August 24th Rutger and I arrive in La Rochelle by train to join Marc for the rest of the trip, that is, Rutger would only stay with us for the first leg to Porto.
We left La Rochelle the next day at 12:30 after fueling up. While motoring to the fuel pontoon we noticed that the batteries weren't charging ... that was weird.. we had no idea of the cause. We decided to have a look at it on a later time. We had the generator and that was working fine.
Starting all up after we had fueled up, there also seemed something wrong with the autopilot, it just didn't come up...that too was pretty annoying. Again we decided to leave it for now. We would to start handsteering and have a look underway. The autopilot had worked perfectly so far, a reboot would probably fix it.
Bad luck... the autopilot never came up again until Lagos where a technician got it fixed in 15' The malfunctioning was caused by the new system that was installed years ago interfering with the old system that was still in place. Why it chose to just quit at that place and time will for ever be a question.
So handsteering it was and it would stay that way. As such it's not a big deal. When I did my around the Atlantic trip we hand steered the whole way. To Porto would be around 625 Nm and the three of us would handle that perfectly.
The first part was nice-ish. The winds were okay 15 - 20 kts but close hauled in the Bay of Biscay ...that's a BUMPY ride. Short steep waves even sprayed over the sprayhood. Speedwise we're doing great 90 Nm in 14 hrs. beating!
As of around 04:00 hr. the wind start dropping and kept dropping to practically zip and it stayed that way until 07:00 the next day. Then the wind picked up again to 20 kts and that also stayed that way up until Porto. The wind angle was better though and now we did 200 Nm in 21 Hrs.!!