Our final leg during the European summer cruise.
The new crew, Steve, Peter and Frankie, as well as Bjoern, arrived in time, helped Ulf and Philip fix a few issues and buy a tremendous amount of food – before leaving on the four day sail to Madeira.
We started with a decent breeze and were looking for wind towards the end. After our only swim in the deep ocean we tied up in Madeira visited the island: one day in the Capital, Funchal, (a 1.5hr bus ride away) and one day per rental car along the Northshore. Of course we sampled plenty of Madeira before moving on to Lanzarote (a 2 day sail away).
Luckily, we stopped in La Graciosa on the way, and had the opportunity to experience the Canaries from a different (not the typical tourist) angle.
When we arrived in Arrecife, we were impressed with the modern marina, its facilities and general protection against swell. We toured the island for a day by car and had the opportunity to listen to Jimmy Cornell and other experts speak about general cruising topics (Jimmy organized a 1 week cruising seminar for the Barbados 50 regatta).
We made it to our final destination in time and sailed about 800nm on this leg.
If YouTube does not play this video in your country, try this link instead: https://goo.gl/photos/bTQCz8B1o4NZajsD8
A video summary of our roughly 950nm tour this summer from Cork, Ireland, to Lisbon, Portugal.
We meant to spend a little more time cruising the southern Irish coast and ideally round Fastnet Rock before heading south. However, the weather convinced us to leave right away to take advantage of the northerly winds (and to avoid the upcoming strong southerlies).
While the water remained cold all the way to Lisbon, it was clear that we were moving south as day after day we were wearing less and less layers.
While La Coruna does not look that pretty from the water, we were quickly convinced we found a hidden jewel when walking down the old town alleys with endless rows of restaurants, bars and an amazing atmosphere until late. That in combination with outstanding food and endless opportunities to visit historic sites made for a good start into the Iberian part of our tour.
Santiago de Compostella did not disappoint at all; neither did Lisbon – fantastic destinations on their own.
What surprised us was the natural beauty of the Islas Cies (a must stop for any visitor in Galicia!) as well as the atmosphere of Porto. We wish we had been able to spend more time in either location.
On the downside, the water was much colder than expected and we therefore sailed in a fair bit of fog (we never saw the Portuguese coast north of Lisbon…).
Should YouTube not play this video in your country, try this link instead: https://goo.gl/photos/94mEV21sn4vgUT1j9
We have spent a significant amount of time trying to get our propane tanks refilled in Ireland (where we ended up renting a car to buy a local tank), Spain (where we were sent from one city to the next) and mainland Portugal (where we were told that it was illegal to refill a tank in Portugal).
We were therefore quite doubtful when the very friendly marina staff offered to get our empty tank refilled. It just sounded too good to be true.
Anyways, as promised the refilled tank was ready for us exactly at 17:30 and we left the marina for our sail to the Canaries.
In the morning, after Peter, Ulf and Björn had dropped off Frankie at the airport and gone grocery shopping, we started our next attempt to unclog the head. We had tried various plungers from under the boat, built up pressure inside etc and finally decided to take some of the hoses apart… Long story short, we got it all fixed, it was not messy at all and neither human waste nor toilet paper were part of the problem. How what we pushed out of the system got in there we might never find out…
Given that we had already received the repaired gennaker back from the local sailmaker, Tachabio (?), whom we had a good-bye beer with (and of course with Jan), we were at 3 for 3.
On top of that, a lot of work work got done, the newly acquired plungers helped us to unclog the deck drain, we scrubbed the water line and hiked a truly amazing path to the eastern most tip of the island (will post photos soon).
So, a very successful day that ended with perfect sailing conditions (NE 12, sailing SE under a clear sky with lots and lots of stars and very mild temperatures) and Björn’s awesome chicken curry.
Too bad, Frankie missed it all. We wish him good luck with his new job in Chicago. It is good to be back at sea again.
A few more photos of our crew that sailed from Cork in Ireland to Cascais in Portugal. We left Ireland a little earlier than initially planned to benefit from the northerly winds and had a great sail to Spain. Temperatures were quickly getting warmer, sealife was abundant and the cultural experiences in Ireland, Spain and Portugal fantastic. We sailed about 950nm, had no technical issues and apart from a little fog here and there, perfect weather.
Alex Vogel (he left us as planned in A Coruna)
UIf Westhoven (who took Alex’s spot in Baiona)
We had a great start into the day; after a shower with fresh water and hopes to get our propane tanks refilled, we met with the local sailmaker and believe that the gennaker can be fixed in time for the sail to Lanzarote.
We took the bus to Funchal, the capital of Madeira, and enjoyed the old buildings, the wine festival (although we had expected a little more) and especially the Blandy’s winery tour.
We found a great spot for dinner with 1811, the Bistro and Wine Bar, associated with Blandy’s. The staff was not only extremely friendly but also very knowledgeable and food & wine outstanding.
After a number of tapas-like shared appetizers and lots of good rose wine, we moved on to check out the wine festival close to the marina, before heading to old town – where we verified the rumors about the high quality Caipirinhas and other cocktails.
With the bar tender showing off his Tom Cruise-like tricks and setting a pyramid of glasses on fire, the Flaming Lamborghini closed the deal – we had found the perfect neighborhood to have a good time out.
What a finish to our first part.
The sun came out, the wind held steady, we saw land in the morning (Porto Santo, about 30nm to the northeast of Madeira) and we went for a swim in the perfect deep blue and warm water. As always, the visibility under water was unbelievable.
We started the engine for the final miles around the corner after a nice pasta dinner and enjoyed the sunset.
The stars came out and the various towns provided a beautiful yellow light that almost looked like lava flowing down the vulcano.
We tied up at the marina, Quinta do Lorde, in the north east of Medaira (Funchal’s marina is booked due to an event), found an open bar in the hotel and celebrated our arrival.
PS: we were impressed and relieved to receive a message from Jan, on La Vida, that he had already arrived in Porto Santo and with that probably singlehandedly sailed faster than the six of us – well done!