Arrival at Porto Santo
01:10.10 33:03.00N 16:19.00W
The evening of our 3rd day out at sea got quite exciting for a time - during the night the wind steadily increased from the nice force 4, to force 5 and then a steady 6 gusting up to 7 with 29 knots of wind. We have always been reefing down to 2nd reef on both sails overnight anyway to make life easy for whoever is sleeping and whoever is on watch - but at 3am with the wind much stronger than expected we put the 3rd reef in the mainsail. This was made a little more interesting by the fact that the plate that stops the sail coming away from the mast at the bottom of the sail decided at this point to come off - it had been a bit of a pain last few days but we thought we had managed to do a temporary repair. . . . .. a couple of metres of sail managed to escape out of the bottom before I managed to tie it all up but at least the reef was in and any more escaping sail had been prevented.
The wind did subside over the course of the next 12 hours, but the sea had built up some impressive waves - they weren't breaking though and Stargazer did ride them really well so it wasn't uncomfortable. I was standing looking back to Adam who was sat on the seat behind the wheel - you would see a wave approaching - the crest would line up with the top of Adam's head. . . then next minute it would look like the back of the boat was 4m in the air as the wave lifted us up and went under us.
We didn't get great sleep that night so were fairly tired the next day, Adam remembered that we had baked beans which was a triumph as baked beans and cheese were exactly what was needed. I was so tired in the evening I made the worst meal that has ever been created - it consisted of pasta spirals and a tomato, not much else - Adam told me what he thought of it - it was pretty poor!
By 0100 the next night the sea had calmed right down again and we were sailing in a nice breeze - we still had the smallest amount of mainsail up because it could have lead to more disaster trying to sort out the sail and get it back in its tracks rather than just leave it a day til we arrived at Porto Santo, but the boat continued to sail along happily at a most reasonable speed. The final night out at sea was a lovely night - how it should be, clear skies and bright stars. . . no container ships in sight,.warm air so no coats and hats required and gentle waves.
I finally managed to find somewhere on the boat where I can happily sleep - it was all about which end of the boat I put my head! - going into one of the back berths head first rather than feet first meant that my head was higher than my feet as we were going down the waves - this made all the difference, also the general noise levels of plates and cutlery sliding about are so much less right at the back of the boat (although we ended up padding out all the cupboards as much as possible). We were doing two watches each night of 3 hours so could each get 6 hours sleep during darkness - Adam had to come and wake me up since I was absolutely fast asleep in each, so asleep that I had forgotten we were sailing and had to be reminded as to why I needed to get up at 2 in the morning.
At 6 in the morning on Friday I saw my first sight of Porto Santo light house on the east end of the island, as it got lighter the steep hills of the island came into view - very nice sight even after just 4 days at sea. By 1030 we were anchored in the bay off the beach - we have since moved into the harbour after finding out that being in the harbour is cheaper than anchoring off the beach (very strange - no where else has tried to charge for anchoring). It is very warm here - the water temparature is 23 degrees - much warmer than Portugal. we had a quick look around last night and the little town seems really nice, the water is blue and the clearest we have seen yet so we're looking forward to spending a bit of time here. you can see Madeira island itself about 20 miles away on the horizon.