09 October 2013 – F23, Marina de Lagos, Algarve
Back in the warm. It’s Wednesday and we arrived from Cascais just after midday on Monday after an uneventful passage. There was a northerly wind and with no time constraints we sailed all the way, taking 4 hour watches. Warmth – and I guess the sense of general well-being that goes with being warm - seems to be a significant factor in being able to stay alert in the middle of the night. Once round cape St Vincent a pod of large dolphins came to play with the boat, rolling around in the bow wave, and brushing up against the hull.
In Cascais, Roger and Henrik got stuck into the theory and practice of watermakers. Henrik has a meter that measures Total Dissolved Salts – a measure of the salinity of the water that is being produced. The salinity on Magnetic Attraction’s machine was higher than expected (although still within bounds) and so on passage Roger took it to pieces. The first sea water filter was decidedly manky and smelly – so imagine me sitting with my feet in a washing-up bowl of detergent (what in Spain they call Blanco Nucleare but we in UK is Oxy-Action) agitating this filter until it became nuclear white again. No perceptible damage to the feet! and the water maker seems to be performing well. The next stage will be to clean the membranes when we link up again with Capibara in Lanzarote, and have invested in a large plastic dustbin to dissolve the chemicals (caustic soda and citric acid, Roger thinks) to flush through.
Lagos Marina seems to have changed very little since we visited sailing friends for a long weekend in the late 90s. It is tourist-y (a lot of Brits) and there seems to be a thriving ex-pat community living aboard for the winter. It’s hot: even though it’s now mid-October and the days are almost exactly 12 hours – the sun rises at about 7.30am and has set by 7.15pm, even though the dusk lasts for another ¾ hour or so. It’s still very much a working town, with its own infrastructure that’s independent of the tourists. There is an admirable chandlery in the boatyard alongside the marina – Soporamar – which has all sorts of bits that you never thought that you couldn’t live without. Roger invested! but moderately.
I’ve been working on the provisioning plan for the Atlantic crossing. We have agreed that we should plan on an average speed of 5 knots; so about 120 miles a day for 3000 miles. This prudent approach implies an elapsed time of 28-30 days. On this basis the quantities and volumes are truly mind-boggling. Take milk: if you assume a pint of milk a day or even “only” 2 litres a person/week for three people and discount any miniscule consumption I might take I’ll need to take between 25-60 litres. Flour for bread: 10-15 kilos. Veg: in week one there should be fresh greens; then after that we need to plan for carrots, onions, and cabbage: and by the end of the journey it may be dried veg and pulses. It is coming together, but the final design will depend on what the shops on Lanzarote can provide. I’ve brought the pressure cooker, and also have the foodsaver and bags.
But all this planning takes time! The plan is to move on to anchor off Portimao; the plan will be to leave on the 5-day (or so) passage to the Canaries on Monday 14th.