September 2000 Cascais, Portugal
During the passage from Portugal to Porto Santo, a small Portuguese island 30
miles from Madeira, I experienced stable winds for the first time. Down along
the length of the Spanish and Portuguese coastline there ought to be what is
called "the Portuguese wind", a stable north wind. But at least this year it was
on strike. I never experienced it, and most sailors I talked to were more or
less frustrated because of the many hours going by engine or jibing.
The trip ought to take me about four days. There are around 470 miles. But
because of a single night with a strong breeze where I quickly "gave up" (my bad
experiences taken into account), I put the boat in heave-to position and slept
all through the night. Due to this, I ended up spending a little more than five
days at sea. But five wonderful days with stable northeast winds of Beaufort
Force 5-6 day and night. I would prefer stable winds of Beaufort 4-5, since you
have a bit more latitude as to when to change sails. But you really shouldn't be
complaining when, finally, the wind is blowing.
7 October 2000 Porto Santo, Portugal (Island in the Atlantic Ocean)
At first I'm out, then I'm there
How come my home is always right here
Indeed because I'm lucky like a snail with its house on its back
I'm (travelling) in my home - On board which I'm always safe. J.H.
When I left Cascais I put up two boom foresails and only touched them once that
night, when I had to. It was an exquisite pleasure. Some work is associated with
taking down the foresail, booms and lanyards, and putting up the mainsail,
reefing, etc. Naturally you wait as long as you can. Hoping that it doesn't get
any worse so continuing is still an option. But at the same time it's important
not to wait too long, since you have to go to the foredeck to work if the wind
increases. The choice you're left with seems like choosing between cholera and
It's wonderful when the boat is tearing along, and tampering with anything that
works is a bad idea. Of course it would have been easier if you were able to
receive weather reports, which many can. But without the equipment, you're left
with no other options than guessing and reading the clouds. That isn't working
out well, maybe I'm short-sighted.
I arrived at Porto Santo at night time and 20 miles from shore the wind dropped
to almost nothing. The boat was doing about 2 knots. In stupid waves, so it
turned out to be an unsteady navigation. The waves meant that I couldn't go by
engine, and I tried sleeping for 30 minutes at a time. Only problem was that I
overslept. When I woke up at the break of dawn, I had travelled 2-3 miles along
a rocky shoreline only 500 metres out!!!
I haven't got any detailed nautical charts. I obviously should have just parked
it out there (Heave to), and landed in daylight. In the future, I will be sure
to do just that. It was down to pure luck that my carelessness (stupidity)
didn't cost me the boat.
Porto Santo, Portugal
Whew! Just arrived and very happy, because it's pretty grim out there: