Nazare to Porto Santo
Roz Preston /Ed Phillips
Sun 9 Oct 2022 19:43
So it was quite a crossing. We left Nazare at 7 am on Wednesday, took a few attempts to get the downwind twin headsails sorted out but once they were flying, so were we! Our normal passage plan assumes an average of 6 knots, but there were times when our speed over the ground was reading 11 😳. Very exhilarating. We rock and rolled our way south in a following wind of 15 to 22 knots, dodging tankers and leaving the other boats that left with us behind.
The waters around this part of the Atlantic are scarily deep, 4000 metres and more. Mostly the depth just reads 000 because the sounder can’t compute much above 150.
Our watch system worked really well. With 3 of us on board, we do 2 hour watches each overnight from 9pm until 9 am. Which means everyone gets 2 lots of 4 hours off watch to sleep. Amazingly, despite the rolling, we all managed to sleep pretty well. And eat well, although cooking in a lumpy seaway is challenging to say the least.
Making such good speed put us well ahead of schedule so we arrived in daylight at 5pm Saturday evening. This island is quite barren, volcanic with a thin layer of poor soil and a few palm trees and cacti. But it is very lively and both the Marina and the bay are full of boats, mostly heading south and west. The friends we left Nazare with arrived at 6am so we were able to catch up with them this morning, and the single handed Swedish guy off another boat that had been in Nazare.
We arranged to hire electric bikes tomorrow so we are off to explore the island. Hope it’s not too steep!
Highlights of the trip - a huge school of dolphin that came to play for ages, breaching and synchronised swimming in the following waves. Just magical. Moonlight on the water, and bright starlight above. First sight of the island we were heading for. Landfall in a whole new place, knowing that we got here with just the wind in our sails and the plan on the chart. Managing to have a decent shower with the water from our own watermaker. And most of all, seeing how well Sweet Dreams performs with her new sails. The hardest part was slowing her down! Even with 2 reefs overnight we never lost pace. What a boat!
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