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
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.
or the island with the most tunnels and least horizontal surface area is what we experienced during our great excursion per rental car. A beautiful island where every almost vertical space is used to grow crops or wine (and only soccer fields are horizontal and significantly larger – must be Ronaldo’s legacy, who was born in Funchal). Even the runway at the airport is built on humongous stilts into the coastline (providing perfect dry storage for boats even with their masts up).
The drive along the North shore was amazing, our rally car drivers, Ulf and Bjoern, safely moved us up and down extremely steep, winding and narrow roads, providing one vista point after the other. We drove past the typical A-frame thatched roofed houses, had a shower under a waterfall in the middle of the road (of course at the same time when trucks from both directions were shooting up and down the one way road into the tunnel…) and even had some of us climb an elaborate ladder system up a quite high and steep wall (without police taking notice). Unfortunately, the caves in Sao Vincente were already closed, but the views crossing the island to the south shore and the following dinner at a local seafood place in Canical easily compensated for that (as well as the extensive souvenir shopping by some of the crew outside the caves).
We were initially concerned about the significant fires that hit the islands a few weeks ago, but were happy to see that first of all the fires were under control, but also that most of the island was not impacted. We saw saw very little impacted forests during our drive, but also only covered a relatively small portion of the island.
Of course, we enjoyed Jan’s company again (from La Vida) as he enriched our conversions with a lot of Finnish insights…
While we did not manage to get the head repaired yet (we only tried it he easy way avoiding a disassembly), we managed to get the repaired gennaker back.
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!
If you read yesterday’s blog, our status is pretty much the same.
Still no fish, still not much sun, but very pleasant temperature, smooth long swell, a few dolphins and as always great company and food.
We celebrated the half-way point with the fine port wine from Churchills and are looking forward to a little more wind tomorrow. Water temperature is about 26C/78F.