Tri cruising

Mediterranean and now Atlantic wandering in a Kelsall trimaran

Vessel Name: Aqua Blue
Vessel Make/Model: Kelsall 39 tri
Hailing Port: Originally Brighton UK
Crew: David Bains retired dental surgeon.
About: Family and a few friends.
Extra: Aqua Blue is currently hauled at Portimao Portugal.
11 February 2019 | Portimao
18 November 2017 | Portugal
04 September 2014 | SW Atlantic Spain
25 August 2012 | Ionian Marine, Aktio, Preveza, Greece
28 June 2011 | Nautec, Monfalcone, Italy
23 November 2010 | Adriatic
20 September 2009
30 March 2009 | Adriatic
29 March 2009 | Adriatic
28 March 2009 | Adriatic
27 March 2009 | Ionian/Adriatic
26 March 2009 | Ionian/Aegean
25 March 2009 | Ionian/Adriatic
24 March 2009 | Ionian/Aegean
23 March 2009 | Tyrrhenian/Ionian
22 March 2009 | Tyrrhenian
21 March 2009 | Tyrrhenian/Ionian
18 March 2009
Recent Blog Posts
11 February 2019 | Portimao

Lisbon Layover

June/July 2018

18 November 2017 | Portugal

Wild West Coast

I returned to Aqua Blue, wintering again in El Rompido, SW Spain, by late May 2017.

04 September 2014 | SW Atlantic Spain

Pushing through the Pillars.

Aqua Blue has escaped the Med after 25yrs!! Rather delayed this year, I returned to Cartagena on 1st July and worked on Aqua Blue in this attractive city for two weeks until my wife Stella joined me. The morning of the 15th brought a fresh northeasterly, nearly trapping AB in her winter berth, the fouled [...]

Gibraltar Cruise 87

15 March 2009
Gibraltar cruise '87
Freedom of Norwich. Kelsall 48ft trlmaran. Delivery to the Medlterranean '87.

Sklpper, Tony Gaze. Crew, Davld Balns, Humphrey Truswell, Stella Beddoe,
Doon, Margaret Goodman.

Tony had long wanted to take his well constructed home built trl, the frult
of six years labour, south to warmer climes and '87 became the year, not
least because my own K39 was laid up for a major reflt and thus a ready
made crew was avallable.
Flrst though we had to leave the English Channel, and this took rather
longer than we had (foollshly) hoped since the northerlles that had blown
for weeks backed round to the southwest the moment we left Brlghton marlna
after a lunchtime party with frlends on Sunday 26th July. In a rlslng ga1e
we took an punlshing 14hrs to slog round Selsey Bill, the overfalls being
rough enough, eventually to send solid water over the deck and down the
ventilators onto an incredulous skipper. We sought shelter at dawn for a
few hours sleep anchored off Bembrldge and spent the rest of the day ln
Cowes attending to various malntenance jobs which had cone to light the
previous night. Our spirits rose ln the evenlng when Tony took us out to an
excellent and possibly unrepeatable meal at Murrays since the eponymous
chef and owner told us he was retlring.
We restarted our "non-stop" trip to Spaln again on Tuesday, although we were
much more pragnatlc now and in fact wlth the wind still westerly we
close-hauled straight across the Channel into Braye harbour on Alderney. We
ate dinner marvelllng at Tony's vocabulary of expletives as he had struggled
wlth the georbox whtch had failed to select reverse as we manouvered among
the crowded moorings! I only seem to vlsit thls delightful island whilst
en route elsewhere. Further malntenance next day meant we had spent the
best part of our first week's hollday making very little progress in the
desired dlrection, but the next four days were to be great saillng across
the Bay to Bayonna.
Uslng the newly installed radar in earnest we rounded Ushant ln fog
listenlng on VHF to some of the commerclal traffic who seemed to be amusing
thenselves playlng 'chlcken'. Later we heard a French yachtsman call Brest
and lnform them hE had lost a man overboard NE of Ushant. We were 38 nls
from his posn. by then, on a dark night, so dld not retrace our steps but
repeated our resolve not to leave the sheltered cockplt at nlght without a
harness. Channel overcast followed us for a day but on Saturday whilst
sunbathlng for the first time two Sperm whales with thelr distlnctive
angled spouts cane up and passed our stern, each the slze of the boat. They
appeared to be aware of us but showed no inclinatlon to alter course and
in the evenlng a flurry of yacht sails appeared ahead making for Brittany
where we usually spend our holidays on Aqua Blue. The spinnaker was carrled
all that nlght and lowered at dawn as a rlslng northeasterly started to
draw us down to Finlstere. By afternoon we were surflng ln 30 knots of
wlnd, slowly being overhauled by majestlc walls of Prusslan blue. The
autohelm needed frequent manual assistance, partly due to the weight of crew
in the bows trying to photograph the accompanying dolphlns who seemed to be
enjoylng the conditlons as much as we were. We passed several Spanlsh
trawiers who were effectlvely using their stern trawls as sea anchors
enabllng them to work ln relative confort. In the evening Cabo Villano
came on the port bow just where the satnav sald lt should be. Will we
ever use our sextants again? The wind and sea gradually dled ln the lee of
Cape Finlstere and we eventually ghosted lnto Bayonna just before dawn on
Monday 3rd August. The smell of the plnes and the warm dry air were qulte
sensuous after four days at sea and we slept deeply.
Thls unspoilt Spanish resort with it's tranquill anchorage, magnlflcent yacht
c1ub, and lmposlng fort is the ideal stopover for southbound travellers. We
qulckly and easlly restocked the boat, and using the quayslde hose turned
the cockpit into a desalination plant for our clothes by the simple
expedlent of blocklng the dralns and filling it wlth fresh water. A great
Paella was prepared for us at El Tunel restaurant and we congratulated
ourselves on completing the flrst hurdle of our trip.
Thlrty hours after we had arrlved we cleared the Ria de Vigo and spent two
days motorlng down the coast questlonlng the complete abscence of the
Portuguese trades. We ate well though on all our fresh produce! Succulent
malze fed chicken, fresh bread and peaches. Food ls so important on a
voyage not only for health but just as importantly as a morale booster and
a soclal focus. I an always readlng that cooklng chores should be shared
equally amongst all crew regardless of gender, but in my experlence lady
crewmenbers who are usually much more cullnary adept are quite happy to
prepare nost of the food, especlally if the oaflsh sectlon of the crew are
volubly appreciatlve and do the washing up; and belng excused nlght watches
ls fair exchange! In fact Stella iolned me ln the early hours that night to
admire the qulte spectacular phosphorescence of the Portuguese coast; green
Jet streams were pouring of the floats and luminous shoals of flsh
approached and banked under us like UFO's . Later Humphrey and Doon were
shoutlng at dolphlns intercepting us like nlght flghters with bolling
contralls. There are few harbours on this coast but by late afternoon we
entered the fishing harbour of Peniche and tled up alongslde a Wharram
catamaran Double Dutch. Hals and Rood were tlred of motorlng and were
awaiting the return of the trades. Rood had earller fallen into the netting
which had such large holes ( up to slx lnches square ) that hls head had
passed through and he had badly lacerated hls mouth. Penlche has a large
fort where Salazar used to keep his communist opponents, but ls now the
centre of the swordfishlng lndustry and llterally hundreds of these once
powerful gamefish were belng auctloned at unintelligable speed. After
officially entering Portugal at the Policia Marltlma we dlned at a quayside
restaurant on the largest and cheapest swordflsh steaks we had ever seen,
washed down with Gatao whlte wlne. In the mornlng we motored agaln the few
mlles to Cabo de Roca, where we swam at the most westerly polnt of Europe.
It seemed to get hotter immedlately and we turned the corner lnto the Tagus
rlver past Cascais aand Estoril, then on to the Belem tower where we made an
abortlve attenpt to moor the 26ft wide Freedom in the vlsltors dock. Tony
extrlcated us using the full power of the Golf diesel and we contlnued up
rlver to the Telrro or Marlna basln which in fact, although rather dlrty,
is much more convenient for the old town.
Some yachts pass by Llsbon but it's rather shortslghted in my opinlon to
mlss out thls hlstoric and very largely unspoilt European capltal. Close by
the dock are several well stocked grocery stores and moderately priced
restaurants and bars where we dlscovered we should have put our clocks back
one hour two days before! Ascend the steep etreets avoiding the anclent
trams to the Cathedral or original Moorlsh fort for fine vlews of the clty
and rlver with it's suspenslon brldge, Statue of Chrlst, Monument to the
Navlgators, Eiffel's other tower ( ln fact a llft ) and the whole Tagus
estuary. We spent three pleasant days here slghtseelng and generally
soaking up the atmosphere. At the ornate Torre Belem one can inagine the
Caravels settlng out throughout the flfteenth century on
the voyages of dlscovery, acqulrlng the knowledge of boat design and navlgatlon
and meteorology which enable us to travel ln our yachts today.
At Llsbon we also exchanged crew; Humphrey and Doon flew home and Maggie
Goodman arrlved.
On Sunday 9th August we rose very early to take the tlde
down rlver and passed Belem at dawn, motorlng again at flrst, although
soon the wlnd fllled in from the rlght dlrectlon and we carrled the spinnaker
all day, down the coast to Vila Nova de Milfontes. Crossing the
very shallow bar is only possible in flne weather; but once we had negotlated the meandering shallows we were soon anchored ( with plenty of scope ) in
a beautlful river under an early fort now converted lnto a rather exclusive
and old fashloned hotel, whlch we later vlslted. Thls walk ashore
led to the Cafe Morais to dlne on frango (chlcken ) and huge linguado ( sole
before returning to Freedom and a nightcap of the excelient local Maceira
brandy.
Wlth the tldes as they were Tony and I were agaln up the crack
of dawn to ensure our exlt fron the rlver whlch we only just accomplished. The
Portuguese trades were back wlth a vengeance and we exchanged the drlfter for Genoa as we came up on Cape St Vincent and Glgante rock who's rounding we saluted wlth vlno tlnto. After a surflng reach to Pt Sagres we headed up to
anchor off a beach covered lemming like with the backpackers
of Europe. I inslsted we walked up to Prlnce Henry's fort and school of navigatlon from where he planned the voyages of Gll Eanes and Bartolomeo
Dlaz. From here it was a short run in the now near gale force wlnd to Lagos
the old capital of the Algarve. On rounding up to the harbour entrance the mainsail roller promptly jammed. Our clumsy attempts to free lt produced
a cascade of tlny roller bearlngs, most of whlch were fortunately recovered, and the flogging canvas was easily rolled up by hand. I must say I remain to be convinced that mainsall roller reeflng ls a great improvement over a good slab
reeflng system, but then I am quite happy wlth slab reefing on the
foresalls on my own boat.
The market in Lagos ls fabulous. On the ground floor a wondrous array of
fish shellflsh and meat, and upstalrs mountalns of fruit, vegetables,
necklaces of chlllies, bunches of garlic, grapes, sacks of nuls and figs,
watercress and flowers. As we ferried our purchases back in the dinghy we
realised the basin wall was alive ln broad dayllght wlth hundreds
of gulls, rats and small black crabs, all impervlous to our presence. We visited
the tlny old harbour, just big enough for a brace of caravels. Statues
to Prlnce Henry, and Gil Eanes the flrst man to round Cape BoJador
on the west coast of Africa in 1434 remlnded us again of Portugal's maritime
enterprise, culminating in the amazing Treaty of Tordesillas when
the world was dlvided between Spain and Portugal by Papal arbltratlon
at a line 370 leagues west of the Cape Verdes only two years after Columbus
landed ln the New World. Hence the Brazilians speak Portuguese!
We reluctantly left after lunch and motored along the depresslng ribbon
development all the way from Praia da Rocha to Quartelra and entered the
man made and sterile marlna of Vilamoura. I found it difficult to recognlse
the small flshing vlllage I had driven to in the mld sixties; a tented shanty town and market separated the two. The staff were very helpful and
we spent the nlght on the receptlon dock. Explorlng in the mornlng we met
Russell on his Dragonfly who was about to set of for the UK where he was
planning to build a 40ft tri. He ferrled us back to Freedom to save us the
long walk round the marlna whlch contained several multihulls,
includlng one large dlsmasted Proa which rather surprised me slnce I understood they were banned from taklng part in the French multihull circus. In the early seventles I spent one season sailing on Slade Penoyre's 50ft proa Lillan including one memorable flve hour channel crossing. Tacklng or shunting as we called it was hard work though, since we had to carry our Yankee the
length of the boat and ralse it agaln every tlme. The boom could not pass
the centreline and if taken aback we had to walk it back until the bows
fell off agaln. Not the not relaxing way to sail! Eventually it capslzed
after gyblng whllst running downwlnd ln the lrlsh sea. Slade took the
Yankee with hlm into the llferaft as a blanket and eventually gave lt to
me, now cut down slightly it is the wlndward workhorse on Aqua Blue.
After an excellent fish lunch at restaurant Tabulnhas on the beach
immediately west of the marina entrance we departed for Glbraltar.
We drifted as far as Faro where we swam, passing the Canberra on the way,
and then started motoring across Cadiz bay to be jolned at dusk by a very
large school of bottle-nosed dolphins. Another role of film was flred off
in almost invariably unsuccessful attempts to catch them in mld air. Maggle
remembered an old Spanlsh reclpe for chicken with a thousand cloves of
garllc which with some unidentified beans made a powerful comblnatlon.
By breakfast we were sailing again but had to resort to the motor again
although this dld not deter the stragglers from another group of dolphins,
who were clrcling a captive shoal of fish from accompanylng us for over
half an hour. After lunch a westerly Ponlente came up so we ran under
splnnaker again and rounded Tarlfa with Africa visible through the haze on
our rlght, to gain our flrst sight of the Rock. We entered Glbraltar bay at
a good 12kts, and carried the spl. up to the harbour walls in the dying
breeze. In fact we had not salled to windward slnce we had ]eft the Channel
Islands. Customs cleared, we tled up at Marlna Bay, the newer marina,
although Shepherds wharf has more atmosphere and their huge chandlery, whlch draws boats from all over the Med. A travel agent close by arranged
tickets and after a days exploring Stella and I were flying back to Blighty,
leaving Tony to continue through the Pillars of Hercules onto Mare Nostrum.
Comments
Aqua Blue's Photos - Main
June 2018
10 Photos
Created 3 March 2019
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1 Photo
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3 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
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