Island Rush

Written by Pieter Jan on Jan 1, 2020 — 3 min read

From: Caleta de Sebo, La Graciosa, Canary Islands
To: Rubicon Marina, Lanzarote, Canary Islands

We had to leave Caleta de Sebo. We were almost out of water and completely out of food. Plus we hadn’t showered since Rabat. A touch of civilization was in order to start the new year.

We put one reef(make the sail smaller by rolling it in or lowering it a bit) in the main as the grib(a small file that contains weather predictions) files predicted 20 knots of wind. Usually their predictions are on the low side.

The start of our 30 mile trip to the south of Lanzarote was very disorienting. The high cliffs created strange vortices in the wind. Wind speed literally jumped from 3 to 30 knots in an instant and rotated 180º from straight on the nose to straight from behind us. It was challenging. Barbara and I both had our hands full to keep the boat moving in the right direction, as the autopilot obviously couldn’t handle this situation.

But once we had passed those high cliffs, the wind speed settled at a more or less constant 20 to 30 knots. We sailed on the leeward(the side where the wind is blowing to) side of Lanzarote, which meant tiny waves and a strong breeze on the beam(the side of the boat). Vite & Rêves really flies in these conditions, and it’s a comfortable, fun flight. We were doing over 9 knots the whole time and regularly went over 11 knots.

Once we rounded southern Punta Pechiguera, visibility detoriated somewhat. The waves were a lot higher between the islands. Rather than starting the engines and motoring the last 3 miles to our destination, we chose to do one big tack(turn so the wind comes from the other direction). With one reef in the main and one in the genua(the foresail) now, Vite & Rêves handled the weather fantastically and we enjoyed the ride very much.

As we were barreling towards Rubicon Marina at 9 knots, Barbara suddenly noticed a ferry coming straight at us. “Quick, fire a shot across their bow!”, I yelled.

For a moment I considered altering course, but nothing I could do would make the situation any safer. I settled on following COLREG rule 18 — the best rule in my opinion — “A power-driven vessel must give way to a sailing vessel”. After a few tense seconds the ferry made a sharp turn to our stern and passed behind us. Good capt’n!

In the evening we met with avid blog followers Peter and Marijke, who were in Lanzarote on holidays. We had a bottle of cava on the boat to celebrate New Year and the happy coincidence of meeting and they treated us to dinner in one of the many restaurants in the marina. We had a great evening with these lovely people. Thanks again!