So long, farewell, auf wuedersien, adiue..........'til the next time, perhaps...........

andromeda of plymouth
Susan and Andrew Wilson
Thu 10 Jul 2014 14:45
........well nearly - this will be the last blog posting to the ARC Europe Website, though we we shall continue to post to the Andromeda bog at mailasail.
Well we made it to Lagos some 25 days after the last ARC party and prize giving, no drink to be had though, so we think its time to say farewell to ARC Europe as we think about what to do for the next year.
Our last night at sea was dark and we had up to 35 knots of wind from the NW most of the time. We were double reefed on genoa and main, with mizzen stowed, so felt reasonable comfortable, though it was pretty cold, and were steering 104 then 112 Magnetic, as part of the last bit of the route from the Azores, with the wind mostly on the port stern quarter.
We did have a very close encounter with a very large container ship as we approached Cape St. Vincent the following day (lunch time Tuesday) - the Hyundai Ambition did not show up on AIS, though we could see it, and was heading towards us at some speed. They must have known we were there (we had the ECHOMAX on, and a number of other commercial vessels had altered course when they came across us, so the radar reflector was presumably doing something) but they did not make any attempt to alter course, though we were under sail. We were to the north of the TSS, as advised, under sail and sailing at 6knots in some 20-25 knots of wind from the NW. They must have made the turn out of the St. Vincent TSS very, very tightly given the course we were on (112 Mag) from Sao Miguel and their course to the north. Anyway, they did not alter course at all, so we ducked the stern at some 200 meters and dived into a huge stern wash which crashed over the deck, big time, and stopped us dead for a time. Still they did not alter course, nor slow down, but headed off towards europe, somewhere. Very scary given the lack of AIS response which had been very reliable for the last 3000 miles - something was going on, and we got a bit of it. Can't think why they did not acknowledge us unless there was no one on watch  - one for the authorities perhaps? With hind sight we should have called them on the radio, but with only one person awake and steering the boat, we didn't do this - our mistake which we can only explain by tiredness.
Then we sighted land (Portugal, europe, another continent!) at 1:12pm, what a momentous achievement we thought, and we got very excited and Susan started texting folks - some of you may remember!. After that it was relatively fast sailing to the Cape and then into the Sagres anchorage for the night at around 5pm  - calm sea, but very windy (protected from the north) the guide books say! Ha! Wind at 25-34 knots protected - I think the Oxford English Dictionary has some explaining to do. Anyway, the following morning after dodging 3 very, very large fish farms on the south coast between Sagres and Lagos, we finally made it to Lagos, and to a very warm welcome.  Wind, initially 25 knots when we left Sagres finally calmed down to nothing and the sea became flat as we arrived off Lagos - almost like some of the trip to Bermuda (boo!).
We broke a record on this trip - our daily 24 hour noon to noon was 160 boat miles or 153.62 GPS miles - amazing for us and it does show something about the strength of the wind, the wind direction, sea state, current, sail plan and, of course, the lack of lots of fishing line around the prop! We have sailed 5,088.98 miles from Trinidad this year (2014) and Andromeda has completed some 25,000 since launch, or when the log was last replaced(!). What a yacht - we usually plan on 100-120 miles in 24 hours - amazing for us, given our lowest boat miles enroute to Bermuda was 22 miles, noon to noon, though a huge 28 miles drifting as far as the GPS was concerned!
Anyway. Yippee! We are here! We had a lovely Chinese dinner last night to celebrate our arrival - and then went to bed and missed the Holland-Argentina game!
So more in due course when we have something to say!
Hope all those on ARC Europe enjoyed the experience and we wish them safe sailing, fair winds and following seas.
Goodbye, ARC Europe 2014.
Andrew & Susan
S/V Andromeda
(finally in Lagos!)