Sunday 17 May 2015

Peniche to Lisbon

We left Peniche around 0830 and headed south initially in moderate and then light winds from the NW that after a couple of hours dropped to nearly no wind at all for an hour or so. The winds then increased to a F5 possibly gusting 6 later in the day from more or less north that put us on more or less a dead run. The wind at least initially was no stronger than the previous passage but the swell probably was and we were always close to gybing. In these conditions Angus found it impossible to cope. The boat kept on gybing or veering off down wind despite trying various sail plans, which cumulated in two reefs in the main and genoa when the wind and swell was at its highest. We had to resort to hand steering again which was a bit of a blow given we have a longish passage coming up to the Azores.

Conditions were quite challenging even for a human helmsman between Cabo Roso and Cascais so perhaps it was a bit too much to expect Angus to deal with. At times and for (very) short periods Arctic Smoke surfed down waves at 9.5 knots, a speed I had never witnessed before. Most of the time however she was making around 6.5 knots. Nearer to Cascais the conditions moderated and we passed a couple of yachts going in the opposite direction against the weather and the current and we wondered if they realised what was lying in wait for them around the corner!

Prior to Cabo Roso however, we were in conditions that will be only too common on the open ocean so we still need to make further improvements to Angus's operation if we're to make the Azores without being completely exhausted. I've therefore emailed the two brains behind Angus, the designer and builder and have asked for their views.

The upside of the day was a great sail across the bay and up the river to Lisbon. The water was almost flat once we were in the lee of the land but for the most part we still had a good breeze and so we romped along at 6-7 knots on a close reach/close hauled for the next couple of hours. That was just as well because the tide had turned against us and we were often only making 4k over the ground.

We entered Alcatara marina just before 2030 to make it a 12 hour passage to cover the 60 nautical miles, not bas considering we were pushing a foul tide for the last 3 hours.

We moored up on the first pontoon we came to and given the lateness of the hour and the fact that we had two steaks in the fridge we dined on board thanks to Tony's excellent skills in the galley. We turned in at around 2330 only to be disturbed by a party boat anchoring a few meters away with disco blaring at full blast. They disappeared after about an hour only for the clubs to open up with their cacophony a few minutes later. They didn't stop until 0700 the following morning.

Today, Sunday we moved the boat further up the marina, away from the clubs we were assured. We're now nearer the bridge but also further away from the commercial docks.

It's so hot today that we have rigged the cockpit cover for the first time since 2012 in Amsterdam!

We plan to stay here a few days \u8211\'96 hopefully improve the wind vane, rest up, tackle a few jobs and generally prepare the boat and then head out into the ocean proper.

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