That's aviation humor folks. Best said whilst hoisting a cold libation with fellow pilots at a favorite water hole, in a great hotel, nearly half way around the world from where they all started about sixteen hours previously. But it can apply in the cruising world as well. The camaraderie is a very big part of the pleasure.
|The Rock of Gibraltar on departure|
So we made it to the Canary Islands pretty much as planned. Four days, twenty hours and twenty minutes enroute, docks lines off at Queensway Quay Marina in Gibraltar to lines on at Pasito Blanco Marina on Gran Canarie Island. Seven hundred and sixty two miles at an average speed of 6.6 knots. All in all a nice passage with no problems. Sorry, I take that back, a slider failed on one of the dodger window zippers. We're not complaining very much.
Leaving Gib was interesting. Currents and tides through the strait are a major factor. I used the waypoints recommended in Jimmy Cornell's books and that was fine. In conjunction with those I took the advice of all the guides and we departed Gib two hours after high tide. That also worked well. We had adverse, but not too strong, tides for the first half of the strait and positive tides for the later portions. I think if I were doing it again I might, after clearing Punta Carnaroo where there are some shallows, hug the north coast a lot closer. There seemed to be local traffic on that path that may have been in a counter current or at least escaping the main flow. Then I'd go out at Point Tarifa and cross the strait towards the waypoints Cornell recommends. I certainly would not leave against a west wind, wait for an easterly. As it was we had no problem and escaped the strait easily. There is traffic but its of little concern to anyone who's experienced the traffic around Singapore.
|Passing Point Tarifa into the Atlantic Ocean|
We had light air and actually were on a close reach with main and genoa for the first day. Then the NE trades filled in and we had 15-20 knots most of the way. The acceleration zones around the islands are very real and we encountered that phenomenon at four in the morning approaching Gran Canarie. We may have had thirty knots in gusts that morning. Be advised! Most of the trip was done flying the full main alone but we did set the asymmetrical chute for several hours one afternoon, went wing on wing with the poled out 150 genoa for the last afternoon and had a reef in the main for a day or so as well.
The Hydrovane did almost all the steering while under sail and worked very well as usual. The only time it needs help is when going fast down wind in light air. We were doing seven knots boat speed in twelve knots of wind, wing on wing, dead down, and that adds up to only five knots of relative wind over the wind vane, it needs more in those conditions. That, and motoring, is why we have an auto pilot.
|GPS screen enroute|
|Under chute and main'sl|
|Pasito Blanco Marina view from the beach|
Love to all,
Bill & Janet Wickman