These cats eat up the miles - 200 nm in 24 hours!
29 September 2018
We enjoyed a day and two nights in Cascais berthed on the same pontoon as the RC44 fleet and we watched racing royalty such as Dean Barker and Iain Percy depart, leaving their shore teams to tweak their amazing machines.
We had dinner in a great fish restaurant by the harbour; a mountain of seafood was consumed, enlivened by an exploding crab claw which attacked my eye (better tools needed I say, Anne-Laure says she warned me!).
Thursday saw us provision the boat for our long 530nm hop to Madeira and buy a new fishing rod capable of taking Tuna (let’s hope this features in a later blog). we then made a short trip by train to visit nearby Lisbon; we took a trip up the hill in Tuk-Tuk to see the fantastic views from the castle then Mike and I lost the girls (distracted with photography) on the way down (a good excuse for a beer). Dinner was back in Cascais then early to bed.
Friday’s weather forecast was near perfect, predicting a fast force 4-5 downwind leg to Madeira, however the first hour saw us in light winds, in fog again and motoring. Fortunately this all changed within an hour as the breeze set in.
We then had an amazing 24 hour run, under full main and jib until sunset we flew along at 10-12kts in around 20-24kts of breeze. As the sea built this started to become something of a sleigh ride so we decided to be prudent and put a reef in for the night. This reduced us to a slower but more comfortable 8-9 knots. The calculation at 0930 showed we had covered 196nm in our first 24 hours; an epic sail!
Boats always mean constant maintenance and problems to be solved.
Our solar panels generally keep up with our power needs during the day (autopilot, 3 fridges and a deep freeze, 3 chsrtplotters, our kettle consume plenty) but at night we need to run the generator once to top off the batteries). Mike and Sarah had noticed a problem and in the morning we realised that, although the generator was running, no power was getting into the 240v circuit which drives the battery charger. I checked the main panel but no breakers had tripped. Thanks to the satellite an email to the great team at Advanced Yacht Services elicited responses within 30 mins from both Rod and Wayne directing us to an RCD trip in the engine compartment. Unfortunately this isn’t very accessible when flying at high speed in a sea way as it means climbing in from the transom. After waiting a couple hours for the wind to ease and a debate about safety. We rolled the jib, and stopped the boat head to wind whilst nipped over the back into the engine compartment (wearing life jacket and clipped on) to flip the switch. Normal service resumed, the battery charger is working again.
Unfortunately we’ve also noticed the the grub screws holding the furler together are working loose again. Mike volunteered to be hoisted up the forestay to fix it but it proved too difficult rolling in the seaway. We’ll need to find a permanent fix before the Atlantic crossing.
Towards the end of the day our boat speed dropped with the declining breeze and for the first time on the whole trip we set a downwind sail. Our code zero is a power furling sail derived from race boats and took our speed back up from 6 to 9 knots. Unfortunately we don’t tend to keep these up at night so after 2 hours we removed it again for the night but expect that we will see it all day tomorrow.
It’s 0130 at the moment, a peaceful night ahead with no shipping visible for 30 miles on the AIS (ships transponders show up on our chart plotter) and light winds. We currently expect to arrive in Madeira late on Monday.