Las Palmas, Gran Canaria

S/V Goldcrest
David & Lindsay Inwood
Thu 8 Nov 2012 16:00

We left Gran Tarajal after 3 nights having decided to do some boat jobs (engine service & re-wired the Duogen which is still under-performing when towed) and get some exercise whilst waiting for the NE trade winds to start.  As forecast they started on Wednesday (7th Nov) so we had a fantastic sail down the bleak coast of Fuertaventura to an overnight stop at Morro Jable.  The harbour wasn’t recommended so we anchored off a black sand beach in strong winds.  We had our fingers crossed against the 50 knot night gusts this spot is infamous for; we were lucky in “only” having 32kts overnight.  The upside to that was that we got tons of wind power from the Duogen, the downside was that it was so gusty that the noise kept us awake!

All sail up before the trades started  and right, the bleak coast:


The next day was a long one over to Gran Canaria and although we vowed we’d be up and away early, we were the last of 4 boats to leave for the 57 mile crossing.  Not that we’re competitive or anything, but that did give us the challenge of managing sails in strong winds to get a good speed without being too uncomfortable.  It was our first full day of trade winds, but just forward of the beam they were a bit of a handful, averaging 18kts and gusting to 30.  We reached Las Palmas in just over 8 hours, an hour before the next boat, so no contest!  Despite the high boat speed and all the work I did rewiring it, the towed Duogen was still not producing much power, so we’ll have to see if the manufacturer has any new ideas.  We’re relying on it totally to avoid having to run the engine for electrical power during the crossing, so amps do matter!


We arrived tired but exhilarated in Las Palmas and headed straight for the anchorage, where we joined over 50 other yachts.  The only time we’ve seem a greater density is a bank holiday weekend in Newtown Creek on the Isle of Wight!  We managed to find a good spot, grateful we were ahead of the next crowd.  In the morning we had our first real use of the SSB radio and heard that the marina had spaces, so we dinghied in to check and were told to come in at midday.  Big mistake.  I scratched the boat again, we had to endure 2 hours of waiting and were then told we could only stay for one night!

Las Palmas “beach” and anchorage (with that number of boats at anchor swimming is not advised!):


So it’s now Saturday morning, we’ve done some shopping in the city centre and we’re waiting to see if we are going to be chased off and have to pick up our visitors by dinghy this evening.  The weather is still not that great.  The mornings are mostly OK, breezy but sunny, but it clouds over most afternoons and has rained a bit almost every day.  With the strong winds blowing constantly now, evenings and nights are a bit chilly, so we’re looking forward to getting even further south as soon as we can.