d 490 Najad 490 Najad 490 Najad 490 Najad 490 Najad 490 Najad 490 Najad 490 Najad 490 Najad 490 Najad 490 Najad 490 Najad 490 Najad 490 Najad 490 Najad 490 Najad 490
Finally Taniwani is underway for her longest trip and Beate, Harald and Felix have moved on board for the time being. We now plan to send out updates to our mailing lists, about once a month.
TANIWANIs Tracks so far....
This part starts on July 21st, when we returned to Taniwani who has waiting in Puerto Sherry near Cadiz for one month.
Puerto Sherry is a strange place, with what seems a flopped project to develop a tourist center, like Puerto Banus. While the marina is in full operation for a long time, it seems to more serve the needs of local people to simply park their boat somewhere. Any other infrastructure like restaurants or shops is virtually non-existent, yet there are many abandoned buildings in various states of completion.
Never the less there are some small chandleries and repair shops and a small sail loft. The later we asked to build a large sun cover for Taniwani, and it should have been completed on the day before we returned. Well, you guessed right, it took two days longer, but was done quite well, and we can now enjoy the decadent life at anchor together with the appropriate drinks much better.
For shopping we took the dinghy into the river to the town of Santa Maria just around the corner. That town is quite big and stretches along the river for several miles. Eventually we just tied up and asked for the next supermarket.
After fetching our new sun cover, the man wanted nothing but cash and gave us no receipt, we moved over the bay to Cadiz again. There we could watch one of the last tall ships of Spain leaving the harbor, and then to keep us busy watching, the towed a large piece of floating concrete into the harbor to sink it right in front of the marina as the beginning of a new breakwater. So we had lots of interesting things to watch.
We have already expressed many times how much we like Cadiz, so we will not go into more detail about this town again. We spent another day here and then took off for Tarifa, the southern most tip of continental Europe.
It is right in the middle of Gibraltar Straits and also one of the windiest spots in Europe. That is why it attracts so many kite surfers to its long sand beaches west of the town. We also anchored on the west side of the dike that connects the town with Tarifa Island, a little rock with an old fortress, still military and off limits.
Funneled by the Gibraltar Straits, the famous wind of Tarifa is either from the west or east, and so you choose the side to anchor according to the wind of the day. We had a strong Levanter (Easterly) when we arrived and we had to motor into the straits to make it to Tarifa in time. Next day the wind was a bit undecided and weak and we decided to move to the other side where we spent two more nights at anchor. The second night then was a bit more exciting as the Levanter picked up again and was blowing onshore and with over 20 knots. So we had a first night exercise taking off our huge new sun cover. After that we felt our anchor would do fine, especially since you don’t get real big waves in that corner of the straits and in the morning we wanted to leave anyway.
The only new problem now was that we also were in thick fog; we couldn’t see the dike less than 100m to the lee! In the morning however the fog had gone from our place and we thought about taking off for Marbella as planned. Tarifa Traffic kept reporting visibility NIL in the eastern part of the straits, and so we waited a bit. They also had radar and communications outage in the eastern part, so couldn’t give full assistance.
Memories of a scary fog passage through the straits in 1975 on board of Harald’s father’s new boat came back. Both of us had been on board then on a non-stop passage from Falmouth to Marbella and I think it was Beate’s first sailing trip with the Harald's family. Back then we had entered the straits shortly after sunrise, and found out that we had no visibility and not much choice for making a good landfall. So were just sucked into the straits with a light westerly wind and went straight through the middle in the traffic separation zone. No radar, no VHF and position as accurate as the RDF allowed… We were almost through when out of the fog came the bow of the Ceuta to Algeciras ferry, named Ilha de Mallorca. She was maybe three boat lengths away and the view of her bows is a lasting memory! We tried to accelerate and escape but somehow she seemed to turn too and follow us. Luckily she missed and we saw the faces from the bridge staring down at us, before she disappeared in the fog again.
We waited a bit more and then thought it should be ok for our part, which was along the north shore of the straits, then (more tricky because of the high-speed ferries), crossing the bay of Algeciras, and finally past Europa Point, the tip of Gibraltar. We also felt well equipped with excellent radar and a receiver for the new AIS system. With this new system it will be mandatory by year-end for all bigger ships to carry a transponder that sends out ship data, most importantly position, heading and speed, but also call sign and type of vessel.
We now have a receiver that allows to display the targets on the PC and had been watching the traffic for some days now getting a feeling that about 95% of the big ships that go through the straits carry such an AIS transponder; also all the ferries that cross the straits definitely do so.
The big advantage of the new system is that it is much faster and much more accurate than radar plotting. Within seconds you see how close you will get to a target and when that will be. If you change course you get the new result immediately. The other good news is that you know the vessels by name and call sign, so in case of doubt you do not need to do this notorious “ vessel in position … “ call.
So we went. The first 5 miles were fine and we could see the shore quite well, but then and until we were only ten miles from Marbella we had visibility zero. Crossing Algeciras Bay was still fine and we cleverly avoided getting too close to the high speed ferries, but then, at Europa Point, there was just a maze of ships, maneuvering, waiting moving, you name it.
There was no way we could adhere to our old rule of not passing in front of a big ship closer than two miles. We had to go down to half a mile to make it possible at all, and despite all the electronic aids it was more traffic to track than the two of us liked. One big target kept turning, luckily at 6 knots, but it was listed as a supertanker with 330m lengths and 58m beam. Our CPA (the calculated Closest Point of Approach), kept dropping alarmingly, and while I saw it heading towards zero, with the tanker now only ¾ of a mile away, and was just reaching for the VHF radio to call him, it was that a deep voice said: “ Vessel in position …., this is motor-tanker TANABE, please respond! ” – It was our current position.
“Motor-tanker TANABE this is sailing vessel TANIWANI, in the requested position, channel 06 please” – just 0.6 miles distance now.. “Motor-tanker TANABE this is sailing vessel TANIWANI on channel 06, I have you on radar and AIS, what are your intentions, what would you like me to do?” The deep and friendly voice comes back: “Ahem, TANIWANI, this is motor-tanker TANABE, we are moving to pick up the pilot, a lot of traffic around us, sorry. Could you please alter your course to port and keep your speed?” -- now only 0.5 miles! “Motor-tanker TANABE this is sailing vessel TANIWANI, OK I will alter course 20 degrees to port, that is heading exactly towards Europa Point. Is that OK with you?” “Yes, I confirm you will alter course 20 degrees to port, that is fine, thank you, we will then slowly pass behind you. This is motor-tanker TANABE standby on 16 and 10”.
We still had a few smaller targets in front to worry about and then we needed to avoid Europa Point, but Tanabe passed 0.3 miles behind and we kind of felt OK that we couldn’t see him! East of Europa point we had just to pass a crowd of anchored ships and then it was simple again, with just a few targets here and there. But it took almost all the way to Marbella before the fog cleared.
Originally our plan was to sail a bit further to Malaga, to pick up Felix who was flying into Malaga and despite having friends in Marbella, we didn’t think of stopping there, especially since these friends had just visited us in Cadiz. But then we didn’t know that we had some more friends there.
It was a week or so before we left that I found an article on the Internet, written by a friend, Holger Strauss, who had been part of a group of boats that did the Atlantic circle in 1972/73. I wasn’t sure whether the e-mail address would work but gave it a try. Holger had stuck with the sailing lifestyle and with new partner Christa and new boat GOLEM cruised the whole world for many years. We had not met Holger for 30 years and had no idea that they had settled in Marbella, both teaching.
And now we got this delayed answer as we left Cadiz, what a coincidence! Certainly we wanted to meet. So shortly after we had tied up Marbella, Christa and Holger came on board for some great exchange of old stories and gossip about other friends from then. We had a good time, also the next day when we continued hearing many a great advice from this far traveled and experienced couple until we picked up Felix at the Malaga airport.
We would have loved to stay another day and take up Christa’s Holger’s invitation for a barbeque evening at their nice house, but we didn’t want to arrive in Gibraltar at the weekend, as we wanted to shop a few things there.
So we left the next morning, but only to return a few hours later: There was no wind in Marbella when we left, but a big swell coming into the harbor, and as we got out we were more puzzled as there was quite chop, but the wind that one would expect with it was missing. It got rougher and rougher, with white crests and still no wind, so that we started thinking it may have been caused by an earthquake. But only a few miles further on, there was the wind: Force 7, right on the nose. We beat into this for an hour, but came to the conclusion that we had no chance reaching Gibraltar by daylight that way, and Felix on board for the first day wasn’t too thrilled by this form of torture. He claimed that I was purposefully going against the wind most of the time.
We turned back to Marbella and were rewarded by another very nice evening with our friends and the next day we sailed smoothly, with a nice easterly wind all the way to Gibraltar.
We still could do most shopping on Saturday morning, but most things that we were looking for weren’t available; Sheppard’s is not the universal place to get about anything for the boat as most books claim. Still we got some nice stainless steel chain leader for our third anchor, and off course cheap single malt. Approximately 1/10th the price of what it costs where Taniwani was built!
Gibraltar is a nice place to visit, and always worth a stop for a few days. We stood for three nights and on the Sunday took the cable car up the rock and then the long walk zigzag down visiting all the famous sites. On top of the rock, you can now have a Pocket-PC based tour guide that is very nicely done and very informative.
We enjoyed the extensive walk and all the great sites and sights.
Per Holger’s recommendation we went to the “Clipper” in Irishtown for dinner, and found all, food, beer and ambiente just great and prices rather modest.
Gibraltar has three Marinas and we had chosen Queensway Quay Marina in the middle of the main harbor. The other two, Sheppard’s and Marina Bay are close by the airport and one needs to go there anyway for clearing in and for cheap fuel. Queensway wasn’t full at all, but the other two seemed like they were well filled. Queensway is close to the main down town and the cable car, but with respect to shopping the other two are probably better choices. Also, if you want to leave at any time, don’t use Queensway, it gets closed and fenced off the main harbor from 9 in the evening to 9 in the morning!
We checked out of Gibraltar on Monday, August 2nd and crossed the straits right away to cruise along the Moroccan coast to Tangier. This time visibility was around a mile and a half and it was a bit less nerve wrecking. Half way along the Moroccan coast we were signaled to stop by a Moroccan patrol boat; they just wanted to know where we came from and where we were headed.
The harbor in Tangier looked different this year: The old yacht club building had gone, a new one is nearly complete and there are now several new floating pontoons. But most are still taken by local boats and visitors get arranged creatively in packs and a web of lines. We saw two more pontoons under construction, so this may change quickly again.
Soon we saw our old guide Mustafa on the pontoon again; he had a deal with an English yacht that evening, but would have time for us the next day. So Beate and Harald made a quick stroll to the Medina, only to almost get lost in there.
Next day we had an official Mustafa tour to Cape Spartel, the Caverns of Hercules and finally again the Kaspar and Medina. Was a nice and interesting day and we got our without buying a carpet this time! Later in the evening Mustafa dropped by to show us his kids.
But then another small disaster struck in the evening: I had just loaded the Iridium data software on to my Laptop to get the latest weather routing file this way. So far we have used ham-radio e-mail or GPRS for that, but there was no GPRS in Morocco and I thought it might be risky to illegally use HF-radio in such a place. Unfortunately the Iridium software isn’t well written and always causes trouble conflicting with other communication programs, like the Nokia software, which is also not fault free. So we got the weather routing file, but shortly after while trying to get rid of side effects I spilled the last small drop of whine on the chart table and ten minutes later my laptop smoked and gave up totally.
A dissection showed that a small amount of whine had made it through the fan outlet and soaked a piece of foam rubber, which passed the whine on to the main board. There the board burned out just below the power transistors that switch the various circuits on and off. Very strange indeed, but it seems like the multi-layer board reacts with the whine and shorts out between layers.
We can certainly sail without the laptop, as we also have a dedicated Simrad plotter, but on longer trips, like the one to Madeira, the weather routing is very useful. Also the new AIS only works with the PC and the MaxSea software, and all data communication was done with my PC.
Off course Beate’s somewhat newer model refused to boot from my hard disk and we had to connect my disk as a secondary one, which means none of the software we wanted was installed on Beate’s. So it took some time and by late night I had the most important stuff up and running on Beate’ laptop and we were ready to go.
After the usual procedure of trying to get your passports and ship’s papers back, we set off for Madeira. As predicted we had westerly winds at the start and the routing software sent us on a course south of the rhumbline. But it was fine and smooth sailing nevertheless. As predicted the wind veered to NW and later N and picked up in speed. So in the evening to took in several reefs to slow Taniwani into the 8-knot range. Taniwani was sailing happily with well over 9 knots, but the comfort on board wasn’t to our liking and slowing by one knot makes a huge difference.
It didn’t take long and we caught our first Dorada, but just the right size for one person. So we tried for more and a few hours later the reel went off like crazy and before we could slow the boat enough most of the 500m of line was out! Felix and Harald tried for some time and reeled in a good deal but eventually the leader broke and the big fish was gone.
So we gave up on the fishing, as with the speed we were making, every bite meant something like a real man-over-board maneuver; not the thing to have for our single watches. We kept three hour watches, giving everybody six hour breaks and a chance to experience different times of the day.
The wind behaved pretty much as predicted, slowly veering and increasing and on the last day decreasing again. We started quite close-hauled, about half way we had the true wind from abeam and we ended with a reach. We entered the new marina Quinta do Lorde in Madeira exactly three days and three hours after leaving Tanger. That was 578.4 miles and gives an average of 7.7 knots. Our best 24-hour run was 192.5 miles.
The new marina at the east end of Madeira is still quite empty and offers a real option for folks who want to explore the island and leave the boat alone in a safe place. Especially since it is sometimes hard to find space in Funchal. But it is relatively expensive, water and electricity cost extra, and it is far from any civilization or shopping.
Still we opted to go there for one day, as we wanted to stay in the near by anchorage of Baia Abra, but needed to clear into Madeira first. Also washing of all the salt from the trip sounded like a good idea.
Our older son Markus and his friend Astrid were already vacationing on Madeira and dropped by shortly after we arrived.
Next day we moved to Baia Abra, for swimming diving and relaxing and that is where we are still anchored.
With parents and friends here in Madeira, we plan to stay in the Madeira archipelago until end of September, so there want be any exciting news for some time now. So we will probably send the next update somewhere from the Canary Island in mid October.
Baia Abra, August 10, 2004