Sunday, 14 December 2008

yachting madeira to gran canaria, a big week off from fuerte windsurfing!

Well...i have a bit of catching up to do on here...
Packing some things late in the evening back in Corralejo, after a long hard day at the office-taking my group windsurfing down to sotavento!-and fixing the trailer lighting, i was actually feeling a bit nervous due to the big wind and swell forecast for the atlantic/canaries, and my mates laying down the banter on how my crossing might be!
After a scenic drive up and down the twisty roads surrounded by green mountainsides I found Ewan busy onboard his boat in the sunny harbour on Madeira. What a stunning place i'll have to go back! There were now 8 of us on the yacht for this leg, tight squeeze! I can’t believe the 4 of them are crossing the Atlantic in it, not big, and built for speed not comfort. After some briefing we attempted to set off and were hit by a steady 33knts and lurched into action accelerating on a beam reach. Adam, also a new recruit pretty swiftly found himself seasick! sort of funny but not for him! Ewan got 10-11knts only on the jib/headsail A few of us did have a bit of a 'what the hell are we doing/about to do here- feeling..! Back to the bar... i was on holiday after all!

The next day we were to set off again aiming for less punishing conditions on the yacht and its crew. Windguru was still forecasting 5m and 25knts out to sea...
We made it out in gentle breeze and it wasn’t until Madeira looked pretty small that we really found some proper wind and the swell size and period increased gradually but consistently the further south we got. I learnt some basic crewing as we went on and tried to keep attached to the boat helping get a sail up and down while we surfed down 4m waves, Ewan skippering. The sun set and we were into the watch patterns that
had been drawn up, which was 3hrs on 6 off for most. It all went pretty smoothly though i don’t think i got much sleep!

>above>taking in the view on deck, Duncan at helm

The next day we had larger swell with changeable wind strength and direction. We got the spinnaker up and i took a helming lesson! The yacht is pretty high tech with large repeaters showing boat speed, wind speed, apparent wind angle, bearing and other info. We were heading as downwind as possible but keeping the wind on the right side of sail is pretty crucial! It felt pretty weird to feel the boat get planing down a swell line - a fair bit bigger than my Goya 81 custom! - and to respond at the wheel to keep the spinnaker full during speed and direction changes, quite a lot like windsurfing actually! and not let it back which would flatten the boat! I got 10.6 knts in the 20knt breeze, happy with that!
Later we sailed just on full main as we had more like 25knts wind and the boys got 13.8 knts ...a new top speed for their boat, pretty quick!

It was quite cool on night watch though my Gul technical clothing kept me warm and dry enough! We had clear skies and shared stories to keep awake and alert, fun using a remote control while huddled on deck out of the wind to adjust the autopilot compass bearing, keeping a safe apparent wind angle but still trying to go as deep downwind as possible. On another watch later that night eventually getting some sleep i woke up to a loud crash, some shouting and a huge judder that shook the whole boat! I really thought the boom had just fallen off! From a steady 20knts we'd been caught up by a surprise 30knt wind that powered us up on the full main and crash jibed the sail -where it flies from fully out on one side to powering up the other as the sheet (ropes) and blocks stop it again. We had another couple in the gusty wind...luckily the boat stood up to it!

We made it to sunrise and in sight of gran canaria...the wind and swell eased as the storm system was passing and we cruised into a cloudy las Palmas. 280 miles in 48hrs was pretty good considering many periods of light winds as well as strong, and we were all pretty chuffed!

With all the northerly swell around we lucked in with overhead-high clean surf at Playa las Canteras. Was so fun to just go for it at a beach break for a few days. I got plenty of closeout barrels! Great practice for quick take offs, pulling in, and taking a beating! A few locals out were pulling some sick turns and aerial stunts...

Keep up-to-date with the crew on

including photos, video, planned journey, current position and a blog

currently mid atlantic, probably searching out bigger waves! Good luck guys!

1 comment:

gran canaria holidays said...

One of the largest tourist areas in Gran Canaria, San Agustín, has a large variety of hotels, apartments, restaurants and bars. It shares an 8km long beach with the neighboring resorts of Playa del Inglés and Maspalomas. It is smaller than its neighbors and has bit more of a laid back feel to it.

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