Povoa de Varzim

41:22.3N 08:45.9W

We left Bayona on the 10th in very light winds, mainly from the North, but very variable and flukey. We tried a variety of sail configurations along the way in an effort to use wind instead of diesel. The cruising chute gave good speeds in the light winds over the quarter, but the wind was right behind us for much of the time. We put up the twin headsails for a while until the wind shifted yet again. In between times we donked rather than wallow and therefore arrive late in Povoa. One highlight of this short 50-mile trip down the coast was seeing a school of dolphins - wonderful!

We arrived in Pavoa de Varzim, our first stop in Portugal, in the early evening and slid into a finger pontoon next to Serafina. Most of the fleet arrived at about the same time, and we were all berthed along the same pontoon this time, so made quite a sight when dressed overall.

A very different setting to Bayona, the marina in Povoa shared the harbour with the local fishing fleet and the surrounding area was very built up. We took the coach tour on Wednesday to see the local sights and were shown the 'sand fields' where the locals have managed to cultivate the sand dunes and grow vegetables there. We also went up into the hills for a panoramic view of the coastline which was breathtaking.

We had a day of chilling out and doing odd jobs on Thurday and joined Tony and Margaret on China Blue, a Hylas 46, for pre-dinner drinks in the evening. Then an early night ready for a 7 a.m. start today.

Rally Control decided not to have a start line as there was nil wind, so we slipped at 6.15 and had breakfast at sea. Figueira da Foz, our next stop, is 70-odd miles down the coast and we don't want to miss the sardine barbeque. (Actually, I'd quite happily miss the sardine barbeque - too many bones for my liking!)

It is now 12.47 local time and we are motor-sailing (yes, yet again, harly any wind!) in good visibility after an hour or so of motoring through thick fog. At times like that we are thankful we spent a fortune on radar and AIS! We kept company with Blue Beyond and Sealion through the fog - we figured three yachts would make a bigger radar target for any shipping!

So far on the trip we have logged up just over 800 miles and we are very pleased with the way the boat sails. She is a heavy old girl and needs a bit of wind to get her going, but she sails well and feels safe and comfortable. She feels very much like home now and we only occasionally need to consult the stowage list to find what we want!

Time for lunch - now, where did I put the bread...