We arrived at our anchorage tucked around the corner of Ponte de Sagres at around 3.45am this morning, having left Bayona Thursday morning some 360 miles away. We encountered all sorts of conditions, the only constant one was the large swell, we tried changing our angle to the swell to make it more comfortable but it didn’t seem to matter. On Thursday we started with the asymmetric sail, a glorious sail which achieves great speeds but with an increasing wind speed and swell poor Joy lurched from one side to the other, fighting as best she could the swell and the huge kite we were flying. Eventually we gave up and furled away, with difficult conditions the sail didn’t furl very well on its torsion rope, the rope continually twists when it shouldn’t and the sail wraps itself around it in different directions and when we finally got it down we realised the torsion rope had actually come off the furler at the head, breaking the shackle and pin. It went back in its bag to be sorted when the wind drops.
The wind did drop in the night, and the Genoa flogged in the light air and rolling swell. No sleep in between shifts. Jez took over at 6am and I had a sleep in the bed rather than on the sofa in the saloon – bliss! I woke suddenly to a lot of banging about on deck, I rushed upstairs to see what the problem was and found Jez hauling in his catch – a Seagull!! Unlike all the fish in this ocean, a Seagull had taken the bait and by the time we jointly pulled in the line to release it, it had suddenly become free and flew off – unfortunately with Jez’s prize lure that he bought in Bayona.
We spent Friday morning with the huge Asymetric sail lying from bow to stern and then some, trying to untangle it from the not so taught torsion rope. Success, and with a few farmer adjustments which involved the angle grinder and hammer (and thankfully no bailer twine), we changed the way the sail furls away in a bid to make it easier on us and the sail.
Hoisting the sail once more in the afternoon, we were relieved to find the new furler worked, although the torsion rope is so twisted it clearly just isn’t fit for purpose with such a large sail and heavy boat.
The afternoon brought us another two delights – sunshine and the sighting of a baby dolphin. Swimming up close to the boat in between two other dolphins was this tiny 2-3ft baby, just to say hello and then move off again. Plenty more dolphins played with us that afternoon, they are much smaller than those encountered in the Ria’s, but more acrobatic diving out and slapping the water with their tails before going back in. The wind died again overnight and we helmed in a painful 3-4 knots of speed with sails flogging, with not much to concentrate on I was delighted to be joined by more dolphins at 5am who followed us for an hour.
We sailed past Cascais in the morning and with another check on weather we were confident to carry on as Monday sees winds increasing to 30 knots around Cape St Vincent.
The Asymmetric came out all day and we achieved good speeds, until overnight when yet again the wind died and our sails flogged. Rounding Cape St Vincent in the early hours of Sunday found the wind increasing and as we nudged into Enseada de Sagres to anchor, the wind accelerated to 30 knots as it passed over the headland and hit us head on. Anchoring in the dark isn’t the easiest, especially with as much night vision as a mole with a bag over its head, earplugs and a peg on its nose – oh and 30 knots of wind blowing in its face and having been deprived of sleep for three days and nights! We also came across another yacht with no anchor light on which wasn’t very helpful but eventually found a spot and dropped anchor.
This morning after a sleep, Sagres looks like a beautiful sandy bay in amongst the rocks with a couple of hotels up on the cliffs, the wind is still blowing very hard but the sun is shining. Jez squeezed into his wetsuit to go and check out the hull as we can see she has a weedy beard. Quite a comical moment as he hasn’t worn it for 18-20 years, with a bit of determination and lots of breathing in the zip finally zipped and he was in and I was banned from going near my camera, sorry girls. The water was so cold it didn’t take him long to confirm that she needed a lift out of the water and a clean, she was covered in green slime and weed. I will make a few phone calls and find a big enough lift to take her.