Last day into the Azores

Tue 21 Jul 2009 07:54

38 32.024 N 28 37.533 W


20 July 2009


As expected the wind died over night of the 18th / 19th  and we had to motor as we had 0:00 wind speed, however the forecast indicated that the wind would come in from eth west with 7-9 kts true at 265 which is just about enough  wind to move, but this is better than motoring.

The 05:00 to 08:00 ut watch went without a hitch with a quadrant of moon and a star light sky and one or two  blips on  the  RADAR detector but nothing closer than 10 miles.  I took over at 08:00 and as the  sun rose I was hoping for some breeze.  As the  sun  increases the wind will  fill in any way hopefully from a direction sufficient to allow sailing . There was hope, it was marginal at 7.5 kts true, from behind. 3.5 kts boat speed and 3.5 kts wind is not impossible, so I was thinking I should try. 


Then came the  problem, the engine  coughed and  stopped. As it died I was able to check the oil pressure and temperatures. All ok First thing is to keep going so I set the Light weight headsail and got Flaming Lady moving at a quite  respectable 4 knots.  The  engine, open the hatches, its hot but it’s been running for 10 hour. With both hatches open I do the  things I should do, top up the oil, (its started to burn some, did not like running for charging only one the race over) clear the cooling water inlet filter ( full of weed), ensure fuel tank is not empty (over half full).  All Ok and after the engine was cool enough for me to touch and check it seemed fine so I tried and it started                       excellent.


We were sailing well now, with  full sun, and with 7-10 kts true wind  giving 3.5  to 6 kts boat speed. The day was good, time to catch up on sleep, read hope to catch a fish.  The island became a dark patch under the cloud, and then definable as land. By 17:00 we could see the volcanic plug at point bianco. It’s fun making a new landfall in good visibility.  Trying to make sense of what you can see compared to the chart and orientating yourself to the angle of approach.  Then getting close enough to discern  land objects. And we run along the island at about a mile distance seeing the rock formations and even seeing an aircraft take off towards us.  Has to think quickly what the lights were.

Ghosting along at 2.5-3 kts we managed to hold the same gybe all along the south side of the island to the point we had to go north to the harbour when  a gybe was necessary in the now  drizzly weather, having completed that the wind increased in eth shadow of  the crater,  and we were back to 6 kts. Making for the entrance.  But on starting the engine, nothing!!   So drop the sails, point out to sea and drift in sage water.  It sounded like no fuel, and a quick check  showed no fuel.  So I had to bleed the fuel lines and injector pump, no luck, have a second go , cough and splutter run at 500 rpm then stop!!  Think again, fiddle, try starting again buy this time use the heaters, and yes life.  And with a final bleed at the injectors we were in business. Moral run the  engine for more than a few minutes when it has stopped and do not leave it until the harbour entrance. However it shows the confidence we have in our old but trusty Mercedes OM636.  

Horta is an easy harbour to get into, but for Simon it was the first strange harbour he had entered in the dark with the  associated problems of background light.  Strange lights (all round red anchor lights!!). By now the rain had stopped and could look for a birth settling for alongside a large  traditional  yacht but eh marina office.  Then a beer, and a walk ashore so Simon could experience the land moving after 15 days on a steady sea! 

On the dock in bright new lettering was Hannah’s painting only a few days old.