November 2019 blogs




 





 
Day 4,511 - Lanzarote, Canary Islands
19:18 hrs - October 6, 2019
The Power of Wind, Sun & Sea

The Mediterranean Sea really didn't want us to go - it took three attempts to leave: The first had us struggling through the Straits of Gibraltar into a strong tidal flow making a measly 0.5 knots speed over ground, the effects of a super new moon, we later discovered, two other yachts shared in our embarrassment; the second attempt had us steaming into fog banks so thick we had less than eighty feet of visibility, and crossing one of the world's busiest shipping lanes where hundreds of cargo vessels converge into the narrow waterway would, it was universally agreed, be a spectacularly bad idea - much like crossing a motorway, blindfolded, whilst restricted to walking speed only. So after an hour of waiting for the midday sun to clear the skies, as forecast, which it did not, we made the three hour trek back to the marina in southern Spain feeling trapped and a little defeated. But the following day, thankfully, wind, sky and sea cooperated and late afternoon found Dream Time, with her sails spread wing-to-wing, catching 20 knots and charging south by southwest down the coast of Morocco.

It was a sporty passage, one where waves chased Dream Time from astern and grew to an impressive ten feet in height, distant swell from hurricane Lorenzo, with one particularly large set breaking right over the transom which had Catherine scrambling to get out the way. Winds increased as well, to thirty knots, and whistled through the holes of our adjustable solar panel bar to produce a rather enjoyable sea melody.

Our speed averaged 7 knots, with 11 knots being our fastest while surfing down a particularly boisterous wave. And over four days, as conditions strengthened, sail was gradually reduced and had us running into Lanzarote, our first Canary isle, under just a single-reefed main.

We feel a little out of practice as over the last six months we've day hopped and coastal sailed inside the Mediterranean Sea. The Atlantic Ocean is, well, an ocean, and crossing 'the pond' will be our second longest passage since waving farewell to New York in 2007. I guess we need to find our sea legs again. Luckily we don't get sick on passages and we had plenty of fresh orange slices to fight off scurvy.

One interesting passage note: our new tow generator - an old unit we bought in Australia last year which we rebuilt and tested on this trip, helped to keep our batteries fully charged for the entire voyage. So if conditions are conducive to sail, Dream Time can cross the Atlantic powered entirely by the sun, the wind and now, the sea.

 

 


Oct 4, 2019    |  Atlantic, Canary Island passage - Thirty knots of wind and impressive swell from distant Hurricane Lorenzo makes for sporty conditions.

 

 


Oct 1, 2019    |  Atlantic, Canary Island passage - First sunset in the Atlantic Ocean since 2008.