Thursday 14 May 2015

Leixeos to Peniche

Sorry, no photos but see the tracking page for the only one taken this passage.

We left Leixeos at about 1500 on Wednesday 13/5 in light westerly winds with Nazare about 70 miles south our intended destination. Subsequently however we decided to push on to Peniche another 30 miles south. The wind gradually increased in fits and starts over the following 24 hours such that by mid morning today (Thursday) we had a reef in the main and a few turns in the Genoa and were running at about 6.5 k in a NNW F 5/6 with a heavy swell running that occasionally and then more frequently over powered Angus and caused the boat to gybe.

It was after this had been going on for 30 mins or so that I partly furled the Genoa which improved things dramatically. I realised that without a reef in the Genoa the sail plan was out of balance and in the gusts the poled out Genoa pushed the bows downwind forcing the gybe despite Angus's best efforts!

I also figured something out about wind vanes - unlike a human they can't compensate for variations in weather helm that gusting conditions (exacerbated by swell) create. Getting the sail plan balanced to the best compromise is therefore critical to maintaining a steady course relative to the wind. In open ocean providing gybing is avoided it doesn't matter too much if the boat yaws about but if as we were, you're sailing to way points (between islands and the mainland) you want a steady course. I then also found that the best way of managing the extreme fluctuations in the wind was to adjust the main sheet tension.

We saw  one solitary dolphin this morning. By the time I had the camera out he'd gone!

A couple of issues cropped up on the passage. Around midday I noticed that the solar panel meter display was showing a full battery despite the fact that the battery was continuing to drain rather than charge. I eventually traced the cause to a blown fuse on the positive cable to the batteries. I then realised that I failed to replace the fuse with one of an increased rating when i added the 2 100w panels to the original 50w one. The 6.5a fuse was not able to cope with 12+ a being generated by the panels. Strangely the 10 fuse I replaced it with (the highest rated fuse I had) was!

The other issue is that something's amiss with the end of tiller near the rudder head. A bolt seems to have pulled out. Something to look at tomorrow, but nothing a bit of epoxy won't sort out I'm sure.

By 1400 we were between Ilha Da Berlegha and Cabo Carvoeiro and the seas were quite boisterous, no doubt brought about by a combination of shoaling water and the north/south current funneling through the gap. Things quietened down once we got into the lee of Cabo Carvoeio and we were moored up in Pineche at 1600.

Tomorrow will be a rest/odd job/sight seeing day. We aim to push on for Lisbon on Saturday.

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