37 44.441N 25 39.854W
Sorry for the radio silence, we’ve been having a good/interesting/difficult time in Porta Delgada.
There was a little more interest since my last post as it was a bit of an eventful anchorage. Approaching the E end of San Miguel last Wednesday we had another 40 knots plus and huge swell. As we approached the island in the dark suddenly it didn’t feel like we wanted to be close to land after it was all we`d dreamed of! Making sense of the lights was tricky, we were again fearful of a big broach as the sea reared up as the sea bed shot up from 3000m`s to less than a couple of hundred. Dad did a stirling job of keeping here straight and we flew round into the lee just as it got light. We were low on diesel and thought another 20 miles into 30-40knots of wind was going to be too much so elected to anchor. The windlass was dead of course. Dropping anchor and relaxing a little was a massive relief. The amazing coastline felt really tropical befitting the length of passage we`d done. It was nicely sheltered, little swell and a slightly swirly wind pushing us in circles but we felt secure.
The following morning was a different story. The wind had been forecast to go round to the N later in the day but had done so early. It made the anchorage much less comfortable than we’d anticipated. No bother, we were aiming to leave early but leaving proved tricky. A struck anchor, engine failure (rope around prop) and a flare later we were on our way having avoided the razor sharp lava shore a 100 m`s behind us. Tom`s bare chested dive from the pulpit to sort prop and check anchor saved the day.
We then had a glorious sail up the S coast into Delgada to safely truss Moonshiner up in the marina. This hasn’t actually been as good as we`d hoped as the marina has very poor shelter. The weather the past week has continued to be appalling with gales and rain smashing the boats. We`ve snapped a warp but other boats have snapped cleats and popped fenders.
Tom shot off home to Katie and family on the Friday followed by Steve on Sunday when my mum flew out. We`ve now got an air BnB overlooking the marina which has been most welcome considering the sorry state that moonshiners accommodation is in. The sun has been out the past few days and so things are starting to dry out. M&D heading back on Friday when Katie and I will move back onto the boat.
The other frustrating news is that the Azores seems to totally shut down in December. All of the yards and trades are now finished for the year and wont start work again until January. Not good for our repairs.
We have done significant damage, our solar gantry is gone, all of the 12v nav system is down and battery chargers dead. The boom crutch and davits are smashed and torn from the deck. Lots of damage to interior down below. Is going to be a significant repair. Admiral marine insurance have been super helpful though so we should get some help.
We are going to move up to Horta as soon as we can, much better sheltered marina and we`ve been given a very helpful contact at mid atlantic yacht services who we think will sort us out in the most timely fashion. Is 150 miles up to the NW and at the moment the weather continues to howl from that direction so are waiting on the break to allow us out.
We have of course been discussing plans. Best case is that we`re ready to go by February and could be much later. We were a month late leaving and a 2-3 month delay here is making Pacific dreams look increasingly unlikely. I certainly don’t want to be in a mad hurry to get to NZ and not have time to stop and enjoy. We`re both positive that we`re going to have a great year on the boat. Is just likely to look different to the original plan. We`ll continue across the pond as soon as we`re ready and then assess from there. Watch this space.
We are agreed its great having a crew so if anyone is up for a trans Atlantic from the Azores to Antigua sometime in Feb then get in touch. Should be 3 weeks at sea but obviously need scope to wait for weather and then return from the Caribbean.
Thanks for all the messages of support. It was a pretty full on passage but is already receding into memory and the sharp edges blurring.
Hope you`re all well, looks a little chilly over there!
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