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Monday, October 25, 2010

Sail Tenerife to La Gomera 24 October 2010

Having re-reviewed the weather forecast for the coming days and re-read the writeups on the harbours on El Hierro (no marina - just tie up to harbour wall where there are few cleats and only two steps so could be interesting if other boats are already moored there) , decided to give El Hierro a miss this time and go to La Gomera instead.

However, with winds forecast to be 20 +knots from NE, and bearing in mind the notorious acceleration zone as one nears La Gomera, decided that an early start was a good idea.
So we left San Miguel Marna on Tenerife in the dark at 0500hrs.

As dawn broke, the magnificent view of the soaring 3718 meter peak of Mount Teide became clearly visible astern.
On the advice of the pilot books, motored north hugging the coastline to stay in the lee of Tenerife with 2 reefs in the mainsail till we were due east of the port of San Sebastian before heading for the island. The sea became very choppy on the crossing and as there was very little wind, we felt as though we were in a washing machine.

First views of La Gomera:

About 6 miles off La Gomera, Jeannette, who was on watch yelled for help - the wind had shot up from very little to over 30 knots - we had entered he acceleration zone! Her hand had got jammed against the cleat as she tried to free off the mainsheet - result - skin removed from 2 fingers and blisters on two other fingers.

The sea became quite rough with white horses all around us as we Dutch Link sped towards the steep cliffs of La Gomera at 8 knots with the wind gusting 35 knots.

Three ferries overtook us as we approached the harbour - fortunately they were more or less moored by the time we arrived.

Amazingly, as soon as we rounded the very substantial breakwaters, the wind dropped of and in the marina itself, it was almost calm - a big sigh of relief as mooring in a marina in 30 + knots is a hairy exercise. A second sigh of relief when the marina confirmed on VHF 09 that they had place for us.

After fueling up, a very helpful marine staff helped us to our berth.
First impressions are that this is a delightful island - we are in no hurry to move.

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