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Sunday, October 2, 2016

2016 Sail Santa Maria to Gran Canaria 1 August 2016

The weather forecast looked good for our 730 NMile sail from Santa Maia  back to Las Palmas - wind direction mainy from the NE starting off light as the Azores High was centred over the Azores, increasing to a 4 Bft with the chance of a 5 Bft after a couple of days.


So we left Vila do Porto Marina, Santa Maria at 0845 hrs Monday 1st August 2016 in calm seas in a light ENE1 Bft wind. 
Shortly after leaving we noticed that reef nr 1 was not properly rigged so Mike corrected this
The wind remained very light but slowly increased as we motored at 5 to 6 knts out of the Azores High. 
At 1645 hrs the next day (2/8) the wind had increased to a NNE3/4 (around 10 knots) and we unfurled the Genny and started sailing on a beam reach on course 137 deg at 5 knots SOG.

The sunset around 2030hrs - beautiful sky just before dark at 2123 hrs
The wind strength steadily increased during the evening to 16 kts and at 2240 we furled the Genny to the first reefing point.
At 0530 hrs 3/8, dawn was breaking
By 1400hrs the wind was 16 to 18 kts from the ENE , sailing 60 degrees to wind at 6 knts 
Via our Satellite Iridium phone/redbox equipment, we downloaded the latest Grib Files from   Which indicated that the wind would increase further during the next couple of days
So we put 2 reefs in the mainsail and 2 reefs in Genny - had a mishap in lowering the Mainsail resulting in snapping the starboard Lazy Jack line - briefly motored into the wind to rerig it.

Sunset 2150 3/8/2016Sailing in NE 4 BFt making 5 to 6 kts
almost cloudless. seas getting choppier

Wind steadily increased during the night gusting upper 20's with the sea becoming rough with waves breaking over deck and sometimes water coming over the sprayhood into the cockpit.
The wind increased further during the morning of 4/8 gusting 34 kts {7 Bft} on the beam so put in the3rd reef and furled the Genny to a very small sail. Waves 2 to 3 meters, sun & cloud. Speed 5 to 7 kts course 136 deg.
Had another rough night 4 to 5/8 with wind often over 32 knots from NE and 
at 0330 hrs wind suddenly dropped  and then headed us.
We finally got sailing again with autopilot on 50 deg app wind setting as Track setting would not handle it. We were sailing with 3 reefs main in  a 6/7 Bft 25 to 34 kt ENE wind and small genny making only 4 to 5 knots - any faster and Dutch Link behaved more like a submarine with waves 3 to 4 meters high and white 
horses everywhere. Waves occassionally breaking into the cockpit.
At 0415 hrs 5/8 reached for the Genny reefing winch and felt something slimy - turned out to be a squid that had come on board with one of the breaking waves!
The wind stay in the 6/7 Bft range until around 0420 hrs 6/8 when the world changed for us.
Mike gat a call from Jeannette who had the watch, to say that the mountainous waves had miraculously 
disappeared and the  wind was down to a pleasant 4 Bft.
So 3rd reef out (only 2 in now) and gradually unfurled Genny we were saiing 
at 55 degress to a nice NE 4 at 5 to 6 knots with hardly any water over the deck and could 
almost stand up in boat without holding on - wonderful.
Mike went to the forepeak to retie the anchor which had become a bit loose.
Time to relax
Ship ahoy
Las Palmas's La Isletta in view
Just about to enter Las Palmas harbour with an almost Full Moon to greet us
21.30 hrs moored in our berth at the Club Varadera , Las Palmas having covered 731 nautical miles in 5.5 days, average speed 5.5 knts , sailed 4 days, motored 1.5 days

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