It was time to leave Porto Santo. We have had such a great time on this island but we have now seen all there is to see and experienced some very fine cuisine. We were initially going to leave from Porto Santo to the Canaries but a last-minute decision meant that we were to head to Madeira instead. The weather is becoming very peculiar as of late and we were concerned that we would not make the Canaries before another area of low pressure reaches us, plus we had come all this way and not to see Madeira would have been a bit silly.
We said goodbye to a few friends who decided to leave on the Thursday and joined them to paint our yacht name on the harbour walls with whatever paints we had available.
We left Porto Santo on Friday the 26th and were followed by Spirit of Argo on the way. The wind was a good 25 knots and with one reef in the main and two in the genoa Troskala sailed very well. The swell however was significant and an hour into the journey I was popping the seasickness tablets and Carlotta was showing the face of panic.
The journey took around 5 hours to complete the 31 miles to a new marina on the South East coast of Madeira. The entrance to Quinta do Lorde is extremely narrow and you would not want to try and enter in any southerly winds. We were greeted by a guy from the marina in a dinghy and he escorted us in.
Quinta do Lorde really is fantastic. It is a new marina with a new resort built around it. Most of the apartments have not been completed yet so the area is very quite. There is a bar that does ‘Happy Hour’ at 17:30 every day so all the boat owners meet and catch up in the evening. All of us now are sat in the inter-net room that is provided as it is raining. The showers and facilities are the best we have experienced since leaving England.
Another bonus for us is that the marina will be sourcing two electricians for us tomorrow (Monday) so we should be able to have most of our electrics replaced before the week is out.
There is set to be more bad weather on Tuesday so it looks like we will be here for the week.
This morning we all found a rock-pool that is not quite completed but part of the resort. Seven of us went swimming in it this morning at high tide in the rain, as good British do. I am sure that once the resort is complete it will cost a fair amount to use this facility so we made a pact to come every morning for a swim.
Apart, from the above there is nothing more to update you with. We are slightly concerned about arriving to the Canaries at our agreed date but I would rather have all jobs on the boat completed before we get to Las Palmas as it sounds like it is already busy down there.
For all you Rival fans out there here is a great video and photos of Troskala sailing from Porto Santo to Madeira. The film is courtesy of Yacht Spirit of Argo. We were experiencing 25 knot winds with quite a swell but Troskala was achieving 7.3 knots at one point with 1 reef in the Main and two reefs in the Genoa. This has been by far her best sail.
Enjoy the video below and sorry for the editing; I am still learning:
It was Carlotta’s Birthday on the 21st. I big thank you to all the cruisers her made the day so special for her. We were greeted by the family on Rafiki with balloons, cake and presents. April and Kane also came bearing gifts of chocolate cake and a lovely wash bag for Carlotta.
We decided to rent a moped for the day and explore the island. To rent a moped cost only 20 Euros and we managed to see the whole island in one afternoon. In the evening we were joined by Willi Tucker and his fiddle and were entertained during pre-dinner drinks to some amazing Scottish tunes with Emily and James also playing some fantastic tunes.
We all went to a restaurant in the evening to experience typical Portuguese food. It was a great day with perfect company throughout. Thank you all for the kind messages on Carlotta’s Birthday, it was much appreciated.
I am currently typing this log at 23:33 on Friday the 12th October. We are now 60 miles off the Portuguese coast heading 230 degrees magnetic. There is 4,300 meters of water beneath us and Madeira is 400 miles away. It is raining and visibility is poor. It is unfortunate that we are motoring but there is no wind and I already had a romantic notion not to use the engine and drift but after 3 hours of the sails flogging and drifting south we terminated this idea.
Carlotta is now in bed and I am on watch until 02:00. We have just been visited by another Yacht called ‘Balance’, which was some entertainment. There are currently 3 yachts in convoy including ourselves although we do not know who they are. The good news is that I have managed to tune into the BBC World Service after hooking up my SB radio antenna to the spreaders and to top it off I have a bag of chewy fruity sweets so all is well.
We had departed Cascais at 08:00 and have had a pretty uneventful day. The fishing line is out but we have caught nothing yet. We had a lovely chicken Jalfarzi for lunch and will probably have the remainder on our change of shift.
The lack of wind is so annoying and I can only hope it will pick up tomorrow to enable us to do some sailing.
Day 2 – 13th October 2012
I am currently sitting with no wind in complete calm. The water is the deepest blue I ever experienced and the silence is absolute. we are drifting aimlessly with not a breath of air.
I took the early morning watch but we were still motoring. The concern that is playing on our minds is that if there continues to be no wind we do not have enough fuel to get to Madeira. We have completed 140 miles and only have enough fuel for another 265 miles, which leave us around 70 miles short.
The swell is intolerable. It is like being on a heavy wash cycle in a Halmatic 3000, or what ever old washing machines are called. The sails are constantly flogging and although I have now pulled in the Genoa and prevented the main they continue to make bang every time a wave lifts us.
On a good note we are still radio distance to yacht ‘Rafiki’ and ‘Spirit of Argo’ so have been having numerous talks with their children; Emily (aged 9) and James (aged 7). Spirit Of Argo have now caught two fish so the competition between Troskala and Rafiki is on.
We had home-made pizza for lunch. At 14:00 the engine went on to try to stem the swell but it did not help much. I pulled down the main and polled out the Genoa but this did not help.
No rain in the night and about the only exciting thing to happen was a close encounter with a tanker and some dolphins who came to visit in the early hours. I am getting much better at Pac-Man and have now read two books since leaving Cascais. Still no fish.
Day 3 – 14th October
We are still motoring. My concern about the lack of fuel is increasing. Now we have dropped behind the two other boats and lost radio signal. The wind is set to increase later on with force 5 Northerly predicted. It is difficult to adjust to not being in a rush and just letting the boat drift but this is our only option at the moment. As I type there is a squall to the north of us so hopefully we can get some speed up.
It is currently 11:25 and we have covered 210 miles. We are nearly half way and expect to be in Porto Santo on Wednesday instead of Tuesday. We have enough food and water on board so no problems there, although all the sweets have gone.
The wind picked up in evening to force 5 so we turned the motor off. Unfortunately there were several squall’s on the horizon, one which got us. We put two reefs in the main and Genoa and ran slightly off course but at least we were making progress. The swell picked up and left us with an uncomfortable sea state. It was going to be a long night.
Neither of us could sleep through the night so sat in the cockpit with the Hydrovane making light work of the steering. We are both shattered and still have 200 plus miles to go before we reach Porto Santo. We saw a few tankers in the evening one which past behind us at around 2 miles off. The rest of the night was uneventful.
Day 4 – 15th October
We both managed to get an hour rest but the motion of the sea is now unbearable. The sails constantly flog. Both of us went back to bed until 10:00 by which time the wind had veered to the East. We shook the reefs out of the main and polled out the Genoa, which settled the boat some what. At around 11:00 the wind came from the South, so pole down and we set a broad reach doing around 4.5 knots. If we can maintain this today we may make Porto Santo by tomorrow evening. It is now 13:00 and we have covered 319 miles so only 170 left to go.
I cooked an amazing tortilla de patata that was supplemented by a salad made by Carlotta. The rest of the day was uneventful. We are still making slow progress but at least we are sailing.
Day 5 – 16th October
We managed to sail slowly though the night with not much occurring but for a couple of tankers. Whilst writing this it is 01:00 on the 17th October and I can see the loom of Madeira, which is now only 45 miles away.
Back to the day in question. As the days increase they also seem to become shorter. Our day-light hours are becoming short-lived but the night still seems to drag. This is the same for today. I woke up to do the dawn shift and Carlotta woke at 10:00. We were motoring but Carlotta felt there was enough wind to sail, which we did. I woke up at 13:00 after 2 hours sleep and again we were becalmed. We took down the main and drifted for an hour just enjoying the silence but after a review of how many miles we had to do and what time we would expect to get into Porto Santo, we decided to motor. I cooked another tortilla but this time with onions.
We have motored now for the past 11 hours. When we make Porto Santo I will only have 15 litres of fuel left in the tank if that so I am hoping we pick up some wind in the early hours of the morning. All calculations seem to say we have enough but it is still a concern.
The electrics are playing up again and now as soon as we switch the galley light on some of the instruments are going down. A fuse that has being giving me concern is still quite hot under load so we are trying to use the bare minimum of our electrical appliances to stop it from burning out. I have made a decision to have the main fuses and control panel replaced in Gran Canaria as we cannot cross the Atlantic worrying about the electrics going down. If anyone knows someone based in the Canaries that can help please send me a comment.
We expect to be in Porto Santo by 11:00 today all being well. It has not been the best journey with less wind than forecasted and a swell that has made life pretty uncomfortable. At least no-body can hear Carlotta shout and swear out here.
We are both looking forward to showers as I have not changed clothes since we left Cascais and Carlotta is getting frustrated.
Day 6 – 17th October
This was going to be a challenging day, but after I had finished my shift leaving Carlotta with the loom of Funchal in the distance I had no idea what to expect.
I managed to get some sleep but Carlotta took over the 02:00 to 06:00 shift under motor as the wind had not picked up as expected. In the morning I could clearly see Porto Santo. It is quite a feeling to see land after days of endless see and sky. It was 09:30, I had tried to sail with a bit of breeze but needed the engine. At 09:40 the worst happened and the revs started to decrease. I rushed to turn the engine off before we ran it dry.
My worries were confirmed – we had run out of fuel. Carlotta was now awake and we decided what to do. The wind had picked up so at least we were able to sail. We tried several times to contact Porto Santo but to no avail; we were now 8 miles from the marina. We constantly tried to raise assistance and get a tow but no answer. Luckily for us another yacht (Lone Rival) heard our pleas and said that he would speak to the office.
Thank fully our the children of Yacht Rafiki were in the office the same time as Lome Rival and knew that it was us who were in trouble. We were advised to sail into the anchorage but of course two squalls decided to roll down the maintains making tacking under such conditions a complete struggle, not to mention loosing complete visibility.
In the end we managed to tack into the anchorage and set our anchor by reversing the boat under main sail, which worked well. We were then left to wait whilst the marina sent a launch out with fuel. The marina staff never came but a gentleman from another yacht (Free Spirit arrived showing similarities to James Bond on a jet Ski and delivered 20 litres and two cold beers thanks to Rob and Cally in Rafiki. I could not help feeling slightly inadequate, especially when his line that I had tied off came loose. What a guy. 🙂
I bled the fuel system and we were back under way, making it into Porto Santo marina by 18:00. Apparently the marina staff radio was faulty but there was no apology for not being able to assist and it actually set the scene for complete incompetence on numerous occasions by certain members of the staff.
We invited all our helpers over for drinks the next night as a thank you for recusing us, we had 10 on board in total and had a fantastic night, although drunk too much.
After being here for 3 days we have found another two boats that also ran out of fuel and needed rescuing, which made us feel better. It was great to also our friends from Yacht Limbo, who sailed across a day later than us in their 26 foot yacht and were unfortunately subjected to horrendous conditions.
The facilities and staff here are poor, but it is only 16 Euros a night with an ARC discount so we will stay here for the next few days as another storm will be passing through here on Monday and Tuesday.
The help we received from fellow cruisers has been amazing. There is such a fantastic group of boats here and quite a community. We were asked to move our boat during heavy winds to another berth that was smaller as the marina staff obviously wanted to look like they were doing something. We had 10 other people standing by to assist us during the process.
I have to give a special thanks to the following yachts and the amazing people on them:
Rafiiki – Rob, Calley, Emily & James
Lone Rival – Mark & Ginney
Free Spirit – Lars
We will depart Porto Santo and sail the 40 miles to the main island of Madeira where we will spend 2 days. There is said to be an out-break of Denghe Fever in Funchal so we will miss that port for now. We will then complete the 300 miles to Las Palmas in order to get our electrics looked at.
Total Miles: 2,100
Lat: 33.0619° N
Lon: 16.3564° W
Always carry enough fuel to be able to motor the entire journey. We left one Jerry Can empty as we though we were heading to Morocco. This extra 20 litres would have been more than enough to get us safely into Porto Santo. I always believe that keeping weight to a minimum is good but I will never again leave an empty can of fuel without of filling it.
4 hour watches worked really well with snoozing during the day.
Well we have now been in Cascais for over a week and due to some favourable wind forecasted for tomorrow and the fact that we have experienced every cafe in town we need to leave.
We spent two days in Cascais marina as the prices dropped as of the 01st October so we only paid 15 euros per night including VAT. Cascais Marina also throw in a free bottle of wine when you arrive.
We used these days in the marina to update and fix some bits on Troskala. She now has LED lighting throughout the inside as a week at anchor showed that we could not use our lights as much as was needed due to the consumption. We purchased 9 LED bulbs that cost 11 euros each; much cheaper than in the UK. We also renewed our SSR number that had expired and fixed Troskala’s name to life buoy as this is a requirement for the ARC.
We met some great people in the Marina and a few over for drinks on one of the nights but we also enjoyed freshly caught Tuna aboard ‘Yacht Blood Shot’ one night and drinks with other boats during our stay; it is a great community.
I do not know where the week has gone, and we never managed to take a train into Lisbon but we do feel relaxed and ready for the next voyage. There has been some debate on where we wanted to go next, whether it be Morocco or Madeira but last night we came up with the decision to head to Porto Santo in Madeira, a sail of 450 miles and 4 / 5 days. The wind will be blowing a nice 20 / 25 knots Northerly for the next 5 days so it should be a great passage for the two of us.
So, my next log will come from Madeira in the next 4/5 days.
We departed Peniche at 07:30 into a sunny haze. We motored for an hour out to sea to try and pick up a breeze, which we did at about 5 cables off shore. The wind was Northerly with a touch of Easterly; perfect conditions to pole out – so we did and enjoyed a run of 40 miles in ‘down-wind’ mode with the main to Starboard and Genoa polled out to port. I have to say that this day was by far the best sail we have had. We averaged 5.5 knots with the wind picking up by 12:00 to 15 knots from behind.
I managed to get the fishing rod set up and was happily trailing our para-vane and rig in the hope of catching tonight’s dinner. After an hour our speed increased and on one occasion of trying to retrieve the rig the line snapped and the lot was lost – need a stronger line.
Once we rounded the peninsular into the River Tejo heading to Lisbon the wind picked up to 20 knots so we reduced Genoa and ran the rest of the way under Main Sail into our anchorage at Cascais.
The anchorage at Cascais is situated to the NE side of the marina and gives perfect shelter from most winds apart from southerly.
Total Miles: 1,547
Engine: 1 hour
Cascais – 02nd October
We really have found the perfect anchorage and will be in no rush to head to Lisbon. We are anchored 2 cables of a spectacular beach with bars, showers and a massive supermarket only 5 minutes walk away. We intend to stay here until our water runs out; it is now Thursday and we still have plenty so it looks like a few more beach days are in order.
Cascais itself is a pretty town with many historic buildings. Today we went to a house that has been turned into a museum. The house was originally built by the O’Neil family in 1900. It has maintained it’s original features from that era. We spent a fantastic afternoon there looking around grand rooms and enjoying the spectacular views from the roof top.
Cascais is certainly worth a visit, the climate is perfect. Yesterday the temperature reached 32 degrees centigrade and today it is said to reach 33, so finally we have our summer, which was sorely missed in the UK.
The only thing that spoils the town is the main square. In the evenings you have live Portuguese music playing but all around the bars have been turned into cheap British Bars named the ‘John Bull’ or ‘The Harley Davidson Bar’ where you can buy a Full English or Pie and Chips. I will never understand why the town council allowed this to happen to one of the nicest areas in Cascais. We took a look around the square one night and were confronted by track-suite wearers with no hair and gold chains – we moved on as the night would probably end up like Watford on a Saturday night.
One Bar on the beach is called ‘John David’s Bar’. Outside they have a sign stating: Slow Service, Dirty Glasses, Poor Food, Rude Staff, Expensive, English Humor – Try Us. Er, no thanks, if that is how they sell British Cuisine and service they are obviously imbeciles.
We have now made the Executive decision to stay in Cascais until the weekend and then head to Lisbon. We are then going to head down to the Algarve and onto Southern Spain before ducking into the Mediterranean and then onto Morocco.
When you arrive at a place and it seems to be the best place you have stayed there is always an urge to stay longer and appreciate more your time there. Peniche for some reason did not seem and ideal place to go. I had a preconception that it would be industrial and not as nice a Nazare but we had to press on and the wind was already howling in the rigging. I commenced my morning tea break watching who dared to leave the marina and who choose to stay. The French always leave in their aluminum Onvi’s and two had already departed which left me with hope that the decision to leave would be the best. Then some old man comes up to Carlotta and I and advises us not to leave; in fact he basically advised us not to leave for the next few weeks. I took this information with caution but Carlotta displayed the worried face she does when the rigging starts making a noise and some stranger leaves doubt in our minds, so I now had to convince her as well that it was the right decision.
I decided to follow my instinct as this has worked before but we had the same pontoon to come off with the same direction of wind as the first challenge. I read a bit of Tom Cunliffe’s advise on springing off a pontoon, which I had done before but with no success. So, it was time to give it a go we my new found knowledge. Our spectators were back out as soon as they saw me prepare the boat for the off. We reversed gently on our back warp; nothing happened. I had to increase the revs to 2,800 before she even began to turn, and turn she did, we came off that pontoon like true professionals with not a mark of embarrassment; thank you Tom Cunliffe.
We motored out with no problems apart from Carlotta loosing her cap. We stopped the motor around 4 cables off the shore and ran under genoa. We had a great sail during the first part of our day but then as it does the wind picked up and we were dealing with 35 knots of wind. We reefed the genoa partially but Troskala was still making 6 knots. All was manageable but the wind by now was howling and we were experiencing a swell of 5 meters that would literally pick up Troskala and carry her towards land, which were now 3 cables away. We were rounding Carvoerio headland and could turn east to hopefully be protected from the North Westerly. As we turned the water became shallow and our 5-meter swell started to produce breaking waves, two of which gave the cockpit a good soaking.
We now had Peniche in sight and the wind eased, the steerage was still hard to manage under the swell but we felt better with less wind. We came into Peniche with no issues and rafted next to another boat.
We met some fantastic people in Peniche and decided to stay another day. We had drinks with both Yacht Rafiki and Yacht Meriva who were all lovely people.
I was wrong about Peniche. Although it seemed very poor the people were friendly, the coffee cheap and the town clean and historic. There is an amazing fort that is a must see. We headed over to a beach we had seen from the coast the next day and swam in the sea plus managed to get on top of emails in our new office by the sea.
We were invited over to Yacht Meriva in the evening to have drinks with Sue and Tristan. Peniche Harbor was a great stop over and the swell caused by the fishing vessels was not a bad as the almanac or word of mouth have you believe but we were there on a weekend so that may have something to do with it.
I would like to share with you the costs of this marina but marina’s in Portugal shut over the weekend so we were unable to pay for our two nights, which is crazy but meant we have some more money in our pocket.