Boating & Biking Adventures

Category: Intermar e.V.

⚠️…Calima Horn…📣

Calima at Lanzarote. ©️Uwe / DF5AM

?!?…Horn, Fog Horn, Signal Horn, Calima Horn…?!?

Some of our boats have a horn installed, which we mainly use under foggy conditions. On my passage from Póvoa de Varzim to Porto I had the fog horn in automatic operation all time as there was thick fog along the Portuguese coastline on that day. Visibility was min 50m and max 300m and my eyes became tired quickly during hours of sharp lookout. My main concern at that  time was not other big ships but the numerous fishing buoys in that area and small fishing vessels without AIS and radar.

Yesterday I heard the sound of some horns here in the marina of Las Palmas. They came form some big ships outside the port, where they lie on the roads or enter/leave the harbour.

The Southeast winds have arrived as projected and mentioned earlier. They will peak in the night from Sunday to Monday at around 30 plus knots. In conjunction with these winds the weather forecasts also issued a Calima warning bringing sand and dust from Africa to the Canary Islands. My naive assumption that Calima will stop at Lanzarote and Fuerteventura made some people laugh. Looking at the photos above it all becomes clear:

  1. Calima is spreading much further than I anticipated.
  2. Visibility at sea is down to couple of miles.
  3. Calima horns are on.
  4. Air quality is very poor.
  5. No biking during these days. Lazy sugar days! 🤪
  6. Boat & rigg washing after Calima gets on the To Do List.
  7. Beautiful photos with a Calima patina shared within the Intermar e.V. community, which always cares for any kind of weather.
  8. Et cetera.

As per the weather forecast the worst Calima shall be over although the peak winds are still expected. This is good news and hopefully becomes true.

Let’s capture the moment in line with our Mission“The mission will focus on going with the wind while enjoying time and its moments over and over again in constantly changing nature. The moment – and not the journey – will be the reward.”

Fair winds…


Intermar e.V. – Lunch Talk

Rainer, Lothar, and myself (RTL).

Today, I had invited for a Lunch Talk. Rainer (SY Geronimo) and myself met Lothar/EA8DES, a retired sailor and passionate HAM operator. Following his adventures as a sailor, Lothar lives in Las Palmas for many years by now. True stories, no sailor’s fairy tales we shared today – some quite dramatic.
Fair winds…

Farewell dinner – SY Hexe

©️ Volker - SY Hexe
©️ Volker - SY Hexe

It was a bit of a hectic day for Cornelia and Volker from SY Hexe as they are counting days towards their start of the Atlantic crossing. Straight from Lanzarote to Martinique is the plan but as we know, sailor’s plans can change.

Even for a 3000nm passage it is advisable to wait and increase the chances to catch a stable trade wind window, which ensures constant winds of 4-5bft from the northeast quadrant, the typical trade wind. This will not only ensure a faster crossing but also give comfort rather than fighting changing conditions.

Despite the hectic during the day we had a very nice farewell evening in Marina Rubicón starting with a dinner on SY Hullu Poro and followed by a couple of pints in the Flagship Pub.

As I will we throwing the lines tomorrow afternoon heading out to the ocean, it was time to say good-bye, wish fair winds…and work on a see you again!

Fair winds…

🧭…Navigator’s round table…🗺

Today morning, four navigators met for a round table discussion on SY Hullu Poro to exchange their views and get an introduction to the basic functions of weather routing with my preferred program called qtVlm. While the program itself provides functionality for complete navigation, our focus was on weather routing only. I have used it twice only, first from Porto to Funchal and second from Funchal to Lanzarote. On both passages it worked well with minor deviations and surprises.

This software was initially introduced to me by Uwe (call sign DD1HUR), who is one of the Netcontrols within the Intermar e.V. association.

Fair winds to all…

From right to left: Cornelia (SY Hexe), Rainer (SY Geronimo), Achim (SY Jojo), myself

☝️ Intermar e.V. – Netcontrol

My 🚴‍♂️ trip today took me to a small village in the backlands of Lanzarote. There was a good reason as I got the opportunity to visit Uwe, one of the Netcontrols from Intermar e.V. living here on Lanzarote for many years. Although I had numerous contacts with Uwe during the twice a day operated ham radio sessions on 14.313kHz and we met for a coffee & cake onboard SY Hulluporo before, it was nice to see from where he is remotely operating the Intermar Radio Station, which is located in the South of Germany.

Besides the technical support, I appreciate the socialising network of the Intermar association among sailors and non-sailors not to forget the very important advice on recent weather developments while on passage. It also gives additional comfort to provide your actual boat position to the Netcontrols while on passage – someone to speak and listen to while out on the ocean.

Today, I learned a lot about the insides into Lanzarote from someone living and loving this island for more than two decades. Thank you Uwe!

Vy 73 & Fair winds…

🧐 Weather Routing with qtVlm…

Our abo with provides good weather information (Grib files) but is weak on WeatherRouting, which is key to ensure sailing in safety, comfort and style. Actually their software SeamanPro does not generate any optimised route between selected starting point A and ending point E. It will only show the weather conditions over cruising time based on an imported fixed route. That is not what we are looking for in nowadays century.

A program called qtVlm has been introduced to me by Hans-Uwe from Intermar e.V. and I am quite impressed by the comprehensive approach this freeware (French development, you name it!) provides to the sailors. Especially the weather routing is amazing.

One of the features, which impressed me, was the catalogue on their server to choose the polar-diagram for the individual boat under journey. Obviously you need to tell the software how fast the boat will go under which wind conditions. Together with the grib files it will then optimise the best routing for your travel plans and sametime generate waypoints for the routing to follow. Continuous updates while on voyage are possible based on actual boat position and updated weather information at any given point in time. Excellent!

I have simulated three routes to Funchal/Madeira the other day based on three different weather models provided by Saildoc, Wetterwelt and XyGrib. As you can see in the chart above, Saildoc and Wetterwelt result in the same routing, the only difference is the arrival time, Saildoc is 1 hour and 35min later. Routing based on XyGrib is slightly further North but about the same arrival time as Saildoc. I lose my confidence a bit looking at the “Nb of Tacks and Gybes” in the table! With a sharp eye you can see the prop in the top rigth quadrant nest to the routing line. Engine hours are calculated to around 4.5 hours at the time the boat speed by sail drops below 3kts. Amazing but Let’s see, it’s all theory anyway! 😉

Mother nature will tell us the truth and I am sure it will be quite different but it helps to optimze the journey and manage expectations!

Besides that I look forward to good discussions with the Intermar e.V. Netcontrols on 14.313kHz twice a day during our times out on the ocean.

Fair winds…