Archive for April, 2011

22 Apr 2011

Corralejo – Las Palmas

9 Comments Canaries

I spent good two weeks in Corralejo, it’s a magical place! There is kitesurfing, surfing, a blues festival, great bars, transparent water and fantastic people. I had the best time in Corralejo and now that I have arrived in Las palmas I wish I was back there again.

I was in the anchorage and rowed across every morning to the beach where I dragged up my dingy, there I met a sand sculpturer called Chris who had lost his boat in Portugal in a storm after it holed itself by bashing against steel pontoon. Chris was a great guy and guarded my dingy.

I met an Irish / Polish couple on my first night there who ended up staying the night, after a hectic row across the anchorage in a strong wind. It was dark and the engine broke down half way across, certainly left them with a few memories.








Think they got a bit more than they bargained for










I can’t begin to say how wonderful Corralejo is, kite surfing was a 5 minute dingy ride, the night life was awesome. I met two Swedish pilots who were telling me tales of landing 60knots cross winds on regular basis, kind of trivialised my experiences with mere 35knots and just myself to worry about. I had a good 20 people onboard either staying the night, sunbathing or going for day sails. The owner of a bar I parked my dingy outside of closed early and I took him and his family around the island Lobos, I got free drinks the entire time I was there.

The highlight was without a shadow of a doubt meeting Pamela and Kevin who took me under their wing for two days, we had an absolute blast and had a few conversations that turned those within earshot a darker shade of pink. Kevin joined me onboard for the morning, we then had a few drinks went for a meal and topped it off with a dance. Any of their family are more than welcome to stay onboard any time!

My new crew member - Kevin the Legend










There was a blues festival, there is a great bar called the Rock Island, loads of surfers. Absolutely wonderful place. On the day that I was due to leave for LP I went to pull up one of the Anchors, I had dropped two because I am paranoid about anchoring after my previous experiences. The danforth set like a rock, however, because I had not seized the shackle it had worked itself lose. Bob who was in the marina came across and helped me locate it but I couldn’t dive down and pick it up so i pulled up the CQR and spent the night in the marina. The following day a dive school was coming in so I ran to their pontoon and asked the lady if she could help me find the anchor on the sea bed, she happily obliged and with all her heavy gear she walked to my berth. There

Excitement in the Marina - Anchor 0 - Chris 1

was excitement in the marina and I went out to where the anchor was with 5 people on board, the lady jumped off the boat found it in 5 minutes. I was overjoyed, kissing her like the deity that she is and offered her some money. She looked at me offended and said ‘Pay it Forward’ – that ladies and gentlemen is karma. She made my day!

Thomas on a steel 42 footer which he bought for a song at 13000 euros educated me on the usage of SSB radio’s and dispelled the myth that you need a pactor modem to send and receive data, all you need is a computer and the PSK protocol.

Reluctantly it was time to leave, I was talking to David and to illustrate a point about how people do have an adventurous spirit I called over a random person and asked him if he wanted to sail to las palmas with me. He thought about it for 5 seconds and said ‘Sure .. why not’. David not to be outdone also agreed, I now

Now this is a boat! 42' of steel

had two people who had never sailed onboard, I tried to scare them into reality of what they were about to face. We tacked 8 times upwind to clear the headland then went on a broad reach followed by going downwind, the journey took 16 hours. If I had turned back after the first hour I think their green faces would have both readily agreed. I made them take anti-vomit tablets, David decided to take some sleeping pills unbeknown to me and fell asleep for the whole trip.

Steve and Sasha arrive in Las Palmas - a trip they will never forget

The windvane broke at 0200 and I was outside hand sailing for the rest of the trip, it is not something I will ever repeat. The responsibility of having two people on board, the fact that they couldn’t sail, the fact that one was knocked out … it was stressful! I normally simply sleep but because I had guests I their lives weighing on my conscious so I had to keep a watch, the windvane breaking was the icing on the cake. In the morning I roused David from his drug induced slumber and got him to steer for the last 4 hours while I got some sleep before we got to the harbour. Never before has land been so close yet so far.

The trump card was the fact that David had forgotten his passport so I had to buy his ticket for the ferry to take him home, this was after walking around visiting the police stations and German embassy to try and get them to stamp his ticket. they only check for your passport when buying the ticket, not thank god when boarding.

Tintin (Bob) and his faithful servant

So now I am in Las Palmas, been here almost a week, it’s a vile marina, best described as a cesspit. The facilities are beyond poor and there are 1000 odd boats here, toilets have no toilet seats let alone a lock. There is no real excitement and I am counting down the days till I can leave. I bought a satalite phone and a new Neptune windvane for which I am awaiting delivery. The people berthed here are great and there is a real bustling community for children who are educated onboard and jump from ship to ship for lessons in self defence, painting. I don my hat at the families for living this life and the experiences the children gain.

Pontoon party

Since I have been here there has been a party on our pontoon, which is certainly the liveliest. The Italians cooked a pasta dish. Was also invited onboard a Swedish couples boat for dinner along with another solo sailor called Pete, they have a website , fantastic couple .

Now I am deciding whether to wait in LP or see more of the Canaries and return to fit my windvane. I will be here for at least another 3 weeks if anyone wants a cheap holiday.




Dinner aboard Ingeberg

Your typical poster in the Marina









14 Apr 2011

Arrrgggghh!! – I be losing me marbles – Windvane troubles

12 Comments Uncategorized

The black connections had to be glued in at both ends after they were pulled out.

The plan was to head of across the Atlantic as quickly as possible, I sailed to Los Palmas from Corralejo which was a 16 hour journey. The Navik self steering was destroyed at 0200 when I ran over some debris, the entire servo rudder knocked clean off, I know people have sailed around the world with these windvanes but they are poorly constructed, very brittle and over 35 years all the plastic components are living on borrowed time. Also you can’t buy any spares for them, I have had four separate things break on them.

I tried to keep everything to a bare minimum but I have learnt one thing …. do not skimp on the most important items!! Your windvane is THE most important item after your sails and rigging, hand steering for 10 hours is enough to make anyone go crazy.

So with a broken electronic tiller pilot and half a windvane I now need to decide which to replace … do I spend 600 on a electronic gizmo or do I spend 2300 on a windvane. For me the option that would give me the best peace of mind is the windvane but all that money quickly reduces my cruising budget.

Then once I have made a decision I have to wait for delivery …. I am cutting things fine, but I will not stay in the Canaries! I am doing this for the sailing … which should tell me that I windvane option is the way to go.

To maintain my marbles, how deep should I dig, I don’t want to take the cheap route only to regret it 300 miles of the coast.

Navik minus the rudder

Royally pissed off, not to mention very tired, covered in bruises and one hell of a cold. Another yacht was lost with the skipper and dog airlifted 70 miles from my position on the way here… story to follow.

02 Apr 2011

Graciosa – Araciffe – Carmen – Callero (shower time!) – Blanca

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Just arrived in Graciosa

I am quickly making my way South stopping at as many places as possible, the wind has died down sadly but due to arrive again tomorrow hopefully allowing me to sail to Fuerventura. Callero was the first time I met people who could speak English .. it’s a thriving tourist hot spot with tonnes of bars and the inevitable Irish presence. I was however evicted from the place as the marina was not yet complete, was by far the nicest place I have stayed thus far however. Tonight I anchored in Blanca opposite the expensive fancy pants Rubicon, just waiting for them to push me off.

The cliffs of Lanzerote from Graciosa


When I left Graciosa I motored into the swell (4m) and wind (25knts), I was only making 1.5 knots against these two forces, the bow of the boat submerged as I descended each swell. I then hoisted my sails once I got past the headland only for the Navik to break again … I sailed down wind for 4 hours to Araciffe by hand with the swell crashing on my stern or under the boat. When I arrived in Araffice, royally pissed off I spent a further 4 hours trying to get a purchase on the seabed. I gave up and took a mooring having hauled up the best part of 150 meters of chain in my attempts to anchor. The state of what remains of the local pontoon says it all.

Horrible horrible anchorage, never again.

GPS plot of my anchoring attempts

From Araciffe I went to Carmen which was a wonderful place, I was taken under the wing by a group from Bristol and had my first night out. I was however evicted in the morning as it’s not complete and sent packing to Calero.

Fantastic Port, Camera - not complete yet.

20 eu a night - great facilities

In Calero I had my first shower since leaving and had dinner with some German sailors.

It's free and very nice, Blanca my boat is on the right.

And so I motored to my current port Blanca, nice place, I have taken another persons mooring so I am a little worried how long I can stay here. beats paying though.  Plenty of nudist beaches along the way to keep the journey interesting, although my book was a far more pleasant on the eyes.