Emerald Tales

Currently in Portugal after 7 years in the Mediterranean

19 August 2022 | Porto Santo
29 July 2022 | Porto Santo, Madeira
02 October 2021 | Faro, Portugal
06 June 2021 | Alcoutim
28 May 2021 | Alcoutim
16 April 2021 | Rio Guadiana
31 March 2021 | The Balearic Isles
20 March 2021 | Ayamonte
05 March 2021 | Alcoutim
17 February 2021 | Ayamonte
05 February 2021 | Culatra
27 January 2021 | Alcoutim
19 January 2021 | Larenjeiras, Portugal
08 December 2020 | Puerto Sherry
17 November 2020 | Playa de Bolonia
14 October 2020 | Gibraltar
27 September 2020 | La Linea

A Sailboat With a Broken Engine

19 August 2022 | Porto Santo
Nichola Wright
We had arrived after a boisterous sail from mainland Portugal to the island of Porto Santo. However, on approach to the island, the engine had failed to start. We'd managed to sail into the anchorage outside the harbour, where further tests indicated we definitely had a broken engine.

After a good night's sleep we felt more ready to face the horrors. First things, to get Emerald into a safer location. The anchorage off the beach at Porto Santo seemed OK, but if we did drag, it would be next stop Canaries. Or maybe Brazil. Sailboats are made to move with the wind, but in close quarters, such as a marina, an engine is essential. So, our broken engine meant we couldn't manoeuvre Emerald safely into the harbour. We thought about towing her ourselves with the dinghy, but at 8hp, the outboard just isn't powerful enough.

We launched the dinghy and went ashore to visit the harbour office who were able to offer a tow at a reasonable price and arranged to be with us at 2pm.

To read the rest of the blog, please click here to go to our website.

Sailing to Porto Santo

29 July 2022 | Porto Santo, Madeira
Nichola Wright
On a sunny Saturday morning, we raised the main, and turned away from mainland Portugal. Our destination: Porto Santo, part of the Madeira archipelago, 435nm away.

The sea was flat calm in the Enseada de Sagres, where we had spent the night. However, once we cleared Cabo Sagres - the headland that holds Henry the Navigator's fort - we met a light swell and stronger wind from the north. We unfurled the foresail, and silenced the engine. Emerald was now sailing on a course roughly west-south-west, which we would maintain the whole way across.

To help us with the passage we had a third crew member onboard - Harry the Hydrovane. After a little bit of adjustment, it steered us all the way to Porto Santo.

To read the full passage report click here.

Boat Refit: At Long Last It's Time to Leave the Boatyard

18 June 2022 | Faro, Portugal
Nichola Wright | Dry and Sunny
At long last, the time had come to leave the boatyard. Late on a Friday afternoon, the launch crane rumbled along and transferred Emerald from her support cradle to the slings. The yard is closed over the weekend, and allows boats to hang in the slings during that time before launching on Monday. We felt excitement bubbling at being so close to escape, but we had one major job to complete. When we Coppercoated in April, we weren't able to access the patches underneath the cradle supports nor below the keel. The two days in the slings would give us access to these areas with sufficient time for applying and drying the product.

We'd booked the crane a week ago, thinking surely there'd be no risk from wet weather in the middle of May. However, on Thursday, the weather forecast was showing a chance of light rain for Friday night. We laughed. What else could we do?

Thankfully, it was just the forecast gods messing with us. The rain stayed away and by Saturday lunchtime the job was finished. After a busy week of preparing for launch, the water tanks were full, as were the fuel tanks. We had gas for at least 6 months and the food stores were groaning. There was nothing else to do until Sunday evening when we would lightly sand the Coppercoat. With this unexpected free-time, we rewarded ourselves with a meal out and a last Faro wander.

To read the full article, please click here to read it on our blog.

Refit Part I: Choosing a Boatyard

02 October 2021 | Faro, Portugal
Nichola Wright
In June 2021, we headed to a boatyard in Faro as the first step in a major refit. We've since fallen behind with our blogs as physical work drained our bodies of energy and our mind of words. This is an attempt to get back on track. We look at the factors involved in choosing a suitable boatyard, the different types of boat lift, and whether you want to DIY the work or not. Mixed in with this are our own experiences as we have Emerald lifted out and embark on a long list of boat jobs.

Maintenance is an unavoidable aspect of boat ownership and the non-glamorous side of living on a sailboat. There's a cruiser quote that says:
"Cruising is fixing things in exotic locations"

We've certainly done plenty of that over the years, from general maintenance to emergency repairs performed against a backdrop of blue sea and golden, sandy beaches. One of our first experiences of this was in our first summer in the Med, when a failed hose resulted in an engine that wouldn't start. Back then, the cliffs of San Vito Lo Capo provided a scenic backdrop whilst we impatiently waited for the engine to cool enough to work on it.

It was in 2012-13 that we completed our last major refit on Emerald. That put us in a good position for several years of light maintenance and small repair jobs whilst we traveled around the Mediterranean. In 2016 in Croatia, we lifted out again and refreshed the antifoul. However, time and 10,000 nm have since taken their toll on Emerald.

We now had an expanding list of maintenance jobs that we could only do whilst out of the water.

To read the full blog, please visit our website by clicking here.

To the Boatyard - Our Escape From Glue River

04 July 2021 | Faro
Nichola Wright | Sunny, light N breeze
Rio Guadiana to Faro via Ayamonte: June 2021

The Rio Guadiana is affectionately nicknamed Glue River. It earned the name for its ability to ensnare sailors and travelers who were on their way to somewhere else but fell for the charms of river life and never left. We had spent the winter enjoying its delights, becoming comfortable in our anchor spot, but now we had an appointment to go to the boatyard. It was time to make our escape from Glue River.

To read the full blog, please visit our website by clicking here.
Vessel Name: Emerald
Vessel Make/Model: Kelly Peterson 44
Hailing Port: No fixed abode
Crew: Colin 'Skip' Wright, Nichola Wright
About: One from Northern Ireland, one from Yorkshire, UK
Extra: Emerald has been our home since 2004. We've sailed around the UK, the western Baltic and have spent 7 years in the Med. We're currently in Portugal, planning a refit. Lot's more information about us and the boat can be found at www.yachtemerald.com
Home Page: https://www.yachtemerald.com/