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Scotland Sailing
Insights into Sailing in Scotland
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Inverkip to Lanzarote. (Leg 3, Baiona to Madeira)

YACHTMASTER OCEAN TRIP SEPTEMBER 2009 BY JOHN RIGBY

Summary: Yacht delivery from Inverkip to Lanzarote aboard Pamina a Bavaria 44 Operated by Charter For You out of Inverkip (see the blog entry for this trip)

My involvement in the trip was the leg from Baiona Northern Spain to Madeira 680 Miles, on board acting as first mate and navigator, total crew 5.

Assisted with yacht preparation during August involved confirmation of Life Rafts, Life Jackets, Harnesses, Grab Bags and Flares all serviced and in date.

AIS and new DSC Radio installed, radar operational.

Checked all Charts required for passage.

Charts required for passage from Baiona to Madeira

Imray

C19 Finisterre to Gibraltar, C20 Gibraltar to Canaries

Admiralty

1730 Spain West Coast Ria De Vigo, 3132 Gibraltar to Madeira, 1831 Archipelago of Madeira, 1685 Camara do Lobos to Ponta De Sao De Lourenco including Funchal and Canical.

Current Almanac and Atlantic Islands Pilot Book.

7th September

Flew to Santiago from Scotland with 3 other crew members, Kenny, Barry and Andy to find that the yacht had diverted to La Coruna to affect repair to fuel system. Met up with Skipper Bill and Gillian who had already completed the first leg from Inverkip. Repairs rectified by 8th September.

8th September

Gillian from the previous leg decided to stay on, eventually doing the whole trip, taking crew number to 6.

Victualled yacht for trip 6 days + 2 days contingency. Emergency stock of drinking water of 3 litres per person per day + 20 litre jerry can.

Yacht fuelled and watered for departure that evening to allow for additional 100miles.

Amended pilotage plan to out of La Coruna. Fairly straightforward departure from harbour staying on 43*24’N till past Isla Sisarge and offshore round Finisterre and inside TSS

Ports of refuge: Camarinas, Vigo, Porto, Aveiro, Lisbon, Sines, Lagos.

Waypoints en Route

1/ East of Isla De Porto Santo 33°15’N 16°00’W

2/ Approach to Madeira and Islas Desertas 32°46’N 16°30’W

3/ Approach to East point of Madeira 32°43’N 16°38’W

4/ Entrance to Marina Da Quinto Do Lorde Canical 33°44N 16°42’W

Berth booked prior to departure from Spain.

Safety Brief and Standing Orders previously completed. Departed La Coruna 22.30 log reading 6010 Miles. Bow Nav. lights not working. Temporary Lights fitted.

Picked up sectored light on back bearing of 288°T. Heading for Islas Sisarges lighthouse Fl(3) (15s) 23Mls. Struck it lucky with the first watch 21.00 – 24.00, next on at 06.00. Operated a 3 watch system of 3 hours on 6 hours off.

Weather dry, visibility good, light winds.

09 September

06.00 – 09.00 Wind picked up to N/E 20kts visibility good.

11.00 Wind still Northerly 20 – 25 Kts. 42°55’ N 009°42’W. Staying outside TSS. Joined by dolphins for a while.

19.00 Strong Northerly winds all day causing steep 3m swell. Took some practice sun sights for the first time “not easy”. Everyone still trying to settle in, apart for the 2 crew from the previous leg across Biscay. Sunny but cool. Logged 90 miles in 14 hours.

10th September

11.00. Had 00.00 to 03.00 watch, still big sea running but nice night. Changed watch at 03.00 with a slight drama when the gas ran out and until we could find the 2nd spare bottle. The 1st spare seemed to have a faulty connection.

Felt unwell as I went to bed, but think I was overtired. Feeling OK now. Intend trying a practice sight and reduction today, but cloudy and overcast at the moment. (11.00 B.S.T. ships time). Wind has started to drop and seas moderating, however I was caught out during the night watch around 02.00 by a big wave, which hit us beam on. Gave everyone a jolt, me included as we fell down the other side. However everyone starting to settle in and the books are coming out.

14.00 Fair sized tuna caught by Andy. Sushi for a snack. Wind has dropped and boat speed down to 4 knots, engine on to maintain average speed and charge batteries. Still full cloud cover so maybe a sight tomorrow.

16.30 Managed to get a break in the cloud cover and lucky enough to get a quick fix. See sight reduction 1. Approximately 17 miles from GPS, I am happy with that.

18.00 On dinner duty, watchmate Kenny made a neat chilli with rice and left me to do the washing up.

Managed a few hours sleep before the 03.00 – 06.00 watch.

11th September Friday (Forgetting the days)

03.00 – 06.00 Still heavy cloud cover with some glimpses of the moon. Passed close to a couple of big ships but the AIS system is great. Gives an extra layer of confidence and meaning to “Ships that pass in the night.”

Woke at 09.30. Still grey skies but warm. Odd blue patch in the sky, but in the wrong direction (NW) for the sun. Maybe later for a sight. Much debate on risking some water for a shower or going for a swim. Horror stories of sea snakes and sharks for Gillian.

10.30 Wind down to 5 knots’. Engine on for a while to get back on track and charge batteries. Been following a course of 210° since leaving TSS off Finisterre. Miles covered so far 354 (407 to go). Have been making good time after a fast but rough first 2 days with the strong (up to 7) North Westerly’s pushing us South. Forgot to mention that we saw a couple of lightning flashes during the night far off to the south. No thunder heard. Stuck the spare hand held GPS in the oven just in case. Plan to maintain this heading pretty much to take us between the Gorringe Ridge (20m) and Josephine Bank (150m), staying West of Ampere Seamount (56m) and Seine Seamount (86m), before our landfall at Isla De Porto Santo W.P. 33°15’ N 016°.00’W unsure if these ridges will affect sea state, avoiding them anyway. Then through strait at Madeira and Islas Desertas for Marina at Canical.

Should pick up the Canary Current soon, still waiting for the North Easterlies to kick in.

18.30 Interesting afternoon watching Gillian try to tape the spreaders, brave girl.

Got a gap in the clouds and managed a fix. Plot to within 13 miles (see fix 2).

Still have not managed to a full day of Sun-Run-Sun maybe tomorrow.

Have had to motor almost all day due to light winds. Conscious now of need to sail when we can. If required to motor the whole way will be arriving on fumes.

Due to dirty fuel in Biscay, which caused the engine problems, do not want to run the tank close to empty. Have still to go 360 miles @ 6kts @4 litres per hour 240 litres, probably around what we have left. Discussed and agreed with skipper that we reduce normal revs from 1800 to max of 1500 to reduce consumption.

Took a break this afternoon for a swim in the Atlantic, at least 4 of us did. It was superb.

Came on watch at 21.00 Quiet night but cloud starting to break up. Light winds but decided to sail and averaged 4 knots overnight.

12th September (Saturday)

Back on watch 06.00 – 09.00.

Cloud slowly clearing. Discovered that someone had eaten half of my peaches and custard that I had saved for my breakfast from the night before.

Managed A.M. Noon and P.M. sight. Sights working out OK but Noon sight well out. Will try again tomorrow. Fixes very close together due to slower speed today. Seemed to struggle a bit to fix the horizon for the Noon sight as we got to the top of the swell.

Discussed fuel situation and transferred 60 litres from spare cans to main tank keeping 20 litres as a reserve. Managed to sail all of today at approximately 5 knots, fuel should now be OK.

240 litres / 4 litres p.h. = 60 hrs. 60 x 6 kts = 360 miles. Approximately 280 to go.

We had hove to during refuelling and three of us decided on another swim. We had literally just climbed back on board when 2 large whales surfaced about 20 metres away. Their length was pretty close to that of the yacht 44’. They swam around for a while staying close to the yacht and appeared to be checking us out. To say we were glad to be back in the yacht is an understatement, but what a privilege to see these whales in their natural environment close up. Unforgettable.

Finished 15.00 – 18.00 watch, wind slowly filling in, still motoring. Tried for a sunset compass check which I was not happy with 7° error. Sun disappeared behind some clouds just as it was setting and we ended up estimating bearing as best we could.

Turned in after dinner for a few hours.

13th September

First watch of 00.00 – 03.00 bright starlit night, quite spectacular. Decided to sail at this point as wind now filled in over 10kts. Beautiful night sail watching shooting stars and planes passing overhead on their way to the Canaries. Off watch at 03.00. Briefed crew on requirement for sunrise compass check. Both crew confirmed compass bearing of 90°. See compass check on plotting sheet for 13th deviation 2°E.

Wind stayed at around 12 – 15kts all day and boat sailing well averaging 7 kts.

A.M. and Noon sights worked out really well (2.5 miles).

Joined by a school of dolphins (12+) in the afternoon for a while. Not long enough.

16.00 Ships time, now clouded over, will try and grab my last fix ASAP. Boat sailing a steady 7.5 – 8kts. In 15 Kts of wind.

Crew now relaxed after some sun today and yesterday, a few red bits on show.

Mystery of the Missing Peaches solved as they were brought from their hiding place. Yummy.

Saw a couple of smaller whales broaching in the distance.

Managed to grab my last P.M fix between a break in the clouds and confidently went below to work it out. Disaster 20 miles out and not a lot of sun about. Reworked the figures and found that I had made an error on the minutes of declination in the tables!!

14th September

03.00 – 06.00 Nice peaceful night but now very tired (First time this trip that I struggled to get on watch in time.) Passed by a cruise liner during the night, quite a sight to see it lit up like a small town. Got up at 07.30 to catch sight of our landfall, Isla De Ponta Norde. Usual confusion over what we were actually seeing until we got closer and Madeira became more visible in the background. Ended our trip with the best sailing yet, a cracking beam reach in a steady 15 + knots of wind with the boat averaging 8 knots.

As we rounded the point to the East of Madeira it did not take long for the rib from the Marina Quinto Do Lorde to come out and meet us even before we had given them a call on the VHF. We asked to go to the fuel berth first but did not realise that it consisted of a hand brake turn to the left at the entrance and onto a rather short pontoon with the wind blowing us off. Gillian did well on the wheel and before long we were taken round to our final berth, again pretty tight, where we tied up at 16.00 and broke out the beers we placed in the fridge that morning and had brought all the way from La Coruna.

Total miles logged 785. Quite an experience.

p.s. Sitting in the rain at 17.30, off for a shower and planning a trip to Funchal tomorrow before flying home early hours of Wednesday morning.

Checked on line and believe the whales were Minke which can grow to 38’.