Portimao, southern Portugal to Gibraltar

Bootlegger of Mann
Frank Newton
Fri 6 Jul 2012 17:52

Friday 06072012


36:08.98N 05:22.35W


Portimao to Gibraltar - Passage Seven


Weather: Warm and sunny - good visibility; cloudless sky. No significant weather forecasted. DTG 170 nm ETA 16:00 Sat. 7th July


14:00 37:07N 08:31W. Slip our mooring in Marina Portimao and head out into the river and open sea. Set a course for the approach WP of 174 degrees after which we turn eastwards the course now 114 degrees


19:00 Engine off 36:56.01N 07:47.76W Wind SSE 15 kts, bearing 112, SOG 7.7 kts.


19:45 Engine on 36:54.45N 07:40.81W. Wind SSE 8 kts.


20:00 36:53.8N 07:38.35W Wind: S.12.9 kts SOG 7.8kts Course 114 degrees. For dinnerJackie prepared fried green Padron peppers as a starter, followed by coriander rice with curried prawn. Very tasty and just enough.


21:00 After washing the dishes, Frank goes to rest as Jackie takes the first watch (21 - 00:00 h). A beautiful evening and sunset with light SW winds.


21:50 36:48.64N 07:21.09 W No wind any more. Roll in main and genoa and increase engine rpm to 2200. S.O.G. now 8.4 kts.


23:05 36:44.45N 07:09.38W Wind picks up and now comes in from the north at 21 kts.


Change sails over from port to starboard which involves some noisy winch work as I first roll genoa and main in and later bring out on starboard side together with mizzen. Gybe preventers fitted.


22:55 Awoken by the winch work Frank suddenly appears in the cockpit port behind me. He offers, as he’s now awake, to take over the watch from me an hour earlier at 23:00 rather than the scheduled 00:00. The offer is most gratefully accepted. When he comes up we admire this beautiful romantic night, but soon my bunk beckons, and I’m gone!


Saturday 06 07 2012


00:00 36:40.4N 07:00W FN watch. Engine switched off. Now back under pure sail power. What a night !! Almost a full moon lighting the star filled sky above us; flat seas and a warm northerly 18 -20 kt wind that pushes us along at 7.5kts as Bootlegger sails down the moon’s silver reflection dancing on the water ahead of us. It doesn’t get any better than this


The plotter indicates increasing traffic in the vicinity of this part of the Gulf of Cadiz, certainly around Cadiz itself and a whole lot of traffic passing both east and west through the Straight of Gibraltar some 60 nm to the SE of us.


01:05 36:36.6N 06:52.81W Wind drops to 15kts, S.O.G. reduced to 6.8 – 7.0 kts


02:00 36:33.53N 06:47.60W Engine on again. Sadly, as the wind drops and with it our boat speed to 6.4 kts, it is necessary to switch the engine back on to ensure we are able to maintain our plan to reach Gib by late this afternoon. With engine at 1500 rpm we soon reach a SOG of 7.5kts motor sailing.


02:15 Jackie put on shake for 02:30 - 05:30 watch.


02:30 36:30,155N 06:41.62W Jackie’s Watch.


04:30 36:22.32N 06:27.85W Nothing to report but a beautiful night under the moon and starlit sky. What I first thought to be a tall mast with two strong lights on the coast off Cadiz turns out to be Jupiter in perfect line with Venus in the sky. Wonderful tool for such nights: Google sky map on my mobile phone! Still 15 kt N wind, CSE: 132, SOG 8 kts. But cannot only look at the stars when I see the many ships just south of us around Gibraltar.



05:15 36:17.89N 06:21.20W First mate prepared toast with apricot marmelade for her captain to find when he wakes.


05:30 FN watch. Noted that wind has dropped to 5kts;virtually nothing . SOG 5 kts. Flat calm sea; sails whacking about. Tighten up main and mizzen to virtually midships and pull in genoa. Further note we are pushing against 1.5 kts of current. Increase engine from 1,000 to 2,200 rpm. Soon back to a boat speed in excess of 7kts.


07:30 Fast patrol craft sighted approaching from the starboard bow.


10:30 36:00.95N 05:48.55W Entering the Straits of Gibraltar. No wind, motoring only with sails in at 2,200rpm. SOG 9kts current still with us but for how long.


Noon Position: 135:59.98N 05:33.33W


02:00 course: 81 degrees, S.O.G. 9.2 kts, reflecting the strong current that is with us as we pass Tarifa about one and half miles off shore. It takes us just one hour to be through the strait and into the Med !


Clear of the Straights we are in the process of passing the Rock to port weaving our way through the many anchored and moving tankers and bulk carriers waiting to discharge when a dense fog suddenly descended from nowhere leaving us completely blind in a white out, with moving and anchored ships all around us. Nightmare. This area is dangerous to navigate in good visibility let alone in fog! Ships horns sound all around us. Is this scary or what !?



15:00 36:08.98N 05:22.35W Entered Marina Bay Marina, Gibraltar in fog and given stern to mooring in same. We crash exhausted only to be hailed by hostile marina official yelling that if we did not register at the office in the next six minutes we would be breaking the law and to expect serious consequences. Welcome to Gibraltar! I registered. What an unfriendly bunch. Later after a rest we took a walk to a restaurant at the Queensway Marina complex which proved enjoyable. Since my last visit to Gib eight years ago there has been much development not only in Queensway with its further apartment development but over at the former Shepards boat yard now the Ocean Village marina and associate development including large casino.

We took a taxi back to Marina Bay and hit the sack.