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Bolero - The final leg!

The time had come for the final leg of Rally Portugal to Lagos. We were up with the sparrows and left our berth at 6:00am, we raised the main and unfurled the genoa. This was to be a leg with the start time of the boats logged as the crossed the start and the finish lines. We drifted in the zephyrs over the start line. Lack of wind and distance were a challenge. The entrance to the marina in Lagos is behind a bridge, the final raising of the bridge is a 21:50. After 30 minutes of slowly gliding through the water at 2.5 knots, our ETA at Cape St Vincent was 23:59….. with a further 20 miles to go. Nick asked if we wanted to get there, or carry on sailing. It was time to switch on the engine!

The VHF sprung to life with questions about Bolero’s sail plan as she was going so well……. others commented that the diesel being burned had been paid for in pounds, shillings and pence and the green shield stamps stuck in the book! Nick said that he would be having a whip round on arrival to help pay for the fuel.

We motored for 44.1 miles, and were pleased to hoist the spinnaker when the wind built up to 8 knots. We cruised along at 5 knots…….. not quite in the right direction! At 15:00 Steve saw something in the water about 500 metres off our starboard beam. The instruments were switched off and we all scanned the horizon to see if we could see anything. Nothing was seen, we watched and waited hoping we wouldn’t be visited by Orcas as Katy had the previous day. It is fair to say that there was an element of tension on Bolero for a while. We waited for 15 minutes and then switched on the instruments again. The horizon was scanned more frequently after this incident. Falcon saw the same shape and white water that Steve saw, but nothing else after wards.

To allow us to pass close to Cale St Vincent we needed to gybe. The spinnaker sock was lowered over the sail and then the halyard was lowered. We unfurled the genoa while Steve and I changed spinnaker poles and reattached sheets and guys. Eventually the spinnaker was raised on the halyard and the genoa furled and we were sailing under spinnaker again. We rounded Cape St Vincent, doused the spinnaker and unfurled the genoa and took off! we were creaming along at 8.2 knots. The dream had come true…. sailing at speed in glorious sunshine in shorts and tee shirts!

We sailed close to the shore to avoid the tuna nets and continued along the coast to the Ponta da Piedada. We were too busy furling the genoa and lowering the mainsail to appreciate the spectacle and beauty of the rock formations with caves.

Our lines were taken by the two Andrews as we approached the waiting pontoon. We didn’t have to wait long for the bridge to be raised and we motored towards the berth that we have booked until the end of September. It was good to have arrived in Lagos, over 1000 sea miles sailed and 50 motored since Cowes.

The prize giving dinner was held in the Sunset Restaurant at the marina, the chatter amongst all the crews was evidence, if any were needed, of the camaraderie that the rally had fostered. Every boat was awarded a prize preceded by a few anecdotes by the fun sailing committee of one. Paul from Blonde Moment spoke on behalf of all the participants and thanked the yellow shirt support team for their help during the rally.

The crew of Bolero had a great time cruising the coasts of Spain and Portugal…… the Bay of Biscay crossing seems such a long time ago as we have packed so much in since. A huge thank you to World Cruising Club for facilitating our journey South.

Fair Winds

Nick, Maz, Steve, Judith and Willy

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