By Marcin Wojtyczka13 minutes read
At the end of October 2021, we sailed from Palma de Mallorca to Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The adventurous crew enjoyed fair winds and long Atlantic waves on this trip.
- Start: 16 October 2021 (Saturday) - Palma de Mallorca, Marina La Lonja
- Finish: 06 November 2021 (Saturday) - Marina Santa Cruz de Tenerife
- Marco - Italy
- Max - Canada
- Richie - UK
- Richard - UK
- Mike - Poland
- Stefan - Germany
- Seba - Belgium
Palma de Mallorca - Cala Portals - Formentera - San Jose - Malaga - La Linea (Gibraltar) - Tenerife - Gran Canaria - Tenerife
Oceanis 41 "Katalina"
Well-maintained boat, lifted out regularly to check hull, keel and prop.
- Year: 2012
- Type: sailing
- CE design category: A – Ocean
- Hull: monohull
- Length: 12.43 m (41ft)
- Berths: 8 (6+2)
- Cabins: 3
- WC / Shower: 2
- Beam: 4.20 m
- Draught: 1.70 m
- Engine: 60 hp
- Fuel capacity: 200 l (Diesel)
- Water capacity: 570 l
- Sails: main (full batten), genua (furling), storm jib
- Solar panels
- DSC VHF radio
- Handheld VHF DSC radio
- AIS class B transponder
- Radar reflector
- Bow thruster
- Chart plotter with GPS
- Sextant Astra IIIB Deluxe
- Iridium satellite terminal
- PredictWind Offshore app
- Complete set of pilot books, almanacs and charts
Day 1 Joining day in Palma de MallorcaWe were about to sail for 3 weeks so we had to make sure that everything is ready before we slip the lines. Inspecting the boat, provisioning the yacht, familiarizing with the boat and safety briefing took almost the entire day.
Provisioning for the upcoming week.
Topping up fuel tanks and jerry cans.
Day 2 Palma de Mallorca - Cala Portals (8 NM)After leaving the harbour we practised tacking, jibing, reefing and mob before heading to our first destination. We also tasted a delicious Spanish cake served by Stefan who had a birthday on that day. There could be no better start to the voyage.
Goodbye Palma de Mallorca.
Time for something sweet.
Cala Portals in Mallorca.
Inscriptions in the Cala Portals caves.
Day 2-3 Cala Portals - Formentera (86 NM)We left Cala Portals Bay before the night and set sail to Formentera. We had almost no wind during the night but luckily the wind picked up a little bit in the morning so we could stop the engine. We arrived in the afternoon and anchored in front of uninhabited Espalmador island which is just a few meters offshore from Formentera.
In the Puerto de Espalmador, just about to jump into the water.
One of the many watch towers on the Spanish coast protecting from pirate invades in the past.
Looking at Ibiza from uninhabited Espalmador island.
In the Puerto de Sabina, the only harbour in Formentera.
Day 4 - 5 Formentera - San Jose (248 NM)The initial plan was to visit Alicante but due to extensive calms near the Spanish coasts, we decided to go more offshore and visit San Jose. The route followed the good wind and led initially towards the African coast before turning to starboard towards San Jose. In this passage, everyone learned how to use a sextant and got into the watch rota rhythm.
Half way through between Formentera and San Jose.
First sun shots with the sextant.
Welcome in San Jose after 2 days of sailing.
On the San Jose mountains.
Day 6 - 7 San Jose - Malaga (145 NM)We booked a berth in the Real Club Mediterraneo de Malaga and left the beautiful San Jose before the night to be able to pick up Marco that was joining us there. We had to beat overnight but the wind shifted the next day and we were on a broad reach again. We had a nice breeze on this passage and during the last few hours the wind increased to 7 Beaufort and we were making up to 8 knots on fully reefed main and genoa. The sea near the harbour was very uncomfortable with waves bouncing off the marina wall but once we passed the wall the water calmed down and there was no issue navigating into the marina.
Exhilarating sailing towards Malaga.
Real Club Mediterraneo de Malaga.
You should book most marinas in Spain in advance, even outside the season, as there is a very limited number of berths available for visiting yachts.
Welcome in Malaga.
Malaga harbour viewed from Castillo de Gibralfaro.
Day 8 - 9 Malaga - Gibraltar (74 NM)We set sails towards Gibraltar in the late evening and had a great sailing condition all the way. We had one situation in this passage. 30 miles away from Malaga a large navy-like ship, not visible on AIS, followed us for 15 minutes or so. They lightened us with a big search torch a few times and disappeared. After about half an hour they came back again. This time they launched a rib and came on board. This would have been quite stressful if we were in the vicinity of the piracy area but since we were quite close to the Spanish coast there was nothing to worry about. This turned out to be a custom doing a routine check. Three officers came on board and checked the boat and crew papers. The did not seem to be very organized though, just checking lockers randomly and searching through clothes. Everything was in order and they left after about half an hour. The Gibraltar Rock appeared on the horizon in the morning and everyone was excited to finally see this iconic spot.
Enjoying perfect sailing conditions.
Rounding the Gibraltar Rock.
Overfalls off Europa Point lighthouse.
Walking up the Rock takes about an hour but it is well worth it for the amazing views.
Crossing the border to Gibraltar from Spain through airport's runway.
Gibraltar city viewed from the Rock
Monkeys are everywhere on the Rock
Go away, you paparazzi
Day 10 - 17 Gibraltar - Tenerife (845 NM)The Strait of Gibraltar can be challenging. High ship traffic, strong winds, tidal streams and currents, overfalls and ocean swell are all factors that have to be taken into consideration to make a safe and motor-free transit. Winds in excess of 30 knots are said to blow in the Strait for 300 days of the year. Our transit through the Strait was relatively calm. We had 26 knots after exiting the Strait to the west but it was pushing us nicely in the direction where we wanted to go.
Gibraltar at night.
Provisioning for the ocean passage.
Strait of Gibraltar with Africa on the port side and Europe on the starboard side.
Celestial navigation routine.
One of many beautiful sunsets on the ocean.
Taking evening star sights during twilight.
Swimming on the open ocean - always a fantastic experience.
Trying out emergency tiller in a swell - works but it is hard work without some extension.
Pilot whales on the hunt for squids.
After 7 days, the first elevation of the Tenerife was spotted. Seems like the celestial navigation worked out fine, uff ;)
On the final approach to Tenerife.
Roadsted on the approach to Santa Cruz de Tenerife commercial port.
Main square in Santa Cruz.
Day 18 Tenerife - Gran Canaria (55 NM)Since we still had three days until we had to return the boat, we decided to visit Puerto de Mogan on Gran Canaria Island. We went to Grand Canaria overnight and had mild wind. The acceleration zone West of Gran Canaria is one of the strongest in Canaries but it was not present this day.
Attractive, long-established Puerto de Mogan marina.
Puerto de Mogan with the beach and marina to the west.
Day 19-20 Gran Canaria - Tenerife (120 NM)When going back we decided to round the Gran Canaria in an anticlockwise direction to see other parts of the island. We were expecting a northerly breeze and a strong acceleration zone on the east coast of Gran Canaria.
Entering acceleration zone on the west coast of Gran Canaria.
Catamaran ferries making 30 knots are common in Canaries.
When sailing around the Canaries you should familiarize yourself with the acceleration zones. The predominantly North-Eastern wind is held back by the high islands. The wind is deflected but also accelerates sharply. This leads to zones with sudden strong winds (25 knots or more in a matter of 200m).
Finally on a broad reach to Santa Cruz after beating over the night.
Santa Cruz de Tenerife just ahead.
SummaryCollectively we managed to complete 1556 NM over 21 days, navigating by no means of GPS on the open ocean. We all learned a whole lot. The team was absolutely amazing and you could not ask for a better one. Being in a few lockdowns in the past year has shown us how truly lovely it is to feel the freedom on the ocean and create your own schedule. If you like to sail and want to bring your sailing skills to the next level, join us on future trips.
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