To Gran Canaria

Written by Pieter Jan on Jan 6, 2020 — 3 min read

From: Papagayo beach, Lanzarote, Canary Islands
To: Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Canary Islands

We left the beautiful Papagayo beach anchorage around 11:30. Before noon, so that’s early in our book. We had three options: sail along the east side of Fuerteventura, along the west side, or go straight to Gran Canaria. Once we were sailing we decided to set course for Gran Canaria.

Last look at Lanzarote
Last look at Lanzarote

We saw Brain Waves, who had also just left for their big adventure. I wish them the best of luck, very little wind and a strong cooperative current. Maybe we’ll meet them again along the way or on the other side.

Brain Waves starting their crazy voyage
Brain Waves starting their crazy voyage

“Hmm, at this speed, it will take a day and a half”, I noticed after a couple of hours sailing. We hadn’t really checked the distance to our destination before leaving. The wind kept falling away until there was about 2 knots of boat speed left. “Great, at this speed, it will two days. Oh well, at least it’s comfortable.” The wind was coming from behind us and the waves were not too big.

The sun went down and the wind picked up to a decent 10 knots. Vite & Rêves converted that into 6-7 knots of boat speed. I had put the hydrogenerator in the water and it was humming contentedly, producing its magical electricity. One of the things that make me happy on the boat is a positive energy balance, whether through solar panels or through boat speed.

An upside-down sunrise followed by a sunset
An upside-down sunrise followed by a sunset

Around 2:30 the wind picked up a notch. It was now consistently over 15 knots and Vite & Rêves was flying at 8 to 10 knots. We were just crossing a traffic separation system, so the extra speed was welcome, but blasting through the night at 10 knots on spinnaker alone was a bit perturbing. 15 knots apparent wind from behind plus 10 knots of boat equals 25 knots of true wind speed.

I checked the boat manual.

“The maximum speed for which the spinnaker is designed is 20 knots apparent, but anything above 15 knots is considered sporty sailing."

I don’t consider myself a sporty sailor, especially not at night.

On top of that was the hydrogenerator now generating so much electricity that the batteries couldn’t absorb it anymore. When this happens, the generator starts to freewheel, which produces a low rumbling sound throughout the boat.

Time for a sail change. We had crossed the traffic separation system now anyway. I woke Barbara, who was just dreaming about a heavy metal concert, on account of the loud rumbling noise near her head. We waited for a brief lull in wind speed, quickly rolled in the spi and unfurled the normal foresail before Vite & Rêves had time to stop. Our speed dropped to a more reassuring 5 to 6 knots.

The rest of the night was spent in short, dreamful 20 minute naps until we arrived early in the morning at Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. There was no room for us in the marina, so we joined the 20 or so yachts waiting in the bay outside.

A lot of big ships anchored in front of the harbor
A lot of big ships anchored in front of the harbor