Sarah Grace goes to sea
Chris Yerbury and Sophy White
Fri 7 Oct 2005 23:25
Madeira 7th October
We went to Funchal today, through pouring rain, skirting around floods, collapsed banana trees, waterfalls and rockfalls.   We finally managed to get our gas bottle back, so the roast dinners can keep coming.
It has been raining really heavily for the last twenty four hours.  I have been inspired to put on waterproofs and fiddle around on deck with the awnings, during the deluge, to try and work out ways of capturing the rain.   When we leave Europe, hosepipes and taps to fill the water tanks on board will be a distant memory.  As we don't have a watermaker plumbed in, we will have to make do.
Our departure to the Canaries is being delayed by unusual southerly winds, but Mike, on Lady of Lorien, who seems to be the local weather guru, assures us that there is a two day window starting on Monday morning, when we might make the passage.  I will get a chart off the air from either Offenbach or Northwood to see if we can make sense of this.
Schooling is coming along in fits and starts, with both Chris and I learning absolute heaps about teaching, and remembering how to do fractions etc.  Whether this is being passed along to the right departments,(Otti and Mimi), is presently a matter of debate.
We have heard that there is a boat close behind us, with three Australian/Canadian boys on board, which sounds very interesting, and that they are heading for the Cape Verdes, like us.   They are also NARCS, or Non-Atlantic Rally Cruisers, like us, so won't be disappearing in a cloud of smoke with 200 or so other boats to St. Lucia on November 20th.   I am presently doctoring a large jolly roger with white tape to read 'NARC', which must be flown in the Canaries.  All ARC boats have a very fancy flag to fly, covered with ensignias.
I am very happy to be back on board writing this email, having survived a two hour bus trip back from Funchal.  The roads are all really windy, and all cut into cliff faces.  Blind hairpins, with no barriers between the road and a thousand foot drop are commonplace.  Combine this with a driver with busrage, and either his foot flat on the accelerator, or stamping on the brake, with one hand intermittently on the horn:  the upshot is that no one should travel without a hipflask and a will.