Zipadedoda of Dart
David H Kerr
Fri 23 Jun 2006 17:25

Given it’s the World Cup football at the moment, it seems appropriate  to use a well known football cliché. The sail from Peniche to Cascais was a day of two halves………..


As mentioned in the previous two entries, it had been windy for a while, and the forecast was for more of the same. It is also the case that we would be passing by two quite big headlands on our way down to Cascais. Headlands can cause a vortex effect and increase the average wind speed considerably. So we were well prepared (or so we thought).


So, having missed the start of this leg, we decided to go for a leisurely sail, and started off with quite a significant reef in the main sail, and a full the Genoa, ready to reef at a moments notice. It was a gorgeous sunny day, not a cloud in sight, and crew was ecstatic in the warm rays, whilst she watched for the ever present danger of lobster pot lines and fishing nets that are sprinkled like confetti all down this coast.


Our progress was a little too slow, as we had already started some 2 to 3 miles behind the rest of the fleet, and we were failing to catch them up. So crew suggested we roll out the cutter sail, and this immediately increased our speed by around 1 knot, which given the down wind sailing position was a welcome surprise. This was a much more comfortable run and the rolling was not a problem. Soon we started to overtake a few of the smaller boats at the back of the Rally and skipper was now happy that we would not be the last home! Photographic evidence attached!!


With some 10 miles to go we heard one of the boats in the front of the fleet (Vita), send a radio broadcast to all the other boats advising strong winds off Cabo Raso. In fact they were some 1.5 nm off this headland and were experiencing 40 knots, gusting 50 knots. That is storm force winds. Be scared………………..


We were already heavily reefed on the main, but we rolled away the whole of the Genoa, and carried on. We also decided to head out to sea and give this headland a berth of around 3.5nm, thinking that the wind would lessen out there. Wrong!! It suddenly came from 25 knots up to 35 knots in the space of a few seconds. We then donned life lines to our life jackets, put in the companion way wash boards, locked them in place, and waited for the wind to drop. It then rose up to 40 knots, gusting 50, as we were warned. At this point the wind pilot (autopilot that sails a course to wind angle) decided it was all too much and stopped working. Great timing. So skipper grabbed the wheel and got some significant back exercise for the next half an hour whilst we worked on avoiding a broach. Then as we were 1 mile from the finish line the wind just vanished. It was like being careened down a huge rollercoaster and then landing in soft snow. Nothing. The sails just flapped about and we had no steerage. Not good news when you are surrounded by fishing nets. So much to the skippers chagrin, we had no choice but to motor the last half a mile over the finish line, and into the marina. What a ride>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


The marina here in Cascais is wonderful. The best we have seen since Bayona. Our position s 38 degrees 41 mins North, 9 degrees 25 mins west. Cascais is just 30 minutes by train from the centre of Lisbon. The return fare is a massive Euro 1.5.


Cascais is in effect a suburb of Lisbon, but is none the less a delightful place, full of restaurants, bars and fashion shops. There are several Chandeliers as well, so there is something for every one. It is warm and sunny and everyone is happy. It is certainly somewhere we would be happy to leave the boat or just spend time here, chilling out. There is even an Irish bar   “O’Neills”, that has live music and a fine pint of Guinness.   The only down side is that it is quite “touristy” and considerably more expensive than ports further north. Prices are on a par with the UK, if not slightly more expensive in the restaurants.


Today we took a coach trip to Sintra, which used to be the summer capital of Portugal in times gone by. The palace there was first constructed in the 12th century, with additions all through the years until about 100 years ago. It is a fascinating mixture of different architecture and cultures, with stunning ceramics, oriental furniture, and wonderful gold and silver leaf work on wooden frescos and fibrous plaster work. There are two huge chimney’s for the kitchens . These have to be at least four storeys high and are conical in shape. So large that they dominate the skyline of the town, and loom completely incongruous on the Byzantine style building. We had a fantastic tour guide who was a Danish lady, called Inga, who has lived n Portugal for 30 years. She was obviously a historian and something on a comedienne, and made the whole time a real joy. We only had half a day in Sintra which was a pity as it is an enchanting place high up in the mountains north of Lisbon. I hope to go back there some time to explore all the hillside alley ways and the castle on the top of the mountain.


Tonight it is another reception, and prize giving. We will not be in that class tonight as we came in second last in the big boats on this leg. Tomorrow, it is the penultimate leg to Sines.


Until then……………………….



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