Blog 6 Sines to Porto Santo (rb)
Following time storm bound in Sines we finally ventured out on our 500 mile passage to Porto Santo (rb). As we left the wind was a favourable northerly so John was able to skilfully navigate through the numerous moored super tankers, whilst Seamus was in heaven below decks acknowledging AIS alarms a plenty.
We settled into our watch system, working 2 hours on and 6 hours off, and sailed for a full nine hours before having to start the iron spinnaker !
The first day saw a mixture of sailing and motoring as the wind shifted direction and abated or strengthened. At one point a bird landed on the boat and sat on a crew members hand before finding a perch in the shelter of the canopy. That evening however was not without event. As night fell the darkness became punctuated with flashes of distant lightening, and there was an eery calmness all around. During the night John was heard to shout for all hands on deck as we were hit by a huge and unexpected squall. All was checked and OK, so we carried on our journey. During the furore of the squall the bird decided it was safer to fly the 200 miles back to Africa than stay aboard Dulgie. What a wise bird !
As we completed watch after watch we made progress on our planned track, which was to head south, and then west, in order to miss the low pressure system deepening in the Atlantic and moving further south towards us. At times progressed the sailing was tough with the wind more often than not on the nose.
During our trip we constantly towed a lure to catch fish, one called the "Jap" and the second "Pablo from Alverio". An unfortunate incident saw the Jap out of action, and despite being heavily weighted Pablo disappeared overnight. There was huge disappointed on board as we had been promised fresh tuna. A subsequent crew discussion agreed that any new lures should not be named until they had performed successfully. Until then they would all be named "Johhny no stars" as you would see of a new employee in McDonalds, until they had earned their stars. These new lures are shown below.
As we continued to sail toward Porto Santo (rb) the wind continued to strengthen and we hoped it would shift to the south to aid our passage. At one point we saw bottle nose dolphins swimming with us in beautiful clear blue water for what seemed an age, a majestic site.
As night fell on Sunday evening we knew we would see "land ho" before daybreak, and our 500 mile passage would be over. Seamus took the graveyard shift and saw a beautiful sunrise over the coast of Africa, with abundant threatening storm clouds punctuating the colourful sunrise. The wind slowly altered and we edged closer and closer towards our desired course until we were heading for our destination. As we got within 20 miles the wind again increased until we had 35 knots over the deck. Oh dear, what a pity, never mind !
Finally we crossed the safety of the breakwater into the quaint harbour of Porto Santo (rb), but not without one final challenge. One crew member managed to dislocate his shoulder as we prepared to enter the harbour, but eventually managed to relocate it on his own OUCH !
Once again we have been challenged by heavy weather and have been storm bound in Porto Santo (rb), and as you can see from the picture below we have to spend a great deal of time discussing weather and passage planning.
The final part of this blog is to bid farewell to our first crew member to depart. After a streak dinner, and an emotional speech, we must now go to bid him farewell on the Porto Santo (rb) to Madeira ferry. We wish him a safe journey and thank him for his significant contribution to this great trip aboard (over) Indulgence.
Andy (Robbin Bast'rds)
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