Video – Ireland to Portugal

A video summary of our roughly 950nm tour this summer from Cork, Ireland, to Lisbon, Portugal.
We meant to spend a little more time cruising the southern Irish coast and ideally round Fastnet Rock before heading south. However, the weather convinced us to leave right away to take advantage of the northerly winds (and to avoid the upcoming strong southerlies).
While the water remained cold all the way to Lisbon, it was clear that we were moving south as day after day we were wearing less and less layers.
While La Coruna does not look that pretty from the water, we were quickly convinced we found a hidden jewel when walking down the old town alleys with endless rows of restaurants, bars and an amazing atmosphere until late. That in combination with outstanding food and endless opportunities to visit historic sites made for a good start into the Iberian part of our tour.
Santiago de Compostella did not disappoint at all; neither did Lisbon – fantastic destinations on their own.
What surprised us was the natural beauty of the Islas Cies (a must stop for any visitor in Galicia!) as well as the atmosphere of Porto. We wish we had been able to spend more time in either location.
On the downside, the water was much colder than expected and we therefore sailed in a fair bit of fog (we never saw the Portuguese coast north of Lisbon…).

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The crew from Portugal to Lanzarote

A few more photos of our crew that sailed from Cascais (close to Lisbon) via Madeira and La Graciosa to Lanzarote (part of the Canary Islands). We left the marina in Cascais in flat water and a dead calm, just to see things change within seconds to significant swell and a decent breeze. Apart from the challenge for the new crew to get used to this new environment quickly, we had a smooth trip from there.
Madeira’s natural beauty, the many, many tunnels and of course their wine and good food made a lasting impression. La Graciosa was the biggest surprise due to perfect beaches, impressive volcanoes, its remoteness with very few tourists making it there and of course the legendary finish on Saturday night. With Arrecife, we found the perfect marina to leave Tioga for a longer period and enjoyed a number of highlights that are hard to find anywhere else.
We sailed a total of 810 miles, barely ran the engine and enjoyed mostly broad reaches.
And most importantly, nobody got hurt.
A very nice finish to our European tour…

Bjoern Huenermann
Frank Barba (from Cascais to Madeira)
Peter Barba
Steve Uhl
Ulf Westhoven

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To the moon and back in a day

Today was another day where we ticked a lot of boxes.
We had agreed to get going with the rental car at 8:00 (assuming that with the usual delay we’d be on our way at least by 9:00) and did in fact leave at 8:00. Timanfaya, the National Park where a bus takes you through quite impressive lava fields and around volcanos truly looked like the moon. We were the first group to arrive at the park at 9:00 and hopped on the first bus. Timanfaya is one of the core areas of why Lanzarote was declared a UNESCO world biosphere.

When we came back from the 45min tour, the place had turned into a zoo with lots and lots of tourist buses unloading their cargo. The captain had hoped to hide behind this chaos to fly the drone over the moon landscape, but got caught before he could finish the flight. However, he did get some footage and no equipment got confiscated.
From there we continued ticking boxes like clockwork (and that despite the fact that the car’s gps system seemed to have aged maps, could not differentiate between dirt or paved roads etc):

  • Check out the camels outside Timanfaya – tick
  • El Golfo (a lagoon filled with green water but not as spectacular as described in the travel guides) – tick
  • Salinas (where sea salt is collected in lots of small fields) – tick
  • Cueva de los Verdes (a one hour guided tour through caves in the north-east with a surprising end that we will not disclose here) – tick
  • Drop off Bjoern at the airport – tick
  • Wine tour and tasting at the local wine museum and El Grifo, the oldest winery in Lanzarote with over 225 years of age – tick
  • More wine tasting combined with local cheese – tick
  • Dinner at El Sol (ask for “pascado del dia” and “gambas a la Santa”) in Caleta de Famara a very nice surf spot on the north-west shore with quite impressive views of La Graciosa and the mountains of the north shore – tick

Of course, we came across many references to César Manrique’s legacy, who changed the profile of Lanzarote for ever. Quite impressive!

In addition, the usual business work and boat work go done.
So not too bad of a day;-)

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Execution, execution

We got a lot of things done today.
Although Ulf and the captain spent a fair bit of time on conference calls, a lot of our action items got done:
– all foul weather gear was washed (in the inflatable) and dried (by pulling it up the mast for all to see) – 3 of 8 sleeping bags were washed and dried
– all boots were washed
– all ripped out hinges and door knobs were epoxied back in place – lose screws were tightened
– the pedestal hole filled
– the port water tank emptied out
– the clutches on the mast were cleaned, tightened and reinstalled
– most importantly, the screws of the vang bracket were replaced after drilling and tapping larger threads and using larger screws!! -…

Great team work and good to see it all come together.
The captain managed to squeeze in some time to listen to Jimmy Cornell (who is hosting an all week cruising seminar).
That is also the reason why the harbor is packed with ocean going vessels that we will check out soon; a lot of live-aboards and interesting sailboats for sure.

Crew from Ireland to Portugal

A few more photos of our crew that sailed from Cork in Ireland to Cascais in Portugal. We left Ireland a little earlier than initially planned to benefit from the northerly winds and had a great sail to Spain. Temperatures were quickly getting warmer, sealife was abundant and the cultural experiences in Ireland, Spain and Portugal fantastic. We sailed about 950nm, had no technical issues and apart from a little fog here and there, perfect weather.

Alex Vogel (he left us as planned in A Coruna)
Marc Carbone
Max Brueck
UIf Westhoven (who took Alex’s spot in Baiona)

Philip Kersten

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Looking for shade

Today was a welcome slow day. We got groceries and laundry done, used the beautiful club house for business work, strolled around the impressive castle and were throughout the day looking for shade. We even rigged the large sun-cover to keep us and the boat cool.
It was another sunny and calm day in Galicia.

The facilities of the Monte Real Club Yates are very good, the staff extremely friendly and most speak English – an easy environment to feel at home.

In the evening, Ulf arrived after a long journey and we celebrated his arrival with an outstanding Spanish meal and lots of Rioja (even our favorite ice cream place was still open at 1am).
Hopefully the forecast for  tomorrow holds true and we will leave towards Portugal with some northerly wind (currently it is dead calm and fog moved in).

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Paradise and back

It wasn’t quite paradise but Islas Cies are pretty cool.
We went ashore at about 10 in the morning and walked most of the paths for the next 5 hours and could not believe the views the islands had to offer – from perfect beaches (voted the world’s  best beach by the Guardian in 2007) via very cool forests to quite impressive views from the mountain tops to everything in between…

We walked until we could not more and  were happy to finish it all with a swim in the still pretty cold water.
While we did expect some people on the islands (we had to get a special permission to visit with our own boat upfront), we were quite surprised to see ferries drop off tourists by the truck load – it is fair to say that we were not alone out here – nevertheless, the experience was awesome and this might have been the best day of our trip yet.

We then moved on to Baiona, were we not only had our first Med-mooring experience and dolphins in the harbor, but also saw the replica of one of Columbus’ ships who had sailed back here on one of his explorations.

We also had dinner, but it wouldn’t quite make today’s blog post. The icecream afterwards, on the other hand, should – it was simply outstanding…

We can tell we are back to civilization as people speak English again and prices are going up.

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