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An early start to Puerto De Mogan

Measured on the GPS it’s 50 NM, ish, from Santa Cruz to Puerto De Mogan on Gran Canaria. So we set the alarm for 6:00 aiming to leave for 7:30. I checked the forecast with the normal GRIB sources and we walked around the harbour just to see how things looked. It was pretty gusty in the harbour which didn’t match the forecast, but I figured it was just local Tenerife winds and anyhow if things were rougher than forecast we could always turn back.

Turned out things were not as forecast, we had wind on the nose for a start, and with 50 miles to go had no real choice but to motor (or arrive in the dark). Fortunately things did change, the wind dropped then shifted to the beam (sidewards wind) so up went the sails. The wind was a bit feisty, gusting to about 24 knots, so two reefs in the main, full jib and we flew, averaging about 8 knots. It also stabilised the boat as the sea was pretty lumpy, 2-3 metre swell and confused seas. If you’re not sailing the boat’s all over the place and pretty uncomfortable.

After about 3 hours sailing the wind pipped up a bit, the boat was over powered, rounding up every now and again (the boat leans over to far, the rudder looses steerage and the boat stops sailing turns into the wind and stops sailing. It’s like a built in safety feature). We already had two reefs in the main so couldn’t reduce it any more however it’s easy to reduce the size of the Jib by furling a bit of it. We turned the boat into the wind to take the pressure off the sail and I started to furl it. Then all of a sudden the attachment between the Jib sheet (rope) and the clew (back corner) of the sail failed. No damage to the sail so I furled it and we carried on with just the main for a bit. Then the wind dropped so we motor sailed then it shifted and was on the nose again so we motored the rest of the way. You can see a piccie of my jury rigged replacement so we can use the sail going back to Tenerife.

On arrival getting into harbour proved to be entertaining, the wind got up, the Jib decided to unfurl itself (would have been impossible to steer in harbour with the sail like that) so no choice but to go to the bow and drop the Jib onto the deck (in very lumpy seas). Felt like being on a Clipper yacht again! Anyhow all good in the end.

One last disaster to report, a confession from someone who should know better, we lost a fender. I tied them on to the rail at the back of the boat (pushpit) with clove hitch knots, not strong enough for the rough conditions. Should have been down below or tied with a stronger knot, round turn and two half hitches. Ellison has named the sad lost fender Wilson.

The mooring technique at the marina was new to us, a lazy line (a line attached to a concrete block on the sea bed you attach the boat to instead of an anchor), bows too to the harbour wall with two lines attaching the bow to the harbour. Not unusual, but getting off and on the boat was. A ladder on the harbour wall, as you can see below. You pull the boat to the ladder and clamber up. A tad perilous depending on the state of the tide!

A long and tiring, but successful day, and an Ocean passage for Ellison, and for a while without site of land!

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