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Khaleesi - Blog Day 25 - A tale of two extremes

Well we made into Horta, but not before Neptune teased us again by veering the wind onto our bow, and by lowering the wind speed. We ended up motor sailing the final 100 miles although the wind changed about one hour out and we had a barnstorming sail into the channel between Pico and Faial. I had emailed the ARC team to ask if we could have a berth that gave easy access for our rudder repair, but this was not to be and we ended up three out on a raft against the harbour wall. We started work immediately clearing the lazerette locker, and I went to clear in with the marina authorities. It was all straight forward albeit a little bureaucratic and slow. nevertheless the staff were all very pleasant and I was soon walking up to the Mid Atlantic Yacht Services (MAYS) office to book us in for the work. The manager, Duncan Sweet, came around to Khaleesi first thing the following morning and assessed the work. To cut a long story short, MAYS provided the necessary support in obtaining parts and organising fabrication of certain items, whilst we did the actual work on the boat. Difficulties in getting a lift out arranged resulted in us getting divers to help remove the rudder, and then to re-install it. Pete worked like a trojan and we all put in some very late nights. Unfortunately we could not leave with the rally on Saturday for the tour of the Azores islands, as the parts we needed would not be available until the following week. Our fourth crew member, Graham, also left on the Saturday, so it left the three of us to do the work. There was little we could do on the Sunday so we took the ferry across to Madelena on Pico which cost three euros one way. Regrettably the weather was awful, and although we made it to the wine museum we got a thorough soaking on the way back to the ferry. In fact the weather for the week was not nice, and we had to employ our ship's heater to help keep the dampness at bay and to warm the yacht. All said and done we enjoyed our time in Horta, and we were able to complete the work on the rudder by close of play on Tuesday. Because we had employed divers to help us, the Maritime Authority had to inspect the repair work to ensure the yacht was seaworthy. Whilst the staff were all very pleasant and helpful, it was another complication we could have done without. However the state of the rudder when we originally discovered it made us appreciate how fortunate we were to have made it to Horta in the first place, and that having Pete on board was a stroke of immense good fortune as it was his engineering knowledge and skill that allowed us to make the running repairs. So it was Wednesday morning that saw us slip our lines with optimism and enthusiasm bursting out of us as we made our way over to the fuel pontoon. Little did we know that the throttle control mechanism had other plans for us, as for some reason it was very difficult to operate. It took the rest of the day and night to get it sorted so delayed our departure by 24 hours. However it gave Allison and Pete an opportunity to have the black spaghetti and shrimp meal in Peter's Cafe Sport which received a five star recommendation from them both. We slipped the next day and set off at about 1015 am and had a wonderful sail for 185 miles to join the rally at Santa Maria, arriving at Vila do Porto at 6pm on the Friday, in time for the social function that evening which we thoroughly enjoyed, perhaps a little too much!! We left the marina at about 1130am to join the fleet for the start of the next leg to Lagos, and at 12 noon the starting signal was given. We enjoyed a great first day averaging 6 knots and Khaleesi was sailing like a true performer. Unfortunately the winds did start to die off, and the next day saw us having to use the engine for 11 hours to maintain speed and progress. The wind did fill in again and we pulled out the cruising chute to take advantage of the light winds. The weather forecast has been proven wrong as the wind has backed to the West, and so we had to take a more Northerly course to maintain speed. So from the final approach to Horta we have experienced a range of challenges that we have overcome, a range of weather conditions from the sublime to the unpleasant category, and we have enjoyed the camaraderie and friendships of the rally. Currently we are in a light wind area that is providing up to 8 knots of wind and we are trying to maintain a boat speed of 4.5 to 5 knots. To do this we are having to take a more Northerly heading to keep the sails filled. What this will mean tomorrow is anyone's guess but we hope that Neptune might this once bestow on us his good favour and provide some stronger, but not too strong, winds.
Khaleesi at 6/10/2018 7:52 AM (utc) our position was 37°10.51'N 022°48.74'W

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