Lanzarote – Sunday 28th October
A fairly uneventful sail/motor from Madeira. We left at about 0830 on the Friday morning. There is quite a convoy leaving today, some heading for Lanzarote, others for Tenerife or Gran Canaria. We considered leaving on the Thursday but the sea was still pretty rough. We later discovered one of the boats that left on the Thursday turned back and another was ‘pooped’ twice! (Had a wave come over the back of the boat into the cockpit, a bit scary)
On sailing past the Islas Desertas we saw what looked like very large dolphins heading north, further investigation and consultation with the other boats heading the same way we concluded that they were pilot whales- wow!
As we moved away from the Islas Desertas the waves got bigger and I started feeling a bit queasy, but after a Stugeron and a nap I seemed to have got over it. It was really nice sailing in company. We could see other boats all the time on the voyage and there was a little bit of radio chat now and then so we could keep up with how everyone was doing. At night we could see their nav lights twinkling, which was all we saw in the moonlight apart from one coaster en route to Las Palmas.
I also saw a tiny Madeira shearwater or storm petrel, fluttering delicately above the waves, near the Desertas and another one later quite near Lanzarote. Another new bird for me. Apart from a few Coreys shearwaters that was the only birdlife.
We sailed most of the day and at nightfall the wind dropped so we started the engine. There was a small race going on between Equinox (the other Westerly Corsair) and us. Equinox called us on the radio to say they were ‘retiring’ and putting the engine on, as they had started a little before us and we were about one mile behind them we called it a tie!
About 5:40am (my watch of course) there was a crash and the engine slowed! Panic!
The wind had shifted, the preventer (A line tied to the back of the boom and led forward and back again and kept tight to prevent an accidental gybe) had snapped and the mainsheet had gone across and moved the throttle handle. So, not really a problem. I just sheeted in really tight and moved the throttle back. It was Richards watch at 6:00 and as the wind was no longer right behind us the threat of gybing reduced I left it till he came on watch. All we had to do was shake out a loop in the preventer and re-attach it.
A rainbow - Aah
We had quite a bit of rain on the passage, so tended to stay below and keep watch from the companionway hatch thus avoiding putting on our waterproofs. It was not cold at all and even at night the most I wore was a sailing smock.
We motored all night and most of the following morning, only sailing in the afternoon, the wind died again on the Saturday night so the ‘iron topsail’ was pressed into service again. (at least the seas are calm). Sunday morning we had a good sailing breeze from the south, just where we wanted to go! Coming round the south of Lanzarote we could sail at last, only to discover that the genoa wouldn’t unfurl – Arrgh!!! Frustration deluxe, this is one thing we really have to find a permanent solution to. To add insult to it all the cheek block that the port genoa sheet uses had broken its sheeve. Fortunately we have a spare as replacing this was one other job that didn’t get done before we left.
Early morning view of Lanzarote
Almost there - Pta Pechiguera
We arrived at Puerto Calero after lunch on the Sunday. Now we need to find a rigger, (furler), sailmaker (stackpack zip) and engineering workshop (cheek block) before we can go off again. The weather forecast is for strong southerly or SW winds for the next few days so we won’t be going anywhere; except perhaps to tour the island. We also are in need of an engine service especially as we have motored so much coming here, boat repair tasks are now the priority.The marina is very nice even the bollards are polished brass! On the quay are several restaurants including the British Bulldog and McSorleys Irish Bar! Not quite as bad as the Algarve, though. There is also a little well stocked supermarket with fresh bread every day and fresh milk, which we have not had since occasionally on the Algarve. Amazing what becomes a little luxury! Another good thing, the Laundromat is only €4.00 a load – bargain!
Best of all, for us, there is a good boatyard, chandler, a sail repairer and a rigger! So, not a bad place to be stuck in for a few days. Our first night here we were all invited to Persephone for drinks, so we could catch up with the Quinta da Lorde crowd and hear how their voyages went. We feel quite at home already!