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Monday, December 12, 2011

Gran Canaria


Our proposed “few days” in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, turned into 10. Same old story – waiting for parts, then waiting for weather and then Brenda goes and breaks a tooth!. After leaving Lanzarote we sailed down the east coast of Feurteventura, anchoring overnight in Las Playitis…with a sleepy fishing village on one side of the bay and a huge German resort on the other. You could hear the pilates orders coming over the loudspeaker and drifting out to us! We left on sunrise for the long day sail to Gran Canaria with conditions gradually worsening as we got further south. The winds here tend to accelerate at the bottom of the islands and the swell is confused – we knew all that but conditions were still worse than we expected with 30knot winds and short, sharp swells. Not much fun, but we were thrilled with how Bandit performed and anchored in Las Palmas just on dark.


The anchorage was full of cruising boats including two Kiwi boats – Awaroa and Tuatara. The next day Balvenie, a former Picton boat, rocked on in – we’d been chasing them around the Med for several years and finally got to meet Amanda and Mark. The marina was also full of cruising boats preparing for the crossing so it was a very social time with beach parties, dinners/drinks ashore and on various boats….which made our stay there really enjoyable…..but we still just wanted to get going!


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Spinnaker up……………………………………….spinnaker down in forward cabin!!

The weather window for a passage to the Cape Verdes looked good for Monday so, after a fantastic farewell dinner on Balvenie and fun night with Mark, Amanda and Tony off Tactical Directions, we were out of there. Earlier plans to visit neighbouring islands of Tenerife and Gomera went out the window - we were anxious to get this next stage of our Atlantic crossing underway.


First two days were pretty scruffy – 30 knots of wind with a big swell made for  uncomfortable days and nights – we made up a bed on the saloon floor as it was the only reasonable place to snatch sleep. The only good thing was Bandit’s speed – she rocketed along averaging 7 knots – hitting top speed of 12 at one scary stage! But once the wind eased and the swell dropped we had some fantastic sailing on virtually flat seas – much kinder and far less spillage and swearing involved and we still flew along.

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Skipper sleeping on saloon floor.                Skipper dealing with tangled mess

Now, for those who haven’t read our daily blog ( I will relate a story about our new towed generator, the skipper and a fishing line.  By just reading those few words you have probably got the general idea.  The generator is towed behind Bandit on a 20m length of spinning rope……and no, it is not a good idea to put the fishing line out at the same time.  But…we did and the photo shows the aftermath.  What you can’t hear are the swearwords coming out of the skipper’s mouth!!!  Needless to say, from now on Willy the Worm (the generator) does his duty at night and we fish during the day!


On day five we got the spinnaker up and left it up all night. Naturally, when we came to take it down we had issues (what is it with this damn sail??) and we were just pleased there were no onlookers. We even caught a fish on the last day. We anchored in Palmeira Bay on the island of Sal, poured ourselves a big rum and cooked up delicious mahimahi.


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