We're here! We arrived at 0200 this morning - exactly 3 1/2 days and 470M
after leaving Cascais. Very happy to be here and to lie in a bed that isn't
trying to throw you out of it.
Yesterday was a rough and rolly day - the wind increased in the morning and
the NE swell picked up to about 3m, with an annoying cross-swell from the NW
which induced some nasty lurching rolls and resulted in a few bruises for us
all as we slid or fell around the boat. We didn't push too hard, knowing we
were not going to get in before dark, so left the 2 reefs in the main and a
partially-furled jib, poled out. Effectively we didn't need to adjust the
sails for 36hrs, other than a bit of tweaking of the jib. The wind didn't
change direction more than 20 degrees over the four days we were out -
pretty impressive really!
At about 1530 yesterday I decided we should gybe in order to keep us clear
of the offlying dangers off Porto Santo, so we spent 20 mins gybing the
whole lot over - first furl the jib, then stow the pole, then re-set it on
the other side, then unfurl the jib, then centre the main, swap preventers,
and let the main out. All a faff but when you are short-handed you've got
to take it slow and steady.
Bizarrely, just as we were gybing, another yacht appeared very close by! It
was aluminium, and we called them on CH16 after we'd gybed, but got no
answer. We left them behind so we will have to have a look to see if they
are in harbour now.
As darkness fell, we realised we could see four other sets of nav lights -
I've heard other people say that you spend days and days in solitude out on
the ocean, then as soon as you near land, everyone converges at the same
time! Very odd. Most impressively, as we got to within 5M of Porto Santo,
we realised that "Duende" was literally 100m behind us! Given that we left
together from Cascais it is pretty amazing to arrive at exactly the same
Porto Santo appeared over the horizon as quite mountainous - really feels
like a lump of rock in the middle of nowhere - but it was very good to see
the lights of civilisation. You get quite excited, naturally, and you
really have to warn yourself that this is when it is most dangerous - you're
tired, it is dark, you don't know where you are going, and you just want to
As we stowed the pole and furled the jib, we realised that "Duende" were
starting to get past us, so we unfurled the jib and reached along at 7kts -
no way we were going to let them beat us right at the end!
It is quite stressful arriving in a foreign harbour at night and the wind
really picked up, probably to 35kts, as it funnelled down the valleys. We
came in through the harbour entrance somewhat blind, as the windscreen (and
indeed the entire boat) is thickly encrusted with salt from the spray.
After a few minutes of stress whilst we tried to find a berth in the dark
and gusting wind, we found one and were helped in by Brom, Vivienne and a
couple of others. We had made it!!
Somewhat in a daze at having our little world firm, still and quiet again,
we cracked open some beers and celebrated with Brom and Vivienne. Millie
joined us, but by 0400 we knew it was time to get some proper sleep before
the girls woke at 7.
This was the longest leg that the girls should have to do - here to the
Canaries is less (although not sure by how much), so we are very proud and
happy to have completed it successfully and independently. Hurrah!
Lots of love,
Ollie, Sarah, Emilia & Jemima xxxx