Landfall in Lanzarote 29th October
So as you could probably worked out the low pressure system did bring some wind and we started sailing. Then it brought some more wind, then some more and some more… Then it rained HARD. Oh then it brought us some Thunder and lightning and some more wind!!!
So low pressure = Oil skins and big waves and loads of rain
It would be fair to say that our complex weather routing software found the wind but probably not quite what we really wanted. It also suggested a route some 150 miles longer than the rum line. (Direct line)
As I penned the last update it would be fare to say I had spoke to soon. The trip turned into quite an adventure with wind gusting to 30 Knots and a short choppy sea. And as always for us, the wind on the nose! Not really very nice. The only upside was the sea was warm when it hit you in the face!! This heavy weather changed our watch plans and we had to go back to having a mother watch to ensure 2 people were on deck at all times. The full menu from the galley was reduced to self-heating bag meals until Peter braved the Galley to make an Irish stew 2 days later.
This was a truly heroic effort (well done Peter) due to the fact I had filled the galley sink with my bag meal some 4 hours after eating it, then filling the cockpit with bile once I came back on watch 3 hours later sorry to Jo and Peter for my antisocial behaviour. Solid food was needed by all of us, after the long and demanding conditions.
The wind did finally die down and became variable first from the nose then from the beam and finally from behind again. During this time I (Chris) had a great moment when I thought I was about to hit a barrel floating in the water and was total amazed as a giant turtle swam by only feet from the boat. None of the guys believed me at first, as they thought I was delirious with seasickness. However this was the truth and a few salty sea dogs once in port have backed up my story.
Good conditions return and so do the smiles.
The change in wind allowed us the chance to try the kite down wind and down a 30ft swell. This was awesome fun and we only broached a couple of times as the waves picked us up and turned us around. This was due to the swell and wind being at 45 degrees to each other (can’t wait for the real thing on the Atlantic trades). Alas the wind was short lived and within 90 minutes we had bagged the kite and turned on the iron main sail to continue our passage south.
Night falls on our final night at sea only 70 miles to go.
The last 30 hours were spent motoring due to no or little wind but after the battering, it was nice to let Antony the auto pilot take the strain, leaving us to read, do Su Doku and wait for the sight of land.
Peter was first to find it. First was the light from the lighthouse on Isla De Alegranza at 07.41 some 10 miles north of Lanzarote and at 08.39 on Saturday morning as the rocky outcrops came into view.
First sight of land in 5 days Isla De Alegranza North of Lanzarote
As we motored on and with sunrise, the volcanic islands out lines became clear and the fascinating landscape surrounded us. We initially made for port in Isla Graciosa just north of Lanzarote. The Port was like going back in time, no water, no electricity, no showers, toilets and a harbour master who sometimes comes to work on Mondays! With this knowledge we decided we would continue our passage to civilisation on the mainland. However it would have been a great place to stay if we had been only one day out of port.
Isla Graciosa just north of Lanzarote almost total deserted.
So the decision was made to cast off and make for Marina Rubicon on the southern end of Lanzarote. This was about 35 miles away and with little wind we motored on close to the north / west shore looking at the rugged volcanic larva flows than had once run down into the sea.
The view of larva flows from the 18/ 19th century eruption, which added some 8 miles to the width of the island.
The Marina Rubicon with all its facilities was a welcome sight. We moored up around 17.05 Saturday evening after 5 days and 6 hours of sailing / motoring, covering a total of 756.2 miles, with some 65 hours under motor.
Some repairs will be needed, mainly to the electrics that got a good washing of salt water. Both the new iPod compatible HiFi and the Iridium Sat phone would not work after the storm, both had high levels of sea water in them from waves crashing down the companion way. The Sat phone did recover in the sunshine but the HiFi is still not working this is quite desperate!!! But all in all it was a good passage, the boat and crew had pulled together well. It had been great preparation for the ARC!!
Now for a couple of days rest and maybe a few beers!!!