Winter Sailing

The wind was getting much colder (with temperatures dropping to 10 degrees at night!). And because it was getting dark at 18.00 already, we had a couple of more night shifts than in summer. But its also quite cozy being alone outside, wrapped in a sleeping bag, sipping a tea, looking at the stars and listening to a podcast. And then diving in the pre-warmed bed to get a few hours of sleep!

Our sail from Morocco to the Canary Islands started with little wind. We had to leave Morocco because we couldn’t afford the absurd harbour price, so we didn’t have the luxury to wait for good weather. The second day we finally set the sails wing on wing and we were flying along at 7 knots downwind. We are getting quite lazy with sailing since we’ve been in the ‘trade route’ or downwind route. We set the sails and try not to change too much, maybe reef before the night or gybe once a day. We are getting better acquainted with Helmut our hydrovane, who steers the boat but seems to be a little drunk sometimes (steering us in big uncoordinated loops and overcorrecting itself). To get him sobered up we are tweaking the sails, trying out different ways to set the helm and different courses. Usually after a few hours or at night we get lazy and just turn on our electricity-hungry autopilot. I have to admit, Thomas is way more patient with Helmut than I am..

Sailing a longer passage like this one (500 nautical miles, 4-5 days) with just two people on board is a bit unromantic. We take three hour shifts, starting at 21:00. When we both do two shifts it’s 9:00 but we’re usually still tired so we just add two more shifts (until 15:00). Then sometimes one of us is still tired, because if you have three hours off that doesn’t mean that you can sleep three hours (its loud, bumpy and sometimes it get a bit scary and we get up to go check on weird noises – DID WE HIT SOMETHING!?). So we only see each other a few hours a day around sundowners and during shift changes.. And because the sea was rough and it was cold outside we couldn’t be bothered with showering or changing clothes. We just hibernated in our sleeping bags for a couple of days. We did make tea for each other at shift changes, but thats about as romantic as it gets at sea!

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The passage was very bumpy, the waves were high and the wind was strong so we were so happy to arrive on Lanzarote (and take a shower) after almost exactly 4 days and nights at sea.

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