Mahina Expeditions offers offshore sail-training expeditions, offshore cruising seminars and boat purchase consultation.

Mahina Expeditions offers offshore sail-training expeditions, offshore cruising seminars and boat purchase consultation.

Leg 7, 2001: Lisbon, Portugal; Madeira; Lanzarote, Canary Islands

October 22, 2001 0630hrs 29.09N, 14.27W Log: 49,316
Beam reaching at 5.5kts in 10 knots of NE wind, Baro: 1015

Lanzarote in the Canary Islands is 25 miles ahead, and we are two days ahead of schedule as we were unable to stop for long yesterday at the Salvage Islands. As we anticipate our fourth island landfall we also have time to reflect on a very busy and varied leg with a crew that is both jovial and harmonious.

Michael Campbell, 52 is from the Seattle area, but his mother's family were boat builders in the Azores who moved to Sausalito where they founded the famous Nunes boatyard. Michael is president of NMTA, the trade association that produces the Seattle Boat Show. Michael's wife Debbie, the graphic artist that designed our new color ads was signed up but wasn't able to join us on Leg 7.

Pam Rogers, 42 is a VP with Hilton Hotels, looking after 3,000 employees in eight hotels in eight states. She saw her daughter Amber off to college this fall and she and

Dan Boney, 43 just got married before joining the expedition. Attending our Weekend Offshore Cruising Seminar in Seattle was one of their first dates. Dan sells Sony equipment to television stations and has worn out the Hallberg-Rassy 43 brochure, since he takes delivery of the first 43 in the US (check it out in the Annapolis Boat Show) next August. His intro to sailing was with his three brothers and sisters and mom and dad on their Tartan 27. Pam and Dan live in Raleigh, North Carolina and keep their Beneteau 36 in Oriental, NC.

Michael Eden Walker, 53 is an MD from Ottawa who started and operates an urgent and family care clinic with his wife Polly. They sail their Sirius 28 on a nearby river, but Michael has been drooling over the HR 36 brochure on board.

Mark Allison, 48 was originally an maritime solicitor from London but has recently been living in Vancouver and is now in the process of moving to New York City. Mark will fly home between Legs 7 & 8 to see his wife Stephanie and check on renovations to their apartment before rejoining us in the Canaries.

 

Porto Santo
On October 11th we departed Cascais Marina, four hours after Leg 7 expedition members joined us, hoping to avoid predicted gale force headwinds if we left the following morning as originally planned. Our 480 mile passage to Porto Santo (23 miles before Madeira) provided us with a mixed bag of sailing conditions, upwind, downwind and no wind. The visit of a small bird that we were unable to identify, proved to be a highlight and the tame little fellow hitched a ride for a day and night perched below on the forepeak leecloth. Periodically it would fly away from the boat for a few minutes, then come back below decks.


Our little bird visitor. Do you know what sort of bird it is?


Suset landfall at Porto Santo.

We made landfall just before dark on October 14th and the island looked rugged and exotic as we sailed past the windward side. We tied to the inner breakwater of the tiny harbor and in the morning were able to move into a marina slip. There were 30 or so yachts, all making their first Atlantic crossing. The crews of several of the yachts followed the suggestion in the RCC Atlantic Islands guide, leaving their yachts in the security of Porto Santo Marina and taking the four hour ferry ride to check out Madeira. They returned with stories of a fascinating island and a harbor jammed with ships and yachts.

In Porto Santo, population 5,000, town is a 15 minute walk away along the waterfront and was almost like a miniature version of Cascais, with restaurants, fancy shops and construction. The prime attraction of Porto Santo is the six miles of golden sand beach, something lacking on Madeira, stretching along the south shore from the marina in the east, town in the middle, to the hotels in the west. Our three-day visit allowed time for teaching and exploring and one afternoon Amanda and I toured the island by taxi while Michael and Mark went cycling. We all agreed that the scenery was rather sad as a major drought over the past 20 years has caused the island to become barren and dry with many abandoned farms.

Madeira

West view of Funchal Harbor- Madeira
On Wednesday, Oct 17th we had a rip-roaring close reach 43 miles to Madeira. We were not surprised when the harbormaster motioned that there was no room for us, indicating we should anchor outside the marina breakwater but inside the main harbor-wall. For three rolly nights, with 25 other yachts, we frequently awoke to the sounds of ships of all sizes coming close by as the arrived and departed from the harbor-wall.


Funchal Marina

Ashore Madeira is a cacophony of sounds, sights and smells. Indoor-outdoor restaurants fringe the marina with men and women in colorful local costume politely inviting you to try their exotic displays of seafood and fruits. Charcoal smoke of the chestnut roasters waft on the breezes, reminding us of the barbecue trucks on Papeete's waterfront.

 


Funchal Market

Funchal is a bustling port and the capital city of Madeira with a population of 120,000 and a maze of ongoing concrete construction. The people are a more laid back than in Lisbon, but this is one busy city! Highlights are a vibrant and colorful three-story public market, chocka with tropical flowers, fish, fruit and vegetables, historic Madeira wineries dating to the 1600's and of course, the Monte wicker toboggan ride, down the steepest streets in Funchal. We had to do it u tacky, touristy u yes, but what a blast! We rode the year-old Swiss-built cable car from the waterfront, up thousands of feet into the clouds, then hopped into a wicker basket on runners, controlled by two characters dressed in whites and boater hats. Our drivers never stopped talking and shouting (in Portuguese, to each other) as they guided (ropes either side to pull the basket when the going was flat), braked (rubber soled footwear) and steered (not too sure on this one as we went sidewise headed toward the ditch a lot) us down the mountain. It was all over so fast that I wanted to hike back up the mountain and have another go, but we had lots more to see! The botanical gardens were also a hit with all of us, offering spectacular flower framed views of the city and harbor and a few moments tranquility.

 

As the anchorage was exposed to wind, swells and errant ship traffic we took turns standing anchor watch. The crew hired a minivan and driver one-day to explore the 30 mile long island and Amanda and I enjoyed a taxi tour the next day. We admired deep green valleys clutching little villages with terraced vineyards chiseled into the steep slopes, startled at waves crashing clean across the coastal roads and enjoyed meeting friendly people everywhere we went.

Pam who had been battling queasiness at sea decided to fly home early from Madeira, so for the first time we can remember we are down to only four expedition members.

Selvagem Grande
I recently learned of this island, exactly halfway between Madeira and the Canaries while reading RCC Atlantic Islands cruising guide. I figured that any island so remote must be interesting so we obtained written permission to visit from the conservation department at the botanical gardens and purchased extra bread and fruit for the two park officers stationed on the otherwise deserted island. Saturday morning we all went for a run then gathered treats from the bakeries and market before setting sail.

As we cleared the breakwater the wind kept increasing as we kept reefing down until we were down to a double-reefed main and a triple reefed headsail. With only 160 miles to go, we didn't want to be arriving before dawn. We shouldn't have worried! Late afternoon the winds started to die and we ended up having to motor through the night.

Arriving we were daunted by a large 10' ocean swell that wrapped the 1 x 1.5 mile island resulting in anchorage's that would be too near breakers. We were happy to find a mooring buoy in the bay of the officers house and landing, and over the VHF radio they suggested we tie to it and see if the swells would subside enough for us to go ashore. As the swells were BIG we didn't want to risk crashing into the mooring while trying to rig a line to it, so I jumped in the water and swam a long rope to it. Once secured MT pitched and yawed in the swell. I started sponging off MT's anti-foul paint, and was soon joined by the rest of our crew.

After an hour, we decided the swell did not appear to be lessening, so we said goodbye to the watchkeepers and set sail, for Lanzarote, 125 miles away. There was less than 3 kts of wind until 0100 this morning, and but since then we have been gliding along nicely at 5-6 kts.

October 22, 2001 1145 28.55N, 14.03W Log: 49,344 Baro: 1017+
Beam reaching at 7.3 kts in 15kt NE winds

LAND HO!
Lanzarote is 10 miles ahead and has been visible since sunrise just after which we sailed past Royal Clipper, whose skipper proudly told us over the radio that at 399', they are the largest sailing ship in the world.

In the morning we practiced towing warp, setting the Galerider drogue, and then Lifesling Overboard procedures. Next we'll take sun sights and set the storm sails, and then we're ready to check out Porto Calero.

 

October 26, 2001 2230 28.55N, 13.42W Log: 49,366 Temperature: 79 degrees F

Puerto Calero, Lanzarote Island, Canaries, 65 miles from Morocco, Africa


Juan Jose and his father Pepe Calero, owner and developer of Puerto Calero.

Wow, what a whirlwind. We were impressed by what we saw upon tying up at Puerto Calero's reception dock. One man, Pepe Calero, had a dream to build a first class marina, resort and seaside village on a barren, dry, lava strewn coastline. Influenced by Cesar Manrique, a unique artist, sculptor, architect and urban planner Sr. Calero has created an amazing oasis surrounded by hot, dry and dusty lava rock landscape. The marina has just been doubled to 420 boats and is already full, even though many cruisers preparing for their Atlantic crossing have not yet arrived. We received a couple e-mails from cruisers on other islands saying that all of the marinas in the Canaries are full or nearly so, and some cruisers are heading to the Cape Verde Islands, 650 miles south of here, in search of less crowed cruising grounds. Even though I had made reservations two months earlier, it became obvious in talking with the harbormaster and marina manager that we would have to wait until a 45'-50' boat left before they could find a proper slip for us. As in many European marinas, it is much easier to find moorage for a boat under 40'.

We have nearly a dozen colorful and very reasonable restaurants to choose from along the side of the marina and our first night dinner ashore was memorable. Early the next morning Michael C. left, planning to use the extra day to visit his son in Belgium, but Mark, Dan and Michael E-W stayed to the end, even helping with our haulout. Yep, haulout! Our dripless stern seal had started dripping enough that the bilge pump was going on every hour and our Hempel's bottom paint was growing grass at the waterline within three days of being sponged clean.


Mahina Tiare's Lauzarote 18 hour haulout.

At Varadero (boatyard) Puerto Calero we found a 90 ton travelift and a eager crew who would fit us into their schedule at a very fair price of $540US for haulout, pressure wash and paint the bottom, including materials. They were short on cradles large enough for Mahina Tiare, so they agreed let us rest in the slings overnight, re-launching yesterday morning. Everything went smoothly and while the guys painted, Amanda and I greased the max prop and rudder and replaced the shaft seal.


Queco Gonzalez and his first-class boatyard crew of Varadero Puerto Calero.

Yesterday a slip large enough for Mahina Tiare became available and we went from the boatyard into clean the boat and get ready to leave mode as for the first time in 12 years we are taking a two-week break in the middle of our season. This will be a chance to see friends in Friday Harbor, catch up on the office front and for Amanda to attend ballet class for a few days.

We've been working hard getting MT prepared for our upcoming Atlantic crossing and have seen to maintenance on the furler, winches and engine. This afternoon we ventured out of the marina for the first time, to a huge shopping center 10 minutes away. We found first-class quality foods at some of the most reasonable prices we've ever seen. We stocked up on everything but fresh and frozen foods, and our Leg 8 crew will eat well as we cross the Atlantic!


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