Monday, 19 November 2012

Off to Fuertaventura Wednesday 7th November 2012

The plan is to leave 1st light on the Wednesday morning, the best laid plans etc..... we finally got away at 08.30 bound for Gran Tarajal on the south coast of Fuerteventura. At 5kts it is a 10 hour sail so it will be dark when we get there so we need to get a move on!

Out of the harbour into a very gentle WSW F2! So we motor for the 1st hour, as the breeze picks up we can sail, 6kts towards our destination on a fine reach with the Main and Genoa. As we get to the end of Lanzarote the wind veers to the west and strengthens, even better as we are heading south, mizzen up and off we go at nearly 7kts!

Too good to last, as we get in the lee of Fuerteventura the wind drops and we are forced to motor sail to keep our speed up. All is not lost as the wind veers to the NE and we hoist the cruising chute. At about 1430 we see dolphins on our port side about 150m away heading north. On closer inspection through the binoculars we can see that they have white heads and one has a definite whitish dorsal fin with scratch marks -  Rissos dolphins from the book, wow!

No time to relax as the wind has changed again! We now have a NE F5, a bit too much for the chute so we take it and the mizzen down and run with the main and a poled out Genoa. No sooner than we have relaxed with a cuppa then the wind died and we are back to motor sailing again. At this point we can honestly say that our modifications to the Genoa are working well as this sail has been unfurled and furled several times with no problem.

We are not finished with sail changes just yet! As we round Pta de Lantaila the wind strengthens and backs to the north! We are now sailing SE so we gibed and out comes the Genoa again and we sail towards Gran Tarajal.
Dusk over Pta de Lantaila
Our pilot book does not show the new marina configuration and as it is beginning to get dark we decide to anchor in the bay. We can go into the marina in the morning. The anchorage is perfectly sheltered apart from a bit of swell which is OK for one night but would become tiresome if we were there for long.

In the morning we motored into the harbour to find a large marina with plenty of space to manoeuvre. We called the harbour on the radio but got no reply so we just parked up with boats of similar size, including another Westerly Corsair crewed by Mike who was over wintering there. We duly reported to the office and explained in poor Spanish that we had a reservation. The Port Captain could find no record of this but as the harbour was not full it was no problem!  
Morning rainbow over Gran Tarajal

The harbour was full of boats we had seen before, Dick and Moira on ‘Equinox’, Pete and Carol on ‘Jack Tar’, Martin and Sophie on ‘Stand by Me’, plus many others, all keeping out of the way of the ARC and planning their passages south to the Cape Verdes, or continuing their cruising of the Canaries. We were joined by Steve and Chris on ‘Chewsy’ at the weekend that had sailed back from Tenerife and told us of their ‘run in’ with the authorities who would not allow them to anchor! It seems all the rumours are true, which may spoil our plans as we wanted to anchor for a while in Tenerife. We hope the Canarian authorities sort this out soon.

So now we have another island to explore and it looks like our social life is back in full swing.

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