Blonde Moment - Blog 10 Nazare to Oeiras
The wind and sea conditions meant that the fleet were given the choice of sailing on to Oeiras on the Thursday or Friday. Seven boats left on the Thursday but we were enjoying Nazare so much, we decided to stay the extra day. A walk along the red flagged beach with huge dumping waves in lovely warm sunshine was just what we needed.
The sail to Oeiras on Friday 1st July started slowly but the wind gradually kicked in and we enjoyed a great downwind sail until the headland......an acceleration zone exists there and the wind went very rapidly from 10 to 16 to 34 knots needing 3 reefs in the main and the headsail reduced to a postage stamp. Very exciting sailing! A maximum speed of 10.8 knots was recorded........
Oeiras gave crews the opportunity to hop on a train to visit Lisbon, Cascais or Sintra but Paul and I decided on a swim in the sea (bracing but wonderfully refreshing) and to paint Blonde Moment's logo on the harbour wall, which proved very social as six other crews came and painted during the day.
Oeiras yacht club hosted us to a buffet supper in the marina which was great fun. All the talk was about the movement of Orca pods up the coast of Portugal. Up until about two years ago any interaction with the orcas had been friendly but possibly since being hit by a yacht certain orcas have very occasionally been aggressive towards yachts and in particular their rudders......... An attack had happened to a french yacht just outside Sines two days before and Sines was our next stop....
Sunday 3rd July the sun was shining, a good breeze was blowing and we crossed the startline outside the marina with full main and headsail. For the first hour the whole fleet was together but gradually the larger boats pulled away until we came to the headland two hours later. There were about six of us trying hard not to use our engines and to tack in and out to get round the headland but the wind was dropping. Finally we made it having seen all the smaller boats catch us up and overtake us under engine! Just as we had put the Code Zero up and were gently sailing in the right direction, a call came through announcing orcas at the back of our group. The smallest boat in the fleet (28.7 ft) had what they think were two females and two calfs around their boat for 5-10 minutes. However, they followed the advice switching off their engine and lowering their sails so they slowed to a halt and the orcas seemed to get bored and moved off much to everyones relief!
A very long sail to Sines with changeable winds but everyone happy to be in safely.