10th June 2008 - Leg 2 Bayona to Povoa de Varzim

Bali Hai
Neal Stow
Tue 10 Jun 2008 16:36
We have just arrived in Povoa de Varzim and for those who are watching our progress on the website the fact that we came in last is not what it seems.  We, along with Blonde Moment, decided that we would not use the motor and sailed the whole way.  Almost all the other boats motored for some part of the trip and so we are hoping that on the handicap system we will do alot better in our placing.
The sail started well.  We were second over the start line and could have done better if I had kept my nerve and continued sailing on collision course with Bouzouki but where we had right of way.  Unfortunately, not being a Mad Max, I chickened out and gave way.
The weather was beautiful, sunny and hot.  The only problem was the wind - or lack of it.  What there was also came from behind, which meant that we had to use the cruising chute/spinnaker/big colourful sail and we were unable to sail downwind and had to sail out at an angle to the wind which added an additional 8 miles to the 50 mile course.  Not having used the spinnaker much myself and the crew having absolutely no experience of it we had a few scary moments in strong gusts but overall the crew did a splendid job of controlling the sail.  However, I did lose my watch during one rather eventful episode when the wind changed and the spinnaker pulled the boat right over on its side.  Rob was relieving himself in the toilet at the time and so it was even more awkward for him.
For the most part we sailed along at around 5-6 knots and it was quite pleasant.  We even had a pod of dolphins swimming along next to us for 20 minutes or so and Andy managed to take some great video footage with his camera. 
Unfortunately about 5 miles from the end the wind died and we could see black storm clouds with forked lightening coming our way from the shore.  When the storm hit we got absolutely soaked as, while we put jackets on, we had not bothered with full waterproofs (Rob was not a happy camper). 
We were just ahead of Blonde Moment at the time of the storm and we anticipated the change in wind direction before them so we took off towards the finish line.  But once the storm had gone the wind died right down and they caught us up again.  We were coming up to the start time and manoeuvring to prevent them from overtaking when, literally only 50 metres from the finish, we were hit by a wind shift that caused us no end of problems allowing Blonde Moment to slip past.  We claimed that we passed the finish line at the same time as them but if we were really honest.......