, the turkey is in the freezer and the Champagne is on ice.  All we need are a few guests and they join us this evening at 1800.

Merry Christmas everybody

our best wishes

Lin, Richard and Velvet Lady

I Phone Application – Dead Reckoning?

Probably the best word to describe our recent crossing from Lisbon to Lanzarote is boisterous.  The wind and waves were so much bigger than the average predicted for this time of year, but Velvet Lady took them in her stride and romped along.  We later discovered that the weather in Gran Canaria had been so bad that the start of the ARC was delayed.  We should have known by the ‘red sky in the morning’ sailors warning!

This kind of weather really makes people pull together as a team, and I am going to use their words to describe the experience.

Within one week, strangers became good friends.  The boat was sailing at 6 or 7 knots at night, during the day, on and on and on and we were in a small cocoon on board moving to our target.  A great experience to feel the changing moods, colours, clouds, winds and waves of the ocean.  I will be thinking about it for a long time.

Sharing the intensity of 6 days non stop sailing has left an indelible impression on me.  There is something special about being alone on the ocean.  One small boat with no other in sight, everyone co-operating in the effort of sailing 700 miles.
There are experiences I will take with me Dolphins following us, lit up by phosphorescence glowing green in the moonlight.  The moon itself illuminating the sea and lighting our way. The closeness of keeping watch with a comrade who 48 hours earlier was a stranger.

This was a passage that fulfilled the RYA requirements for an ocean passage, and so despite the weather, we were out there with the Sextant checking our position.  When that was too difficult I was introduced to a new form of navigation that I hadn’t come across before – I Phone Dead Reckoning (another I Phone App)

In Paul’s words, it will never catch on with the RYA but it deserves a mention as regularly practised by Cees and myself!

We didn’t put anyone off though; Paul left us and within 24 hours had booked on our passage from Madeira to the Azores.

Passage sailing is now over until March and it is time to relax in the sunshine and go day sailing around Lanzarote.  The next three trips are full, but if you fancy a week in the sun there are plenty of options in January, February and March.

If, however, you are interested in experiencing the wonders of long distance sailing don’t leave it too long.  We now only have one place left from Lanzarote to Madeira and 2 places on Azores to Plymouth.  After that there are no passage places until October 2013 when we will again be sailing across the Bay of Biscay from Plymouth to Vigo.