42:24.94N 09:10.11W

Simon Ridley
Thu 7 Jun 2007 12:19
Rally Portugal day 5, 12.00 BST

Hi Everyone,

Since the last update on Tuesday evening lots has happened.

Tuesday night we had the company of about 20 dolphins between midnight and 3.00am, and the trails of phosphoresence they leave as they duck and dive under the boat is amazing, like torpedo trails. I am amazed by these creatures and must read more about what makes them tick. They seem so happy playing.

Wednesday started out dull and damp with reasonable wind but nothing spectacular. We sailed and made good progress. Towards the end of the afternoon the wind came up and we had to make a decision which way to go for the next leg down towards Beyona, in the end Simon opted for the more dangerous choice of the direct route, rather going round the long way.

We had about 8 hours of spectacular sailing in force 5 - force 7 winds through some 10-12 foot seas, all of which Gertha coped with admirably. On reaching nearer the coast the wind and the seas dropped somewhat for a couple of hours.

Around 2am the boat was temporarily becalmed, but Simon found he was being circled by two whales who stayed about half an hour before departing. We had loads of dolphin visits all day long again.

I woke at 3am after 2 hours sleep to find the boat heeled over and racing along at 7 knots in 22 knot winds, which had come up suddenly, so we put the reefs back in the mainsail. Within 2 hours the wind dropped off again and the reefs had to come back out.

Current position is about 20 miles short of Beyona, the finish line of the first leg, the sun is trying to poke through, and we are enjoying a pleasant sail at about 6 knots in light winds, following lots of sail trimming and tweaking.

As a final note for this entry, the sky was clear last night with the most magnificent show of stars.
We are both looking forward to some proper sleep, and I could really use a good hot shower, and I guess all the rally participants will be in party mode after what has been a long and exhilarating first leg.