Archive for Sailing

01 Apr 2012

Final Voyage

1 Comment Contessa 32, Sailing

 

DSCF2741.JPG

One dream, one ripped sail, three near collisions, one faulty engine, zero dry clothes, prevailing winds and sea, ten days, the final chapter.

Why did it end … I went back to London to undertake a contract position which led to a job, there was however one remaining hurdle, getting my boat back to Europe.

I had a week to get my boat back and start my new role, so left with haste to La Gomera where Maria (my boat) was parked with a lovely German traveler living on board. He suffered from hayfever and diabetes so I was sure to greet him with flowers and chocolate to thank him (he was boat sitting). He was rather annoyed given the 2 day notice that I would be sailing his home away, his parents were coming to visit him and were planning on staying onboard.

In his fashion he met me from the ferry with a flute, bohohemian raphsody will never sound the same. Maria was floating and it took little time getting her ready to sail to colder climates.

Trip home

All the sailors seeing my frantic frenzy of prepping to head back couldn’t believe I was daft enough to sail against the Canary current and prevailing winds which were at their strongest. I clawed north on the NNE’s waiting for the winds to shift north, then it was time to fly havoc literally…!

Food and rum onboard I left turning straight into the acceleration zone between the islands, 50 knot winds were a great start to my journey home and it took me the best part of a day fully reefed to travel a mere 20 miles.

As the sun set I sailed NNW, the wind throughout the journey was coming directly from the destination I was heading NNE. I was sailing 30 degrees to the wind throughout and heeled a good 40 degress. As I was racing to get back home and start my job I was pushing as hard as one could, a mistake I was soon to pay the price for.

DSCF2684.JPG After 48 hours I finally lost sight of land, I slept  solidly during the day, it took me those two days to get adjusted to being back at sea. The first day in the acceleration zone despite my initial euphoria at being back at sea was very hard going and progress non existent, I was looking at the bucket wondering if my constitution would hold…. bucket has never won!

I met my first tanker of many, on the second night, what could have been my last night. I should mention that my preparation at this point had not been as thorough as it should have,the starboard light was not working which I was to discover at my peril after three near collisions…. It was an HMS supply ship heading to the Carrib, rolled up in bed I heard the AIS sound, this is an alarm that tells me if boat over 300 tonnes is within 15 miles … you don’t ignore that alarm, a noise that still haunts me in my nightmares. I donned my damp waterproofs, grabbed my flares and binoculars, turned on the engine and headed out into the cockpit that was being belted by the crashing waves. I never wore shoes, unless out for prolonged periods… nothing grips like a toe. I saw a long strip of lights that changed to a narrow strip, the worst possible imaginable situation, it was heading straight for me. I ran downstairs looked at the AIS radar, turned on all my running lights (which illumated my sails), ran back up and wondered what was going on. The strip of light became an advancing mountain, the bow wave an unmistakable sign of it’s unstoppable determined approach. I pulled the tiller tacking while throwing the throttle into full power, sails aback I headed straight for the unforgiving hulk. It couldn’t have been more menacing  if it was green, wearing a thong and had a face like Jai McDowal.

DSCF2731.JPG The siren on the vessel was going off, there were people crowding the rail and I passed within 50 meters down the lee side. I sat there in a state of shock, before I reset my windvane, ran downstairs, turned on my radio (which I should always have had on, fishermen were annoying me), and in a voice very unbecoming my current emotions hailed the vessel. Very cordially they answered saying they changed course to pass to what they thought was by starboard as they were under the impression that I was running with the wind, only my stern light was visible to them. It wasn’t until they saw my sails that they realised what was happening and sounded the collision alarm. I couldn’t reply, and remember staring at the radio for what felt like hours, shaking.

DSCF2714.JPG Over the rest of journey I had one tanker turn off all of it’s lights in protest, another created day light with a source that could only have hailed from Boris Johnson’s backside. I was on edge, nights became my days. Why did I only have these encounters at night ………

My savior was a sat  phone which I used every day to keep my parents informed of my location, their help was invaluable. They were able to overlay my location with grib files and tell me what the wind would do in the next 24 hours, allowing me to chose the best tack.

I called up the company where I was supposed to start in 4 days to explain that I wouldn’t be able to make it, the lady didn’t believe me when I said I was in the middle of the Atlantic. Best excuse, and when I did start everyone thought it was a prank.

The sailing conditions for eight days were frantic to say the least, I was ploughing into 2 to 4 meter waves continuesly, sleeping against the side of the hull which was horizontal. I loved it, was cosey the motion repetitive, the undulating motion like a mother rocking you to sleep. It wasn’t all warm and peachy, frequently the water would simply dissapear from under the hull, the boat would crest a steep wave and then like the elixir of life remove the chalice leaving three tonnes to plumage to the water leaving me hovering over the bed and jarring my teeth as we landed.

DSCF2704.JPG I spent 2 days without wind and decided to motor, realising that I had a crack in my fuel filter I spent 6 hours replacing it and bleeding the engine. I felt a little low at this point, at which karma played it’s card and dolphins came to cheer me up.

As I tacked of the west coast of Portugal I entered the shipping lanes, at this point nothing was dry onboard, the temperature had dropped remarkably and the only way I could keep warm was by sleeping naked (dry), my most precious possession was my sleeping bag. This was the roughest part with the sea in turmoil from what I can only imagine was the med and Straight of Gibraltar.

I had 35 knots of apparent wind, way too much canvas and paid the price. When sleeping you are fully aware of your surroundings, I would wake up if the wind shifted and changed. That said I did sleep through a 180 shift of the wind losing 6 hours of distance. On my last 100 miles while sleeping the boat fell into a trough, as we fell I woke and heard a loud crack followed by a rip and the boat righted, a blown out sail. Donning my soaking waterproofs, by this point I was naked all the time, clothing always absorbing moisture.

Riding a bucking horse and clipped in I went to the mast, feet numb with cold knocked flat by waves I put in my third reef. I stayed there marveling at life. How the hell, why the hell is someone doing this, a cork on the ocean, white horses charging at you unforgiving and relentless, wind and sea determined to undermine and here you are obnoxiously rebelling against the forces of nature. I went downstairs shivering opened the rum and saluted the forces of nature … not yet!

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I crossed the busiest shipping lane, shared a salute with a Chinese engineer, these lanes are so congested you have a vessel every 500 meters, then there is me trying to cross them doing 2 knots into the waves. Took me a day to cross the lanes, no sleep, outside with my flares wishing they would all sink, at least they pay attention in the lanes, on the open sea they sleep. On the radio every 10 minutes “To all vessels yacht passing with no starboard light at coordinates XXXX, course North” with a silent prayer …. “move”!

The last 20 miles were the hardest, I didn’t have the patience to tack, 20 miles you can smell land, I was wet cold and tired. It was the longest part of my journey, I turned on the motor and at full power was doing 1knot straight up the waves. How long can these waves carry on for, they are coming from land, how can they have so much reach. The waves abated, the wind dropped, I recognised land marks, finally I arrived into port with no wind flat seas. Did I imagine the rest?

DSCF2716.JPG Parents met me with the opening remark “you realise your starboard light isn’t working!”

 

 

 

 

Maria is now for sale, never will you meet someone more faithful and reliable.

I made mistakes during my trip, most notably, not using the radio to communicate my intentions which stemmed from never trusting those on watch. The experience with the near collision I have gone over frequently and even though I believe they should have maintained their course, they made the right call (one I would have made)… they went upwind of me … they assumed seeing a stern light that I would be heading in a direction away from the wind. Never leave port without checking your running lights!

 

Trip home

29 Mar 2011

Video: First night offshore on the way to the Canaries

3 Comments Sailing

Been on the water for 7 hours, sun setting, excited to be on my way. Had great wind for two days … then nada … more to follow.

Only excitement was crossing the shipping lanes, was amazed to see how the cargo vessels all kept to the specified routes. AIS rocks!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VvEy5KWU4cg&feature=player_embedded

29 Mar 2011

Arrived in the Canaries

1 Comment Sailing

Leaving Portimao

Apprehensively I set of on my maiden solo long offshore voyage, I would be lying if I said I was without doubt. I wasn’t worried, but it was the moment the talk became reality and it brought with it a sence of worry as I was truely on my own and miles away from the security of land. As the wind blowing at a steady 25knts filled my sails it too swept away any seeds of doubt and filled me with euphoria as the bow carved through the swell, doing a steady 6knots the cliffs of Portugal soon became a distant memory. Soon the secure solid surroundings were replaced by the unrelenting undulating swell intermittently topped by the whisk of white as the swell built in size and crashed under itself. The first 7 hours were sublime and as I settled in for the night I went around with some WD40 to silence the pulleys that voiced a concern I could do without.
I realised I couldn’t sleep on the tack that left me sailing at an exciting 6knots with the swell hitting from the aft, I headed closer to the wind deviating from the planned course and reefed in some sail. The result was profound, the drop in speed and swell hitting the boat at an angle made life below decks much more bearable and at 21:00 after crossing the shipping lanes I hit the hay. I woke up perhaps twice as the AIS warned me of a vessel in my vicinity, I soon learnt that I could comfortably reduce the the sensitivity of the alarm to warn me of a vessel within 2 miles.

Large Cargo vessel

On waking at 6am I decided to fix the windvane which kept locking up everytime the servo rudder went at an extreme angle, the solution after much deliberation was a piece of wire around the jointed connector to prevent it from sliding off the trim tab, the action of the swell which had built to such a hight that during the night two waves had crashed over the boat had broken the flimsy connection. On the second day and night I continued to have great wind, much of it thanks to the curry my mum sent me packing with, and decided to head directly south instead of the planned course to get out of the area that was producing the dasderly easterly swell.

Dolphins

Sadly that was it for the wind and for the next three days I covered the equivalent distance as I had in my first 12 hours. That said I had company, I saw a few turtles just floating about …. I wonder whose idea that was… “You sure this is the right way, Trev, not doubting you but we don’t seem to be going anywhere” .. “It takes time, we are turles after all” – Yes I have inner dialogues, no I didn’t have a football with a face painted on it.

There were lots of dolphins and a whale which circled me three times, will upload the video when I get time.

Troll Feet

I used the motor twice, only to see what my fuel consumption was like, ardent sailor is me, me no motor use, just an experiment you must understand. As it turns out 32 miles costs me 20 euros … so I stopped that pretty quickly.

I slept without any sails up for two nights and was chomping on the bit for some progress, I hailed a cargo vessel and asked them if I looked pretty on their radar, they replied in surprise, flat seas “Who is that, where are you!!” – nice to know they would have run me over without even knowing I was there. They told me winds would arrive in 6 hours and sure enough they did around 19:00.

Sunset

I spent all night awake milking this precious wind for all it was worth and was rewarded with the Canaries being a mere 100 miles away, clearly my Dutch friends were worried, they had left a week earlier, for I was woken up from my doze by a tapping on my window.

Peekaboo I see you!

Sadly I was unable to decode the Morse message it was sent to deliver, once it had tired of it’s reflection in my window and repaid me for the free taxi ride by means of liberal quantities of fertiliser it took off for it’s flight to land. Reminds me of a marathon runner cheating by catching a bus.

I also had another rude awakening by means of a loud crack promptly followed by another crack as my head hit the hatch in my haste to see what the source of the noise was. A pallet, the type used to carry goods in a warehouse, had met the bow of my boat – I checked for damage which was a nick in the paint work, considered the odds of that happening and satisfied that it wasn’t a higher power mocking me for my frivolous flouting of maintaining a lookout, promptly fell asleep again.

Look of consternation .. check, toothpaste and coffee mug .. check

The last 24hours I had a nice 15knts and made haste towards the Canaries, I had timed it to be there at sunrise 0600, however some smartass decided to move the clocks forward an hour unknown to me so I arrived confused as to why the sun rose at 0700. Fearful of the age old adage of drivers ending up in rivers as a result of blindly following the sat nav, I decided to wait until the sun rose before I navigated around the islands.

Apt sunrise for entry into the Canaries

I arrived having slept perhaps 3 hours, berthed on my todd in 20 knots of wind .. almost, was immensely proud of myself (thanks Mike for your hours of pontoon bashing – I am pro!!). Went to celebrate by going to a local bar, island is so small everything was shut.

Was a great journey, with it’s ups and downs, the downs being the breaking of my steering in the wind and swell on the second day, the ups has to be the copious amounts of Jaffa cakes and digestive biscuits I consumed without feeling guilty… ok and the dolphins, the whale, the wind, the … well loved every minute of it… except for the lack of wind.

I must point out that although I have no offshore experience till this voyage I had done a lot of sailing in the months leading up to this, the practical lessons I learnt from sailing with Mike and Dave, were used on a daily basis. I was naive and stupid to think I could do this knowing nothing. I could have done it without their experience but I wouldn’t have had the confidence.

Stats:

  • Covered 570 miles
  • Average Speed 3.9 knots
  • 6 Engine hours
  • 5 Litres of water a day
  • 1 Whale
  • 5 Turles
  • 1 Pigeon
  • 0 Fish
  • Lots of Dolphins
  • Top speed 7 Knots
  • Slept a good 5+ hours a night
  • Broke the tiller pilot and wind vane.
  • 3 Books
04 Mar 2011

Single handed sailing Bible

4 Comments Sailing

Fantastic book which includes details such as how to sleep for 20 minutes, life lines and how to minimise risks. By the Andrew Evans on Foolish Muse, wish I had an email address to send him my thanks.

One most memorable instance, when I was on my knees pissing off the transom (still clipped in) and the boat decided to round up. So back up to the helm, board shorts still around my ankles, peeing all over myself and the cockpit, so that I can stop the pilot, dump the sheet, drive down, sheet back in, etc. But that’s what single-handing is all about. It’s not always pretty, but you get there.

http://sfbaysss.org/tipsbook/SinglehandedTips.pdf

08 Feb 2011

Yarrrgh … we be grounded!!

10 Comments Contessa 32, Sailing

Good times

I took  George and James sailing, two kickass brothers who I had beaten at tennis … mhmm … well I won the tournament. Had 9 knots of wind and made steady progress away from the coast. About two miles from the coast the wind dropped and we made slow progress back eventually turning on the engine.

The tide was an hour after high slack tide 1800, with high tide being 3m I thought I would be safe risking it through the Alvor sand banks… how wrong I was. I headed directly for the green bouy, which you keep on your starboard side. I knew the water was deeper approaching it on the port side, even so we didn’t get far past the entrance before the sand kissed the keel. As the keel drove itself deeper into the sand bank I turned hard to port and tried to drive out of the bank with no success.

I rowed out, after getting the chain wrapped around my outboard, dropped the ketch anchor and started to winch her into deeper water … little did I know we were actually going into shallower water. By the time I had sounded the water around us for the deepest area the water had left Maria firmly lodged in the sand.

Angle is getting steeper.

As the water retreated and the sand drew us deeper into it’s grasp I was worried what would happen having heard stories of water lapping over the cockpit coaming and filling the boat up … I was damned if I was going to lose my boat!! The tide was moving at a steady 3 knots we had 2 hours (2000) till low water and already we were over at 45 degrees.

We had to make a quick decision … we needed beer. High tide would be at 0300, I had no heating, it was going to be a long wait and once the sun goes down the temperature drops to 4C. A local fishing boat took James onboard to complete his quest of acquiring some food and beverages.

By 2000 the water had dropped to it’s lowest and I could walk around ankle deep, I had tried to use the spinnaker pole to keep the hull out of the water … which was a stupid idea. 4.5tonnes versus an aluminium pole is not a fair competition. At 1900 the traveller broke of the rail and we went down to list at a good 70 degree angle.

At this point we are moving pretty much sideways along the boat. We directed James over the phone to Tom who had invited me over to his boat for dinner … I had a good excuse – I was beached 1 mile away. To much amusement and jeering my dinner was kept warm in the oven till I was due back on the high tide at 0300, a bottle of whiskey would be waiting … not to mention the level of mocking only a Scottish man can lay down!

Didn't have the heart to tell George his calls for help would be futile.

Simon another fellow sailor offered to motor James with essential supplies out to us. When they arrived I was walking around the boat and picked up the kedge anchor, 30 meters from the boat, and placed it on our starboard side which was standing high out of the water and would provide the quickest route home once we floated.

Beer, wine lots of episodes of Archer (best TV comedy show – ever) and the incoming tide started to relinquish the sands’ reluctant grasp on Maria returning us from a humorous right angle to a more steady horizontal that took some adjusting to. The boat behaved like the queen of the sea that she is, fully loaded with 350kg of water full to the brim with fuel, jerry cans and food she never let the sea dominate her above the genoa traveller.

Gracefully she stood tall again and scowled me for my doubt in her ability to deal with my inability to navigate through a small 2m trench that could possible have gotten me through on the lowering tide. Humbled I smiled while

All hail hail the heroes Simon and James ... the deliverers of good tidings

shivering at the cold. The warm water and cold air produced ghosts which whisked over the water greeting the bow as she carved her way very slowly through the surreal landscape. As we got to our mooring a shout from Tom on a Rasmus 35 invited us over for a bottle of whiskey at 0200.

Would I risk it again …. yes, did I enjoy it … when I knew I wasn’t going to sink .. yes … it was a great experience and I enjoyed the company.

Gets confusing eating at such an acute angle.

28 Dec 2010

Life at anchor – it’s a sleepless night on a river.

5 Comments Sailing

I headed out to Ferraguda on the 23rd of December and dropped my anchor a good 50m from the nearest floating obstacle, first night was fine, Christmas eve was a night I wished there was a santa… I will never forget it.

I slunk myself into slumber only to be woken at 03:00, I had no idea why … I just knew something was wrong. A quick look out the window told me the reason, the shore was a mere 10m away, it was high tide and the wind was blowing with the flood tide – those two forces in cohesion put so much strain on the anchor I had drifted a good 75m straight to the shore only to be saved by a mooring boy.

I knew I was fine but to make sure I turned the engine on. I was half asleep and the engine didn’t start, I was worried so went outside in the howling wind and rain to make my spare anchor ready. After bleeding the fuel line and still confused I stood back swore and realised the ‘Engine Stop’ was still open …….. w.h.a.t.a.w.a.l.l.y.  You pull the stop to stop the engine and push it in to start it it’s 101 but you forget these things as a ‘newb’.

With the engine started I felt much safer, if anything went wrong and I got any closer I would push away, I checked the tide table and knew the shit would truely hit the fan when the tide went out in the opposite direction of the wind … which would be in the next 30 minutes, I had 20m of chain and a boy between it, I could expect a swell and to ride the length of all the lose chain depending on whether the tide or wind won the resistance battle.

The picture above tells the story, I did not sleep as wind and water fought a battle I could do nothing about, they wove me round and round the buoy.

I must have passed the boy 10 times and I was out in full wet weather gear, with my lifejacket and clipped on trying to lassoo the bouy as I passed it to prevent me from moving so much, I had little luck. Travelling at 2 knots down the length of my chain was NOT fun, thank god I have an encapsulated keel because it would have wrapped round any other.

I had to get a diver out to retrieve the anchor … now that’s a story for another day. Diver versus a 3knot tide … in England that would be illegal and require massive backup … we threw him off the edge.

** that picture is a the GPS tracking my position while at anchor over a 5 hour period from 03:00 to 0800. The circle resulted as the tide was turning, the zig zag is the ebb tide fighting the wind with the bouy in the centre.

01 Nov 2010

What to call the boat – not Marijuana!

2 Comments Sailing

I am incapable of pronouncing the name of the yacht which really doesn’t bode well. Calling mayday while calling out the name of a class B drug probably won’t get me the attention I am looking for.

Sitting down with D and D over lunch they asked me what names I had thought of. Maria sprung straight into my mind, for two reasons both refer to first loves – both had amazing curves, both were high maintenance however the latter being made out of fibreglass would hopefully spare me the sinking feeling of the first.

‘Why not name it after your Sister?’ Hmmmm …… no, can’t call a boat Teresa, besides the way I refer to my boat would be inappropriate if it had my sisters name.

But Maria and Teresa could be merged to form an original name, Maria-Teresa, Maiesa, Teria …. or …. or …. the constituent part for one of the best drinks … ‘TiaMaria’. I might even be able to get sponsorship and spread Lebowski love all round the world, all dudes and dudettes will live happily in the warm glow of White Russians (the drink, not the skinny northeners).

24 Oct 2010

36 Hours – knock yourself out!

4 Comments Sailing

We had left Sesimbra around 16:00 on the 22nd and planned on doing a non stop to Lagos, we were motor sailing and as I had to get used to sailing on my own Dave announced he was going to sleep, wake him up in the morning …..

Other than the lobster pots all was plain sailing, the moon was out but covered by clouds. Around 21:00 the wind picked up, then engine was turned off and with just the 150% genoa we were making 5 / 6 knots downwind in a 1 meter swell.

Dave shouted out that he was not comfortable, the swell hitting us from the aft starboard side making the boat roll, so I set the swell directly behind us reefed in the genoa and went to sleep for an hour.

I would like to say it was that easy but I was worried and up and down like a yoyo, there were dolphins  outside who kept me amused for a good hour, their chirping was comforting to hear when in the cabin however the sound of a sail flapping due to a wind shift or the lack of wind  kept me in the cockpit every almost every hour.

I was woken up to the boat rolling with no wind, so started the motor to at least make the ride a bit more comfortable and had breakfast with the dolphins, Dave woke around 10:00 as the wind picked up.

As most of the crossing to the West across the Atlantic is downwind we rigged the sails up for just such a scenario.

I should point out that so far neither of us had used the tiller, the ST 1000 autopilot had handled everything including downwind sailing in 3 meter swell in 15 knots. Never sailed with an autopilot before, will never sail without one from hence forth, why hold the tiller when you can hold a book?

We even tested the autopilot beating into the wind and swell, again it did so with no problem in 25knots and full sail! The furling genoa broke so we couldn’t reef it :(

We had Dolphins with us for pretty much the whole journey, lying on the bow I could touch them as they rode the bow wave.

Got to Lagos around 21:00 we were doing a solid 6.5 / 7 knots maxing at 7.4!! We even hove to with full sails out when the liferaft broke free of it’s mounting bracket. … now that was an experience!! Weather helm was next to nothing, this boat is a machine!! No wonder a Contessa 32 was the only yacht to finish in the fastnet of 79.

22 Oct 2010

Released – Why thank you Sir!

No Comments Sailing

Well, not sure where to start….

We managed to reverse and crash into our berth last night, hadn’t thought to consider how we were going to slow down our reverse momentum :( After the boat was frisked, we were told to pick up the boat papers and passport the following day from the Captain’s office but first we had to go to the Marine police – oh and the captain goes for a three hour lunch at 13:00 so be quick they said.

We sat down with the fishermen and calmed our nerves frayed by paperwork and bullshit, finished the night off with a bottle of red and a curry.

The Engineer my old man had found was here at 09:30 and fixed the problem in 30 minutes. The cable was lose and not engaging the clutch correctly …. so simple, we had tried forcing the gearbox lever across but hadn’t thought to remove the cable which was restricting it’s movement.

We then went and bought new fire extinguishers and brought them to the Marine Police, the RYA had faxed across proof of my sailing competence (was impossible to make out my face in the fax). The police just shoved the piece of paper into a drawer, no doubt to be lost and forgotten. Police man called their Chief, who arrived 30 minutes later with an Engineer, they wanted to see the boat and proof that she was fixed.

Having proved she was fixed we went to his office. He was very kind and allowed us to park in his spot and treated us with the utmost respect. Bit of friendly banter ensured that the sum he plucked from the sky for his time would be lower than that of a scowling resentful Brit.

Having paid the 20 euro charge and shaken hands we took a photo, he surprised me by asking for a copy of the photo and provided me with his email address. You see they need to justify their jobs and to have a photo of a sailor who is grateful for a wasted 24 hours jumping from office to office and spending 100 euros on crap allows them to indulge in their self importance. No diggity he will show his wife and friends with pride that sailors are thankful for his efforts and deserves to remain chief .. no doubt it will end up in the office we were waiting in.

Will I send him the picture ….. ha … of course I will, what can I say I am vain.

Was a great learning curve, albeit a time wasting and expensive one.

I blame the EU!

Next stop non stop to Lagos, 20knt winds are expected.

21 Oct 2010

Yarrrgh – we be boarded … by the police!?

6 Comments Sailing

As I had my head in the engine compartment Tom Cruise and his bureausexual partner in crime turn up on a black sphincter shaped rib of bureaucratic passion.

You see Mr Jones and friend had been speeding along the coast, to the tune of Danger Zone enjoying the tussle of the wind in their hair when we stumbled into their path. Taking on the role of the Marine Police and looking suitable convincing with their Ray-Ban glasses and hip mounted firearms we took on the role of drug traffickers and Dave having no ID whatsoever and a darker shade of black assumed the pat down position.

Read more

20 Oct 2010

Departing Lisbon

No Comments Sailing

Good news she floats ….

Dave has not slept on land for a good 9 months, having a double bed in a Hotel on terra firma was unsettling and he was glad to be back on the yawing deck of a rolling yacht.

Over breakfast at the hotel I had my first lesson, knock as many of the complementary items (anything not encased in glass) into your bag. These store well and keep for years … oh and they are free.. loving this life more and more….

Spent all day cleaning the boat and headed up North to a little bay called Cascais, no wind so we motored. Once there fate played its hand again. First day out on the Contessa 32 and we anchor up next to a Contessa 26 with a young French couple who are doing the same as me. They had already sailed from the UK and were waiting for favourable winds to undertake the next step to the Canaries.

They came on board and David coaxed by offerings of red vino imparted all the usual advice only a sailor could appreciate.

Contessa’s are the sex! – the Contessa 26

Tall Ships leaving Lisbon.

Tall Ships in Lisbon

Dave, the dude, knows all about living aboard and solo sailing.