No matter whether you join us on a day sailing trip in either Norway or Lanzarote, a milebuilding trip or a full on ocean passage your safety remains our primary concern. We often describe our trips as all the fun of sailing without the responsibility – which you have handed over to us. Preparation for each trip starts with a detailed safety briefing and information about life on board. We encourage questions and like demonstrations. This week, one of our guests expressed a worry that the zip around the lifejacket cover would not break open sufficiently to let the lifejacket inflate – so we got her to try it for herself! Then we could show off the other features of the lifejacket including the light, whistle and of course spray hood.
Safety brief complete we head off for a drills and skills day. Often Velvet Lady is the largest boat our guests have sailed and so therefore the most powerful. We spend a lot of time describing how to safely and efficiently use the winches and making sure that everyone gets used to doing things in the same way so that there are no surprises in the night!
Last week, drills over, it was time to enjoy a sundowner in the Real Club Nautico bar and move on to the next stage of our learning, passage planning.
Many of our guests come to learn how to read and understand weather forecasts and then use that knowledge practically. Last week, after a session with the chart and the weather forecast we decided to break the long leg from Vigo to Madeira into 2. 250 miles from Vigo to Cascais followed by 500 miles from Cascais to Madeira as the crow flies. This was to give us the opportunity to keep out of the way of a developing low pressure system over the canaries.
After all this planning it was time to set off from Vigo – and as it turned out, it was a very good decision to head to Cascais first. 250 miles became 300 with tacking and took us 50 hours. The last few were spent surrounded by lightening. We got into harbour before the wind and the rain and we spent a comfortable evening in Cascais whilst it was blowing old boots outside. The wind was then kind to us all the way to Madeira – we even had enough time for a night in Porto Santo.
Our guests all agreed they got what they came for, practical experience of life on board, night sailing and watch keeping and plenty of miles for the log book with a final tally on the log of 891 nautical miles