You can't always get what you want.

Rob & Sarah Bell
Sun 21 Nov 2010 22:49

28:28.03N 16:14.66W


Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st November


Saturday surprisingly busy as we firstly tested our Hypo Hoist recovery sling which is designed to help recover someone from the sea. We have had this device for years and installed fixing points on both sides of deck to deploy it when the boat was new, but somehow never actually tested it in anger. This was very helpful as it threw up a few problems and issues that needed resolving and modifications were required. Now I can honestly say that along with our session at sea the other day, there is a reasonable chance that we could cope fully with a man overboard situation when it is just the two of us on board! All we have to do now is remember it all......


We fitted new shroud protectors (the old ones were badly UV degraded) and James and I worked out a way of using the jackstays and safety harnesses on Serafina to best effect, avoiding potential disasters when going forward on deck in seriously bad weather. Generally pretty obvious stuff in principal but as James keeps reminding us, a lot of the structures that we take for granted will get swept away or crushed when a body crashes against them along with a mountain of blue water!


Sounds a bit morbid really, but we both felt a good deal better for having gone through all this in a practical way and tested the theories for real.


We were all a bit weary in the evening and with the prospect of an early morning ahead, we retired to bed fairly early.


We can thoroughly recommend the marina at Pasito Blanco to other boaters as it is very quiet and pleasant as well as secure which is in marked contrast to the other marinas we saw during our travels on Thursday. However there is a strange and very strong surge that runs through the marina all the time and as it reaches high tide, this swell becomes very significant. All the boats then surge around and there is quite a bit of noise mostly from warps and knots straining as heavy boats snatch violently against their restraints. What was all the more surprising was that this happened despite there being virtually no wind or sea running outside.


Sunday started with us rising at 5.00am to slip our lines and make our way quietly out into the Atlantic for the 58 mile sail to Santa Cruz, Tenerife. The forecast was for very little wind and so we wanted to get away early as we figured that we might be motoring most of the way.


Certainly there was little or no wind for the first few hours and this was sort of handy when at 8.10am we snagged a large clump of rope and fishing net around our propeller. We hove to and good old Sarah unearthed her wetsuit and went over the side to investigate. She saw the problem at once and so armed with a diving knife, she very quickly cut it free and in no time at all we were back on our way.


By 9.30am the wind was rising fast and we assumed that this might be an acceleration zone effect. We reefed the main and ploughed on into the wind and waves which were pretty much on the nose. Our luck changed then as the wind freed off a little and we were able to set the cutter rig and still make our heading for Santa Cruz. In no time we were flying along and we then enjoyed a wonderful sail the whole of the rest of the way, mostly at between 7 and 8 knots, taking a lot of water over the decks as it happens. The old issue of slightly leaking hatches raised its head again and we did have to rescue a few wet items as some small amounts of the sea crashing over the foredeck worked its way past the seals and into the forepeak. But despite this we had a fabulous sail over and the only shortcoming was my failure to catch a tuna, but in my defence it has to be said that the lures were barely in the water as we were sailing too fast for these rather light weight ones!


We met two very grand and impressive schooners  sailing the opposite way to us and our collective coming together was rather overshadowed by a 950ft chemical tanker travelling at 19 knots that passed very close behind us all!


Just after 2.00pm we reluctantly dropped the sails to make our way into the marina which is huge and only part full and by 3.00pm we were putting the boat away with an eye on the forthcoming ‘safe arrivals’. Santa Cruz Marina is one end of a very large commercial harbour and has lots of pontoons and stern-to moorings all behind a large mole which means it is very well protected indeed. Most of the boats here are poised to make an Atlantic crossing, but the added interest comes from the fact that its very size means that it is one of the very few places in the Canary islands that can host the very biggest yachts, so moored in front of us are several 100 ft plus sleek speedsters and their crews. Rather pleasing as well, is seeing an Oyster 65 looking very ordinary amongst such beauties. James is quite sure that he saw the Oyster skipper in tears on the phone to Super-yachts Anonymous.


Almost epic game of Mexican Train ended with James finally victorious just before we all fell fast asleep.