Plain Sailing

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Porto – Peniche (119 Miles / 23 Hours) – Wed 7 – Thu 8 Oct 2015

SIMON says: So back in the day when we were amateur sailers (2 Months ago in France) we had done quite a lot of passages through the night, saving time and giving us more time to enjoy places we were mooring at. Unfortunately since our first sail in Spain from Santander to Ribadesella which was an awful night we had vowed to have a good old break from them as it broke our confidence……however we now decided we were set for another one. We really needed to make some headway to Lisbon as the engine repairs & poor weather had set us back. We left Porto at 12:00 with 4 potential destinations, one at 30 Miles, one at 60, another at 90 and if we felt confident with the wind on our side the last at 120 miles. It was a little rough as we left the entrance to the river but the wind looked good. We pushed out offshore where it was calmer and set the sails with the wind 90 degrees to us. We flew along at a steady 6 kts for the next 9 hours, with a nice calm sea beneath us……this was more like it! We had spent the last few passages motoring for the entire time, needing to get some miles under our belt, but this sail seemed perfect. I even treated Holly to making the tea, her one night off a month….homemade pizza, making the dough from scratch too. It did make me realise that even when its calm I am not a fan of being down below, and It makes me feel sick as a dog. As it got dark the wind rounded to almost right behind us, at about 11pm I dropped the foresail to make less of a racket so we could both get a decent sleeps through the night. The main sail blocks the foresail with the wind at this angle anyway, it did slow us down a bit  but made it a much nicer sail. We both had some good rest through the night, Holly sleeping from 11 pm – 3:30 am and myself from 4-8:30 am, come my stint in the early morning I decided since the wind was here that we would carry on to the furthest port out of our 4 and Holly & Scrumples both agreed.
We rounded the final headland about 10:30 and motored the last half a mile into the port of Peniche. this sail had by far been our most successful of the trip so far, averaging over 5 kts an hour over a 24 hour period and the sea was calm, we even slowed down on purpose to get some better rest through the night. To say I was happy was an understatement, this had really boosted both our confidence, especially with the upcoming 700 miles to the Canaries and the Atlantic crossing in mind.
HOLLY Says: I absolutely loved this sail, you don’t mind being hours at sea when you are making good ground (or water seems more appropriate). Finally we were seeing some of the good Portugal winds people had told us about so we had clearly picked the prefect conditions to do a longish passage. The night sky was beautiful and full to the brim with stars, and as we made our way further down the coast line to wards the equator some of the constellations you are used to seeing in England disappeared and new ones came into view. It is crazy to see this, as well as the moon starting from just above the horizon and then hours later its high above your head in the sky. Good old Christopher Columbus would be pleased to this spectacle.
For the first time I put on my iPod and listened to some music to help pass the time (thanks Jacqui on Shavora for reminding me to this!). Music just sounds a billion times better when your sitting in the dark watching the universe and ocean pass you by and Radio 1’s Live Lounge (2014) was the perfect background music to my setting! I did also sing along to the whole album of Michael Jackson’s No.1’s. At about 7:30-8am the beautiful sunrise came out to welcome me, I prefer it to the sunset and it never gets boring no matter how many times you see it. A giant perfectly round ball of dazzling golden yellow, slowly rising up and filling the world with light. Turning the sky from jet black in rainbow pastel oranges and pinks, into lilacs and then fading into light blues. Underneath it the sun lights it path across the deep blue green sea making the waves glisten with specs of silver light…….All you can hear around you is the water lapping around the boat (& the iPod!)  ……IT IS AMAZING!!!! This is what the life of a boat hobo is all about …..well that and sunbathing & lay ins of course!
PENICHE itself was a small town, with nothing much there, the pontoon we were on was again not the most comfortable and the Mosquitos were still troubling us all. Every time a fishing boat past us & there were quiet a few, their wash would hit the starboard side & we’d start rolling. We had also still been bitten through the night by the dreaded mosquitoes who had now claimed squatters rights! They were smart hitting our most vulnerable areas including the forehead, eye, neck and the soles of the feet …. They’d even ventured into Holly’s ever growing tash!
We decided to only stay 1 night and while we were here we stocked up on food and caught up on sleep. It smelt like rotting fish and didn’t seem very picturesque. However we hadn’t done a proper recki and early morning before setting off again Holly found a nearby Fort but didn’t have time to look around so perhaps we just didn’t give the place a chance, taking it at face value. …… Next stop Cascais
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