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Date: 10 Dec 2006 18:23:29
Title: Background...the story so far...

After four years spent cruising in our last boat, Spirit of Solent (Beneteau Oceanis 400), from the U.K. to the Mediterranean, we sold it in Turkey in April 2004. Returning to the U.K. we then spent a very long time looking for an affordable catamaran, travelling all over the place to see boats that looked great on the internet but turned out to be overpriced and / or falling to bits. We finally bought "Adonde", a 2001 Maxim 38 catamaran, in Holland in July 2005. Incidentally, we named the boat "Adonde" as it means "where to" in Spanish, which seems appropriate since we're sort of following our noses. An interfering Spaniard has since told us that "Adonde" is grammatically incorrect and it should be "a donde". Bloody interfering language students, what do they know. Anyway our Collins dictionary says we're right so that's that.

 

After sailing the boat over to England we made our way down to Plymouth Yacht Haven (which we knew from our time there with the previous boat, and they have a travel hoist wide enough to lift us out of the water), to carry out lots of expensive repair work, not least of which was the replacement of both engines. The boat was originally fitted with Mercedes Smart Diesels, marinised by a German company, which were hopelessly unreliable and had to go! We knew they'd be trouble when we bought the boat but hadn't expected to have to replace them quite so soon, but anyway two nice new shiny Yanmars later all is well, and we're skint. Now somewhat happier with the whole thing, albeit later than planned, we moved to Falmouth to wait for a weather window to cross Biscay.

 

No chance. It was now November and we sat in Falmouth while south westerly force 8/9/10 came through every day...after a month of this we gave up and sneaked across to Jersey between storms and spent the winter there. Not a bad place to be, although the apparently normally mild winter weather didn't appear so it got a bit grim occasionally, but it gave us a bit more time to get the boat prepared for longer trips and bolt a few extra gadgets on, always a good thing in my opinion. Mmm, gadgets. Determined not to be caught out by the weather again we didn't leave St Helier until July (can you sit around determinedly?) and set off for Gibraltar. Unfortunately a damaged mainsail meant an unscheduled stop in Bayona (NW Spain) for repairs before setting off for Gib again. I say unfortunately, Bayona's actually a very nice place to be  - lots of sunshine and tapas - so it wasn't all bad! After a brief stop in Portimao (on the Algarve) we arrived to the dust and grime of Gibraltar. Aside from a lot more building work going on Gib was much like it was when we passed through six years previously - still no-one's bothered to sweep up a bit.

 

For some unfathomable reason we spent three weeks there before heading off to the Canary Islands at the end of August, but escape we did and after four and a half days at sea arrived at La Isla de Graciosa, a small island off the northwest tip of Lanzarote. And very nice it is too. Like Lanzarote it's very barren, rocky / sandy scrub with a few (extinct) volcanoes sticking up here and there, but it has a small harbour with a couple of yacht pontoons and although the facilities are a bit lacking (no water or electricity on the pontoons) it is cheap and the small town has most of lifes essentials. We decided to stay put there for a while as we'd heard that the other marinas in the Canaries were quite expensive and became very busy, an important consideration with a catamaran as we take up a lot of room. So we spent a very pleasant few weeks there until we flew back to the U.K. for a week at the beginning of October. It got much busier on our return, with a lot of world cruising types turning up from all over the place, hanging around waiting - sorry, I mean preparing - to cross the Atlantic in December.

 

We finally left Graciosa on the 22nd of November for Marina Rubicon in the south of Lanzarote, a day away. Blimey, culture shock! Very swanky marina, running water (yes I know it sounds sad but we'd missed it!), electricity, restaurants and bars all over the place, shops...right next door to Playa Blanca which is very touristy and a bit grim unless you're gagging for a pint of Guinness and a steak and kidney pie. Four days there was enough to make our way back into "normal" society so off we set for Las Palmas, an overnight trip and our final planned stop in the Canaries before the Atlantic...

 


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