Following two days of preparation in Gibraltar we slipped our lines early on the morning of the 13th of August 2011.
With a short stop at the fuel dock we then left Ocean Village Marina with 4 crew on board Pat, myself our youngest son Murray and his friend Ben a keen dinghy sailor. Ahead of us lay some 800 nm to Gran Canaria, direct and non-stop. It is usual on this leg to plan a break in Madeira but this is inside the EU VAT zone so for us a no go area.
Gibraltar to Gran Canaria
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So we quickly settled into a pattern of single overnight watches and most of us up during the daylight hours. It was still quite cold on this leg, Murray and Ben often fished during the day. We were able to sail the entire way and other than one close call with a ship overnight the leg was uneventful until we entered the acceleration zone between Gran Canaria and Tenerife. These wind acceleration zones between the islands are notorious with wind speeds often increasing dramatically over short distances. We approached the zone on the early morning of the 16th August, winds during the past 3 days had been a consistent force 6 but quickly stepped up and hit force 10 during one gust! By this time we were broad reaching with all but the smallest triangle of main up, we gave the helm to Ben at this point – just for the experience !
By 10:00am we approached Puerto Mogan, the marina we had chosen to keep BriZo in the lead-up to the ARC in November. It was a very picturesque small port and a perfect place to work from and travel back and forth to the UK. During this period we had visitors, with Pats sister Terri and husband Martin joining us and Lloyd our eldest and new wife Maria and two friends staying on BriZo. We met and made several friends in the marina including the memorable Rick and Nancy on SailDiver. Pat and I also saw our 30th wedding anniversary here with a most memorable evening at the most fantastic restaurant Senna on the edge of the harbour. We had averaged over 200nm per day on the trip down from Gibraltar which was pleasing and with no damage or wear – even more pleasing.