Majic-L - Legs 2 & 3 – Povoa de Varzim and then Povoa to Figueira de Foz

Wanting to get off to a good start after our relatively low position in the arrival order in Bayona, we prepped our jib sail and cruising chute ready for fast use once we had cleared the cardinal markers. Winds were stronger than we were expecting and we managed to do the entire sail without using the engine. This was the best news of the day, however all did not quite go to plan. As soon as we could, we decided that suitable time to get the cruising chute out, however found that it had twisted inside the snuffle bag. After a bit of quick jiggery pokery with the lines, we were sorted and the chute was working well. In fact so well we didn’t need the main sail – Tony commented how he’d enjoyed the sorting out of the sail up on the bow “gets the adrenaline going” but I’m not sure we all felt like that. We were going along very well – at one time hitting 9.5 knots – and making progress from the back towards the front of the field. However shortly after 2pm we decided we needed to gybe to maintain course which went a bit pear shaped. We had 40 minutes where it seemed we had to deal with multiple issues – a jam on the winch, sheets getting caught around the anchor, random pots to avoid and the autopilot deciding to disengage itself when the 4 of us were all busy with the sail situation. Sorry to say we suffered a tear in our cruising chute so a trip to the sailmakers to be booked in Lagos. We completed the sail using the main with a preventor. We therefore lost all the gains we had made, but as I mentioned earlier, the positive side was that we didn’t use the engine.


We all enjoyed the evening meal in the yacht club at Povoa. The wine was flowing although with the low ceiling it was quite loud and conversation with people up the table was difficult. It had been a long day and indeed Tony and myself were the “last men standing” at the end.


Guimaraes was an interesting day out where our guide was obviously very proud of his city and its heritage. Porto, much bigger that we expected, and the tuk tuk trip was great fun as well as a way of getting to know the city. We were on the afternoon tour and we had bonus time in the tuk tuks as there was an issue with the timing of our slot at the Port Wine lodge. Some rally members enjoyed a BBQ fish lunch in the unexpected lunch break, but as we’d eaten brunch on the boat not expecting to stop, then time to sample some more “super bock” beer. Arrived at the Port Wine lodge for 4pm and appreciated our guides efforts – she said she normally hosted for Spanish and Portuguese visitors but did pretty well with her English. The skipper was tempted after the tastings and some Port came back to Majic-L.  


The next leg started early with 6am alarm to cast off at 6.30 to move to the start line. Weather was quite different, misty and light to nonexistent winds. Nevertheless, we tried to keep with the spirit of the sail and hoisted the main and jib sail. The siren went for the start, and we floated about for 15 minutes trying to find what wind there was before giving up and joining everyone else motoring. In fact, despite a couple of attempts to find some wind, we ended up motor sailing most of the leg. As we weren’t sailing, Luc of Sayonara, set a fishing challenge. Tony decided to accept and fetched the fishing rod from below. Once cast, the fishing tackle dived as we were motoring along and within 5 minutes, he either had a catch or else his line had snagged. He was struggling to reel in and the rod as it was really bending, so the skipper stopped the engine whilst Tony wound in. To the surprise of all on board, he had caught a good size tuna! At the rally BBQ sardine meal in the evening, Tony (having gutted the tuna) asked the staff if they would cook his catch and we all enjoyed sharing this at the table – about 4 hours from catch to table.


Coimbra was another good day out. At the pastries café visited on the way, we were impressed with how fast the staff there dealt with a coach load of people in a short space of time. At Coimbra, we were split into two groups and our guide Franca was a good sport. It turned out she had been a student herself at the University and admitted this when showing a picture of a student taking part in one of the traditions where students had most of their clothes removed before chasing after the friend who had their cloak. Our visit on the way back to Montemor castle coincided with a wedding taking place which added some colour to our visit.


Preparations now being made for leaving tomorrow morning for Nazare.