The Canary Islands to South America

For nomadic sailors there are several points in the world where one can find sailing vessels to cross the seas. The Canary Islands is one of those points where boats stop to wait for favorable weather to cross the Atlantic to the Caribbean Islands or to South America. The preferred months are November to January.

There are 100’s of boats which race to the Caribbean every year in a regatta. It was easy to find rides I had heard. I enjoyed Morocco and the Sahara Desert very much and my stay stretched on.

I arrived in the Canary Islands in late January, most of the boats had already set sail. There was one boat still on the shore, Red and White.

On the island of Fuerteventura the vessel Red and White was dry and on stilts. She was a hand built trimaran made of plywood and epoxy.

She was beached for repairs. The owners had to be rescued at sea after they had a collision with a whale which tore off a tip of the side floaters.

Our job was to repair the outrigger and repaint the boat. This job had a series of difficulties and took three months to complete.

The boat had been built by its captain, a German sailor who had spent his life at sea. He had 18 known children in different locations around the world. He and his girlfriend, stayed in the front bedroom. The crew stayed in the back room. We were 3 people, the beds were more like shelves. One must enter with their feet first, and sitting up was not possible.

After we finally prepared the berth for sea, or almost prepared it…. The compass still wasn’t mounted, and only his girlfriends endless nagging successfully installed the radio. The captain claimed he could sail by the stars.

We hit bad weather on the 2nd day, the connection rods between the outriggers and the main hull were beginning to crack as the ship rose and slammed back down upon the rough sea.

Trimarans and catamarans are made for racing and should be light. They are popular methods of transportation in Polynesia. They aren’t as safe as monohulls. Because they do not have a heavy lead keel under the hull to keep upright, it is easier for them to flip in turbulent weather.

As the joints between the be outriggers and the central hull continued the snap and groan, the captain gave us all a knife. I had spent days tying objects onto the nets. My skill in macrame can also be useful in sailing, many of the knots are the same.

The extra weight was putting strain on the boat, we all cut the tables, chairs, spare pieces of plywood, a palm tree, and tossed them into the ocean to reduce the weight.

As we arrived in Grand Canary 6 days later. The boat was in need of repairs. I decided I would go alone to Bolivia.

I love sailing but…

I prefer monohulls, steel or hardwood. Something sturdy…..

I bought a ticket to La Paz leaving 2 days later. I doubted that our ship would arrive to South America as planned. I also was not interested in an Atlantic crossing in her, It is the longest crossing in the world. The window of favorable weather had already passed.

I chose a plane.

In the end Red and White arrived only to Portugal where she still sits today.

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