We got delayed a few hours more due to the weak, sorry, non apparent winds and left Leixoes 8AM local time in the morning the 9th Oct. Motored in the calm for couple of hours before the wind slowly came into the scene from NW as predicted. Hoisted the spinnaker and leisurely moved on at 3-4,5 knots for a while. The wind increased steadily though and soon enough we made 6-7,5 knots with the spinnaker as the only canvas. My plans of hoisting the mizzen staysail were never realized. Otherwise this makes a great combo in light air when there is a bit of swell, since there is no booms that swings back and forth as he swells move by.
On board Röde Orm we have a very nice set-up for crusing with a spinnaker. (important with a heavy dsiplacement boat to be able to keep moving at light air. Personally I like lightwind sailing since it's challenging to keep the boat at a few knots as opposed to fire up the engine.
Back to the set-up. We have got two spinnaker poles that runs on tracks along the front of the main mast. Thus no need to 'fight' a bulky and heavy pole on fore-deck. With heavy swells, or waves for that matter, this makes a huge difference. We also have a sock for the spinnaker that makes hoasting adn dousing it a very non-dramatic procedure even single-handed.
We were able to keep the spinnaker up until at midnight. I hand-steered all day and until midnight simply because it was great sailing. At midnight the wind had increased to at least 20 knots though at it seemde prudent to douse it before Isabelle's first night watch. Otherwise a lovely nght- starshine, warm, dolphins from time to time and later on the moon helped us see what we were doing on deck. Talking of dolphins I must tell you that we caught a maqurerel on one of our fishing lines that provided a lovely filé for each of us for dinner.
After getting the spinnaker down, and sorting out all those lines on a dark foredeck, we hoisted the main sail with one reef. Before we even thought of hositing the jib, we noticed that the boat balanced prefectly and the wind vane took over the steering. We made around six knots during the rest of the night under the reefed main only, and didn't see any point in increasing the sail area. I'd anticipate the wind speed to around 25 knots ( Force 6) and the seas started to sound mighty when they passed by with a foamy crest on top.
This meant that we moved ahead of the 'schedule' passing Peniche and the offlying Ilha Berlenga with it's light houses while it was still dark. we never saw the island as nothing but a vague dark silhouette with a light on top.
After sunrise, the wind decreased for a few hours, so we shook out the reef, but didn't bother more than that since we still made in excess of 5 knots of boat speed. the wind veered to NNE and strenghtened to a good 25 knots or maybe a bit more. We took 2 reefs in the main and still did 5.5-6 knots so all was well. Soon enough we sighted the mighty 'Cabo Raso' some 8 miles north of Cascais.
Here, we joked about getting 'Cap Blasé. as Cabo Raso ,, as mighty and beautiful as ut is, looked like a close 'realative' (cousin perhaps) to Finisterre in Galicia and a couple of others in both Galicia and Bretagne.
In the early afternoon we slowly entered the anchorage outside Marina de Cascais and just opposite a beach and some old style and very classy hotels. We dropped the hook in 18 feet of water just behind *Zephyr', whose crew apparantly were on shore.
Among sailors a k a 'harbour rot' is a phenomenon that I guess affects all of us. For good and for bad. We took shelter here from a frontal passage that was connected with a nasty low that provided storm force winds over southern Sweden and elsewhere further north. Here, the winds have been in the 30 knot range for 2-3 days now and LOTS of rain. As opposed to the higher latitudes I (Magnus) am used to, it's still warm though. Around 20 degrees so still shorts and t-shirts mostly.
Needless to say the laundry does not dry in these conditions, making the boat look like an alley in southern Italy or maybe an old style gypsy camp. We have been able to take advantage of shore power (for our tools) to rebuild the navigation table. Will post a few pictures in the 'Photo Gallery'.
Functionally, we are satisfied with it, but since we had to reuse the old teak pieces the finish wasn't 100 %, but that can be dealt with later with some teak trim...
We've also explored Porto - a very charming city- and in the middle of the city, on the river, we found 'Zephyr' from Jersey again and reunited with Steve and Colin. We did the day trip to Porto (by bus) with Alistair, an English single-hander in a Tradewind 35 and had a very nice evening in the cockpit of 'Zephyr' over a glass of wine, or erhhh, maybe two ;-)
As it seems they will sail to Cascais before us since they will have friends flying in who are supposed to sleep onboard. We do not envy them the 170 miles beating to windward....but wish tehm good luck.
Being on a schedule is always what makes you end up in the 'bad stuff' when sailing.
We also visitied Croft's, one of the many usually English own Port wine caves here. A guided tour through the cellar with all it's casks and barrels sharing their special smell with us. After the tour a sample was offered us for free consisting of one white Port and a Ruby. We decided to add to the experience with a Vintage 1995. Cream of the crop to say the least.
Tomorrow the wind will calm down a bit and turn NW, so we'll do the 1,5 day passageto Cascais then as it seems now
10/01/2009, Ria de Vigo
We have been here for a few days now. Nice and sunny but no wind to take us anywhere. By now we are getting a bit itchy to move south though. Being in Lisboa before the end of September was ib our plans. It's 230 M or thereabout to Lisboa and motoring for 48 hours simply is not a very attractive proposition.
We will leave this afternoon anyway. Firstly to Bayona (just across the Ria) to fill up the fuel and water tanks, and then during the night the 68 or so miles to Leixoes. Leixoes is a not so charming commercial man-made port just north of the city of Porto n the Douro river. Porto is said to be very nice, and of course it's famous wines could be experienced. Add to this that from now on we are in low season, which means that marina fees are reduced sometimes as much as 50%.
We need to deal with some everyday practcalities. Laundry is one. Another is that we have come up with another little project on teh boat. We are going to rebuild the navigation station completely to fit the 'modern style' navigatn better. I e a dedicated and sheltered slot for the computer and other electronic 'toys' that seem to enter the boat either you want it or not.
Southerly winds (unusual statistically) are predicted for the nex weekend a couple of days more, and after finishing our project and exploring Porto we hope for the famous northerly 'Portuguese Trade Wind' to finally show up and provide us with a nice downwind sail to Cascais and Lisboa.
is staying. Warm and sunny, wonderful weather, but very light air. We took off in the morning on abreeze that just made some tiny wave patterns in the water. Hoisted the Main and weighed anchor. The genou went up seconds later and pushed us eastwards, close hauled for ten minutes or thereabout before the wind died again. We kept on for an hour maybe at enough speed to get steeerage, but later motored the last three miles to a bay on the northern shore ov Ria de Vigo. We hope to get more shelter from the swell here. No point in going to Bayona since these winds won't get us to Portugal anyway, we can aswell enjoy it here. It's Saturday, so plenty of local boats around including a passengerferry that gose to the restaurant opposite to our las anchorage.
We spent a lazy afternoon in the cockpit, reading and watching the local kids having a dinghy race around the anchored boats. Kids are the same everywhere, and parents too, who don't take their responsibility too seriously at times. No life vests either.
At last we found a Wifi here we could hook up to in the evening, so a bunch of blog posts can get published again, together with e-mails and updates.
We moved on a bit further south in the afternoon with Bayona, on the southern mouth of the Ria de Vigo as the chosen goal. We want to get internet for weather forecast of several days ahead and also bunker diesel and water before leaving for the 80 miles sail to Leixoes in Portugal. Leixoes is the harbour just west of the city of Porto in the river Duro.
Yes,Porto means harbour/port of course (even if they don't seem to have a proper one) but what's more interesting for us a tleast is the fact that it's the home of 'the Port' the sweet, strong wine that has gotten it's name from this city. The fact that it is a convenient stop en route to Lisbon doesn't make it less attractive at all. Roughly 150 miles more to Lisbon, a leg we certainly would like to negotiate in favourable weather. The Portuguese coast is not a nice one to be cought out in heavy weather. Better to be at least 50 miles to seaward then. We are really looking orward to our stay in Lisbon though, so we will tke the coastal route.
Anyway,while we slowly motored towards Bayona trailing a fishing line, we passed the lovely islands 'Cies' in the very mouth of the Ria. We then got an impulse to anchor off them for the night, just because the weather allows it. We were not alone, some ten or so other boats were anchored in the bay already, among them a Dutch, a couple of British and a Swedish!.
I hope the pictures to some degree can show how nice it was here. The only downside, was that the wind pciked up to Force 3-4 during the night, from NE, making the anchorage quite choppy. It was worth it though