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One More Day to Go (maybe)!

Current Location: Day 6
Current Position: 37 43.12 N 013 21.56 W Click to view map.
Distance sailed since last post: 584 nautical miles. View the map of our voyage track here

Sunday 20 June 2011, 12:30 GMT

We are still slogging away. Everything is going well, except slower than
expected. All the books talk about a quick and easy passage from the Azores
to Portugal. But they said that about the trip to Bermuda too, so I guess
the wind doesn’t read the same books as us!

After a good 24 hours of wind, it then dropped and headed us again, so it
was back to the engines for the day. There seems to have been a stubborn
high sitting right in the middle between the Azores and Portugal which just
doesn’t want to move.

Since then the wind has been up and down, first 13 kts then 7 kts, back and
forth every half hour or so. Along with that the wind shifts by 20 -30 deg
at a time, first we are 10 deg above our course, then 20 deg below.
Sometimes we move at almost 6 kts in the right direction, at other times it
is just 2 kts in the wrong direction. On average when we are sailing we are
dropping down, but then when we motor we try to pick that up again. It is
all very frustrating.

Then along with that there are dozens of huge ships about, some of them
passing pretty close. Our AIS picks up signals from almost all of them,
telling us their name, speed, and closest point of approach. Rather
annoyingly it also beeps an alarm if they are going to pass closer than half
a mile from us.

That should be a good feature, but the problem is that it doesn’t have a
cutoff range. So yesterday we were getting beeped constantly because of a
ship 160 miles away that was on a collision course with us.

As it turns out, that ship did indeed pass close to us this morning – but we
really didn’t need to know about it throughout yesterday!

There must have been some unusual atmospheric conditions yesterday, as our
AIS was picking up signals from ships as far away as the west coast of
Africa – 420 miles to the south! Yet no ships showing to the north.

Anyway, we are finally on the last stretch. With just 150 miles to go, the
wind has now picked up and freed off (again), so we are back on full sails.
As we approach the land, the wind will freshen to a good 20kts by the time
we get there.

Expected arrival is now sometime late tomorrow, Tuesday, or Wednesday
morning. We are still aiming for Sines who say they have space in the marina
for us.

All is going well. (except that we have all eaten too much!)

One Response to “One More Day to Go (maybe)!”

  • Wolf:

    Well that is sailing for you. Not enough wind = boredom, too much wind = terror. Noel is so lucky to have such a great chef on board, plus she is good lucking and I am sure Noel speaks by now already perfect Portuguese and cant wait to use it.

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