Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Next weather window

Four-five days to Cascais. That was the plan. But what plan goes according to plan? Ours almost never, so maybe I should have seen it coming?

Out at sea I cope well the first two days, the next two I do based on pure will. And there it is, four-five days is my pain limit. After that I become a vegetable in a fixed lying position being of no use of all. All this because of my bad back. Five days to Cascais, sure, that´ll ok, that´ll be endurable.

Now after a week at sea we´re finally at the portugeese mainland, couldn´t even make it to Cascais and ended up in Sines, 50nm south of the destination. Being lucky doing even so, in worst times the compass pointed towards Morocco. It was a long crossing, longer just knowing that it took so long cause we´re going so slow. Starting out with little wind from N and NE tacking and the last part we had 20 knots from N with steep crossings seas banging into the hull.

Have some one else pondered on the thought that maybe all these crazy sailors doing all these crazy things out at sea maybe aren´t that crazy after all? The mind plays tricks on you. Especially if you´re worn out or might be beyond boredom. Days at sea, heaven and ocean melting together, no sight or notion of land. Maybe I would be the one abandoning the boat in calm in the middle of the Atlantic thinking the dinghy might be faster? No blog I read really writes about this subject, are all sailors really sane and just the crazy ones really crazy? Now being acquainted with a few I do emphasize on the question mark. And the noise onboard. All the time it´s noise, a constant flow of sounds. The waves banging against the hull, the rigging, the wind, the ocean, the moving of the interior. The brain eventually starts to make patterns and logic of all this. Hampus tend to hear radio talk shows and I sometimes odd voices. Sometimes he tunes in the weirdest of shows but at least it´s a conversation starter... Haven´t come around to ask a circum navigator. Does that ever stop? Would be interesting to know. But for now, I´m really happy I don´t have to find out for myself.

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Porto Santo making us poor

It´s always nice being on the road again, so to speak. And even nicer arriving somewhere new. This time Porto Santo. Cute little town, golden beach, turquise water could be worth staying for some time. If you don´t mean "worth" as in "good price" or "good value for your money"...

We came late at night, close to midnight. No one in the marina so took a berth at the pontoon. Next morning we got to know the price, that night had cost us 56 euros! So not being an alternative staying, we anchored in the big harbour basin (used to be moorings but now being serviced so there were none). For this they charged us 21 euros/night and we had the pleasure of swinging round the anchor all day and night due to the gusts coming downhills from the mountains.

On the bright side we met the swedish boat Wildrose and sometimes there was hot water in the showers. Next to us on the anchorage was a german boat, Quiniutoq and we had a great day together hiking the fairytale vulcano that later turned out not to be one.

The thing is, going north as we try to, we kind of got stuck in Porto Santo. We waited and waited (growing older) and together with Wildrose who´s also heading north we planned to get away as soon as a weather window appeared. Eventually the window came and and the window went but without us. No winds for a couple of days gave the opperunity to motor north. Wildrose left and we stayed behind, the reason being that without a working autopilot four days of hand steering didn´t seem that appealing. But hey, at that moment Porto Santo didn´t either any longer. We took the next possible window.

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Sunday, 5 June 2011


Madeira is the main Island in the small archipelago cosisting of Madeira, porto Santo, Ihlas Selvagens and Ihlas Desertas about 500 nautical miles off the Portuguese coast. The capital is Funchal and around 260.000 people live on the entire island. The climate is sub tropical, it's green and colorful with a lot of flowers.

The passage from Graciosa was boring and annoying. Motoring and hand steering in a rolly swell for the first 36 hours, putting the sails up and taking them down again 4 times a day. The last 24 hours we could sail. Just as the sun came up, so did the wind and we engaged the windvane and fell asleep in the sun.

We could smell Madeira long before we could see the island itself. The visibility was poor and the island wasn't visible until we were 4M from it. If we hadn't had the GPS I would have had serious doubt about our position.

It was great seing real trees and flowers again. Funchal is a beatuiful city. We rented a car for a day together with Dan on "She of Feock" and drove up into the mountains. It's really spectacular. Forests, flowers, fog, waterfalls, you name it. We took a walk between the two highest peaks. It's like a scene from Sound of Music.

We stayed almost three weeks in Funchal, waiting for winds to go to Portugal. Eventually we gave up and sailed to the little Island of Porto Santo, 42M from Funchal. That's where we are now, still waiting to go to Potugal. It's the wrong way of going really. The right way would be to go to the Azores and from there to England, don't want to do that though.

 Right now we miss Funchal. The weather was great and there was lots to do although the marina was expensive. Porto Santo is very nice but it's cold, grey and raining.