If you’ve missed any of the earlier posts in this series, this’ll make more sense if it’s read in the right order. Links to each part are given at the bottom of the page.


Under the RYA (Royal Yachting Association) guidance, the Competent Crew course should last five days. The training company I’d selected did it over 6 days, giving us plenty of opportunities to practice.

Even though the first day was the windiest, we were still able to take the boat out and feel the power of the elements pushing it across the waters. Most days, we’d sail over to the coastline of Lanzarote, dropping anchor in a bay at lunchtime and enjoying the usual lunch.Some afternoons we sailed back to our home port. A couple were spent in ports on Lanzarote. And there we experienced luxury I couldn’t have imagined.

After spending three days and nights in Corralejo, our morning and evening ablutions had been carried out on board in that tiny space that housed the sink, loo and shower. The night we stayed at the Marina Rubicon, I discovered there were separate facilities available to use. Never has an ordinary flush toilet offered such relief. Never has a shower cubicle in a changing room seemed so decadent. It really is the small things in life that make such a difference.

Most marinas seem to have these facilities, but for some reason Corralejo doesn’t. I liked the town, but if I was to do another course in the Canaries, I’d probably head for Lanzarote instead. It’s not a deal breaker, but given the choice and no other discernible differences in the course and accommodation, it seems like a reasonable decision.

Aside from the facilities (other euphemisms are available!), Marina Rubicon offered a range of restaurants and shops as well as other marine services. We ate well that night. To be fair, we ate well every night! The difference for us on this occasion was that Clive stopped with us and was able to guide us more readily on where to eat – after all, he was joining us. The inevitable photos were taken – of the food mainly – alcohol was shared and there was much laughter. When we returned to the boat, the nightly rituals were slightly different as we headed to the marina’s loos.

Clive slept on one of the bench seats, but must have done so soundly as I didn’t disturb him when I got up during the night. Still, these boats are supposed to sleep up to 6 people, but it can’t have been comfortable for Clive, and a lighter sleeper might have been disrupted during the night. I wouldn’t have wanted to spend all week with more than four aboard.

A couple of days later we spent another night in a Lanzarote Marina, Puerto Calero, where, I have to say, the state of the facilities was on a different level altogether. As you’ve probably gathered by now, this sailing course/holiday was becoming very focused on personal hygiene and the disposal of bodily waste. Rubicon had offered luxury (in reality, just basic facilities no better or worse than in a local authority leisure centre). Peurto Calero gave us 5 star treatment – and by that, I mean it was no worse than my own bathroom at home. The showers in particular were so good I went twice.

Perhaps some of the yachts moored there should have given us an indication of the standards to be expected. A walk through the marina gave me the chance to get close to some very expensive boats. I’m not an expert, but I’d guess some of them were worth millions of pounds.

And so we enjoyed another relaxing evening in a new environment. In a way, though, I guess that’s one of the joys of sailing. If you have your own boat and you want to cruise around, you can stop off at different marinas and experience new surroundings or even familiar ones. But you don’t wake up with the same view every morning, you don’t go to the same shops, or eat in the same restaurants, or go for the same walks or see all the same people.

It’s been noted before that I like people but don’t tend to make friends. So this nomadic lifestyle has some appeal. I could get to know lots of people, but not have to see them every day. Instead, I might see them once a week, or every few months, depending on where I sailed.

It’s a flight of fancy. The chances of me actually doing that seem slim. But maybe I can live that lifestyle through a character I create. It’s a thought. But do you think the tax man will allow me to claim sailing courses as a deductible expense if I say it’s in the name of research?

Sadly, for the remainder of the trip we berthed back in Corralejo. Still, it had been good to get away for a couple of nights, and it made me appreciate some of the simple things in life. Though there were other things to appreciate…


Links to previous parts to this story:

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

Part Six

Part Seven