On 18th November 6 members of 75 Engineer Regiment Regt travelled to Lanzarote for Ex Canary Express 2018. The Joint Services Sail Training Centre had forward based a 47ft yacht in the Canary Islands. The aim of this was to enhance sailing and leadership skills through offshore sailing.
After meeting the yacht at Puerto Calero marina we immediately checked it to ensure it was fully equipped and prepared for our 5-day sailing adventure.
Day one saw the crew which consisted of an off-shore yacht master 2 day skippers, a competent crew member and 2 novices, sail to Arrecife. To begin with we all practiced the all-important man overboard drills. A 14-knot wind speed allowed us to sail to a spot we had chosen to anchor for lunch before heading back for a second night moored at Puerto Calero Marina.
The following day we sailed to La Graciosa which is a small sanctuary Island on the northern tip of Lanzarote unfortunately due to unusual low winds for this time of year we motored (using the engine). This was a 6-hour journey but on arrival thoroughly worth it. The quaint white washed houses and small cafes added to the beauty of the Island. The following day we set sail with 16 Knots of wind around Caleta del Sabo this proved to be a much more adventurous sail with 5 metre of Atlantic swell whilst slicing through it at 10- knots in the Yacht. One of the day skippers plotted the route and allowed the comp crew and a novice to helm the boat through the rough seas. Sapper Dave Brandreth quoted “ It was exhilarating sailing the yacht for the first time under the supervision of the Skipper” We returned to La Garciosa and anchored off the beach cooking a delectable lunch of fresh fish and a well-deserved swim before heading back to the marina.
On the penultimate day, the adventurous six embarked on a journey to Rubicon. We sailed the entire journey courtesy of a wind speed of 14-knots. The weather was not too kind to us on this occasion and much to the dismay of the crew our Ray-bans had to be exchanged in favour of Ollies (Waterproof Jackets and trousers). However, our mood soon lifted when we stumbled upon a pod of approximately 100 dolphins who decided to keep us company for 40 mins. This journey also included the sighting of bottled-nosed whales and a turtle.
As we neared our destination we received a Pan-pan (May-Day Call) from an unknown yacht whose engine had failed and were requesting towing to Rubicon. This provided the crew with yet another opportunity to practice (and experience) the challenges that materialise when sailing. Once locating the distressed French yacht and night had closed in on us we set up a V tow on the rear of our vessel. The French crew were ecstatic that we had found them and where towing them to the nearest marina.
The final day we sailed to Los Lobos a small Island which we anchored overnight and watched the sunset and moon-rise in the peaceful bliss whilst bobbing on the Atlantic. A thoroughly adventurous week cooking on-board and the sight of the marine wildlife whilst navigation around unfamiliar waters. The crew sailed back to Puerto Calero and cleaned the yacht ready for the next crew.