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Bolero - Sunshine!

Saturday dawned with a cloudless blue sky, we were up bright and early for our 0800 start. We rigged the spinnaker and left the marina. The engine was stopped and the spinnaker hoisted. We drifted across the start line a few minutes after the starting horn well behind most of the other 10 starters who had decided to motor in the sporadic zephyrs.
The wind played games with us, we raised and lowered the spinnaker pole, eased it forward and brought it back, raised it again…… these fun and games went on for a while….. the first cup of coffee didn’t help matters, but second an hour later with a piece of yoghurt cake seemed to do the trick and the wind filled in and Bolero lifted her skirts and slowly took off.
We had a lovely sail along the Portuguese coast gradually catching up with the fleet. As the day progressed we were joined by a pod of dolphins who played in the bow wave and dived under the boat for a long time.
Channel 77 sprung to life with reports of gusts of 23 knots. It was time to take the spinnaker down….. quickly….. thankfully the snuffer worked like a dream and Steve and Maz packed the sail away without any problems [phew]. The sail change didn’t slow us appreciably and actually allowed us to sail closer to the way point in a rolly quartering sea.
It was getting towards dusk as we approached Figueira da Foz so the navigation lights were switched on. We crossed the finish line at 21.08 and switched on the engine. Andrew and Manel were waiting on the pontoon to take our lines.
After a quick spruce up we headed to the yacht club for a delicious sardine barbecue supper.
Sunday dawned with another cloudless blue sky……. We really could get used to this. We were up bright and early to join a tour to Coimbra. Our first stop of the day was at a cafe for a coffee and cake. The choice of cakes was incredible….. the chocolate croissant that we shared was described as “life defining”, it certainly was! Just by the cafe a pair of storks were keeping a beady eye on us all from the vantage point of their nest perched on the branch of a nearby tree.
Coimbra is an old city with the oldest university in Portugal and formed part of the royal palace. The library is simply breathtaking made out of wood with beautiful carvings embellishedwith gold leaf, the walls are painted like marble but are again wood. When the visitors have departed for the day, the furniture is covered and the resident bats are once again free to fly. The library was recreated for the second Beauty and the Beast film.
We walked down the narrow streets and linking stairs past the cathedral to the river. We enjoyed a lovely leisurely lunch with Paul and Linda who have now been joined by fellow ARC Baltic ralliers Gwyn and Ian.
Batteries were recharged on the coach with a quick siesta before we went to the ruins of Montemor Castle with its commanding views over the countryside.
An early night was the order of the day for the crew of the good ship Bolero….. we must be getting old!
The sun that we are becoming accustomed to was shining again for our coach trip around Figueira da Foz. Our first stop was at Castelo Engenheiro which hosts the artwork of local water colour artist Vancouver D’Orey Bobone and sculptor Laranjeira Santos. It was then on to the bull ring of the city, where we were assured that the bulls are not killed. We were welcomed to the Quinta das Olaias by the commodore of the yacht club and a representative of the city. The prize giving was held in the beautiful gardens. Bolero was deemed to be doing her bit for the environment with zero engine hours on the leg from Povoa de Varzim to Figueira da Foz and was the overall winner of the leg.
We ambled back to the boat for lunch via the local market where the smells of the fruit and vegetables were amazing. An evening reception on the quay was followed by a lovely meal on Sea Crusader.
We have enjoyed Figueira da Foz!

Fair winds
Nick, Maz, Steve, Judith and Willy

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