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Over 90NM in 2 days

Having spent 3 days in Puerto De Mogan we decided to sail back to base in Tenerife as a stopover on the way to La Gomera. 50 NM to Tenerife then 30 to La Gomera which because of the wind turned into 40+ NM. 90 NM might not sound much and indeed in a car it’s nothing, but on a boat averaging 5-6 Knots it works out to be 15-18 hours on the water in 2 days which is enough for us.

The journey from Gran Canaria to Tenerife was pretty uneventful, pretty much no wind all the way. I did get the sails up but didn’t really get to use them. I also got some pretty good exercise as I had to shake out the 2nd reef which was still in from the journey to Gran Canaria. The problem with Nauticum is that the rig is single line reefing which is a monumental effort to take a reef out even if you pull the reefing line through at the mast and the boom. I know this won’t mean much to non sailing chums but trust me this 59 year old had a proper sweat on by the time the task was done.

You might remember how impressed we were with dolphins earlier in the holiday, turns out they’re everywhere, more that sought us out on the way to Tenerife and more again on the way to La Gomera. In fact you can see them from a distance heading towards the boat for a play and they’re clearly not just passing by because when we tack they still follow us, playing with the bow and tracking from behind jumping in the wake of the boat. Saw more whales as well which we’re pretty sure are short finned pilot whales. Ellison took an even better video of the dolphins, below.

The forecast to La Gomera was rubbish, no wind and indeed for the first 5 miles or so it was exactly that, like the Med, like a mill pond. Then after went round the last peninsula before Playa Des Americanas (which I’ve never been too and the like of which I’ve never seen before – not our kind of place!) the wind picked up. I’d already put the mainsail up so we just unfurled the Jib and off we went. We couldn’t make a course for San Sebastion on La Gomera but we were only about 20 degrees off (you can’t really sail closer to the wind than about 40 degrees off). This meant we would have to do a bit of tacking but we were averaging 7+ Knots so it was worth it. The wind stayed pretty much constant at a perfect 15 Knots until about 6 miles off La Gomera at which point it increased to 21 Knots ish. No real fuss for a yacht like Nauticum but we’d been sailing close hauled (tippy sailing) for 4 hours +. So given the 2 long journey’s and the physical effort putting in and shaking out a reef I decided to furl the Jib and motor sail in for the last 6 miles.

It was also amazing how quickly the swells builds in the Atlantic, which on the way to La Gomera went from flat calm to a good 2M of swell with only 15-20 Knots of wind! We tracked a massive ferry across, which along with San Sebastian, completely disappeared in the trough between waves.

No real drama parking up in Marina La Gomera, followed the yellow buoy channel in (which for sailing chums is necessary to avoid the massive ferries coming in and out) but nearly came a cropper at the entrance to the marina. As I approached one of the staff was gesturing me to go away – how rude I thought. However little did I know there’s a smaller hydrofoil ferry that docks at the entrance to the marina, nothing about that in the pilot guide! It was a bit like a pantomine where everyone’s shouting ‘it’s behind you’, as indeed it was. Anyhow no harm done.

Another hint for sailing chums is that this is a very tight marina if you’re being directed to a berth between boats, my advice is to go in backwards and slowly. Our berth was also very tight between the finger pontoon and the boat beside us. Slowly and remember your boat pivots from the middle – keep your eye on your bow as well as your stern!

Just one picture of Nauticum safely tucked up and of the two rows of boats (for sailing chums).

A day of R & R tomorrow, a chance to look around San Sebastian, then off back to Tenerife to Las Galantes on Thursday.

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