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Author: David Beck

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9th August 2018

A five-hour sail with very varied windspeeds, from absolute calm to 30 knots. It started with a trundle dead-down-wind in 10 knots or so, sails goosewinged (out to either side) which, as it persisted and our speed hovered around 3.5-4 knots, had us thinking about turning the engines on. Instead, we got the spinnaker out for the first time – it was surprisingly easy to set up and immediately boosted our speed to 5-5.5 knots which was much more encouraging. Then the wind died completely so we put the spinnaker away and motored for a bit. The wind picked up again, first from the South at 15 knots (full sail, even though we were utterly confused as to why the wind was “backwards”).

Then, and this is the bit fellow cruisers should note, around 5 miles before Morro Jable we saw a line of white (but still flat) water ahead, calm put 2 reefs in the main in anticipation of the wind picking up. It did, from the North this time at about 25 knots on average (gusting higher) for the next 40 minutes. We had been warned about this area by someone we met in Gran Tarajal – but unlike the larger acceleration zones between the islands nothing showed up on any of the forecasts we use when passage planning. So, be aware.

As the wind was coming straight of the land it was a fun ride through this windy patch – we put two reefs in the jib as the gusts picked up as they “pulled” the front of the boat round, which suggests we were overpowered. Given that, even with 2 reefs in each sail, we were at 8+ knots constantly, rising to 11 in the gusts, we think that was about right!

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