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Sotogrande, Spain to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

by Art on

Information

Sailing
42.40 hrs
Motoring
46.10 hrs
Total
88.50 hrs
Distance
720.00 nm
Average
8.14 kts

Preparations have been made over the past several months in Sotogrande, Spain and now we will soon be off on our long passage to Las Palmas, Gran Canaries. It will take us about 4-5 days to do the 720 nm depending on winds and weather of course. A few weeks in the Canaries doing additional preparations to be ready to start the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) in late November as part of a group of 235 yachts doing the crossing together.

This passage to the Canaries will see us test our ability to give you some progress reports during the passage as well as to update our progress on the chart you find below.

29-Oct

13:00 - We're off after refueling and clearing up our marina fees. The day is bright, the seas state calm and wind builds as we motor to the south toward Gibraltar. As usual, there are a lot of ships anchoring out waiting for further orders or to be allowed into Gibraltar to load/unload cargo.

18:00 - A beautiful evening off the coast of Africa. Wind is right on the nose so thank you Volvo for allowing us to make some progress. There is one other sailboat on it's way south like us and most likely heading to join the ARC too. The sunset was with perfectly clear skies and I saw the Green Flash just like in the Caribbean.

30-Oct

07:00 UTC - Overnight we had the change back to Fall time and it messed up our watches a bit so we decided this morning to set the ship's time to UTC. We're on 3 hour watches so that means 3 hours on and 6 hours off. It's working well. Overnight we motored along the coast of Morocco and will soon be coming up on Casablanca. Lots of fishing boats out here last night so we had to look out for them but this morning we are just about alone. Everything on the yacht is working perfectly. Today, we rig up the fishing gear to see what we can luck into!

15:00 UTC - It's really nice to be way offshore of Morocco. We see just a few freighters once in a while but otherwise just the ocean as far as the eye can see. One of the few last places to truly be alone. Glorious! It was a good afternoon for critter spotting too as a nice pod of dolphins dropped in for a while to jump all around the boat. We have a surprise guest fly in for the day, a finch of some kind (actually, I looked him up and think he's an African Wood Warbler). I imagine he's tired and looked to us as a place to rest. He's been here most of the day and we've fed him some bread and water. He's earned his keep on board by eating some pesky flies that have been bugging us. Nick and I worked on the sextant for a few hours calibrating it and taking some sightings. Nick worked over the astronomical tables and our sighting was checked against the GPS and found to be very accurate. Just as I was sitting down to write this entry, the fishing reel starting screaming and we had a fish on! It turned out to be a nice little tuna just the right size for filleting out for dinner.

Oct-31

07:30 UTC Another quiet night with some clouds, fewer and fewer freighters as we motor south (yep, still no wind). The dinner last night (by Chez Sean) was fantastic. The little tuna we caught late yesterday afternoon was in the pan 2.5 hours later and sauteed reverently to go along with a nice collection of veggies and potatoes. Maybe it's because we are offshore but we all agreed it was the best tuna we ever had. Making good progress toward the Canaries as we are now close to halfway. Our little bird friend has flown off but we'll keep a sharp eye out for more dolphins. Happy Halloween!

Nov-01

01:15 UTC - A very nice day has gone by with mostly clear skies and 3 meter Atlantic swell. Interesting to see them coming up on the boat from the stern quarter seeming so large then the boat just rides up and over like it was nothing. We've been motoring now for 62 hours straight and the big Volvo just keeps ticking over delivering a steady 8.5 knots hour after hour. We have had a current of some kind pushing us along as well so our SOG is running over 9kts and sometimes 10kts. Very nice! We have passed a number of other sailboats obviously without the kind of fuel range that we have trying to sail in these light breezes and making 3kts or so at best. If they're headed to the Canaries too it will take them an additional number of days to get there. We are now 207nm away from the marina at Las Palmas and, at our current speed, will arrive in just over 22 hours from now. We're considering stopping over on one of the other islands to anchor off for a night and catch up on some sleep as well as wash the boat down and inspect underneath the hull. A few shooting stars going by once in a while, just sitting up under the hard dodger with a cup of tea.

12:00 UTC - The first of the Canaries comes into sight, Isle Alegranza. After a number of days with nothing but ocean to view, it's great to see land again! We've passed 600 miles now and have about 117 left to go.I was reading about the history of the Canaries and they are not named after the bird but by some of the first explorers from Morocco in 60 BC. They found very large dogs roaming the islands and named them the Insulae Canium (Islands of Dogs). There's your bit of trivia for the day! Swells have lessened and we've got the fishing line out hoping for fish tonight.

Nov-02

02:30 UTC - Everyone up for the last hour or so coming into Las Palmas. Very late at night so just few other ships to avoid. The marina is very easy to find but no one around so we decide to grab any berth we see and check in with them in the morning. A long trip indeed but a wonderful experience to be offshore for so long. You get to really appreciate the effort put into desiging a great blue water cruising yacht. I couldn't be happier with the performance of the yacht and the crew. Now we are staged to get ready for the next big passage, to the Caribbean in late November. In the meantime, there's lots to do and see here in Gran Canaria. But first, we sleep like zombies!

This passage was crewed by art, nick and sean

Passage Track

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