Return from UK

Rob and Jacky Black
Sat 19 Jul 2008 09:43

37 06.8N  08 31.3W

We are now in Portimao having sailed from Lagos on Thursday the 17th of July. Our visit home was great but too short to see and do all we wanted – however the sunshine was calling and the fact we had a regatta to get to here added to the quick return.

It was good to catch-up with the few remaining Rally Portugal  boat owners and in fact  four of us have sailed here to take part in the Blue Water Cruising fun sailing regatta. Before leaving we went out to eat at another recommended restaurant well it was really only a cafe and from the outside you wouldn’t give it a second glance! However as it was Mark from Blue beyond who had mentioned it to us we knew it would be worth the rather long up-hill stroll. The reason for going was to have the Steak on a stone the speciality of the house and it certainly proved to be fantastic. A huge lump of fillet steak ( I guess it would have weighed at least a pound) arrived on a sizzling hot tile and I then proceeded to slice and cook pieces of it. It was accompanied with rice, fries and salad all for the princely sum of 8 Euros. Retrospectively I think we would order one to share and have extra salad etc!

Yesterday was the first day and the racing was very tentative with little wind. The short course – a triangle of upwind, leeward and start buy was the course – twice round so we logged about 4 miles in total! Not really suited to our big boat especially having to pack the spinnaker on the 1 mile leg to windward second time round!! We acquitted ourselves reasonably well though the start was poor from our point of view – at least 20 seconds off the line!! We had an interesting port and starboard issue at the final leeward mark and this resulted in me making an official protest – only the second time ever I think! When the result s came through we had achieved fourth place on corrected time having crossed the finish line in 3rd. Hopefully we will have more wind today and we can do better!

The marina here at Portimao is of a good standard the showers and other facilities clean and plentiful and the marina staff most helpful. The surrounding hotel is painted in two tones of terracotta and from a distance the roof tops look like pieces of Lego!

On the way here we motor-sailed close to the coast looking for possible stopping places for next week; towards Portimao the coast is rugged with many small off lying islands (well large rocks really) and some tiny sandy bays almost hidden in on the shore. We finally  anchored in the bay north east of the eastern mole and found it to be good holding and quiet even with boats passing frequently and we did not roll over much.  Rob took the opportunity to dive under the boat and look at the sail drive leg which seemed to be fine however the small cone anode on the end of the prop needs replacing so we shall have to look for a suitable place to get that job done soon.

We had Ann from Mariah and Tony from China Blue onboard yesterday as crew – it was great to be sailing again and to have 2 pairs of extra hands to help with spinnaker lines; they both did brilliantly especially Ann who has never raced before! Today we have Tony again and John from Mariah and it looks as if there will be much more wind so watch this space for the results in my next blog!

The first prize for the series is a free lift-out, antifouling and hard stand – so it’s worth winning! Last night we went to a restaurant near the new museum about a 15 minute walk from the boat. Our neighbours on the pontoon told us about it and it proved to be worth the trek. It was a bit like a school canteen but the food was very tasty and you just helped yourself to whatever you fancied and it was weighed at the checkout. I had a large plate of prawns, another fishy sort of dish, salad, some pork slices, a big bowl of fresh prepared fruit, a bottle of white wine and a large bottle of water; Rob had salad, pork steaks, salmon and other vegetables and two beers; the bill was 30 Euros! We may well go back again.

Today we have clouds and it is much cooler 25C so perhaps I will not be swimming from the back of the boat at the end of the race!

That’s all for now hi to everyone who reads this and do send us emails when you can!

Jacky and Bob