What an Adventure

After sailing 710 miles from Vilamoura we are now tied up in our favourite berth in Marina Rubicon.  What an adventure!  No passage sail is complete without experiencing the full force of a cold front passing and this trip was no exception.  We watched the barometer fall, the clouds change, the wind increase and then even although we were expecting it the wind, rain and waves came.  Of course, it was pitch black at the time – but the crew and Velvet Lady seemed to love it!  No sooner had it come then it went – about 4 hours in all – the moon and stars came out and we were once again sailing in a gentle Force 4, this time downwind.

We arrived in Arrecife exactly 5 days after we left Portugal – tired but happy – with the adventure that was ‘even better than expected’.

See you guys on board again soon

 

Weather makes us late to Vilamoura

Our recent trip from Vigo to Vilamoura was not quite as expected.  Forecast strong winds and big seas in the Atlantic encouraged us to stay longer in the Spanish Rias and wait for a ‘window’.  How lucky we were to do that – as we recorded more than 50 knots on the wind dial in the shelter of Sanxenxo marina!

By the time the wind had abated it was becoming mathematically impossible to arrive in Vilamoura on time.  Faced with the choice of finishing on time in Lisbon, or being slightly late and making it to Vilamoura the crew opted for the latter – even though that meant a 400 mile non stop passage.  What an adventure, we still had some big waves, but with sun and wind some great sailing too.

Weaving our way through a fleet of about 30 fishing boats was the final challenge whilst also trying to spot the harbour lights against the background glare.  Success, alongside in Vilamoura at sunrise, not quite a day late and in time for our guests to catch their bus to Seville.  It is always disappointing to not quite stick to our schedule so we were pleased to receive the following

Many thanks for managing the challenging weather as best you could and giving us a full-on off shore passage experience. We all appreciate how much we learned from you both.

Ready now for the next passage – Vilamoura to Lanzarote starts tomorrow – looking forward to it, and getting to the sunshine in Lanzarote!

 

Winter Sailing in the sun

Its November already and on this last trip we continued our passage south to the sun whilst exploring the Spanish Rias.  Starting in La Coruna and ending in Vigo we clocked up 240nm along with some memorable experiences.

  • Surfing down waves off Cap Villano
  • Fabulous clouds, sunrises and sunsets
  • Squalls in Ria de Arousa
  • Pilot whales in Ria de Ares
  • Rissos dolphins in Ria de Finisterre
  • The walk along the Camino Finisterre to the lighthouse
  • The family of dolphins who joined us at anchor on our last day after shadowing us for 2 hours!

Great fun was had by all – now we prepare to sail south again from Vigo to Vilamoura.

Our trip south ends in December when we arrive in Lanzarote and we will spend the winter months sailing around this lovely island – no snow in sight! Why not  join us for some winter sun too.

 

 

Heading south – join us to sail in Lanzarote 2018/2019

Time has flown since our last blog in Norway – we hardly seem to be able to keep up with ourselves.

Our season in the North came to a grand Finale with some fabulous sailing from Lofoten to Kristiansund and then Kristiansund to Plymouth – we sailed many miles and visited lots of new harbours – always with the focus on heading south.

Once in Plymouth it was straight into maintenance mode –  we had our work cut out to finish the jobs in time – especially as we also needed lots of equipment servicing and our annual MCA survey.  In addition to the regular jobs we added to our workload by:

Removing old batteries, cleaning the bilges and then fitting new batteries

Fitting a new solar panel

Fitting a new mainsail

Fitting some new curtains and carpet in the saloon

Going to a ship captains medical course and when everything else was finished doing all the prep work to cross Biscay!

Biscay – well it was all about the weather, missing the two big low pressures and finally dodging storm Louise.  We had a plan and after a pit stop in Camaret (see arrow) we took a big detour right in to the centre of the bay – it seemed to work, the max wind we had was 35 knots.

We are now in Marina Sada, phew, resting and preparing for our next legs south to the Rias and Portugal before a full winter programme in the Canaries.

No room on the way south but there are spaces to join us January, February ad March 2019 in Lanzarote – just before Brexit!  As with everyone else in UK we are not sure how that will effect us.  Just to let you know – planning for next winter – we are unsure of what the sailing in EU rules will be after Brexit so we are taking the opportunity to have a winter off for maintenance and rest before summer 2020 when the dust has settled.  If you were planning  a winter sailing holiday break with us in the future come in 2019!

See the full Canaries programme here

Of course – summer 2019 we will be going to Norway again and as they are not in the EU it will be business as usual.  Some great trips happening there, why not join us

See Norway programme here

That’s all for now folks – a great week in the Rias awaits us and the blog will reappear regularly from now on

Happy Sailing

 

Heading South – Bodo to Kristiansund

With 330 miles to go between Bodo and Kristiansund the weather forecast was not kind to us – there was likely to be a southerly gale on day 3 so we needed somewhere secure to ‘hole up’!

Our first day sail took us to Inndyr, and then on to Ornes with stunning scenery and snow still on the mountains.  Then in  Ornes we sat tight for 24 hours as the barometer fell, the wind howled and the rain came down in sheets!

Ready to dodge the next gale we set out on a long passage to Berg, which we made even longer when we realised the next gale was ‘delayed for 12 hours’ and anchored just north of Rorvik.

The wind had eased to a 6 and shifted more westerly as we set off south from Rorvik, but there was a nasty – new wind old sea sea state – so after 12 hours having tacked south to clear the rocks of Bulholmrasa we entered into the inshore passage again for a bit of a rest.  Stunning Scenery, narrow fjords, lots of traffic and thankfully flat sea allowed us to make a lot more progress south than if we had stayed offshore.  The south west wind continued and so it was a beat all the way to the finish – when the sun came out and the wind died!

Thanks folks for a great trip

 

Farewell Lofoten

We’ve just finished our last trip of the 2018 season in the Lofoten Islands and in fact, probably our last trip there at all. Next year we will be based in Bergen and sailing in the Fjords further south.  This was our 9th summer here and in that time we have visited over 60 different harbours.  Even last week there was time for one last new harbour – Brettesnes, although there was no room on the pontoon for us so it was rather a short stay.

Yet another Minke whale joined us on our journey last week as well as many eagles and porpoises.  We have very fond memories of all of our trips here – surrounded by stunning scenery and often in beautiful weather.  We have had 24 hours daylight until this week, and now it gets dark for about 1 hour.  We’ll certainly miss the light.

That said we are really looking forward to exploring Sognefjord and surrounding islands – even further off the beaten track than Lofoten!  Think about joining us next year.  Getting there is not easy and may require more than a day travel, but the rewards will be worth it.  Look forward to seeing you on board.

A reminder of our times in  Arctic Norway and the Lofoten Islands