Tecla has arrived. 

The noises on Tecla have changed. The rush of wind has been replaced by the gentle sloshing of harbour water against the hull. The fizz of sea foam has made way for the creak of mooring lines straining against the dockside. We’re reminded of the call of fulmars and the occasional gannet by the far-off sirens of the Guardia Civil hurrying along to another man-made emergency.

Just after 7pm on Friday November 17th we stole past the rusty oil rigs into Santa Cruz harbour, guided in by spotted dolphins. As far as entrances go, not a bad one. Captain Jet laid Tecla alongside, making the manoeuvring of a 28-meter steel hull look like a piece of cake; the port attendants in their high-vis jackets had to be reminded to make fast the lines as they stood and watched, their tasks forgotten, mouths open. The engine turned off – they gave her a nod of respect and one of us whispered under their breath, ‘badass’. 

A well-deserved beer on deck – looking out over the tall ships Thalassa, Eye of the Wind and Thor Heyerdahl (and later joined by the very elegant Wylde Swan)- and one last meal and sleep onboard marked the end of our trip and the beginning of a period of maintenance for the crew, sanding cabin tops and touching up spots of rust here and there. Tecla more than deserves these acts of service; she carried us with grace and plenty of pizzazz for more than 2000 nautical miles, from Ullapool to Tenerife.

The voyage crew have scattered, off to mountainside cabins on Tenerife and airports to catch a flight home. 

It may take a little bit of time for us to process the last two weeks. 

As for this first-time offshore sailor: I left Ullapool with a question. Why do people go to sea? And, specifically, why do people go out so very far, out into the great wide open? 

I was chilly and wet, somewhere between a gale and the Portugese coast, when I came across the following quote in a sailing magazine I found in the Tecla library: ‘Who’d go to sea for pleasure would go to hell for a pastime’. 

True, you have to be a little fond of howling winds, and big rolling swell, and slightly damp socks to make the sea your home, even for a short while. 

But there’s also the flip side. 

My fellow voyage crew got used to me sidling up to them during watches and peppering them with questions. When did you start sailing? How did you learn? Where have you been on your travels?

But the answer to my original question came in the form of one word. Karen kept Tecla on course while I did my very best to distract her one sunny afternoon. 

‘What draws you to sailing?’

No hesitation from her. 

‘This’.

This:

Tecla humming along at 7.6 knots.
Fresh salt spray. Chop of waves.
Steel blue sea, steel blue skies.
Sun dipped just below the topsail and mainsail, wrapping us all in a cocoon of tan shadow. Triangles of light swinging back and forth over the deck. Karsten whistling a Simon & Garfunkel tune; at first old school, then giving us a modern rendition. Dolphins playing at the bow. We were almost in Tenerife, but luckily for us – not for a little while longer.

All was very, very well,

Steph 

One Response to “Tecla has arrived. 

  • John Osborne
    8 months ago

    Cracking trip from Ullapool…. Yes some wild days but what d’ya expect mid Nov !? V exciting to see sun creep higher everyday and days get longer. Would I recommend it … 100% !
    Definitely in top 10 of best things I’ve done !
    Thanks Jet and team for the experience

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