Bookmark and Share
The Voyage of 'S/V Röde Orm' - Sweden
Come on board and take part in our adventures while exploring the world at the slow pace of a sailing boat. We left in June 2009, heading south to escape the northern winter... to start with. Currently in Algarve/Portugal taking it one day at a time.
The Aftermath of Xynthia - and time spent in France/Sweden
03/12/2010, Alvor-Algarve

It's been a while since the last update and a few e-mails concerning this.

All is well on board, though the weather has been rough since the last post in January. In fact the weather here in Algarve has never been so crappy since they started taking notes of it. Rainy, cold and windy with average winds in the 20-30 knot span and two gales. The latter of them indeed got 'baptized' by the Mets. Xynthia as she was called was short but ferocious here with sustained winds of 50 knots for a few hours and she peaked at 57 knots according to one of our neighbor boat's wind instrument.

During this time I myself spent 5 weeks in Sweden, selling my small business there. Isabelle thus had to deal with the storm on her own, which she did with splendour, assisted by a couple of friends here in the anchorage.

Röde Orm had a cosmetic damage on the starboard side rubrail due to chafe from the mooring line, but that's just a couple of hours work to fix. Not everyonne was as lucky, as 5-6 boats dragged anchor/moorings and ended up on the beach. The beach mostly consists of sand around here but a couple of boats were unlycky enough to get washed up on the stone wharf and an other on those few rocks that exist around the anchorage.

Just one, a wooden motorsailor, got severe damage though, the rest got away with some scratches as far as we know at ths point. I've posted a couple of pictures on the Flickr account of the beached boats.

It's an 'El Nino' year, snf to no smll part this 'little boy' is held responsible for the extreme weather the northern hemisphere has encontered during this winter. In Sweden, the Baltic Sea was 'deep'-frozen over 40 centimeters of ice making over 20 freighters and ferrries get stuck for days in the channels otherwise cleared by ice-breakers.

As an interesting aside, the most powerful and modern of the Swedish ice-breakers, 'Odin', was this winter rented out to a scientific expedition to Antarctica. This, due to the very mild winters in Scandinavia the last few years.

As soon as the weather gets a bit more like a promising spring-weather-like we will continue our voyage.

The main reason we chose to spend the winter in Algarve in the first place was because I intuitevely knew I would have to go back to Sweden to finish this deal with my business.

Now, as a Free Man, I am eager to get going.... our friends on 'Zephyr' left the Cape Verdes a few days ago for the Caribbean. Since they are going o leave their boat there on the hard, and go back to Jersey to work, it could well be that we will catch up on them at some point. No hurries though

Progress - 4 Nautical Miles a Week!
01/09/2010, Algarve - Portugal

4 miles, two for Isabelle and two for myself. Witthout sails, engine or even oars.

No other means of propulsion than our own bodies. Ehrr, what?

Swimming! As soon as the weather permits, we're off to the municipal pool doing a mile or so of swimming, after which we play around with fins and masks. Great work-out and very good preparation for the warm tropical waters with coral reefs abundant with fish we're dreaming of. Keeping the dream alive while we almost sense the web grow between our toes and fingers, slowly transforming us into sea-dwelling mammals in close relation to dolphins and whales....

Well, you've got the picture, by now I guess? This practice is also a great remedy from the slight cabin fever (i.e. boredom) that makes it's mark on our souls after 2-3 days without leaving the boat.

By the way, it's sunny today. SUNNY! So, have ato leave you.....

A Curse?
01/07/2010, Alvor- Portugal

Hardly, but it seems like our 'sprayhood business' i. e. the original reason for us to go to Portimao/Alvor could be suffering from less than likely mishaps.

Firstly, as told in a previous post, we waited for sailmaker # 1, let's call him Mike, to come back from a trip to the UK, to make us a sprayhood. When he came back here he suddenly raised his price with some 70% from his own estimate! Of course I 'shoved him overboard' (not literally though, I am still a civilized Viking). Then sailmaker # 2, let's call him Jerry, comes onboard giving a decent qoute together with some good ideas on how to make a 'smarter' hood. So we made a deal. He says he needs 3 weeks to do it. That's four weeks now, almost five.... he's blaiming bad weather, which undeniably has some truth to it, but then, yesterday, he delivers the real blow. He had an accident, running, and ruptured two thirds of his achilles tendon. Flying back to.... guess where? ....-the UK- to undergo surgery and a recovery period of 3 weeks.

I know enough about those kind of injuries to say that it will take at least 8-10 weeks before he will be able to walk and function normally, so it seems like we will hang around here for quite a while longer.

Shit happens, and everything that happens to you in life does so for a purpose, according to my beliefs.

As long as the weather is as rough as it is at present, this is probably the best anchorage in the Algarve, so we're safe and sound. The alternative would be to sit in a marina but that is not only expensive, but also deadly boring. Here at anchor, we see the horizon, we see the fishermen leave and return and it's all in all a lot more lively and interesting than in a marina. This time of the year, the marinas are mostly occupied by boats left there, while the owners have returned to their country of origen. This means the UK for about 70% of all boats around here.

If and when the weather gets 'normal' for this part of the world, we can do the 35 miles to Faro/Olhao/Culatra and then in due time for the sprayhood affair to be closed we can come back.

We also have our neew friends and neighbours here in 'Le Village' to keep us company. Jaques, the Belgian, has a car, and was nice enough to let us have a ride with him to the supermarket in Portimao a few dys ago to provision.

I am helping him with some computer-related issues in return so it's like everyday life in a quiet suburb more or less. Not at all bad.

Happy New Year - Bon Ano Novo - Gott Nytt År!
01/05/2010, Alvor- Portugal all family and friends wherever you are during the holiday period.

The weather has been far from good lately. This seems to be the case 'all-over the place' though. Snowstrorms in Florida and India (!) Most of continental Europe snow-covered and freezing too, is what we see on the news during one of our quick visits in the village. Provisioning, checking e-mails and weather forecasts while enjoying a beer in the internet bar. The rest of the time we're staying put on the boat. For over two weeks now, we have experienced strong winds and heavy rains. Only one full gale, as told before - just before christmas - but winds between 25-30 knots most of the time making it hazardous to row ashore in our little dinghy. Once in a while, i's calm for few hours and we are quick to get our stuff ready and go ashore.

Almost every morning I bail some 20-30 liters of rainwater out of the dinghy. Great for washing sheets and towels and more. It's just that it is a true challenge to get the laundry to dry again.

Apart from these minor issues we are fine, reading a lot of course, talking and enjoying food and some wine.

The 'small' pleasures of life, teaching us patience and humbleness before powers so infinetely more powerful than ourselves.

A Gale for Christmas!
12/23/2009, Alvor- Portugal

First of all, we would like to wish everyone out there, family, friends, fellow cruisers, and whoever might be reading the blog by now....

A very Merry Christmas ! Joyeux Noël! God Jul!

We already got a Christmas present of sorts. Last night we had a gale in the anchorage. First a steady 30-35 knots of wind all night long with stronger gusts,then during 2,5 hours and together with a magnificent thunder storm, we experienced winds of (my moderate guess) 50-55 knots, probably more in the strongest gusts.

Thunder and lightning galore it was a true spectacle. I have never seen anything liike it in the northern waters I am used to, and it was awesome and a bit scary at the same time. When the thunder storm was at it's most ferrocious part, it suddenly calmed down completely, and a few minutes later came back but veered 180 degrees! Like a 'mini-hurricane' i f might use such an expression.

Those of our friends here who are not on moorings are riding on two anchors. I've considered it too but would feel at unease with doing so.

Lying to two anchors obviously makes the boat swing around less, and thus takes less room in the anchorage. This is a huge advantage here, especially in the summer when it's reported over 55 sailing boats. Add to this multihulls, centre-boarders and power boats, and believe me, it's difficult to imagine what it would look like here.

Simply put, we would not want to be around here during high season.

What I hold against the practice of dual anchors is the followiing:

First of all- after turning at least four times a day (tides) for a few weeks, the chains and/or rodes from those anchors would be tangled beyond imagination for someone who hasn't seen it. This is the part that makes me feel at unease with the idea....

IF, God forbid, the anchors would not hold in a severe blow, it would as I see it be very tricky (at least) to retrieve those anchors to be able to manouver. Of course one could cut or release the chains with a bouy or fender attached to reetrive them after the blow. That means that you would need a third and ideally heavier and stronger anchor to deploy after this.... Why not deploy your heavy and strong anchor from the start then and as a result not have to deal with the hassle of tangled chains?

My plan B, IF we would drag anchor (riding to a single bow anchor) is to simply re-anchor, and if that wouldn't work out, sort of 'heave to' with the help of the anchor and the engine for those hours until the (worst part of) blow has passed. Bear in mind that i 'ts VERY unusual woith storm force winds for more than 12-20 hours.

Obviously this is a personal choice, but for what it's worth, I feel better with only one (but a heavy) anchor. This blow is definitely the strongest I have ever experienced at anchor and since we stayed put, it strengthens my opinion of course.

The good old CQR 35 pounds with 9 mm chain has now kept the boat safely anchored during more than 350 nights on different types of bottoms and in tidal waters, swells up to 2 meters and wind strength up til full gale force since I bought the boat in december 2006, so I will definitely stick to it until proven wrong.

There is a lot said, and a lot to be said, about anchoring and anchors, and maybe I will share my 2 cents worth in another blog entry.

For now I just want to enjoy the x-mas holidays despite teh fact the forecast tells us of more strong winds (not gale force though) and rain 'en masse'.

Newer ]  |  [ Older ]


Who: Magnus & Isabelle
Port: Falsterbo -Sweden
View Complete Profile »

Powered by SailBlogs