Thursday Dec 1st, Southeast La Gomera at anchor.

Thu 1 Dec 2022 12:53

Where has the time gone?   From Graciosa we sailed down to Rosario on Fuerteventura leaving in the dark at 0530 (for some reason that escapes me now) arriving at 1600 and spent Monday night and Tuesday there.  At midnight on Tuesday (the latest we could stay without incurring another berthing fee) we set off initially to anchor on the south of Fuerteventura on route to Las Palmas but the bracket holding the kicker to the boom failed and we decided to go direct to Las Palmas on Gran Canaria to give us more time to set a repair in motion before the weekend.  We had a brilliant, fast sail across to Las Palmas, arriving around 1600 and went straight to a waiting pontoon 28:07.69N,15:25.39W.    We have adopted a new policy of not asking in advance for a berth but just rocking up where upon the friendly staff do their best to help.   Nevertheless, Las Palmas was filling up with not-ARC (not Atlantic Rally for Cruisers or NARCs) who, like us, had been waiting for the ARC boats to leave and make some room.  It is a big marina with over 1200 berths but the key factor is the facilities, not showers etc. which were adequate but, chandlers, riggers, sail repairs, marine electronics, super markets, produce markets and lots mainly along the water front by the marina gates.   Alisios, the riggers, looked at the broken kicker fitting and said it was ‘completely unsuitable for a boat our size’ and happened to have the correct one for our one-year-old Sparcraft boom in his shop window. However, they were extremely busy and didn’t think they could look at the job until the following week!   They did agree to look the following day to check the fitting was suitable and, in the event, came down and fitted it at the same time - result!  We also got several small jobs done on the boat and had the fridge checked over because it was using a stupid amount of battery power. The outcome of that was a new compressor was required and there happened to be one of these sitting in the chandler’s window. This was fitted on Monday pm and the outcome was a colder fridge, a great saving in battery amps and much less heat being generated by the compressor.

With most of the maintenance done by Friday, we did a lot of shopping on Saturday in Las Palmas for stores for our Atlantic crossing proper.  The supermarkets are geared up to provisioning yachts and two trolleys worth of supplies were crated at the check-out and subsequently delivered to the boat.   We went to the beach for a swim on Sunday and in the evening went out to dinner as it was Dave Tremain’s last night on board.  On Monday Brian did a load of laundry and I bought another Camping Gaz bottle and refilled an almost empty canister as we had not been able to get our Propane bottle refilled. We had a coffee in the Sailors Bar before seeing Dave off to the airport by taxi.  The folding bikes were then unfolded and we cycled up to the north end of the vast docks complex to get our passports stamped out of Shengen Europe - baaaah.  In the evening we filled water and diesel and left for La Gomera. The forecast was not brilliant but not too bad either and we were going to be mostly down wind but, in the event, in the wind acceleration zone between Gran Canaria and Tenerife, it turned out to be one of those ‘washing machine’ passages. I had also neglected to check the hatch on the sail locker was dogged down and the sails and bow thruster got a soaking.    But, with three reefs in the main we made a fast passage arriving wet, dishevelled and tired.  

The marina at San Sebastian 28:05.01N,17:06.53W could only offer us a space for one night (although that changed later) and we took it.   Sail bags and the locker were dried out.  In the pm Annie Linley and Gavin Fennel who spend a lot of time on La Gomera, called by for a tea and offered to show us around the town where Columbus had spent time.  Afterwards we had a drink in the town square and were able to watch the second half of England versus Wales.

On Tuesday we agreed to take the boat to the port of Vueltas because we had to leave the marina and also because it was closer to the Fennel residence.  Vueltas was only a few hours motoring; although we set off with a good sailing breeze, this died as we moved into the sheltered side of the island.  The only berth in the port was alongside a wall built for commercial ships and the swell was significant giving our ropes and fenders a bashing.  We left the boat, with some trepidation, to eat in a fish restaurant on the dockside and on our return, the motion seemed worse (extreme) and we agreed to take turns to check the ropes and fenders during the night.  Around midnight, when I was ‘watching’, the aft mooring cleat pulled off shearing two 10mm stainless bolts at deck level.  The rest of the team got up and we decided to pull into the middle of the dock and anchor which was not allowed in case we got in the way of the ferries. We had to postpone Gavin’s kind invitation to show us the island the following day and we couldn’t have left the boat unattended anyway.  We got the anchor in by seven am and sailed for one of the more sheltered anchorages on the southeast coast.  That’s where we are now.  Tomorrow, Dec 2nd, we return to San Sebastian marina where we have four nights booked because the weather goes foul and south westerly for a few days as a depression sweeps through. Where have the trade winds gone?  We aim to set off for Cabo Verde on Tuesday.


That's us in the lower left hand corner of the picture in Las Palmas marina 
Sunday lunch beer after a swim at Las Palmas
from L-R: Morag, Brian, Annie, myself & Gavin outside Columbus's house in San Sebastian
The port of Vueltas and the dock where we anchored when the motion got too severe on the quay wall.
just more of the spectacular cliffs composed of volcanic material.