Sailing to the Canary Islands (take 3)


The very barren looking Lanzarote

I left Agadir having learnt two very important lessons:

  • If you have cockroaches aboard, never admit to it. One French couple were the pariahs of the marina with nobody willing to invite them aboard for fear of being infected by invisible eggs carried underfoot.


  • Never smile at unaccompanied women on the seaside promenade in Agadir unless you want to hear the whole story of how they are traveling alone and staying at so and so hotel and if you are interested… hmmm you get the picture.

Many of the resident cruisers gathered on the pontoon as Eileen put on a show to leave (i.e. I raised all four sails before leaving the marina), and to the sound of several ships horns (wow what a send off!), I set my sights on Lanzarote.

Two Norwegian registered vessels followed suit (minus the cacophony of horn blowing because they only motored out of the marina) and before long passed Eileen despite her best efforts at top speed under full sail. Never mind, time to reef and get some sleep anyway.

By 3am I had more company as a final member of the Agadir troupe (A fancy London registered 20m sloop) slipped by. I tried to raise them on the VHF but as they had electrical difficulties I could only hear the repeated pressing of their transmit button in reply to my greeting. So much for the last two days where an electrician had been hired to sort out their technical issues!

For two days Eileen of Avoca bobbed her way through surprisingly agitated seas toward Lanzarote. I passed as much time as possible dozing but strangely enough I always came suddenly awake when I needed to adjust my sails or deal with shipping that happened to be on a collision course.

Now either I have a sixth sense,

or the ghost of Bill Boyall (Eleen’s previous owner; who I like to think takes the helm when I’ve gone beyond the point of exhaustion), nudges me awake,

or such situations are happening continuously and I’m only aware of the ones that take place while I’m awake!

Take your pick.


Yet another artificial village at Rubicon marina, Lanzarote

In any case I was always lucky enough to be awake when shipping came dangerously close. Twice I had to ask if the vessel had seen me, and in one case the bulk carrier came within half a mile despite having adjusted its course to pass behind me. This is why I’m not a big fan of sailing in a flotilla like the ARC rally. All I need is another 200 obstacles without AIS heading the same way when I need to take a nap!

Despite the close calls, Eileen arrived safely at Rubicon Marina in Lanzarote on the 14th of November by 14:30 having averaged more than 100 NM per day (please applaud now). 🙂

7 thoughts on “Sailing to the Canary Islands (take 3)

  1. Hi David. Glad to see that you and Eileen have arrived safely. I will remeber never to tell anyone if we are unfortunate enough to get cockroaches, mind you if that happens I think the fat yellow boat will have to go or Brad and Lupin will be sailing the boat themselves. Hope you enjoy your stay in lanzarote. Take care of yourself and Eileen.

    Luv Diane Brad and Lupin

  2. Hi David – Glad to see you’ve made it to Lanzarotte. Hope all is well with you and Eileen is looking after you. We toast your progress with Walnut liquer!
    All the best David, Sally AND Shumba!

  3. I think you can wait for a long time. i think, we will be there for Xmas…I guess. I think also ; the Portugal are in the atlantique. Vivien say “bonjour” for you.
    J’espère que tu as du soeleil et de la chaleur. je pense que lorsque j’arriverais canaris tu auras pris la route du cap vert.
    peut-ĂŞtre Ă  bientĂ´t

  4. Im am from Porto and I have a small sailing boat at the marina of Leixões (Porto – Portugal), where you have been some weeks ago.
    I have made a single notice from your passage at Leixões and a link of your blog to my blog (; is in portuguese language and the name means “sailing friends”)

    Good Winds!

  5. Sorry that I was not able to meet you in Leixões. It’s always fun to chat with other small boat owners.
    You are more than welcome to link to this site.

  6. Eileen of Avoca always takes good care of me! I was lucky enough to obtain 3 more bottles of that rare liqueur. They will accompany me to South America. Cheers!

  7. Gran Canaria is cockroach heaven, but I’ve sprayed enough insecticide on my lines and vents to kill an army of cockroaches! 🙂

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