Tuesday 23rd September 2008
It has been three weeks since I last updated this blog and a lot has happened.
Willie and Jonathon both got their respective flights from La Coruna although Willie was a bit tight since he got up an hour late, forgetting to adjust his watch to Spanish time. I fitted the new autopilot pin (see photo) and fixed the reefing line which was in fact a broken lug on the Selden boom end. We had our night in the hotel and Anne had one long bath.
Suddenly and without warning Anne had to go back home for a medical check up. Flights were arranged but there was no knowing when Anne would be back, it would depend on the test results. I wanted to get further south to more settled weather rather than risk getting stuck in La Coruna.I phoned Murray Carmichael who could come for one week only. So my aim now was to get to Lisbon.
Anne decided that us men cannot possibly look after ourselves so she cooked some meals for us, stored them in plastic containers in the fridge ready for us to heat up including some home made soup. Anne and I were invited by our Spanish friends to go for dinner at the Real Nautical Club which in Spain are formal social clubs, so we had to dress very smartly. The meal and company were good and after, in the balmy evening, we walked back to the boat and reflected on what the future might bring.
Anne flew out the next day and Murray arrived in the evening.
The weather forecast for the next few days looked good, starting off SW then moving round to NW then N, 20 to 15 knots. We left La Coruna at 14.15 heading for Bayona a trip of 145nm, which should take about 24 hours. The NW swell was long and up to 3.5 to 4 m high but this was in addition to short 1 m waves from SW. We started off close hauled and just as we were about to turn south at 02.00am in the morning the wind changed within 2 minutes from SW to NW. We were now on a run south, but very uncomfortable because the boat was swaying quite violently from one side to the other due to the swell. It was at this point that in the fridge, the lid came off the soup container Anne had previously prepared. And all the contents of the cupboard in the heads (toilet) fell out with a bottle of suncream bursting open all over the floor. And we lost a spinnaker pole over the side! This pole is 4m long, so not small but both Murray and myself could not think of when the pole went over the side. It was sometime during the night.
Arrived in Bayona after 27 hours. Bayona is where the 'Pinta' left from in 1493, as part of Columbus's fleet, to discover the new world of America.
On Saturday 13th September left Bayona for Lisbon a 48 hour run, with northish 15 to 25 knot winds. Ran with twin headsails and made very good time (max speed 8.08 knots), so much so that we would have arrived early in Lisbon in the dark. So decided to drop in at Peniche a fishing port and our first Portuguese port, and then carry on to Lisbon in the morning. The customs were first to meet us in Peniche, even though the marina office was shut.
Left Peniche at 08.00 in the morning for Lisbon. However we would be arriving at Lisbon at high tide and there is a 5 knot tidal stream down the Rio Tejo so called in at Cascais, which came highly recommended by 'Grandslam' who had stayed there a week or so earlier. Cascais is 10 miles or so west of Lisbon and as far as I can see is the place to be, big motor yachts, expensive shops. Spoke to Selden agent about a new spinnaker pole, he reckons 'no problem'.
Left for Alcantara Marina, in the centre of Lisbon, at midday and got up to 4 knots tidal stream helping us. Tied up and went straight into Lisbon on the 15E tram, walked around all afternoon, up hills and down hills and ended up in a 'restaurante tipico'. Mediocre food and good dancing show but the singing was enough to commit suicide but the Portuguese loved it. The next morning Murray caught his plane home.
The 'Queen Mary 2' arrived alongside spilling out her passengers into Lisbon for the day then she disappeared into the night.
Met John and Selma and their two children in 'Brimble' a Twister 28 on their way to the Caribbean. We first met in Bayona briefly. This tends to happen a lot with cruising, you meet the same people in different ports.John is taking a 'career break' to do this trip. Selma, a primary school teacher, is giving the children lessons, and their classes are following them on their blog site. They invited me for spag bol on their boat and we had a good night ending up with me inviting them onto 'Equinox' for dinner the next night. I had to phone up Anne in the morning to ask her what I should cook.John had also sailed in Spitsbergen so I showed my Spitsbergen film.
Yesterday Anne phoned to say all her tests were clear, great news, and she will be flying out to Lisbon in a couple of days.
Today 'Earthrace' arrived in the marina, a wave-piercing trimaran motor boat that has just powered around the world in record time. Just over 60 days with 12 stops for fuel each stop between 1 hour and 40 minutes. Pete Bethune, the owner/skipper, tells me that the boat weighs 26 tons and carries 12 tons of fuel which can take them 2,000 miles at 25 knots or 12,000 miles at 6 knots. The boat is designed to pierce the waves rather than go over the top which helps the motion and makes it easier to move around in the very cramped living quarters. Congratulations to Pete and his team. Pete is leaving tomorrow to cross the Atlantic for Puerto Rico.
'Greenpeace' also arrived today and will be leaving tomorrow for south Spain then onto the Congo. She has 60 crew of 12 nationalities, some are volunteers, each normally does 3 month stints.
Now I have to start cleaning the boat and me thoroughly for Anne's arrival on Thursday.