Leg 3 of Delivery - Lagos, Portugal to Las Palmas
THE FINAL DELIVERANCE 28.7.75N, 15.25.12W
Wow, what a long week that was to wait for the WERFDC (Wonderful,Experienced, Reliable, Friendly Delivery Crew) to return. Many boats have come and gone, as have the storms. I had strangers board me to fasten down my sprayhood a few times, and it still kept undoing. The crew arrived during the early evening, after a manic taxi drive from the airport. The men in the taxi feared for their lives as Lynne and the taxi driver chatted away. This would not normally create a problem, but the fact that the driver spent more time looking at the person he was talking to than the road did raise some cause for concern as they aquaplaned down the motorway.
They strolled down the pontoon towards me (ok, so maybe one or two >> Munich-beer-hall style restaurant that they went to last time. The food was great, but it was a shame that they’d forgotten to ask for it to be >> cooked in the piri-piri sauce, doh! It still tasted nice with the sauce that they brought after seeing our confused looks.stumbled) and after making sure that I was alright, they thanked the neighbour for looking after me. They sorted themselves out, by which time Lynne had passed out in the forepeak, so the guys tried to wake her. When they failed to do so they left her a note and went out to the local. When Lynne finally joined them, they decided to introduce Adam (the newest re-crew-t) to chicken piri-piri, so took him to the same fabulous
The crew arose to some uncertain weather. After stowing gear and doing odd jobs, we went to the chandlery to buy some oil and pipe, but also managed to pick up some drinks holders that were supplied with free beer too. We then celebrated our success with lunch at the beach bar. Pete L and Lynne went for a paddle whilst Pete H and Adam nursed some beers. That evening we dined at Do Cais, and Pete H and Lynne went to bed at a reasonable hour (well, reasonable for them). Adam and Pete L stayed out till sometime later!!
The following Friday they repaired the top batten pocket and shopped for provisions. After having found the piri-piri sauce they took the trolley for a stroll to meet the boat. After filling the water tanks (and making sure there were no air locks this time) we headed out. We had to wait for the fuel berth to open so walked back to the chandlery to pick up a few extras, only to discover that as it was a public holiday (we seem to have a knack for those) it was shut. The people next door let us in so we bought some knives and an extra fire extinguisher. Lynne bought some pizzas and we were on our way at 1351 on 27 October.
There was 10 knots of wind from the South East. We had put a reef in >> stop chafing on the backstay, but we shook it out when the wind picked up. About an hour after devouring the pizzas, we all started feeling a bit rough - chronic indigestion led to 2 of the crew being sick and one very close to it. The combination of bad pizza and hangover meant that one crewmember had to swap watches as they were in quite a bad shape. We went through the shipping lanes and occasionally changed course to avoid the tankers, which were sometimes hard to see in the rain.to
On the first night, Lynne noticed that the top batten had started falling out of the pocket again, so we started to lower the main, but it fell out and went over the side before we could get to it. We had decided on doing four-hour watches that were split every two hours so that we got a change of scenery. With the wind direction the boat corkscrewed with an uncomfortable motion, so we would change course to make the motion easier for those off watch.
The next morning we saw a turtle, which passed really close to us. We hoisted the kite, but it filled before we got it to the top, and we then took so long trying to sort it out that the sheets became unattached so we had to reattach them. We picked up a few hitchhikers on the way - some tiny green birds decided to hop a lift with us. We left out water and nuts for them but they weren’t interested. We continued with the kite for about 6 hours, only dropping it before it became dark. It was a very quiet night, with nothing to report.
On the 29 October, Pete L was now feeling 120% fit and everyone else’s bouts of indigestion were sorted. When the port tank was empty we decided to try the water maker for the first time. It had been about 3 months since we’d been told how to use it, so after a quick call on the sat phone we had bled the system and it was working beautifully. Of course, the use of the heads was then restricted as there was a chance that the water inlet valve could suck in from the heads outlet - nice!
After finishing with the water maker we put 65 litres of fuel in the tanks and then all decided to have a swim to wash off. It was an interesting experience going for a swim in water that was 4300 metres deep and 24.5 degrees warm in the middle of the Atlantic. Lynne kept looking down for the shark to come up and eat her from below, but all she saw was a fishing line that had got caught around the keel. Pete L dived down to retrieve it and we went on our way again.
That evening (after a lovely dinner) we watched a thunderstorm approaching and debated whether to tack to pass behind it. Our decision was made for us when the wind veered, so we tacked and passed between two storms. The wind was obviously changeable through the storms and we had a few squalls. The short chop slowed us too.
We saw our first dolphin on 30 October - a big difference to the last two deliveries. I blame Adam myself, as he was the only different thing on this trip! We had another uneventful day, seeing something in the water but not knowing what it was - possibly a dolphin/flying fish/tuna/shark.duun dun, duun dun.
It was also an uneventful night, but in the morning of the 31 October (Halloween) we decided to wait to get the spinnaker up until Adam woke up. The kite stayed up for half an hour before the wind veered and we couldn’t hold it anymore. We had more thunder and lightning, and a heavy downpour. Peter H turned the water maker on, but was concerned when nothing was coming out of the tap in the sink. Lynne went to investigate and discovered that a pipe had burst and water was spraying all over the wet locker. This was made worse by the fact that the race crew had stored their kit there. Pete L also came to have a look, and the two of them got covered in saltwater, but at least they discovered where the hole was.
At 2150 we were tied up at the reception pontoon in Muelle Deportivo. It was fun trying to get into the marina - lights that weren’t flashing in the sequence they were meant to, other lights looking like the right ones, but actually being traffic lights on the motorway. We avoided two cargo ships and had a pilot boat come waggle at us, but we made it to the safe haven of the marina without a scratch. To celebrate our arrival we went to explore the local nightlife, having forgotten that it was Halloween. We were soon reminded of the date when lots of scary-looking Spaniards arrived in the Johnny Walker bar that we had found (Johnny Walker being the skipper’s usual whiskey). We moved on to a Tapas bar where we remained till 3am, at which point Lynne and Adam left. Adam returned for a night cap and they all returned at 0400 to listen to ‘Hey Jude’.
The following morning, the crew were astounded to discover that the office wasn’t open and assumed that there was a public holiday for All Saint’s Day. Lynne spotted a guy that looked like he worked at the marina, so went and spoke to him. If we’d continued waiting until the “office” opened, we’d have had a long wait, as it was the new office, that was not due to open until mid-November - oops! Lynne got a ride in port control’s golf buggy to eye-up the new “temporary” berth (as their expected berth wouldn’t be vacant for a few days). Pete H then skilfully manoeuvred Majic2 into a stern-to mooring on pontoon 16. We cleaned the boat down, filled the tanks and did all the normal arrival chores, and then decided to go explore.
Due to the late hour of his heart-rending rendition of Hey Jude, our skipper decided that he needed a bit of a nap, so left us to explore. We went towards the town centre and spied a few nudists on the beach (yes, the comments about a pair of ar*eholes were made). The town centre had a lot to offer, and we dived into a Chinese restaurant for lunch. We did the usual thing of ordering a rice/noodle dish and a main. As a mountain of food arrived we realised that we should have checked the size of the portions first. Still it was very good. We returned to the boat to find our skipper happily ensconced at the new local - “Meson Conejo”. Adam managed to bump into someone that we knew from Guernsey - Kat Mather of all people. It’s a very small world. She was also going to be doing the ARC and had arrived earlier in the week. We arranged to meet up for drinks the following evening.
The next day (Big Thursday) was a workday. Lynne and Adam worked on the boat, cleaning it and repairing the various little things that needed to be done without a professional. The two Petes had decided to go explore the chandleries properly and then go on to the office to register the boat. It was at this point that we discovered that we were on the wrong local time. We’d stupidly assumed that they were an hour ahead of GMT, like Spain, so had set our watches by that, but our error was discovered when the two Petes showed up at the office at its advertised opening time, but it was still closed. They went to a bar to find out why and, upon realising that they had an hour to kill, decided to wait at the bar.
That evening we met up with Kat and Kathy for a few drinks at the bar. We had intended on going for a meal with them, but they’d already eaten. They kindly showed us to a restaurant that they’d previously been to and joined us for a few drinks whilst we ate. They left before we’d finished, but a good time had been had by all. We decided that as it was the skipper’s last night, we should have a few drinks at the local before returning to the boat. As we arrived at the local they were closing, but the friendly barman said that he would take us to one of thee local bars in town.We had a couple of nightcaps and then returned to the boat Another stressful evening!!!
The following morning the crew all felt very sorry for themselves. Lynne took everyone’s passports along to the office and finished off the registration process. Lynne and Adam then went to the shopping centre for various bits and bobs and received a phone call as Pete H was worried that he was going to miss his plane as he couldn’t get a taxi. Lynne and Adam jumped in a taxi from town to the boat and then Pete H used this to get to the airport. Needless to say that the remainder of the chastised crew had a very quiet night that night.
On the Saturday morning Lynne went back to the shopping centre as the spare keys they had got cut for the boat didn’t work. She took the lock with her so that there was no room for error, and Pete L and Adam set to work at putting patches on the sail. Upon her return she went to put the keys in the chart table, and guess what she found? Someone, who shall remain nameless, had obviously emptied his pockets on the chart table before going to catch his plane, and there, in all their glory were the keys that she thought had been lost. After a little chuckle they all packed their things and booked a taxi to take them to the airport. Thus ends the three-legged delivery trip with WERFDC. I shall miss all of them; Chris Morris, Sandy McLea, Aden Clark, Adam Reed, Peter Howe, Peter Lanoe and Lynne Hamilton. I hope that the next crew will look after me as well. I’m really looking forward to the start of this race - I know it’s going to be hard work, but after all, that’s what I’m built for! Yippee Caribbean here we come!
And in anticipation of the race.
The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew,
The furrow followed free;
We were the first that ever burst
Into that silent sea.
Extract from “The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
Ed : Total nautical miles 633. Nights at sea 4. Fuel used 205 litres