Lanzarote to Madeira

Fantastic sailing last week from Lanzarote to Madeira.  A fantastic close reach for the first 200 miles and then a beat for the last 100 giving a total of 488 miles sailed.  We also had time to visit Porto Santo en route.

It was Richards Birthday the day before the trip started, and so this was the perfect chance for him to model his new birthday present – bright orange oilies!

Wear and tear and breakages on passages are a problem.  So as always we monitor exactly how the boat is being sailed and look out for chafe etc.  We can always get caught out by the unforeseen though, this week it was the stitching going (uv degradation) on the leech line of the mainsail causing it to flap a lot.

Richard made a temporary repair (I couldn’t reach)and whilst in port we have now fixed it properly, ready for the next trip.  We are just sorting the last jobs – guests arrive this evening on late flights tomorrow we will brief and get ready before setting off on Friday.

Want to join us in Norway – there are still some places see our schedule

La Palma Expedition 2017

lanzto la palma

Last week we set off on our expedition to La Palma.  We had tried this in previous years and never quite made it due to the weather.  At last, we made it after a great sail.  40 hours downwind on the way there and 62 hours upwind on the way back.  After going to so much effort to get there we spent a day and a half ashore.

Wow.  What a beautiful island.  So different to Lanzarote.  Richard and I went off on  a public bus into the mountains where we went for a walk and discovered that everthing was lush and green.  A very helpful taxi driver showed us terraces of bananas, advocados, oranges and more. We found the island far more like Madeira than Lanzarote and we would love to go back

walk in la palma

Velvet Lady was moored in the newish (2010) Calero Marina at the north end of the commercial harbour in Santa Cruz.  A word of advice for future visitors, there is an incredible swell in the marina, make sure you have plenty of mooring lines!

velvet lady in la palma

We went out for dinner on the last night in Marina Rubicon and were pleased with the feedback we got from our guests.

‘Your website is great – it describes just what to expect and you guys always deliver just what you said you would’

What a great end to a trip.  So with the first of our expeditions complete we are now getting ready for the next leg – Lanzarote to Madeira.

If you fancy the challenge of an ocean voyage there are still two places left on Madeira to the Azores – maybe we will see you on board.

 

Something new this week

sunshineAfter the blustery weather of early January it was nice to look at a forecast that showed the weather settling back to its usual North Easterly pattern for most of the week, but still with some rogue southerly winds in the middle.

We decided to try something new.

Day 1 we followed our regular pattern and headed to Puerto Calero.

Day 2 with a strong NE breeze we set off south to Fuerteventura and anchored in a sheltered bay in the capital Rosario.  Dinghy rides ashore confirmed that there is not much to see or do there but it was a fantastic sail.

Day 3, with the wind in the East and then becoming South East we had a great sail back to Arrecife.

Day 4, with the wind in the south west but forecast to shift to the north by evening we set off for Graciosa with fingers crossed.  (Always knowing that we might have to turn back)  After another great sail accompanied by dolphins and a whale we arrived off Graciosa at 1800 where the wind had shifted to the west but no further.   After a quick look at the anchorage in Playa Francesca we decided it was too wild to stay the night so crept in to anchor behind the harbour wall for shelter.

Day 5, the wind shifted and so we motored back to Playa Francesca and dinghied ashore

Day 6, with very little wind we motored down the west side of the island to complete our circumnavigation and managed some sailing in the strait between Lanzarote and Fuerteventura before it was time to head into Rubicon

163 nm sailed – we circumnavigated for the first time this winter season and had a bonus visit to Rosario – the wind gods are starting to look after us and the sun shone all week too.

What our guests thought:

We weren’t really sure what to expect when we booked but the reality turned out to be fantastic.  Lin and Richard, you were both great, velvet lady was superb, the food and fellow crew made the whole experience memorable.  Thanks for a great week, we’ll be back!

Many thanks Lin and Richard for a really enjoyable and relaxing sailing holiday.  A first experience for me, a whole we sailing without the skipper or mate shouting at me!

Thanks Lin and Richard for a fantastic week on your lovely boat.  It was everything we had hp=hoped for when we booked.  Great sailing, great food and great company.  We would love to do a passage with you in the future.

 

Happy New Year from a blustery Lanzarote

better-for-xmas

Wow.  What a windy time we have had over Christmas and New Year.  Nevertheless Santa found us and we enjoyed a night at anchor with a ‘Pirate Ship’ for a neighbour

eye-of-the-wind

The weather started to turn during Christmas week.  We started with 3 great sailing days, and spent the third night at anchor with Eye of the wind for Neighbours.  But, on the fourth morning,(christmas eve) we were woken up with the waves starting to build around us.  We managed a couple hours sailing in the shelter of the strait before heading back into Marina Rubicon.  On Christmas day the wind shifted to the south east and howled, and it didn’t get any better on Boxing day.   Luckily we were based in Marina Rubicon, where there is lots to do, and our guests spent their time, swimming, walking, sunbathing and just chilling.  We enjoyed a full turkey dinner on Christmas day – and walked it off on Boxing day.

We had a family of 4 on board as well as a group of 2, and despite the weather, we were pleased to receive the following comments in an e mail

We all had a super time on Velvet Lady and I’d especially like to thank you for your expertise, patience and enthusiasm. You made me feel so much more relaxed about sailing and you both inspired a confidence I hadn’t felt before. Thank you so much.

Statistically, the wind blows from the north or east in Lanzarote and hardly ever from the south east, but this week the statistics have failed us.  The wind stayed in the south east for the first 5 days of our New Year trip, with the waves breaking over the breakwater on 2 of the days and we only managed to get out sailing on the last day.  The wind eased and backed, the waves died down and the sun shone. It was sheer bliss and all smiles to get out on the water.

new-year-sailign

Our guests have left now, and I’ve been studying the forecast as it is once again blowing from the south east.  Its forecast to continue for the next 5 days!  Our next trip is not until 22 January so fingers crossed it has given up by then.

All of the itineraries for our trips stress that sailing is subject to weather conditions.  When the wind is too strong or the waves are too big we just cannot go, it’s a bit like going on a skiing holiday with no snow.  You have to find something else to do to entertain yourselves.  If we know there is bad weather coming, we try and make sure we are tied up somewhere there are other things to do, but this might not always be the case and it is possible that we could find ourselves stuck at anchor  in bad weather.

SONY DSC

You could become very good at scrabble!

A great start to the New Year

Happy New Year everyone

fabulous start to new year

What a fabulous start to the New Year – sailing into the sunset at Graciosa on New Years Day with a clear blue sky. Long may it last.

We had a great trip for the last of 2015 and after our special dinner on New Years Eve we brought in 2016 in style with Spanish Cava and Big Ben on the radio. With fireworks going off all around and people on other boats celebrating there was a great atmosphere.

The first day of the year was our day to sail from Arrecife to Graciosa – usually a dead beat to windward but the wind gods were kind and we managed most of it on a reach. We shared the anchorage with 2 other boats but by the following day we were on our own in the beautiful Playa Francesca.

As well as circumnavigating Lanzarote this week, we circumnavigated Graciosa as well – just not enough wind to get us up to Alegranza. A target for the next trip perhaps.

We’ve had a busy few days since the New Year trip – Velvet Lady is now out of the water in Puerto Calero and ready for her new ‘paint job’. She will be in the yard until 8 February, after which we will have 3 more trips with the option to circumnavigate Lanzarote. Still a few spaces on 18th January and 10th March (28th February is full already) before we head off north for the summer.

Hope you can join us – but if not, we want to take this opportunity to wish everyone

Fair Winds and Great Sailing throughout 2016

Merry Christmas Everybody

As usual we were in Lanzarote for Christmas – and this year we were lucky enough to enjoy temperatures that are much warmer than usual. We have been sailing in shorts and t shirts without the need to wear fleeces or long trousers – even in the evenings.

We had great wind nearly all week giving us some fantastic sailing – and we were spoilt with sea life. Dolphins every day – and 2 separate sightings of whales. Wow

dolphins alongside

We made it all the way north to the island of Graciosa, but didn’t complete our circumnavigation – gales forecast for the end of the trip made us choose to sail back down the east side of the island and enjoy some flat water reaching instead.

We arrived back in Marina Rubicon mid afternoon Christmas day and so Santa was finally able to find us. 1800 was time for Aperitifs and presents. Christine introduced us to a new style Bucks Fizz – Champagne, Orange Juice and a huge slug of Cointreau, tasty.  We all enjoyed a large glass of this whilst we opened our presents.   There was a large selection – Lanzarote T shirts, mugs with Velvet Lady on, mouse mats with Velvet Lady on (both from one of our enterprising guests) and Bombay Gin, Tonic and Limes all wrapped up in tin foil.  Unwrapping the gifts was great fun – along with pulling the christmas crackers, wearing the hats and telling the silly jokes.

Boxing day,  as predicted there were gales with the waves breaking over the breakwater so instead of sailing we spent a relaxing day in port and watched the start of the Sydney Hobart race instead.