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Bolero - Festivals two ways!

Wednesday, our departure day from Bayona dawned as seems customary for the ARC Portugal rally with rain. However, by the time we had slipped our lines, the decks were beginning to dry and the sun was attempting to break through the clouds and blue sky was making the odd appearance.

The whole fleet crossed the start line under engine at 10.30. We switched off the engine after 55 minutes and hoisted our asymmetric cruising chute. The winds were light and the sail wasn’t happy until the wind ghosted above 12 knots. There were no complaints from the crew as the layers were gradually shed and we were sailing in shorts and tee shirts in proper sunshine!

We gybed twice on our way south, firstly by snuffing the sail into the squeezer and then passing it forward of the forestay and then raising the snuffer. The second time we gybed the sail in the traditional way.

As we approached Povoa de Varzim the fleet came together again. We had fun and games trying to snuff the sail, so we lowered it to the deck and it was pushed unceremoniously down below. The cabin was barely visible with the sail filling most of it. We crossed the line behind Blonde Moment.

As soon as we were moored, we had a quick spruce up and headed to the Anastacia Marina restaurant for a reception, dinner and prize giving.

We were up bright and early [in the rain again!] on Thursday morning for a 7.45 coach ride to Porto for a Tuk tuk tour of the historic city and a visit to Porcas port wine lodge where I think most people were unable to resist buying a bottle of one of the types of port that we had sampled. The tuk tuk took us back to the cathedral and we were free to amble around Porto, taking in the views and enjoying the sunshine that had prevailed over the clouds. There was a real buzz in the city as it was the festival day of St John and people were streaming into the city for a night of celebrations.
A tradition has developed to buy a plastic squeaky mallet and knock people on the head as you pass them. We were all past masters at dodging knocks to the head by the time we returned to the coach for the return trip home.

Friday morning greeted us with sunshine, and this continued all day! Maz and Nick went off to collect Maz’s replacement phone which had been delivered to the yacht club rather than the marina, Steve and Judith visited Lidl and Willy gave the boat a bit of TLC.

After lunch we joined a tour of the ancient city of Guimaraes, the birth place of Portugal. Our excellent guide gave us a potted history of the castle and the city. The rally Portugal fleet had struck lucky again as there was a festival to celebrate the anniversary of St Stephen. This was a more reserved affair with people donning traditional dress and dancing and playing music as we walked along the streets. Resistance was futile and we ended the tour with a coffee and delicious cake in a cafe. An early night was in the cards when we returned to Bolero in preparation for our 0800 start on Saturday morning when we head south to Figueira da Foz.

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