Lagos to Azores: second attempt
The adventures of Chili III
Peter & Belinda Vernon
Mon 1 Aug 2022 14:19
After 3 weeks ashore in Sopromar Boatyard we were pleased to be back on the water. We spent the first day on a test sail - no leaks thank goodness - and took the opportunity to anchor off ‘our’ beach for a swim before heading into the marina to prepare for the passage to the Azores. For this trip we had arranged for our friend Richard to join us which makes watch-keeping much easier than with just two us us.
We had a favourable forecast for the day after Richard arrived, so we did not delay. For the first couple of days we had some lovely sailing with a F4 just forward of beam. The sun shone and the waves were no more than about 1m. We had more wind and slightly bigger waves on the second night but we reefed down and bore away a little to make ourselves as comfortable as possible. Even so we were heeled over quite a bit so it was flannel washes and an easy dinner. As expected the wind gradually eased through day 3 giving us some lovely gentle sailing and by the evening of day 4 we resorted to motoring. The next day we were still motoring in calm seas so it was time to se5 up the fishing rod. We have never caught anything off this boat so we were not v hopeful - but it didn’t stop us discussing what marinade would be best. Any guess what…..we caught a bonito (like a small tuna) enough for dinner plus leftovers. We had it with ratatouille and new potatoes - absolutely delicious! The only thing missing was a cold glass of white wine.
We spotted the glow of lights from the island of Sao Miguel at about 0300 hours on Saturday (day 6) but did not see land for another 3 hours. The town of Ponta Delgada is towards the west of the island so we got a good view of the island as we sailed along the coast. It is vey green and very mountainous so it is quite cloudy. We saw lots of dolphins and sea birds which was in stark contrast to the empty open ocean.
As we approached the reception pontoon of the marina we were waved away from a nearby pontoon where there was a catamaran. We thought nothing of it at first until we realised the catamaran was being relieved of its very sizeable cargo of drugs and two men were on the dock in handcuffs, looking very forlorn.
We had arrived safely! The total trip was 837NM and had taken us 5.5 days. Having Richard on board meant that we arrived relatively refreshed and ready to enjoy the island…
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