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Date: 07 Nov 2014 23:03:00
Title: Rabat to Porto Santo

Bill and Denis bought food for the passage. I still wasn’t feeling great and reluctant to be far from the facilities. We paid for our stay and then moved WD to the waiting pontoon for immigration. We each filed in our departure forms, Bill and Denis left me to continue filling on the forms for WD while they got fuel. The officials wanted to check we were not smuggling weapons or drugs from the country so, initially two then four came on board to search – three with big black boots and one with stilettos (on my teak deck!!!!). After opening lockers and finding everything crammed full they decided that maybe we weren’t such a risk. Bill and I got the jerry cans on board and Denis disappeared in the launch...to pay we thought. An hour later Bill and I were starting to get a little worried. Denis had disappeared the launch had gone to sea to meet another yacht. Eventually at 1130, one and a half hours later Denis strolled along the quay. He had been into Sale to the bank to get more money to pay for the fuel, the card machine wasn’t working and that was the only way to pay. We departed at once, the the tide was low and the pilot boat was anxious to get us out before low water.
The wind was light and we motor sailed most of the night. The next morning the wind and sea built to 20 knots on the beam, allowing us some sailing at a good speed. As the day went on the wind gradually came around to an angle we couldn’t sail and maintain our course. We had been told that Rabat was a tad too far south to make Madeira comfortably. The sea built to a five metre steep swell and we slammed into the waves and all felt decidedly queasy for the next couple of days. The fourth day out we had acclimatised and our appetites returned as did the sense of humour. Which was just as well as the toilet blocked – not again!!  We tried all we could think of to check but the mechanisms all worked fine, but there was back pressure and nothing was pumped away. So Penny and Sheryl we had to employ the bucket again. Denis discovered that the hatch above his bunk leaked when covered by waves, another job to sort.
Fuel was running low, so we topped up from the jerry cans enroute. A couple of hours later the engine spluttered and died. I noticed a little water in the primary filter bowl, so drained that and then bled the engine. The sea was still big and we were well heeled over as we had run low. As we came around the head land to Porto Santo the sun was going down and we were approaching the harbour. I was just praying we would get in without further mishap when...the engine died again. No matter what I couldn’t restart it. So we decided that the perfectly acceptable anchorage with good holding with be our bed for the night. We tacked into the bay and as this was my first attempt at anchoring under sail alone in WD I was nervous. But Denis and BIll kept me calm and we smoothly threaded our way through the group of yachts and dropped anchor in 7 metres just off the sandy shore. A well earned beer never tasted so good. Bill was a a little miffed as he had been anticipating a warm shower – but that’s sailing.
Next day Was Bill’s birthday and Penny sent birthday wishes – Denis and I had no idea.  In calm conditions, we bled the engine and replaced the primary filter and the engine fired up first time and safely took us into Porto Santo Marina. WE can only guess that running the engine low while heeled over may have caused fuel starvation and air in the system. In the Marina we found that we could pump out via the holding tank, which meant the main out flow to the sea cock was blocked. I was warned to be careful when removing the hose from the seacock in case it still leaked. Oh well here goes I thought, got to get it sorted for the big trip. So with bungs and bilge pump at the ready, Bill and I cut the pipe and eventually stemmed the flow...yuck. We replaced the hose and hey presto! All worked well again – what a lovely birthday treat for Bill! Peter Lucey, Lucky you didn’t come back too soon! Meanwhile Denis had found the spare rubber sealing strip and was busy sorting out the leaky hatch.
In the evening out for a meal to celebrate all the fixing. We had a beach bbq with the other visiting yachts the next night and got on really well with a Swedish couple, Pia and Ulf who were moored just down from us. He visited us the next day while I was diving under WD to scrub off weed from the Aries wind steering gear. We were invited to visit for drinks that night as it was their anniversary. Ulf wanted a tour of WD and he reciprocated with tour of Clary, their Swedish designed yacht 1966. Even older that ours! We walked the island and were ready to move on after a couple of days. A Nato airstrip is ther just incase! A pretty island but mainly a holiday resort for the Madeirans and out of season.
The harbour wall is covered in boat tags, I couldn’t resist doing one for WD........Bill feels we should refine it as we visit other ports.
m_PB050637Engine fixed sitting at anchor feeling pleased with the morning’s work.
m_PB050640Approaching Porto Sato Marina – Madeira ferry in port.
m_PB060642Beach bbq with fellow yachties, we were the only Brits.
m_PB070654The WD tag. and just a few others.
m_PB070662 The local bird population – we still haven’t spotted the common Hoopoe! Maybe in Madeira.
m_20141107_225747Pia and Ulf Olsson having a night cap with us , on board the SY Clary

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