Povoa de Varzim to Peniche; 130nm travelled
20 September 2013 | Peniche, Portugal
Nichola / Dry, clear, F6 winds
We made a last minute decision on Wednesday mid-morning to leave for an overnight passage down the coast whilst there were still some winds to sail with.
Getting out of the narrow berth at Povoa with narrow runs between the pontoons turned into a nightmare, we just couldn't get the bow around against the wind in the narrow space. In the end we reversed into an empty space and with gratefully received help from others, sprung off to get the bow around and out.
The wind increased from a F4 over the next couple of hours, settling down to a F6 from the north. This was great for an easy sail with just the genny but unfortunately the seas also built with the wind. We ended up rolling around all over the place but at least the sail stayed full. The sea legs I'd found crossing Biscay did a runner and even Colin felt a bit green which hardly ever happens. Looking up from the cockpit to see a wave towering above the stern is never a good feeling, but none of them broke and Emerald surfed her way down them. We had a few cross waves that spun us so bad the autopilot gave up but thankfully that only happened a handful of times.
There was not much we could do but plug on as any of the available ports we were unsure if we'd get in without the swell making it a bit dicey in the dark. Everything was damp, we couldn't sleep and during the night the wind died so we had to carry on under engine which struggled to start due to lack of juice in the batteries. Good job we have a dedicated engine start battery for these occasions, although this too struggled. We had problems rolling the genny away as a sheet kept catching, but it finally rolled up albeit a bit untidily.
We took 1 hour shifts of on watch and trying to get some rest lying in the cockpit. By daylight the seas had eased a little, we could see the Peniche peninsula so we decided to head into there rather than torture ourselves for another 8 hours to Cascais. Isn't this supposed to be fun?
On the plus side there was a huge full moon all night providing lots of light and we didn't catch any pots in the dark (not that we saw any to miss). We also clocked off 130 miles (80 of them sailed) southwards which turned out to be even better than we'd thought as looking at next week's weather forecast, southerly winds were now forecast which hadn't been when we set off.
Once around the peninsula the sea eased hugely, all we had to worry about now were all the fishing boats of every size and lots of pots. The visitor pontoon in the marina had loads of space so was a nice easy end to an awful 24 hours. Everyone here has been so friendly, even the marine policeman, so we're going to stay 2 nights to get our energy back.