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Getting to Las Palmas: LEG 0

·1093 words·6 mins
ARC+ 2023
Nuvem Mágica
Table of Contents
ARC+ 2023 - This article is part of a series.
Part 7: This Article

Ahoy, me hearties 💓

When talking to friends, everyone asked us where we would depart, to which we said “Well, Las Palmas is the official starting point, but you do need to get the boat there”.

Nuvem Mágica was initally in France 🇫🇷🥖 getting some last minute warranty touches. We knew we were in for some coastal sailing and then a 5-day offshore passage from Gibraltar 🇬🇮 to the Canary Islands 🇮🇨.

Cruising along the coast of Spain 🇪🇸 was a very pleasant experience, and arriving in Gibraltar marked the starting point of the real first leg of the crossing, which we dubbed “Leg 0”.

0️⃣ LEG 0

🇬🇮 Gibraltar

We knew many boats would be charting the same course: arrive in Gibraltar, wait for a good weather window, and set course for the Canaries, full blast 💥! Still, arriving in Gibraltar felt like an ARC+ pre-celebration: so many boats proudly wearing the ARC+ flag, and many other Outremers!

⛰️ The Rock of Gibraltar

Arriving in Gibraltar at night was quite the experience. As we watched the Rock of Gibraltar fully lit up, we started hearing English being spoken on the radio, huge cargo and cruise ships… we were in for a change in scenery!

We anchored and slept… and boy was that rest well-deserved! The following morning, we began taking our bearings and set our visiting plan. We eventually went for a long stroll in Gibraltar. Some highlights include crossing the airport runway by foot and the historical center!

Indeed, we found out that there was a well-equipped games store, something we had tried to find in other cities. Here in Gibraltar, however, not only could we find the games, we found them in their English versions! Perfect for international crews 🤩.

Gibraltar was great to stock up on board games in English 🤩!

📖 Passage Plan

We met up and, after discussing the weather, decided we would be leaving on a Tuesday, the same day as Maracujá, a beautiful Outremer 51, would.

For an area as technical as Gibraltar, we thought it very important to consult all the information available. We reviewed the weather predictions, the almanac and our Cornell literature. The almanac recommended, for a passage West bound, to depart Gibraltar at HW+2. However, in doing so, we would have the current against us. Upon careful consideration of the tidal streams, we ventured at HW-4, in order to have first have the current in our favour and subsequently cross the strait headed South at slack current.

We set sail on Tuesday, October 10th 2023. Although the wind was supposed to be milder and we knew we were going to sail downwind, we still saw > 30 knot gusts in the busy Gibraltar strait, which felt like a highway for cargos 🛣️!

🌊 Double-handed-5-day Passage

Once close to Morocco 🇲🇦, we were met with a pretty confused sea state, which led us to head a bit West. It was just the two of us and it was sporty, but wow was that a fun start with Maracujá 🤩!

👯 Maracujá Mágica, ze best friends!

The five days and four nights that ensued were amazing! The winds were perfect, the sun was shining, and we were always in touch with Arnaud, Thierry and Lance from Maracujá, sharing updates on the sailing, on the food we were preparing, and the weather.

Maracujá Mágica, tailing each other

We planned our routing well, and managed to catch great speeds at great angles whilst avoiding a pocket of no wind close to shore (these were probably the happiest night shifts on Nuvem Mágica until now: David was jumping excitedly while Inês tried to sleep 😂). It was such an amazing experience to have a buddy boat on the water! We couldn’t wait to start the ARC+!

🍖 Ze food!

It was in this passage that we started the tradition of one-up’ing each other not only in sailing, but when it came to food! We had everything, from chicken-base bruschettas, to stuffed peppers, fresh juices and a full-on BBQ (yes, we treated ourselves to a full Weber Grill BBQ on the way 🍖)!

🏝️ Stop at Lanzarote

🥩 Arriving in Rubicon

After five days at sea, we were so happy to see the vulcanic island of Lanzarote! Marina Rubicon was stellar, with very nice facilities and staff. Also, since we were the first boat to arrive, we prepared a celebratory steak dinner 🥩 for our Maracujá friends. David went to visit 5 local butchers to pick the one with the best juiciest stakes. We all deserved it!

📸 Visiting Lanzarote

We got to enjoy life on land: we toured the island with a rented car, went to Bodegas Rubicón to see how wine is made on these unique terroirs, visited Timanfaya National Park, perused through lava caves and tunnels, saw little albino crabs and the work of César Manrique.

🌬️ From Lanzarote to Las Palmas

🌌 Night in Fuerteventura

From Lanzarote, we slowly made our way to Fuerteventura, before sailing to Las Palmas.

⛵️ Enter: Mångata of London!

We were merrily minding our business on choppy seas, when we received a very nice VHF call from a neighbouring boat, suggesting we get a bit closer and then exchange pictures. And so we met the amazing crew of Mångata of London, a beautiful Amel 50.

We took some amazing pictures of each other and Mångata of London was kind enough to record some video footage too! See below:

🇮🇨 Las Palmas, we are here!

Upon arriving, we were warmly welcomed by the Blue Wonder family, a team we had the luck to meet in Badalona, and with whom we became instant friends!

Our berth in Las Palmas was just next to the fuel station, which happened to be the place where every boat would stop for check-in. We got to greet, meet and make many new friends thanks to this (including the one and only Møyfrid team).

Protip: ask for the spot at the gas station! 😉

We knew we still had some preparation before the crossing to handle… but my, were we off to an exciting start ❤️ !

📚 Useful resources

ARC+ 2023 - This article is part of a series.
Part 7: This Article