Lively crossing – Lanzarote to Madeira

Now we are sitting in the sunshine in Madeira after a mixed and often lively passage from Lanzarote.  It appears that the jetstream is still misbehaving itself, the Azores High is in the wrong place and so the prevailing wind is altered.  What should have been a nice reach from Lanzarote turned into either beating to windward in big seas or motoring in flat seas.

Watches and passage making were a new experience for all on board but everyone quickly slotted into the eat, sleep, watch routine.

We had some great lookouts and because of them we spotted quite a bit of wildlife.  Dolphins leaping at us through the waves and not one or two but three whale sightings.  The most dramatic being as we approached the coast of Madeira and were in sight of the Desertas Islands in the calm before the storm.  We saw a huge blow in the water ahead that turned into ‘smoke’ and it was obviously coming nearer – enough for us to get sight of 4 blows, and then a fin on the back before the tail.  Wow what a sight to signal the end of the passage.

We were in a bit of a rush to get to Quinta do Lorde marina as a gale was forecast and we arrived just in time.  The sea was just starting to build as we crept into the narrow entrance alongside the cliff and tied up in our berth at midnight 61 hours after leaving Lanzarote.  By 9 o clock in the morning there was white water across the entrance and in the marina and we decided that we would have to explore Madeira by car not boat.

The mixed weather is continuing – I am just looking at the forecast for next week, seems like a little bit more wind on the nose for our next passage to the Azores which should take us 5 or 6 days.  Luckily Velvet Lady loves sailing to windward lets hope the crew do too!

Sail across the North Sea to Denmark, Chart Pack for Sale

Planning on sailing across the North Sea and in Scandinavian waters this summer.  We really enjoyed our time there last year, but as we are sailing Velvet Lady back to the Lofoten Islands this year we have a whole folio of  charts to sell.

This whole package cost us new in 2012 £750, and most are still on offer at Imray.  Our asking price for the whole bundle including postage is £400 by buying it now on line.

The Folio consists of

Imray North sea crossing charts

C25, C26 and C70  – these are currently available from Imray at £18

Dutch Chart Packs of Holland coast – 2012 version still on sale at Imray site for £28 per pack

1812 Waddenzee East Chart Pack

1811 Wadenzee West Chart Pack .

1801 North Sea Coast Chart Pack

German Chart Packs of German Coast – 2012 version still on sale at Imray website for £95 each

3010 Die Elbe bis Hamburg

3014 Zwischen elbe, Weser und Helgoland

3015 Ostfriesische Inseln

Delius Klasing-Sportbootkarten German Chart Packs of Danish and Swedish waters – 2011 versions on sale at Imray website for Satz 1 – £75

Satz 1 Kieler Bucht und rund Funen

Satz 3 West Coast Sweden

Satz 4 Great Belt to Bornholm

Satz 5 Kattegat

Norway Small Craft Chart Packs, south coast Norway covering Mandel to Oslo – each pack £42.50

D. Torungen fyr – Lindesnes

C. Sandefjord – Torungen fyr

B. Stromstad (Hvaler) – Mefjorden

Pilot books in German for Danish Waters and harbours, with easy to understand pictures and diagrams

Denmark 1 by Jan Werner

Denmark 2 by Jan Werner

Hafenfuhrer Denmark by Aloys von Hammel

All of the charts for the voyage were bought brand new in April 2012 and most of them were used only once.  They are all stored in their original plastic sleeves and in excellent condition.  They are currently in our storage container in Plymouth and we will be able to despatch them to you by 8 May

Reason for Sale

In Summer 2012, Velvet Lady sailed a circuit from Dover, across the north sea to Ijmuiden, north to Oslo, south along the Swedish Coast to Copenhagen, around all the Danish Islands and back via the Kiel Canal to Ipswich.  All the charts were bought new for this voyage.  Summer 2013 Velvet Lady will be sailing in the Lofoten Islands of Norway and so these charts will not be required and it seems a shame to leave them sitting on a shelf in a container!

We will only be able to despatch them during our turn around in Plymouth from 25 April to 8 May.

In case they do not sell at the £400 you could contact us with your best offer!!

All female sailing team in the 2014 Volvo Ocean Race

For the past few weeks, whenever we have been in Puerto Calero we have watched with interest as Team SCA in their bright pink boat go out training.  This last week we have seen them in the harbour and on the water.  Watching their AIS signal their speed has been 18 and 19 knots when we thought we were doing great at 8!

This bright pink boat is the training vessel (whilst the new one is being built) for an entry in the 2014 Volvo Ocean Race around the world  with an all female crew.  Currently they are doing crew trials and selection and Richard suggested that if I wanted to try I could.  I thought about it and 10 years ago I would have jumped at the chance, but I’m now so used to the comfort of our lovely Velvet Lady, and the relaxed atmosphere of our passages that I don’t think I could  cope with the adrenaline and stress of high tech racing again.   However best of luck to those trying out, especially Sam Davies a fellow Brit.

This was our last week of cruising around Lanzarote and we had a great time.  Good wind, great sailing, dolphins and 4 fantastic whale sightings, one so close to the boat that it was a privilege to watch.

At the end of the week we encourage our guests to write in our guest book and this little ditty sums it all up rather well

Anyone up for some winding?

Anyone wanting tea?

A shout goes up at the sight of a whale

A school of dolphins, the SCA sail

We’re loving our time at sea

The victuals are simply delicious

but our knots are in disarray

we’re learning our yankees and staysails and mains

though ‘haricot’ reaching is taxing our brains

we’d come back for more any day

There is a tale to the ‘haricot’ reaching. When talking about the points of sail we knew – close hauled, close reach, beam reach, xxxxx  reach, and dead run. Richard yells from the galley – a type of bean and we went through the list, kidney, baked, green etc – what is it really ‘a broad reach’!!

Come sailing with us, there is always something new to learn.

Off to Madeira this week and looking like some great weather with a little wind on the nose so we will be practicing our tacking and close hauled sailing

Ocean passage, Azores to Plymouth, now reduced

Fancy some more miles for your log book, trying your hand at watch keeping, and sailing across the Atlantic Ocean. Join us in April as we sail from Ponta Delgada to Plymouth. 1200 miles of real open water sailing. this trip can also be used as a qualifying passage towards your RYA Yachtmaster Ocean. Due to cancellations the cost of the 2 remaining places are now reduced from £1195 to £995 per person
full details on the Azores to Plymouth page of our website.


First time sailors

It is not often that it happens, but this last week we had 5 people all completely new to sailing.  With no idea or expectation of what it would be like sailing on the Atlantic Ocean we are really pleased that they all had a thoroughly great time.   We had a real mix, upwind and downwind, flat sea and lumpy sea, windy and calm and even a rain squall.  We circumnavigated Lanzarote, spent a day in Graciosa but didn’t manage to sail around Lobos.  On our last day of the trip the Spanish Met Office issued a wind and wave warning and so we sailed in the protection of the strait before returning to Marina Rubicon.  Before leaving our guests wrote in the book

Absolutely fantastic time.  The wonderful introduction to cruising that we had been looking for.  Thank you for sharing your home and your experience and giving us a unique opportunity to try something that we’d only ever talked about before.  What a brilliant week

Here in the marina the staff were taking the strong wind warning seriously and ‘spreading the yachts out’  We had a whole bay to ourselves and were recommended to tie lines across the dock.  This we did and Sunday night when the guests had left it blew 45knots of wind and we were very comfortable with all of our lines.  not so the bars who were seen strapping their furniture to the palm trees (above)!

The wind has now died away in time for our final week in Lanzarote, with two returning customers and 4 new people we are yet again looking forward to a fantastic week

Still places on the passages – why not join us