Villamoura to Palma de Mallorca – Army Air Corps

8th to 10th Mar:  Joined Kukri around midday and met the Skipper Stuart Southwick. Stowed kit, victualed the boat with rations for 48hrs and started some boat familiarisation. Four of the crew have never sailed before and one of the objectives is for our novices to gain their RYA Comp Crew qualification, so without further ado the crew were split into Blue & Red watch each with a watch leader and three crew. The rest of the afternoon was spent practising mooring, hoisting and lowering sails and general teamwork.

The itinerary was changed slightly due to a weather window developing that gave us the opportunity to head straight for La Linea (Gibraltar). We slipped lines at 09.15 and headed SE under engine and mainsail. The wind remained very light and variable for the next 23hrs. In the early afternoon we spotted a large Minky whale 50m away, it surfaced twice but too quickly for anyone to grab their camera. Blue and Red watch settled into the routine of ‘four on four off’ with the Skipper and Mate bridging the watches by two hours each. The night sky was crystal clear and star spotting and naming became the night’s pastime. the wind filled at 08.00 from 6kts to 28kts and right on the nose. The sea state changed from long Atlantic rolling swells to short steep choppy and confused sea where the Atlantic meets the Mediterranean. Beating hard and tacking regularly to keep out of the shipping lanes and the worst of the seas we made good progress and tacking became fast and slick. As Tariffa point loomed into site we knew that La Linea was just around the corner. The wind dropped off the sea flattened and we had a great sail into La Linea arriving at 15.00hrs. To cap it all off a pod of pilot whales appeared to welcome us.

To reinforce the Comp Crew training that was carried out, the Mate set a challenge. In order to go ashore each crew member had to tie a bowline confidently and competently. It goes without saying that everyone passed with flying colours. The first passage of 30hrs went very well with a variety of conditions to test the crew down.

Miles Run – 145Nm – Photo’s to follow

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