First night out of Mogan - The Atlantic crossing

Kingfisher 2013
Peter Smith
Wed 27 Nov 2013 20:11
How good it feels to be underway again after nearly a week in harbour. Puerto Mogan had one or two last tricks for us before we left. Despite the overall lack of wind on our route we had a local wind that started really blowing us onto the wall we were moored against this morning. So instead of casting off the lines we had to add a few more in order to stabilise the boat while we made our final preparations. There was not much to do but it still managed to occupy us (me) until midday, at which point I went to the marina office to check out. Having been kept waiting for about 20 minutes whilst phone calls and every other person who appeared after me got their questions in before me we were informed that the fuel dock closes every day between 1.00pm and 3.00pm. Now, this is not unusual in Spain but the specific delay in the office meant that we could not make it to the fuel jetty before it shut for siesta…..we had to delay our departure until 1500. However, this gave us time for lunch and a last check around the boat for things that needed doing. Getting the engine off the tender proved easier than expected. Alex demonstrated quite convincingly that it can be lifted by one (very strong) person. Getting it securely fastened down in its new location on the push pit was slightly more of a hassle. Some last minute purchases in my favourite ironmongers sorted things out and we were finally ready to leave our berth. The strong winds blowing on to the quay had not subsided so we got a helpful tow out of the tight spot we were in from a new character in the Mogan cast who arrived armed with a very rigid looking boat with very few fenders on it. We managed to hold him at bay and shortly after he had taken our line we were free of one wall - only one more to negotiate. The fuel dock has been thoughtfully placed at the very entrance to the port, equipped with a lethal wall and aided by the swell from outside the harbour being amplified as it bounces from the other side of the entrance! My crew were up to the job; we got alongside, refuelled for the last time and left Mogan.

One very relieved skipper! WE ARE ON OUR WAY……..

The wind allowed us to make a fast getaway - a reach under main and jib, then main and genoa gave us 8 knots over the ground for the first 3 hours. Gran Canaria disappeared into the misty horizon pretty fast and we may well have seen the last of our land until we raise Grenada in a few weeks' time. This is not certain though because we are heading South towards the Cape Verde islands and if we need to motor to get there we may well put in to Saint Vincent to refuel before we head across. Ben cooked a great pot of mince before we left this morning which we have just scoffed in its entirety. The boys and Tash have retired to their bunks and Alex H is on the first formal watch - from 1800 to 2200. We are going to run single watches for 4 people (hence, 4 on, 12 off) with the fifth person having 24 hours without watches to get a good night's sleep and then provide all of the cooking, cleaning and butler-type services for the next full day. This is a system that we ended up with on my last crossing and it works well on a boat that allows single watches. Kingfisher is so user-friendly that it is very easy to keep a single watch - there is not enough for 2 people to do! So, with a bit of luck, as I have taken the first domestic day (and a half!) to allow the crew to find their sea legs again, I am hoping to get a good night's sleep myself and wake up to a good day's cooking and baking. Fresh bread is also on the requirements list for the day's galley slavery.