We were hauled out for a number of days so this allowed us to properly patch all the holes we could find to stop the various leaks.
After a few days of applying Sikaflex, waiting for it to dry, and again filling the dinghy with water to see where the water leaked out, we had a totally sealed dinghy once again. Yay, now we won’t have to pump it up and bail it out every time we use it!
Relaxing on land
While hauled out we spent our evenings in 2 different Airbnbs. We had some pool time, lots of space in the kitchen to cook, a microwave, etc 🤯. One of the features of both of our Airbnbs was the fact they lacked glass in the windows into the kitchens, so you frequently got birds coming to say hello nibbling on your bread or bananas. After we found that this was pretty normal for them to be in the house we started leaving bread outside on the balcony for them.
We had a few meals out, including some birthday celebrations too, including a creole massage at a spa. 💆♂️
One of the features of our 30min morning and evening walk to the boatyard while staying at the first Airbnb were 2 dogs that seemed to live in a pile of rubbish at the side of the road.
It was very sad to see, but we think someone was feeding them and we gave them water, they were super friendly and came to say hello.
The boat dropping
Don’t worry, Hannah didn’t get dropped!
While we were hauled out in the boat yard though, there was an almighty bang followed by a bunch of shouting.
One of the boats that was about the be hauled back into the water had slipped out of the slings holding it and landed on the floor.
Not a great day for the owners here.
The keel was dented and paint had come off around the weld for the keel attaching to the main body.
They were still hauled out after we had finished painting and were back in the water, we assume waiting for a survey and for insurance companies to decide what to do.
On the way to Mindelo we stopped off at a few other places.
Firstly Ilhéu Branco, which is an uninhabited 278-hectare islet. And secondly an anchorage on the south of Santa Luzia
We then headed to Mindelo on the day that they ARC+ would start, but our arrival and the chaos at the anchorage and start line will follow in another blog post!
We didn’t need to think much about our anchorages or how we were getting there, as at this point we were mostly just following Extress and their route on the way to Mindelo.
We stopped in at Ilhéu Branco for lunch, which fortunately we caught just as we approached the anchorage.
We didn’t hang around for long after lunch. When pulling up our anchor though, it wouldn’t come, and was stuck on something on the bottom. We quickly dived in to have a look at what was going on, and it turned out to be slightly caught under a lip of rock. We dragged it out and it came up with ease.
On the way to the next anchorage, we hit a fairly big acceleration zone between the islands leading to some fun heeled-over sailing.
Here you can see Extress ahead of us.
At the second anchorage, we ended up eating aboard Extress once again with some BBQed pizzas 🙂
These little BBQs are pretty awesome. They some with pizza stones, and you can easily pick them up and move them while they are BBQing as the outside doesn’t get hot!
There we were, in La Gomera, snorkeling around the anchorage looking at all the little fishies, when on the bottom we saw an anchor lying sideways that didn’t appear to be attached to a boat.
After diving down, looking for chain, and taking a picture we decided that it must have been dropped at some point? And who knows, maybe this is a free anchor for us? It’s certainly not set as it should be (in the correct orientation).
(Yes while writing this now we can see the 3 links of anchor chain just covered by sand)
We went back to the boat to prepare to try and retrieve it, bringing back the dinghy, a bouy and ropes etc.
After another dive down to ~10 meters we had a rope around the anchor, however just as we attached it we lifted the anchor revealing the chain attached to it. (sadface)
After a more thorough investigation, this anchor was indeed attached to a boat, however, the boat was much further away than we were expecting for the depth (they must have had lots of chain out), and was not in the direction you would expect it to be (the anchor was pointing the wrong way and the chain running back underneath it).
The conclusion here is that they anchored by dumping their anchor and a bunch of chain as fast as possible, never really pulled back on it to set it properly. So rather than dug in, it just lay at an odd angle on the surface.
For comparison, this is what our anchor looks like while set…
Note you can barely see it, as most of it is beneath the sand.
We had to dive down once again to remove the ropes! No free anchor for us, but also glad we didn’t actually pull it up at all…
Make sure you set your anchor!!!! Otherwise 1) you might drift off and 2) We might come and try to steal it
You can read more about setting an anchor on WikiHow (but I am sure there are better resources).
6. Use your engine to give the anchor a final hard set.
This is called snubbing the anchor, and jams a set anchor more firmly into the bottom. Have your helmsman reverse hard until the rode straightens out, then kill the engine. Check your bearings again as your helmsman does this, to double check the anchor hasn’t pulled free.
After a day of recovery from our rather long crossing (we mainly lay around, sleeping eating and watching TV), we headed to shore to wonder around the Volcanic island.
First, we headed up the closest volcano-like thing, where we got a great view of our part of the island, nearby beaches and anchorage.
We then headed to the north shore to see the breaking waves and the few people surfing them.
The north shore also had many rock pools with all kinds of sea life in them.
The most interesting of which was a collection of hermit crabs all trying to get in line to swap shells. We watched for quite some time, but none of them could decide which one should take the new larger shell that they had found.
There was also a self righting sea snail.
Kathryn was craving pizza, so we headed to the main town of the island in search. There was a pizza place on Google maps that should have been open, but sadly not.
We ended up at the popular local restaurant where we had black squid ink paella.
The walk back to the anchorage took around 20-30 minuites and was lit by moonlight.
We spent much of the rest of our time in this anchorage snorkeling around. The water was so clear and warm we could see to the bottom with ease and didn’t need a wetsuit.
This also gave us an opportunity to dive on our anchor to see how close to the rocks we were.
Who knew a 30nm journey to our planned port of Tangier, Morocco could take 5 days? Well, we found out how that’s possible on a sailboat…
On our first attempt at leaving Gibraltar, we had looked at the tidal stream atlas and decided on a time of the day to leave, it turned out to be a not-too-early 9 am start and we knew it was going to be a windward sail so tacking, something we are quite used to but little did we know just how strong the tides really are in the Gibraltar Straights.
We cruised out of the anchorage just north of the border of Gib (so actually in Spain) at a speedy 6knots across the bay in lovely flat seas, we dodged the giant container ships anchored in the bay as we headed for the Southwest side of the bay.
When approaching one of the ships a little too close for comfort we tacked a few times so as not to lose the wind when going past what is basically a huge wall stationed in the water.
Not even 10 minutes later the water started to get choppy, an indication that the tide in that area was strengthening and the wind was going over the surface of the water in the other direction to the flow of water, Hannah Penn powered through under full sail, we felt good that this sail was going to go well.
At this point the wind speed increased to about 30knots, we reached the other side of the choppy water where there was a strange calm area of sea, we dropped the mizzen as the wind was not going to let up and at the same time found we had left the ladder down in the water at the back of the boat, I took the helm and Adam had to retrieve the ladder with his long arms as we were very healed over.
After sailing into the calm water we noticed our SOG (Speed Over Ground) dropped and our heading which was once a very good into-wind angle suddenly point further and further downwind.. to the point where instead of going forward we were actually headed backward at a diagonal straight into the Mediterranean sea!!
Clearly, the tide was doing something very strange, a phenomenon which we had read could happen around a headland we were passing, Punta del Carnero, leaving the bay and entering the Straights, we had to start the engine as our speed, eastward towards the Med had increased to a staggering 2.5knots whilst still sailing West!
By this point, the wind was still gathering in strength and we knew we were not going to make it to Tangier so 1.5nm into our journey through the Straights we looked into bail-out options, luckily at that moment when motoring at over double the RPM we would usually run the engine at and only managing a meagre 1.5knots over the ground we saw a little cove which looked relatively sheltered in the prevailing conditions, we took that opportunity and headed in checking our trusty Navily app on the way, one review was good enough for us!
We approached the tiny cove (Cala Arenas on Navily) which should have had over 2m of depth below the keel, the depth meter suddenly started dropping much quicker than expected, with 0.8m under the boat we quickly made a turn into the wind and slightly deeper water and dropped anchor, let out 30m immediately and let the boat settle in what was turning into a gale!
So we had arrived in this little cove at about low tide, and this made it lovely and sheltered with a big outcropping of rocks to the windward side of the cove, the wind still howled but the water was flat, we hunkered down after letting out a bit more chain and putting the anchor snubber on to dampen the forces on the boat.
After looking at the tidal stream atlas again wondering why it was so difficult to get into wind we realised we had got the tide timings wrong, by 3 hours! after mistakenly thinking the titles for the pictures were above the relevant information, when in fact they were below.
Waiting it out for 2 days
We stayed in the cove for two nights whilst keeping an eye on the weather, each high tide it got a little choppy as the rocks protecting us got partially submerged, so we created a swell bridle which allowed the boat to sit with her bow into the waves but side-on to the wind.
The rope pictured above attaches to the anchor chain and is also attached to the bow and stern cleats. The chain ends up half way along the side of the boat.
On the 3rd day, we decided it wasn’t worth us trying to get out of the straights until the wind shifted from a Westerly to an Easterly, which was due to happen in another 2 days’ time, so that day we made sure the tides were right and we upped anchor and set off back toward Gib, and fast downwind, down-tide sail that saw us doing over 8knots.
We rounded the corner into the bay and anchored up in the lee of the wind in the southwest corner of the bay.
We tucked ourselves in close to the shore and made the most of our extended trip near Gibraltar by going snorkeling and watching The Witcher on Netflix!
Second Try for Tangier
So the time came when the wind shifted to an easterly giving us a downwind sail, perfect! Now reading the tides correctly, which included making sure you had adjusted for the different time zones (being so close to Spain, Gibraltar and Morocco our phones didn’t know which country to pick up!)
We headed out again and this time was much faster, expecting a very windy sail we only need the genoa out, and even then we only had all of it out for about 1 hour till we decided we would have more steerage if we furled some in. Still, we maintained about 7knots SOG.
We stayed close to the north shore of the straights, well out of the shipping lanes to the south of us, this gave us a little protection from the building waves in the center of the channel.
The time came when we need to make a slight turn south and venture more into the open water, soon though we found ourselves being thrown around a lot in the steep waves which were forming due to the strong tides and equally strong wind, we tried for about 30 mins to make our way out but decided it would be too dangerous when we hadn’t even got a 1/4 of the way across and one wave threw the boat sideways-on to the waves, which were easily higher than the deck. At that point, we turned back north to more sheltered water.
Carrying on, on the north shore we made our way to Tarifa, a Spanish town with an outcropping of land which gave perfect shelter from the building conditions.
We tucked ourselves in behind the breakwater where a number of pro kitesurfers were having a great time in the high winds and flat seas.
Taking shelter from real storm-force winds
We were forced to drop anchor in water much deeper than we would usually choose, about 8m under the keel, which meant we had to let out about 50m of chain because we didn’t want to interrupt the kiters and decided we would move closer after they had finished.
Into the afternoon the wind grew stronger and stronger. We contemplated an alternative anchorage, heading off a little downwind, but it was far less protected and we found ourselves motoring back to Tarifa and moving closer to shore.
We had about 5m of depth, the usual ratio which we use when we anchor is 15m + 2x the distance from the seabed to the bow, so in normal conditions, we would have let out 35m max, but as the wind was due to blow at over 110kph we decided we should probably use the whole lot, which is 60m! and then we used 3 snubber lines equally loaded to the front anchor bollard and two outer cleats to reduce to load that any one line would take as we sway from side to side in the gale.
The evening brought winds of over 50knots (92kph) and it was expected to rise during the night, with the anchor alarm set and with howling winds we tried to get some sleep, it was a restless night, and waking in the morning we found that our wind instruments were no longer working and the boat had a thick veil of salty sand plastered to the front of everything, the windshield, rigging, masts, deck, but at least we didn’t move an inch in the night, our storm anchoring tactics had held firm.
And that is how you achieve going nowhere in 5 days!
The feeling this morning is “I can’t believe we are motoring again… We finished wrapping up all of the previous blog posts this morning, then set out for a sail, to somewhere exciting so that we can get in the water.
A side note here is this means we will aim to write these sail logs as we go, so they might get longer, but also more accurate…
Starting the sail
Half an hour in, we are still motoring out to sea with all of the sails up, but not much wind…
All of Hannah’s sails up, hauled in as far as possible
Don’t worry though, 35 minuites in we turned the motor off managing 2-3 knots.
An hour later, we came to a stop and started motoring again. Where is the wind?????
We started to reduce our sail area, first the mizen came down, then we reefed the genoa, and finally started reefing the main, planning on putting 2 reefs in.
We got past the first reefing line, but the sail stopped coming down half way to the second reef. What was it stuck on?
Looking up we saw one of the sail lugs caught in a feeder line (string) that we have in place to add a second halyard. This meant that we could reef no more, so we raised the sail back to the first reef.
After a couple of gybes downwind on a less rocky point of sail Adam headed up the mast in a bosun’s chair to untangle the mess (which ended up being quick and easy).
Navigating to anchor
We carried on for the rest of the day with a half reefed Genoa and 1 reef in the main. The fish cooking effort had to be restarted once all of the excitement had died down.
The next effort was navigating to our anchorage. We had to change our plan, as we discovered that you need a navigation and anchoring permit for some islands in the area (where we were originally planning on anchoring for the night).
Our new target was a beach that looked well protected from the Atlantic swells, but this meant a change of course, and also navigation around the conservation area that we shouldn’t enter without a permit.
You can see the conservation area boundary line in red below which we should stay north of. This will take us within 10s of feet of some quite shallow areas, and also take us generally through a shallow area that will be funneling the swell.
Screenshot of navionics, showing the norther border of a protected area
It’s the closest we have been to the coast, shallows or rocks in a while when actually out sailing, but all went smoothly.
The rocks nearby
At the anchorage
We found this anchorage on Navily with a single review, so we could have been heading into anything.
Anchoring in around 7-8m, and it was quite windy to start with. We were the only boat around so we ended up putting 40m of chain out.
Adam went for a quick adventure under the boat cleaning the waterline on his way.
Adam scrubbing the waterline
Kathryn prepared some tasty tasty dinner including flat breads from a sour dough starter, and soup for dinner.
We started day 24 at approximately 5 am in an anchorage off Porthcressa Beach, St Marys.
This anchorage is on the southwest side of the island (pictured below). The anchorage is highlighted in green, and roughly where we were anchored is marked with a red dot.
Map showing the location of the incident. Red dot was our anchor location.
We heard a loud thud and scraping on our chain. Looking out of the skylight from bed, we saw another mast oddly close by.
At first, we didn’t know what was going on, had we dragged? No! Our anchor alarm had not gone off. Also, we were on the outside of the anchorage. It must be someone else!
Leaping out of bed and onto deck we discovered that another boat had dragged anchor from further inshore into us!
These hungover French sailors on a Doufort 24ft sailboat didn’t notice themselves dragging and hitting us, and didn’t surface until after we loudly knocked on their hull and already had our fenders out. If they didn’t hit us they would have been taken straight onto the rocks or out to sea.
Initially, they hit the bow roller, chain and snubber before gradually turning to come alongside us.
The bow roller, chain, snubber setup on the nose of Hannah
Once up they also got some fenders out to put between the hulls, engine on and tried pulling up their chain with the electric windlass to find it didn’t work. They pulled it up by hand (something we are used to on Hannah!) with some help from us getting the anchor over the bow.
Judging by how quickly they pulled up the chain they probably only had 10 meters or so of chain out, and we were in 10 meters of depth at high tide. They would have been in 8-10 meters of depth where they were anchored.
Minimal damage, just some light paint scratches on Hannahs’s bow as the metalwork, chain and snubber took most of the hit on the nose and we were on deck before anything else could happen, holding the other boat away from Hannahs’s hull.
The anchor and bow roller when hauled out in 2022, after the new anchor was fitted.
No pictures or videos of the actual event, but let’s hope it doesn’t happen again…