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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Sail Las Palmas to Fuerteventura 12 April 2012

 Jeannette identified a very good looking weather window for our sail from Las Palmas to the neighbouring island of Fuerteventura - the wind would briefly change from its usual NE to NW on Thursday 12 April before resuming its NEerly direction and strengthening on Friday - 
below is the Grib File for Thursday midday

 So we checked with the marina - they said that although we had paid till Monday 16th, we would be credited for four days if we returned to Las Palmas. So we got busy for two days reconverting Dutch Link from a houseboat to a sailing vessel - stowing things away and checking engine , generator, bow thruster, anchor winch etc etc and Mike went up the mast to check the rigging
At daybreak (0700hrs) on Thursday 12 April, we cast off and motored out of the marina
 steering between the many anchored and manoervering ships and ferries
 the sun on the highest point of Gran Canaria
 The wind was from the promised north west but, as we were in the wind shadow of Gran Canaria and there was a one to two meter sea , the first hour or so was a bit uncomfortable with flogging sails. However once in clear wind, we had a wonderful fast broadreach in a 4 to 5 Bft wind making 6 to 7 knots with our usual two reefs in the main but full genny. Around 1500hrs the SW tip of Fuerteventura is clearly visible.
 Around 1800hrs we round the reef at the SW tip, Punta Jandia, after sailing 47 nautical miles.
 The original plan was to tuck ourselves into the bay just NE of the point and anchor for the night. However, the the wind forecast to come round to the NE during the night, we decided to press on for a further 20 miles, following the south coast of Fuerteventura past Morro Jable and up into the Coast Calma.
We made our anchorage off the beach at Canada del Rio by 19.40hrs - nicely before sunset. The holding was superb in 7.5 meters water over sand and very sheltered from West to NE - there was hardly any swell at all.
 At dawn the next day we raised anchor and motored the 10 miles to Gran Tarajal in clam seas but with 15 to 20 knots wind at 30 degrees to the bow.
 By 0900hrs we were safely moored in Gran Tarajal marina after a trip of close to 70 nMiles
 Domingo, the harbour master came to welcome us and through him we arranged to be lifted for antifouling etc on Monday instead of the planned Thursday.
 Domingo walked with us to the travel lift to fix the lift out with the travel lift operator and introduce us to Juan Carlos who would pressure wash/clean our hull, provide the necessary supports and do the antifouling for us.
 So far, everybody we have met is very helpful and friendly - only slight problem is that there are no working toilets in the marina and no WiFi - I am writing this blog sitting outside the Cultural Centre which provides free WiFi

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