We’re in. Relief. 3 gales and a storm.

Wed 7 Dec 2022 12:35

37 47.997N 25 08.379W

having been pretty worried about another big blow we’ve driven the boat as hard as possible to get in before it. Another massive thanks to Ryan (and Damian) who have spent significant time looking at weather and advising how we best plan. The advice was to make best possible speed and arrive the Azores. We just did, only just.

The last few day shave actually been pretty calm and we’ve had the engine on a lot to make ground. Fuel got a bit concerning as she’s burnt a bit more than we though she would. We have pushed hard though so likely be in uneconomical mode with the throttle flat out. None of us wanted to see another big blow and was potentially looking as nasty as the previous one.

The hope was we could stay ahead of the system and literally sneak up the eye of the depression and get in before getting blasted. This worked really well until the last few hours when it became apparent we wouldn’t make our plan. This was to head round the west end of San Miguel and then down the south coast to Porto Delgada. We decided we wouldn’t make it round the west and and this would be a lee shore so turned south and east for the E end of the island. The swell quickly built with the wind and this morning in the early hours we were again in 40 knots plus and huge swell. We were all close to the end our our tether and an amazing stint on the helm by dad allowed us to get some rest. Some really expert helming was required to keep the boat straight on the face while making progress south to our destination. Pitch black and the thought of black coral shores brought a new fear, that of sea meeting land. How ere we going to make land fall in 40 knots, with huge surf and an unforgiving coastline? As the bottom shallowed from 1000’s of m’s to a hundred the swell again built and we braced for impact again. Then all of a sudden we were though it, the dawn brightened and smiles broke out. A beautiful lighthouse welcomed us past, dolphins broke the waves and the dramatic steep sided coastline absorbed our attention. The fear was gone!

The wind continues to be ferocious overnight from the west but is due to moderate and swing N tomorrow. Should be a straightforward trip 20 miles up the S coast to Delgada.

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