35°23.215‘N; 007°52.918’W

 Simply a point on our earth, a spot without meaning. No battle was fought here, no famous personality sat here, no one stuck a flag into the earth to show that they had been there. Not that areas where a battle was fought are important, on the contrary, many a mother or father will wonder why their son had to lose his life here. And yet this point on the map is unique for us, as we are, at least consciously, the only people on earth who have seen this place.

A spot on earth

Here everything is in motion, constantly exposed to change, in the middle of a desert full of water. When we arrive here, a five meter high wave is standing, setting from north to south, with a flat rising ridge. The wave needs 16 seconds to pass through here. From the east, a wind wave of almost three meters hits the said wave and causes chaos on the water surface. We reach the point 35°23.215'N; 007°52.918'W and shoot with seven knots over the chaos, not forgetting, at least virtually, to stake our flag here. We are on our way from Gibraltar to Madeira, round 600 nautical miles, our first distance over 500 nautical miles at a stretch. I think we have arrived in the bluewater scene. After 15 days, the express parcel with the spare parts for the autopilot has arrived. The assembly is fast because everything is already prepared. Except for refueling, the preparations for our onward journey to Madeira are complete.

Spare parts

The next day, after 20 days, we throw off the lines at the Marina Alcaidesa and drive to the other side of the airstrip into the British administrative area for refueling. 41 pence is the price of a liter of diesel, a boon to our budget considering the unplanned marina stay of just over 900€ in the morning. 


We say goodbye to Gibraltar and drive across the large basin to get close to the coast, with as little current as possible, which sets in the Strait of Gibraltar, at least on the surface, from west to east. In Tarifa we get caught and we are practically standing on the spot. Only one thing helps, over to the other side. Unfortunately there is a traffic separation area in between. For all landlubbers, this is just like walking on the four-lane A8 highway between Vaihinger Kreuz and Stuttgart Airport. We spy out a gap and start the maneuver with three knots. In the middle, we let two giant pots pass with a proper distance between them until we reach the middle of the road at right angles to the traffic direction again. In the meantime Tangier is crosswise. Nevertheless the current is only slightly weakening, so we end the day with an average speed over the ground of 3.5 knots, far too little to arrive in Madeira in the planned time. But the fun is not over yet, there is another traffic separation area before the Strait of Gibraltar. This is where the ships coming from the south and the north are virtually threaded into the Strait. Also here we have to cross again, until the traffic in the night slowly decreases. Slowly the wind sets in and the current decreases to a bearable level. We set sails and sail out to the open sea. The chapter Mediterranean is closed and we are looking forward to a new chapter, the Atlantic Ocean. Under sails we slowly pick up speed. We end the day with an Etmal of 81 nautical miles. Not exactly overwhelming, but there is still room for improvement for the next days. In the evening we have pre-cooked rice meat, because the weather forecast announced a five meter high wave and we didn't know if it could still be cooked. The fear was unfounded. A big advantage of a catamaran is the upright sailing.

Even in the worst conditions, with the waves crossing, the pots stay where you put them. Surely we also work with silicone carpet pad or locking aids on the stove, but that's all there is to it. Our solar modules are already causing problems again. This time it is the charge controller. I had installed a new firmware and the software simply turned off the whole system. Until I found the checkmark in the software, there were some curses from all over the Atlantic, but in the end everything is working again. When and how we will arrive in Madeira you can read in the next blog. Until then, as always,Fair winds and keep a stiff upper lip.