Madeira to Canaries

Wed 12 Nov 2008 17:41

Position 30:55.433N 016:12.593W

Wednesday November 12th


Wind NE Force 8-9

Sea State 3-4M

Visibility Good

Heading 177 T°

Under: 3 Reefs in Main and Reefed Genoa

Speed 5.9 Kts


Left Quenta Do Lorde Marina after refueling at 10h04.

Michael and Tony on Blue Tarn have left about 1 hour before us also headed for Las Palmas. We have exchanged Sat Phone Numbers and agreed to stay in touch on the trip. They are testing some equipment before heading south so we hope to catch up with them.


10h33 Engine off

As we out to see Ursula is sleepy so we decide to start our watches immediately and she takes her three hours break. Blue Tarn are about 2 miles ahead. They have spent a lot of time setting up their downwind rig which seems complicated and they hope to test it on this trip. I wonder how they will manage as I see them of the Islas Desertas as the wind is very much easterly and I don’t think that rig can cope with wind on the beam.


I called them up on VHF and they have been motoring and are now setting sail. Michael is worried also about making south and they are turning eastward for the moment and hoping for the wind to shift north as predicted. Maybe they will get to St Lucia before any of us.


Meanwhile Chez Nous I am on deck rigging the pole and just off our bow I hear a hollow sound like truk air brakes very close. It startles me and as I look to port two pilot whales come up to wish us a safe passage and cross our bow 3m off. Of course they are gone by the time I get the camera.


The duogen is vibrating a lot maybe due to resistance as batteries are fully charged. I hope at least. Must monitor our power situation carefully this trip as it is our last before turning east from Gran Canaria for St. Lucia.


Wind has been steadily building since we left from 4 steadily to 8 and prolonged gusts 9 from a North Easterly direction. The forecast was 17-20 kts and we have double that. With just the two of us on a long passage I don’t really like being out in this as its easy to become fatigued, sleep is more difficult obviously but more tiring still is the domestics and moving around below. The irregularity of the motion is the problem. If you were inside a cocktail you could get used to the rhythm and could plan your next step or hand hold, know when exactly to lift your leg to fit your oilskin trousers. This sea state is chaotic and abrupt and leaves little space for anticipation especially in the dark.


On deck the waves are like barking dogs over a wooden fence. The foamy snarls and white teeth indicate the desire to bite. Experience tells you to pass that fence with confidence but are never quite sure if this particular dog can clear it. The odd wave does clear the sides but when they bite they are not cold.


Looks like this weather is going to keep up. We have reefed heavily and slowed the boat so we can have a more comfortable nights sleep. This means we will not reach Salvagem Islands in daylight and so alter course to pass West of them rather than between. Salvagem comes from the word salvage, we will leave them 12 miles to port.



Have just had communication with Blue Tarn (VHF 08). They are not far behind us, maybe 10 miles. After a long dog leg to the East they decided to pack up the new rig and are now coming back onto a southerly course. Good to hear friends at sea.


Island lighthouse barely visible and we round and make a course of 157 before I turn in. Nap till ten. Lentils and chorizo, then back on deck.





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