We stayed a bit longer in Gibraltar than we had hoped as, although the winds were from the right direction (east), they were blowing through the Straits at up to gale force 8 – far too much for the run past the infamous Tarifa Point. Friday’s forecast was for only 20kts or so, and with a well timed morning tide we set off at 05:45. Needless to say there was no wind and we had to motor past Tarifa! The only consolation was that we had 2½kts of tide speeding us along.
In theory it is Europa Point on Gibraltar that marks the entrance to the Med, but somehow Tarifa, where you turn right towards the corner of Portugal, seems more like the real exit. Certainly the winds and seas agreed, as we had some good sailing with well behaved waves for the 1st time in 2 years. We sailed an hour “goosewinged” – sails out on either side to make use of winds coming from directly behind us, then 3 hours with the huge gennaker (which makes best use of light winds coming roughly from the behind), then normal sailing for 11hrs or so. Even though the wind was light (down to 8kts) we managed to keep the boat going along at 4kts or more – mostly because the seas were so smooth, with a gentle Atlantic swell unable to slow us down. The wind felt fresh to us – the first taste of a northward passage?
After a good clear night accompanied by a full moon and only one Perseid meteor (not exactly a “shower”), we arrived in Lagos mid-afternoon. We’ve decided that with no horrors in the 7 days weather forecast we’ll head off for the UK straight away. It will take at least 11 days and could be up to 3 weeks if the weather isn’t kind and we have to detour to the coast, so the next blog posting will not be for some time!