Sines to Lagos

Zipadedoda of Dart
David H Kerr
Tue 27 Jun 2006 18:44

Lagos at Last!


We crossed the start line in Sines at 0700 on the 26th June. It was a grey morning with little wind. So as soon as we were over the start line and clear of other boats we started to erect the Cruising Chute. It was horribly tangled from the last time we used it. After over an hour struggling to raise it and sort out the tangles, I was completely exhausted. Well it is nearly 70 feet high (see attached picture), and pulling all those strings, on a rolling fore deck is challenging stuff. So with much frustration it was taken down and dumped through the fore hatch into the forward cabin to be sorted out later. Then got the Genoa back out and 5 minutes later what little wind there was just faded away. So it was on with the iron sail. Those 135 horses purred away and with the main fully up and sheeted nice and tight we were making a good 9 knots SOG. We soon caught up with the rest of the fleet, and within the hour they were all motoring. By mid-morning the sun came out and it turned into a stunning day. The light scintillating on the water, a very gentle breeze from the North West, so the apparent wind was less than 4 knots. The icing on the cake was the arrival of a pod of around 15 dolphins, who entertained us for over half an hour before speeding off to another yacht.


It was a simply delightful day, albeit disappointing that was could not sail. This was made up for by the chit chat on the VHF radio. Appropriate music tracks being broad cast (“We are sailing” etc), and we had the HiFi at a good blast in the cockpit.


It was a straight run down to the most western part of Europe, “Cabo de Sao Vicente”. This cape an awesome reputation and is to be treated with great respect. So before we arrived there, in anticipation of things to come, we put a reef in the main . We planned to pass 4 miles off. When we got there, there was still virtually no wind, and flat seas. So we cut into 2 miles off.  As we passed south of the Cape, we dipped the Ensign as a measure of respect and thanks to the weather Gods  for a safe passage. Next we headed for the point which is Pla de Sagres. As soon as we rounded this to head North East for Lagos we rolled out the Genoa and the Staysail, as  the wind came up to 15 to 20 knots from the North west. We then has a cracking reach all the way to Ponta de Piedade, which was the last point to navigate before turning North for the finish line just off the West Mole at the entrance to the River. Jennie was on the helm for most of this last leg, and did a stunning bit of steering work and overtook Tocharda. By this time we were second, behind Waylander, that was well in front of the fleet (as usual).


As we rounded the last Cape the wind was 25 knots and gusty and fluky. “Progress” had being trying to pass us from some time, and it was neck and neck for the finish line. They cut around our windward side and just as we were coming up to the line, they stole our wind and passed us. Just then a gust of some 35 knots hit us. 20 metres short of the line we broached!!! Not a happy crew………………………………………Mutiny was in the air.


So we sorted ourselves out (after as significant “domestic”), and came over the line on the second attempt, in third place.


We then headed up the river for the Marina.  On arrival we had covered 80nm on the day and 1045nm since leaving Dartmouth.


All in all its been a great adventure. Very well organised, and expertly run by WCC. Both Andrew and Ishy have done a great job looking after us all, and laying on lots of entertainment. There has been something for everyone.


Lagos marina is the biggest and best we have ever visited, and the staff are incredibly kind and helpful. So we plan to stay here for the next 10 days, whilst Sarah and Nick and the grandchildren come down to join us tomorrow night. Simple day trips and mooring off local beaches. Sun, sand and frolics in the sea.


It is sunny and warm and there is always a breeze (quite a lot in the late afternoons, as I learned to my cost yesterday). So crew has the warm weather at last and all is well in the world……………………..


Tonight is the end of Rally Barbecue. So we are really looking forward to a serious party.


Go to go and get ready for the bash now……………………………………….



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