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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

2017 Sail La Palma, Canaries to Santa Maria, Azores

A favourable five day weather window for our planned trip to the Azores was forecast so at 0730hrs Tuesday 30th May 2017, we left Tazacorte Marina on the Canarian island of La Palma and headed NW for the 615 nautical mile trip to the Azores.
Leaving Tazacorte Marina
We motored for an hour in the lee of the west coast of La Palma. At 0840hrs we came out of the lee and were sailing at 60 degrees to the NE 3/4 Bft wind with 2 reefs in the main. 

By 0930 hrs we were in the acceleration zone with gusts of 35kts and lumpy seas still sailing at 60 degrees to the wind but with very little Genny. 

After an hour or so the wind settled down to a NNE 4 but the sea remained choppy. With the frequent changes in wind strength, we found the furling in and out of the Genny very demanding - until Jeannette had the bright idea of using our two electric winches which we had hardly used in all our cruising. We are now sold on the idea of electric winches - maybe a sign of old age!


Off watch
One the the several rain squalls
During the afternoon of 1st June we entered the Azores high, the wind dropped to a NE1 and the seas became very calm. At 1645hrs we were motoring
Sunrise 3rd June


Afternoon 3rd June gliding along over a smooth sea sailing 60 degrees to a light ENE2/3 Bft breeze making 4 to 5 knots SOG - idyllic
Sailing into the sunset 2140 hrs 3rd June

Preparing to enter Portuguese waters - Spanish courtesy flag down, Portuguese courtesy flag up
Entered Santa Maria Marina at around 0600 hrs on the morning of 4th June - still dark but harbour lights make entrance relatively easy - and being in the lee of the island, sea was calm enough to prepare mooring lines and fenders before we entered.
Apart from the first 1 1/2 days when it was a bit rough, this was a very enjoyable trip - distance covered 648 nautical Miles in 4 days 22 hours of whic 34 hours motoring - maily through the Azores High.

During the trip we had set up an SSB net on 4021 and 8122 KHz at 1800 hrs each day with Theo & Michelle on S/V Faja Lobi ( who had left Tazacorte a day earlier), and Stefan & Anna on S/V Zanzibar who had left a day later - very enjoyable to be in contact with friends en passage.

Just missed Friends on S/V Danny Boy who were just leaving
Birthday boy !

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