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High adventure in Iceland on board an expedition yacht

  • Belinda Bird
  • January 19, 2016

James Stewart joins the crew of expedition yacht Hummingbird for an exploration of the wilder parts of Iceland

sailing yacht hummingbird

© seanscott/RooM the Agency/Corbis

Killer whales all around

We abandoned the course to sail among the killer whales for half an hour: four large males with 6ft dorsal fins and many more females, with shorter hooked fins, some with calves. How many of Iceland’s 300-strong population was here? At least 20. Perhaps 30.

Later a humpback whale would cruise beside us; the sycthe-like blade of its black dorsal appeared, there was a humungous swirl and a hole in the water, then a dark shape half Hummingbird ’s length swept past. It was astonishing. Yet to sail among so many orcas felt the greater privilege.

Raufarhöfn was delighted to see us. Two villagers watched us moor up in the inner harbour even though it was gone 0100. Hummingbird was the first yacht to visit in years, it seems, and people trickled to the wharf the next day to take photographs.

Hummingbird Crew Exploring the Arctic Henge, Raufarhöfn copy

Iceland’s former herring capital has fallen on hard times. It survives through frozen fish and eider ducks, harvesting their feathers from nests to sell for duvets at £500 per kilo.

We took a walk up to the Arctic Henge above the village, scattering Icelandic ponies descended from Viking stock. A stage-set only lacking Spinal Tap, the stone circle was being built to woo tourists. It would be an astral calendar, a sign explained. Each sector would correspond to a dwarf. “People here can connect to their personal dwarf,” said the sign, which sounds bonkers until you learn that 20 per cent of Icelanders believe in elves. Another 60 per cent are agnostic.

You’d think Raufarhöfn, Iceland’s most northerly settlement, would peddle itself instead on proximity to the Arctic Circle. This bisects the country at Grimsey – reason enough for us to make that bitterly cold passage to windward.

Icelandic Horses, Raufarhöfn.

Notwithstanding the obligatory photo at the 66°33’N signpost, you come to Grimsey for birdlife. Thousands of fulmars fill the harbour beneath the only settlement, 20 or so weather-bitten bungalows and a church built of driftwood. Countless puffins, guillemots and razorbills honk and trill on the northern cliffs. Their eggs, collected by daredevils on ropes, have been a food source since the Vikings arrived in the 11th Century.

It was quite a racket after being at sea. Don’t the birds drive you crazy? I asked in the island’s bar/café. Its owner looked incredulous. “No, they keep you sane,” he said. In winter, when Grimsey dwindled to its 70 permanent residents, he had to work in Akureyri, on the mainland. “In summer, I open the windows, hear the birds and relax.”

A wild ride

If it’s wildlife they want, most visitors head to Húsavík. Under No 3 yankee and reefed main, we ran there before a northerly Force 7-8 which tore rags of foam from the slate-grey seas. Hummingbird took the 4-5m waves in her stride, but it would have been a wild ride in a small yacht. When a fetch builds from the Arctic, Iceland is not for the nervous.

Húsavík was snug beyond its breakwater; a strip of clapperboard houses with a cuckoo-clock church, all wrapped up within mountains. A sizeable harbour, it is Iceland’s whale-watching destination. It speaks volumes about the trade’s value that Húsavík led protests when Iceland resumed whaling in 2006.

Iceland still sees whales as a bonanza. You’re said to have a ‘whale wreck’ ( hvalreki ) when you hit the jackpot, a legacy of when a beached whale was a gift from the gods. Minke whale kebab is served in some restaurants.

We went inland. Compared with the coast, inland Iceland is a geological building site, a place so new they haven’t laid the turf yet or grown trees. (What do you do if you’re lost in a forest? runs an Icelandic joke. Stand up.)

Dettifoss Waterfall, Northern Iceland (1)

Hire a car to tour the Jökulsárgljúfur National Park and you can watch Europe’s largest waterfall, Dettifoss, thunder over a cliff like a Nordic Niagara, and take dirt-tracks across stone deserts where Neil Armstrong practised his moon walk in 1967. Creation isn’t over yet at Myvatn, a volcanic hotspot where the earth pants. If you’re prepared to stump up ISK3,700 (£18), you can wallow in the geothermic Myvatn Nature Baths, an alternative to the famous Blue Lagoon.

Our tour felt less a daytrip than a fast-forward through a billion years of history.

Still, I was thrilled to slip lines on Hummingbird and head out to sea again. Having discussed options and consulted the pilotbook, we opted to sail just 20 miles to Flatey Island.

Artic terns and Hummingbird

Fish barbecue

Tied to an old wharf, we fired the barbecue to cook fish bought off a boat in Húsavík. (We’d had to cajole the fisherman into accepting money.) The island’s only inhabitants came to investigate; a young family on summer holidays.

Her grandparents had been among the fishing community that had toughed it out on Flatey for centuries, the mother said. Herring stocks had collapsed and the islanders left everything – crockery, furniture, livelihoods – behind in 1964. Now it was just holidaymakers and descendants like them who came to Flatey’s 13 houses, and only in summer.

Catching Supper, North East Iceland

“There’s nothing here,” she shrugged. “No gas. Heat is from oil. There’s almost no mobile reception. And there are no cars, only footpaths. It’s great for the kids.”

It didn’t sound too shabby for the adults either.

I went for a walk after dinner; ambling through meadows dusted by buttercups, peering into darkened houses with roofs in bright Toy Town colours.

The sky at 2300 was too bright for stars. To seaward, where the sea stretched empty to northern Greenland, the horizon glittered like ice in the low light. To the south rose mountains planed into crazy angles. The air was so still you could hear the wings of birds.

Was this what I had expected? Not really. It was more enjoyable for a start. Yet being in Flatey was pure serendipity; the sort of spontaneity you don’t expect of a hosted cruise. This is the sort of discovery that creates an adventure, whatever Amundsen might say.

Anyway, if it’s challenge you’re after Hummingbird is bound deep into the Arctic Circle above Spitsbergen, Norway in 2016.

Into the ice – now that’s adventure.

Tips for Icelandic cruising

  • Buy yachting supplies before you arrive : with only two large towns and only one decent marina, chandlery supplies and charts are extremely difficult to source. Hummingbird skipper Rachael Sprot recommends the Royal Cruising Club’s Arctic and Northern Waters pilotbook and Navionics’ iPhone software.
  • Exercise caution when using charts , Rachael warns. “The scale of most is 1:100,000, so take care around the 20m line; even if the chart looks clear there may be isolated rocks. Short cuts around headlands are out,” she says. Similarly, large areas of the Westfjords remain unsurveyed.
  • There are a few yacht pontoons at Reykjavík, Vestmannaeyjar and Akureyi, otherwise it’s working harbours festooned with tractor tyres all the way. Bring long mooring lines, good fenders (at least one oversized is a godsend) and fender boards.
  • Skipper Rachael Sprot says she wishes she had fitted a rope-cutter on the shaft; “There are a lot of fishing boats and very few divers up here,” she says. She adds that a GoPro taped to a boathook offers a good solution to inspect the hull since it allows you to review footage.
  • Condensation is a problem with solid laminate hulls. Even on sandwich hulls, insulation, though not essential, definitely makes life more comfortable. Dehumidifiers are recommended if shorepower allows.
  • The Icelandic Coastguard expects visiting yachts to provide a position report every three hours. “Doing that by VHF is a bit of a pain,” Rachael says, “so it’s well worth installing an AIS transmitter. It’s a good idea anyway given the high frequency of fog.” Ideally, fit radar too.
  • Don’t rely on shorepower in fishing harbours. Even if available it’s not always convenient to access. Bring a long lead, an inverter and 16amp and 32amp plugs.

For more details on the company’s charters see  www.rubicon3.co.uk , or Tel +44 203 086 7245.

  • 1. Exploring remote cruising grounds
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NEW YACHT – Bavaria C45 Hummingbird

An introduction to hummingbird , our shiny new bavaria c45.

Hummingbirds are small, colourful birds with iridescent feathers (see below). Their name comes from the fact that they flap their wings so fast (about 80 times per second) that they make a humming noise. The only similarity I can recall between a humming bird  and THE Hummingbird (i.e. the Bavaria C45 ) is to do with their speed, and high performance ‘flappy things’.

Image result for hummingbird

One of the most fantastic features of Hummingbird is that she will have a slab reefing main sail… this means her sailing performance will be through the ROOF. So although her sails won’t be flapping anywhere near as much as a hummingbird’s wings ( remember a flappy sail is not a happy sail 😉 ), they will be equally as efficient in ploughing this fine vessel through the water. Although we love the ease and simplicity of in-mast furling (of which the majority of our yachts have), it is nice to have a big, high performance AND luxury yacht – all in one.

So about Hummingbird… She is being built in the Bavaria factory in Germany in the new year, and she will be delivered to Izola in Slovenia where our team of engineers will meet her for commissioning. This basically involves putting the boat together so that’s the rig and mast being stepped, tuned and tested, completion and system check of all wiring on board, all safety equipment installed, many other jobs and then the sea trial before her delivery down.

Like our other new yacht Wyvern , Hummingbird has a fabulous layout on board – 3 double cabins but with the option of the mahoosive forward cabin being split to make 2 doubles. This is great for 4 couples, group sailing or families with children who don’t wish to share a cabin.

Other handy features include an XXL bathing platform, dinghy garage, bow thrusters, solar panels and many more…

You can see the full spec & layout of Hummingbird here.

Hummingbird is available for Bareboat Charters & Skippered Charters  as well as RYA training in some cases.

She will be arriving at her new home at Sail Ionian around mid-March 2019, which we CANNOT WAIT FOR. Super excited to get on board and take some pics to share with you all… hold your horses though, she is still in the factory! In the meantime, she is going to get booked up QUICK. If you fancy a brand new yacht to cruise around the Ionian islands… then Hummingbird is the one.

View  pricing & availability here.

Let me know if you have any questions about this post or any of my other posts by leaving a comment below or email me on  [email protected]

This post was written by admin

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sailing yacht hummingbird

Couach motor yacht Hummingbird sold

The 30.4 metre motor yacht Hummingbird has been sold in-house by Burgess .

Built in composite with Kevlar strengthening by French yard Couach Yachts to a design by Exequiel Cano Lanza , Hummingbird was delivered in 2007. She is Bureau Veritas classed and received a major interior and exterior upgrade in 2020. 

An contemporary interior in light woods by Danielle Chopard sleeps up to eight guests in four cabins consisting of a master suite, VIP suite and twin plus a convertible single berth in the office, all with entertainment centres and en suite shower facilities. There are also quarters for four crew, including the captain.

The spacious main saloon and formal dining area boasts spectacular views thanks to the extensive use of glass. The aft area has a large sofa, occasional chairs and an entertainment centre including a large LCD television screen. Forward is a dining area with formal seating for up to six guests, while al fresco entertaining and dining is available on the aft deck.

Hummingbird boasts an expansive upper deck with comfortable sunpads for sun lovers and a dining table sheltered by a Bimini top. For true sun worshippers, the foredeck has more sunpads, built-in seating and a shaded dining table.

Twin 2,400hp MTU diesel engines power her to a cruising speed of 25 knots, topping out at 32 knots.

Hummingbird was asking €2,450,000

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Review of Hummingbird 30

Basic specs., sailing characteristics.

This section covers widely used rules of thumb to describe the sailing characteristics. Please note that even though the calculations are correct, the interpretation of the results might not be valid for extreme boats.

What is Capsize Screening Formula (CSF)?

The capsize screening value for Hummingbird 30 is 1.92, indicating that this boat could - if evaluated by this formula alone - be accepted to participate in ocean races.

What is Theoretical Maximum Hull Speed?

The theoretical maximal speed of a displacement boat of this length is 6.6 knots. The term "Theoretical Maximum Hull Speed" is widely used even though a boat can sail faster. The term shall be interpreted as above the theoretical speed a great additional power is necessary for a small gain in speed.

The immersion rate is defined as the weight required to sink the boat a certain level. The immersion rate for Hummingbird 30 is about 138 kg/cm, alternatively 774 lbs/inch. Meaning: if you load 138 kg cargo on the boat then it will sink 1 cm. Alternatively, if you load 774 lbs cargo on the boat it will sink 1 inch.

Sailing statistics

This section is statistical comparison with similar boats of the same category. The basis of the following statistical computations is our unique database with more than 26,000 different boat types and 350,000 data points.

What is Motion Comfort Ratio (MCR)?

What is L/B (Length Beam Ratio)?

What is Displacement Length Ratio?


If you need to renew parts of your running rig and is not quite sure of the dimensions, you may find the estimates computed below useful.

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Do you have changes/improvements you would like to share? Upload a photo and describe what to look for.

We are always looking for new photos. If you can contribute with photos for Hummingbird 30 it would be a great help.

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HUMMINGBIRD Yacht Layout & GA Plans

30.35m  /  99'7 | couach | 2007 / 2020.

  • Amenities & Toys

Use two fingers to move the deck plan

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Zoomable Deck Plans Instructions To view the yacht General Arrangement / Deck Plans in more detail use the Zoom Tools + / - buttons to 'zoom in' or ' zoom out'. To navigate around hold down you mouse and drag to look around or for touch use two fingers to pinch and drag. To zoom with the mousewheel hold CTRL/⌘ and use the mouse wheel or use two fingers to scroll on an Apple touch pad.

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Mega Yacht Charter brief: HUMMINGBIRD (30.4m / 99.8’), is a mega yacht charter boat, custom built by the highly esteemed Guy Couach shipyard in 2007.  Her ultra modern interior which abounds with natural colours and materials was designed by Danièle Chopard studio. Her light grey hull, sleek lines, tinted windows and white superstructure are certainly going to get you noticed in any super yacht marina you call in. With a fast cruising speed of around 25 knots, this perfect mega charter yacht will easily cruise from port to port in luxury and style. Guy Couach 3000 Hummingbird can accommodate up to seven guests in three luxury cabins, including a master, 1 VIP double and 1 twin cabins. She is usually based in Italy and accepts mega yacht charters and luxury crewed holidays within the West Mediterranean cruising grounds, including Naples and Amalfi Coast, Sardinia, Corsica and Tuscany and Portofino, as well as ONE WAY charters between Monaco and Island of Capri. Her last refit was done in 2010/2011 when the office was converted in to an additional en-suite twin cabin ideal for staff guests or children. She is a very stylish, fast cruising boat, perfect for one or two family charters. 

Tip:   Mega yacht HUMMINGBIRD is simply stunning looking boat, one of the nicest in the 30m range. 

Motor Yachts - HUMMINGBIRD

About Mega Yacht HUMMINGBIRD: Mega Yacht HUMMINGBIRD, (30.4m / 99.8’), is a luxury crewed charter yacht usually based in Italy, the mega yacht charter location of fabulous history and architecture, most popular cuisine, as well as lovely beaches and picturesque waterfront towns such as Sorrento or Cinque Terre villages. Italy yacht charter on super yacht HUMMINGBIRD is a genuine luxury vacation that will leave you full of lovely memories and you will definitely want to return to the Mediterranean Sea. Last refitted in 2010/11, this Guy Couach 3000 Fly is a very stylish yacht which can accommodate up to eight guests in four spacious cabins. Mega charter yacht HUMMINGBIRD has a cruising speed of 26 knots and top speed of 32kn and is therefore one of the fastest super yachts in her fly-bridge range. By now she has become known as the ideal charter yacht for those who like fast cruising, great looking yachts with highest marine quality and technology as well as stylish design, interior refinement and good sea capabilities even in rough seas.

Accommodation: Mega charter yacht HUMMINGBIRD , a Guy Couach 3000 Fly, which usually offers luxury crewed yacht charters in the Western Mediterranean including Portofino, Sicilian Aeolian archipelago, Island Elba and Isola di Capri in Italy, and Monaco and Cote d’Azur, offers accommodation for up to seven guests in three luxurious staterooms, including a luxury Master suite, one VIP stateroom, and 1 twin cabin, all with en suite facilities. Master Cabin: The opulent Master cabin offers a queen size bed and en-suite. The front VIP cabin offers a large double and en-suite. A Twin cabin is also available. Her interior is made of light wood and soft furnishings are accentuated by her immense windows offering plenty of natural light. Her large saloon borders with the formal dining area. Office: In 2010/11 the owners office was converted into additional twin cabin. Top Deck: The top deck offers great space with comfortable mats for the sun lovers and a shaded dining table for al fresco dinning. On the aft deck is found another outdoor dining table and a further sunbathing area. Swimming platform: The swimming platform carries the tender and can be transformed into a perfect diving platform or additional sunbathing area when not under way. Luxury crewed charter yacht HUMMINGBIRD is fully air conditioned throughout. This is a non-smoking vessel. HUMMINGBIRD´s experienced super yacht charter crew of up to 4 has a separate head and shower. Guests may not be allowed to bring pets on-board.

Super Yacht TENDER: Mega yacht HUMMINGBIRD has a 4.3m tender on board. Super Yacht Itineraries: The mega yacht Hummingbird usually cruises around Tuscany with itineraries covering Cinque Terre, Portofino, Island Elba or around Amalfi coast with the itinerary including lovely Isola di Capri, Naples, stunning Positano and perfect Sorrento towns.

Apart from the mega yacht HUMMINGBIRD, a Guy Couach 3000 Fly yacht charter boat , SuperSailYachts can offer a great selection of other superyachts available for yacht charter.  These include sailing yachts, motor yachts, crewed charter yachts, catamarans or mega and giga yachts. In order to receive detailed quote, please fill out the following CHARTER REQUEST FORM or contact our experienced and friendly yacht charter broker team . For more information, please contact us on +44 (0) 121 285 8010

Technical data


Mega charter yacht HUMMINGBIRD (30.4m / 99.8’), is a Guy Couach built charter boat accommodating up to 8 guests in 3 plus 1 cabins. She is ideal yacht for mega yacht charters and luxury holiday cruises around the West Mediterranean, amongst many of the Italian Islands such as Isola di Capri, Island Elba, Sardinia or Sicily, as well as Cote d’Azur and Monaco. Hummingbird has an exceptionally good cruising speed of 26kn for the type and size of the boat. Thanks to her twin MTU super yacht engines providing 2400hp each, she can reach maximum speed of up to 32kn. Her best features are very stylish exterior and luxury presence which turns heads wherever she goes.


  •  Master cabin with a queen size bed,
  •  1 x VIP stateroom with queen sized double bed,
  •  1 x Twin cabin with an extra Pullman,
  •  Office was converted into additional twin cabin, perfect for nanny or additional crew,
  •  All cabins have en-suite facilities, a service phone, hairdryers, sleepers and bathrobes.

Water sports

Mega yacht HUMMINGBIRD has a good selection of water sport toys on board.

These include:

  •  One Zodiac tender with 50hp outboard engine,
  •  Seabob,
  •  Water skis,
  •  Snorkelling equipment and inflatable water toys,
  •  Rendez-vous diving only,
  •  Swimming platform aft.


  •  Hifi, CD, Tuner, Amplifier
  •  TV and DVD

Lower Deck:

  •  Master Cabin - Radio CD Player, 20" TV
  •  Guest Cabin - Radio CD Player
  •  Front VIP Cabin - Radio CD Player

(Canal SAT available on board) Card games, a Chess board, and other board games are available.


  •  VHF DS,
  •  Immarsat C,
  •  Radar,
  •  SART Transponder,
  •  EPIRB 406

You may also be interested to check out one of the following boats:

sailing yacht hummingbird


sailing yacht hummingbird


sailing yacht hummingbird

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My Grand Adventure – by Tradewinds Member Peter D.

sailing yacht hummingbird

Hello everyone!

I’m back in Sacramento after my grand adventure which included 700+ nautical miles of open ocean sailing from NW Spain to Madeira.

Here’s one version of the tale, although my sailing buddies Mike Duda and Tom Flynn may remember things differently.

Tom, Mike, and I met up in the coastal port city of Vigo on Spain’s northwest coast.  We had booked berths on the British adventure yacht Hummingbird  run by Rubicon3:  https://www.rubicon3.co.uk    We read about these adventure sailing trips in Herb McCormick’s article in the May 2018 issue of Cruising World:  https://www.cruisingworld.com/faroe-islands-sailing-adventure/     I wanted more open ocean time and, besides, the high latitudes were less interesting to me than discovering the wonders of Madeira, called “the pearl of the Atlantic.”

Hummingbird  is a Clipper 60, one of eight nearly identical boats built for the 1996 around the world race.  She also competed in the 2000 and 2002 iterations of those races.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clipper_Round_the_World_Yacht_Race#Clipper_60 Originally called Blackadder  (for you British comedy fans), the boat is 59’ 11” long, with a beam of 15’ 7” and draws 7’ 3” (draft).  It’s a clipper rig which means that it carries two headsails (a Yankee and a staysail) in front of the mast.  When these boats retired from racing, they were sold into private hands.  Rubicon3 now owns three of the original Clipper 60s, plus one other boat.

sailing yacht hummingbird

Hummingbird  is a tremendously powerful and fast boat with bigger winches, more sail area, larger lines, and more gear than the 35’ – 45’ boats that I normally day-sail on San Francisco Bay or on charters.  The result is that safety is genuinely important and Rubicon’s crew trained us well.

There were eight of us onboard for this adventure (October 29 to November 10).  Four were British: 2 paid crew (Vince the skipper, Rick the mate) and 2 crew-in-training (Huw & Hannah want to become future mates and skippers for Rubicon).  The other 4 paying crew were Americans, including the 3 of us from California and Ben, the East Coast guy.  Many of you know that Mike Duda has been my best-guy-friend since we met during our first week at Saint Mary’s College in September 1967.  We graduated from SMC in 1971, after spending of those years as roommates.  We’ve sailed a lot together.  Tom Flynn also lives here in east Sacramento and like us is also an SMC alumnus (Class of 1969).

sailing yacht hummingbird


There’s an old saying that sailors don’t have plans, merely intentions.  Weather, calendars, and unexpected events disrupt rigid plans, so you go with your intentions.  Our adventure demonstrated that enduring truth.  We went onboard about noon on Tuesday October 29, finding Hummingbird  in a recreational marina in the port of Vigo.  It was drizzling and we soon learned from the skipper and mate that a large weather system was roaring down out of the Atlantic, poised to smack western Europe.  The original idea was to spend 3+ days training by day-sailing in Vigo bay so that we could learn the boat and get comfortable with each others’ skills.  There’s plenty to learn on a big boat!

But we faced this choice.  If we stayed several days to train, then we were likely to be pinned down for a week by the bad weather.  But if we learned some basic safety lessons, we could leave in another day and sail fast down the Spanish and Portuguese coast, staying a day ahead of the advancing front.  There would be several places that we could bail-out if needed (Porto, Lisbon, Lagos, or even Cadiz).  We readily agreed that we’d come for an adventure sail, so let’s go.


On Wednesday October 30, we day-sailed down Vigo bay to a a marina at the small town of Baiona, near the bay entrance.  Lots of learning along the way.  Dinner onboard and the last hot showers for many days.  Thursday October 31 we worked on more safety lessons, unpacking and restowing the drogue, practicing a Man Overboard (MOB) retrieval using a harness & halyard, and hoisting the bright orange storm sail. Unspoken was everyone’s hope that we’d never be in conditions where we needed to use those new skills .

sailing yacht hummingbird

Then after lunch it was off the marina dock, heading out to sea in a drizzle adorned by a vibrant rainbow!  Nice omen.


Friday and for the next few days, Hummingbird  ran south along the coast, <20 nautical miles off the mainland.  The skipper’s strategy was to keep the boat moving fast, so sometimes we motorsailed.  The combination of the powerful diesel and sails kept our boat speed above 7 knots (SOG) most of the time.  The sail plan was usually the main with a single-reef, the #2 Yankee, and the staysail.  In the hourly log, you’d write MR1, Y2, s/s for that sail plan.  We weren’t more than 20 nm off the coast which we couldn’t see because of clouds, mist, and drizzle.  Surprisingly, it wasn’t that cold, so wearing foul weather gear and gloves was more for avoiding the damp than staying warm.

Somehow my anti-seasickness patch fell off from behind my ear and I re-discovered just how miserable I can be.  The mate sent me below to my bunk to sleep.  Time to replace that Scopolamine patch, thanks Mike!  By Saturday afternoon I was feeling semi-human again, able to help stand watch and help with chores (but not cooking the curry…).  Hydration, small bland meals, and what the Brits called biscuits (yeah, they’re cookies) kept me going.  On Saturday afternoon we’d reached the latitude of Cabo de Sao Vincente, where the Portuguese coast turns sharply eastward, running towards the Mediterranean.  Decision time.  The skipper convened the crew to discuss options and again unanimously we agreed to head for Madeira instead of heading into a harbor.


After we changed course and started heading southwest out to sea, the weather went from drizzle to mostly cloudy to partly cloudy to gloriously blue.  The Atlantic Ocean is really deep out there and the surface looked almost purple.  A few shy dolphins briefly swam alongside, not in our bow wake, but dropped away after a short look at us.  The wind increased to about 20 kt, the swells got taller and longer, and the boat settled into a lovely rhythm that used the swells instead of getting smacked as we had along the coast.  Monday was superb sailing, one of the best days I’ve ever had on a boat.  Because Hummingbird  doesn’t have an autopilot or wind vane, it’s hand-steering all the way.  In those conditions with well-balanced sails, however, steering was a joy, merely helping the boat sail fast and straight.

sailing yacht hummingbird

Yeah, it’s a cliche, but when you see a smudge on the horizon after 4 days at sea, it’s an honest thrill.  I happened to be on the helm Monday afternoon when someone caught sight of Isla Porto Santo, one of the small (but inhabited) islands of the Madeira group.  It was our target and there it was.  Land ho!  The 2 crew-in-training had been navigating with sextants (but the sky was overcast), one true bearing on Berlenga Island days ago, and just old-fashioned dead reckoning.  After days since their last reliable fix, they brought us within 10 nm of what the GPS downstairs was reporting.  That’s fine work by Huw and Hannah!

sailing yacht hummingbird


By 8 pm Monday the skipper had safely anchored us in about 7 meters of water outside the breakwater of Porto Santo.  Portuguese sailors had accidentally discovered this island in 1418, over 600 years before us!  They were blown to the Madeira island group in a storm; we got there on purpose and took pictures of outside .

sailing yacht hummingbird

Hummingbird  is (correctly) a “dry boat” underway for safety and reliability reasons.  But now the hook was down and we celebrated our passage with beers all around.  The next day ((Tuesday November 5) we moved the boat to the anchorage inside the breakwater and it was time for “shore leave.”  Hot showers, walks into town, cold beers at the marina’s bar.  Tuesday was also my 70th birthday which we celebrated with a hot breakfast and shots of smuggled bourbon.  Thanks Mike!  Many of the other transient boats were there on their way to the Canary Islands, to join this year’s version of the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC), the annual group pilgrimage from Europe-Africa to the Caribbean for the winter.  Plenty of crews had painted their boats’ names and logos on the seawall.  

sailing yacht hummingbird


Because we’d left Vigo-Baiona earlier than expected and because we made our 724 nm passage in just 4 1/2 days, we had time to sail around the Madeira islands for the next few days.  The rugged cliffs of Baia d’Abra were stark and sheer.  Only one other boat anchored there with us overnight.  That part of eastern Madeira looks like the Baja California coast.  The resort marina at Quinto do Lorde has a fancy hotel, shops, restaurants, showers, laundry, and a bar.  If you’ve been to Ensenada’s Marina Coral, you’d recognize Quinto do Lorde.  We enjoyed restaurant dinners, the chance to hang out with an espresso or cappuccino, and did I mention the hot showers?  We didn’t take Hummingbird  to the port of Funchal because there was no room in the marina for a 60’ boat, and anchoring was going to be rolly at best.  The QdL marina was just fine as our temporary home base.


Our skipper worked his magic, getting rare landing permits for us on Isla Deserta Grande, a nature reserve island about 14 nm from Madeira island.  Knowing that it would be our last sailing day, I jumped at the chance to set up the headsails (Y2 & s/s), help hoist the mainsail, hoist the headsails, trim and re-trim, then reef the main.  On a big boat, it’s a complicated set of procedures with little room for error.  Clarity is as important as teamwork.  On the boats that I normally sail, there’s room for making minor mistakes without getting hurt or hurting your crewmates.  But handling sails on a big former racing boat requires close attention.  And grinding.  Then more grinding.  And grinding some more.  For a 70-year old guy who weights 140 pounds on a good day, that’s real work but what a pleasure to sail from Madeira to Deserta Grande.  We were allowed to go ashore after anchoring (I managed to get a quick swim in the Atlantic).  Exploring even a tiny part of the protected island with the Portuguese nature ranger was a hugely fascinating experience.  Few sailors get permission to go onshore; almost none from California.  Carlos the ranger was surprised.  We were delighted.

We left the island’s precarious anchorage about 4 pm to sail back to our QdL marina berth.  The winds dashed down the steep cliffs until we got clear of the island.  And then I (selfishly) took the helm for at least 2 1/2 hours of our 4-hour trip back.  While underway, Mike prepped for the risotto planned for dinner. I kept steering.  Just after dusk the white light of the Madeira lighthouse winked at us, right where it was supposed to be.  Reassuring as we pushed along at 8 kt in the dark.  After putting us alongside the dock (“pontoon” to the Brits), Vince the skipper went below to make the risotto we enjoyed for dinner.  Now that’s a guy who can do it all!


Sunday morning the 2 crew-in-training left at 5 am for the Funchal airport and their flight back to the UK.  We finished packing our duffels, had our last breakfast, and stepped ashore at 9 am, leaving the crew to finish their chores before turning over the boat to the next Rubicon crew expected in a few days.  We spent the night in Funchal (the much greener end of the island).  Tom flew back to SFO on Monday morning.  Mike and I stayed in Lisbon as tourists until Thursday when we took our own 13-hour flight nonstop back to SFO.  I’ll spare you the backstory (bad pun…) about the intestinal bacteria that came home with me.  Thank you Kaiser Permanente for the  tests and antibiotics.  I’m regaining weight.

We covered 815 nm from Vigo to Madeira, including that 724 nm passage.  In terms of latitude, going from Baiona to Porto Santo is the equivalent of going from Brookings, Oregon (just north of the California state line) to Encinitas, California (just north of Del Mar in San Diego County).  For you navigation geeks, that’s nine degrees of latitude (from 42 degrees, 7 minutes at Baiona to 33 degrees, 3 minutes at Porto Santo).

Rubicon’s motto is “SAIL. TRAIN. EXPLORE.”  They delivered on every point.  We were safe and returned with sailing skills that we’ll be using on SF Bay and coastal trips.  Two thumbs up!

It was truly a grand adventure on a solid boat with fine crewmates.  Grateful.

Peace and all good.                                                         – Peter

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2 responses to my grand adventure – by tradewinds member peter d..

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Great Accounting of the trip Peter !

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Wow sailing 700+ nautical miles is amazing. Great job. I really enjoyed reading this so much. sailing from NW Spain to Madeira is amazing. Looking forward to reading more!

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Dufour 460 GL | Hummingbird

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5-cabin sailing yacht Dufour 460 GL - Hummingbird was built in 2019 and it is docked in DYC Olbia Marina, Italy.

Hummingbird can accommodate up to 12 people in 4 double cabins, 1 double cabin with a bunk bed and a saloon with 2 extra beds. Pillows and blankets are included in the price.

Sailing yacht Hummingbird offers 3 toilets with a shower .

Boat equipment features classic mainsail, BBQ, bimini and outside GPS plotter . It also boasts audio system, outside speakers and inside speakers . The fully-equipped galley includes an oven, cooker, sink and kitchen utensils .

This sailing yacht is operated by the charter company Dream Yacht Charter.

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Double cabin

Beds in saloon

Double cabin (bunk beds)


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HUMMINGBIRD YACHTS 30 for sale in Ardrossan, United Kingdom

Ardrossan, United Kingdom

Make & Model




HUMMINGBIRD 30, 1980, classic cruiser / racer, much loved. All GRP with wooden toe-rail. Beta marine 20hp diesel engine, tiller steering, classic rig. Can sleep up to 6 in forward cabin + saloon berths. Inventory includes safety equipment, various navigation units, sprayhood, and dinghy. A fast but comfortable yacht.



LOA: 9.14m LWL: 7.32m BEAM: 2.82m DRAFT: 1.52m DISP: 3,248kg

Builders: Hummingbird Yachts/Peter Webster Ltd (UK) Designer: David Thomas Flag: British

Designed by David Thomas, and built from 1979 to the early 1980s, the Hummingbird 30 was a modification of the Elizabethan 30 cruiser-racer design, with more emphasis on cruising accommodation. The underwater body and keel/rudder are identical to the Elizabethan 30, but the coachroof is slightly higher, and extends further aft, to increase headroom and interior space. By a slight modification to the transom mouldings, the cockpit is also extended aft slightly.

The Elizabethan 30 hull form is regarded as a classic design, and in 2010 was named as one of their "used boats of the year" by 'Sailing Today' magazine, in which review they said: " has all the advantages of the Contessa fast, well mannered and extremely seaworthy" They also suggested: "If you like the Elizabethan, but are concerned about interior space, you could always look for the (rare) Hummingbird 30...."


All GRP with wooden toe rail. Fin and skeg keel. Copper coated underwater hull in 2014.


Beta marine BD722 20hp 3 cylinder Diesel. Max speed 7 knots, cruising 6 knots. Three blade fixed bronze propeller. Tiller steering.

TANKAGE: Approx 30 litres of diesel + 10 litres spare. Water tank 100ltr Plastimo.

ELECTRICS: 12/220v electrical systems One engine start & one domestic battery. Shore power

WATER: Pressurised water system


Classic sloop rig alloy single spreader mast.

Standing rigging replaced March 2018 Furlex 200s roller reefing. Roller furling genoa. Lazyjacks.

WINCHES: Two Anderson self-tailing sheet winches, two coach roof and one mast mounted winch

SAILS: Mainsail slab reefing. Mainsail cover Genoa Cruising chute Tele Sails


Sleeps up to 6 in forward cabin + saloon. Main Saloon: One double berth and two quarter berths. Ample storage space and shelving. C shaped seating arrangement with table. Galley to port midships with two burner and grill. Navigation area to port. Charts. Forward Cabin: Double berth with storage under bunks. Shelving to sides of bunks. Marine toilet & wash area forward of main saloon with hand basin & pressurised water. Hanger locker opposite.

LED Internal lighting

NAVIGATION: Ritchie steering compass. Charts, Pilot books, tidal charts etc. Navico 5500 Tillerpilot with handset. Standard Horizon DSC VHF radio with internal GPS NASA Clipper Duet NASA Clipper Wind Quark Wifi GPS/Ais bridge with separate Ariel Hand-held Standard Horizon HX51E L DSC VHF

DOMESTIC: Two burner Plastimo gas cooker with grill. Sink with pressurised water SAFETY: Navigation lights including Aqua Signal Tri-White Q/F nav-light 3 Fire extinguishers. Fire blanket Jackstays Lifesling Throwbag x 2 Danbuoy + light Horseshoe Buoy with Drogue, light & bracket Odeo LED flare Collapsible Radar Reflector Anchor ball and Steaming cone Rule-Mate 1100 pump & 3-way switch First Aid kit Deployable fixed boarding ladder

GENERAL: SL Anchorman windlass. 7.5kg Bruce anchor with ample warp & chain. 16kg Delta anchor Sprayhood and dodgers. Boat hook. Tool boxes, many spare parts 8 Fenders and 8 warps

Owner's Comments

We bought Pleasant Winds from a lovely couple who have had her for decades before us. She has been all over the west coasts of England and Scotland. Apparently the more famous Elizabethan 30 has the same hull with a different topside moulding the Hummingbird is the cruising version with more living space. On purchase we had her surveyed and following their advice replaced the rigging and undertook a winters work reenforcing the mast foot. We have also extensively replaced the wiring and created the new electronics box and replaced the cockpit floor. We have had a lovely time with her and explored much of the Clyde and Inner Lorne we now have a young son and have set up as a sailing business for disabled sailors. Both of these things require a quite different boat and so we must let our lovely boat go. This is a solid and heavy but narrow boat, she punches through the waves and sits upright in a blow it’s almost like a British person designed a boat for British waters - steep seas and sudden gusts. She’s no caravan and no mediterranean cruiser but she is a dependable, quick adventure cruising boat.

  • Gennaker cruising spinnaker
  • Wind speed and direction
  • Depthsounder
  • Shore power inlet
  • Radar reflector
  • Vhf - DSC and internal GPS
  • Marine head
  • Log speedometer
  • Furling genoa
  • Battened mainsail

In this case we are acting as brokers only. The Vendor is not selling in the course of a business. Whilst every care has been taken in their preparation, the correctness of these particulars is not guaranteed. The particulars are intended only as a guide and they do not constitute a term of any contract. A prospective buyer is strongly advised to check the particulars and where appropriate at his own expense to employ a qualified Marine Surveyor to carry out a survey and / or to have an engine trial conducted, which if carried out by us shall not imply any liability for such engine on our part.

Note to seller and purchaser: If the boat you are selling or purchasing is registered, please ensure that the registration is completed after the sale of the boat. If the purchaser wishes to cancel the registration is the duty of the seller to contact the Registry and inform them that the registration is to be cancelled. If the purchaser wishes to continue with the registration, it is the duty of the purchaser to complete the relevant forms and post off the bill of sale to the Registrar.

Engine Count

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The HUMMINGBIRD YACHTS 30 is a 30 feet long that boasts a 9.1 feet beam. This 1980 diesel HUMMINGBIRD YACHTS 30, with 20 horsepower.


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