Day 390 – FRANCE and CANARY ISLANDS: From La Rochelle to Tenerife

Did lots of flying and ‘normal’ traveling today. Flew from La Rochelle (France) to London (England), then from London to Tenerife (Canary Islands, off the coast of Morocco, North Africa). It was six hours of flying in total, but much more waiting.

It took one hour and a half to get through immigration at Gatwick Airport in London. The lines were rather rediculous. An elderly lady standing in front of me to whom I began chatting to mentioned that she kept losing her place in the line because she had to go and sit down often. I offered to keep her place, and she wandered to the front of the line and waited for me. Good Samaratin deed of the day.

In London I had four hours between flights, so I dashed into central London to the Decathalon store to buy a life jacket. Apparently the marina in San Miguel is in a small town where getting such things is a little difficult. It was only 8 GBP for a simple off-shore life jacket, so no worries.

I made it back to the airport with 20 minutes to spare before takeoff. I was ushered through the lines of people to the front and made it onto the plane just in time.

I arrived in Tenerife at 10:30pm, and met Steve, the Reliance Yacht Management skipper for the trip from Tenerife to Tortola, British Virgin Islands. He is a down to earth guy, extremely experienced in sailing, of course, with more than 25 trans-Atlantic trips. Most of these have been delivery trips, delivering French-made catamarans. He used to be an electrical engineer before switching to sailing more than 15 years ago. The frist thing I noticed about him was his weathered face, creased at the sides of his mouth due to an ever-present easy smile.

Frist-mate is Steve’s partner Ellie. She is a diminutive woman who enjoys laughing and makes effort to make you feel welcome and comfortable on the boat. Ellie has done 11 trans-Atlantic crossings with Steve, and together their total sailing miles top 250,000.

Steve and I chatted on the way back from the airport in the hire car, and he mentioned that he prefers inexperienced crew. That way, he can teach them without having to put up with ‘arrogant sailing school prats with all the training and no experience thinking they know it all’. In any case, the Steve and Ellie are a great duo, and I am sure that we will get on well.

The catamaran we are delivering on this trip is a Lagoon 420, a new ‘hybrid’ catamaran with electric motors. The batteries that run the motors and all electrics inside the catamaran are charged by propellers when the yacht is sailing at full speed. When the yacht is moving slower than full speed, a (very inefficient) diesel generator charges them.

The yacht is, needless to say, brand new and very spacious. I have my own double berth (sleeping quaters with a double bed) with ensuite with toilet and shower. The boat holds up to 300 litres of fresh water, so hot fresh water showers will only be a once a week affair, but I can hardly complain.

My berth on the Lagoon 420 sailing catamaran (San Miguel, Tenerife, Canary Islands)

More photos tomorrow when the sun is up…

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3 thoughts on “Day 390 – FRANCE and CANARY ISLANDS: From La Rochelle to Tenerife

  • Uncle Peter

    These weekly showers sound like an extravagance compared with previous parts of your travels where you seemed to go months (or weeks anyway) on end without changing a shirt.

  • Bubbles (eric)

    i bet you wish you hadnt given me your little skivy swimming trunks back in ANzere. they would have come in handy for this part of your trip. Good Luck on the open ocean