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Month: September 2022

Faro exploration

Faro exploration

We arrived late to Faro, after dark and our chosen anchorage was a little way up river so instead of motoring through shallow unknown waters in the dark we found the first suitable spot and dropped anchor for the first night, we were well out of the way of the main channel although later we found out that the shallow draft of many of the ferries meant that they can take a short cut right past us

In the morning we made our way further into the river system where we found maybe 50 boats anchored, still the area was very large and we found ourselves a nice spot in Calutra

I decided that I wanted to see the Benagil Caves now that we were on the south coast but unfortunately, we had passed them earlier in our sail to Faro, after a quick look at the winds we decided the best thing was to get a train there instead of sailing back again!

Getting to the train turned out to be a bit of a feat in itself, as we first had to take the dinghy to the nearest harbour, Calutra, and then a Ferry, which we couldn’t get a ticket for (due to a language misunderstanding!) We then got on the wrong ferry thinking it was the only way so we stayed on it for over an hour whilst it took us to another port first, then we finally made it to a place with a train station but the next train to Faro wasn’t for over an hour again! And all that was before getting the actual train from Faro to the caves. You can see the crazy route we took below.

Anyway, a few hours later we finally made it to the caves to find out the swell was a bit bigger than expected and they had stopped running the boat tours inside the caves, we did, however, get to see them from above and had a great cliff top walk which included seeing ‘Elephant Rock’ and a number of other cool caves and rocky outcrops before ending up at a beach surrounded by big cliffs and sea stacks.

Getting back we thought was going to be more straightforward now that we knew what ferries ran to where, however, we were too late to get the last one back!! Oops

So stuck in Faro our choice was to find somewhere to stay there or get a €60 water taxi, we decided why not make the most of it and get a room in Faro! The place we found had a pool too so we spent some time relaxing before getting the ferry back the next day

Little Han (the dinghy) and Hannah were just as we’d left them, luckily we’d thought we might be back after dark so had left the anchor light on anyway and as we had been at anchor there for a couple of nights already, without budging we didn’t feel too uncomfortable leaving the boat on its own at anchor overnight for the first time

Day 82-83: Sesimbra to Sines, well actually let’s carry on to Faro

Day 82-83: Sesimbra to Sines, well actually let’s carry on to Faro

A standard day sail or so we thought when we left Sesimbra, the sail started off fairly slow with less than 10knots of wind, a gorgeous day for sailing and relatively flat calm seas.

We made lots of Instagram stories of this adventure, so you can watch the complication below which includes spoilers, or come back to it at the end.

As the sea was so flat and we wanted to make good time we thought it would be a great opportunity to try hoisting the dinghy on a halyard to sit alongside the hull of the boat instead of being either dragged along behind (slowing us down a little) or deflating it, which is effort!

So I got in ‘Little Han’ whilst we sailed along and fashioned a bridle so we could hoist her up with relatively even pressure

And a little while later we had a nicely working hoist with fenders and support lines so it didn’t move around.

As we carried on through our sail we checked the weather (again) this usually occurs about 6 times a day especially when we don’t write down what the forecast actually said! But this time it was in response to a message received from Adam’s Mum with a link to an approaching storm, one which we knew would be hitting us within a couple of days.

According to Público, Hurricane Danielle changed its course and will hit Portugal on 11 and 12 September, bringing rain and strong wind. The hurricane proved to have an uncertain route and has now included Portugal in the route; however, its classification will change once it reaches Portugal.

Storm coming to Portugal –

So after discussing in detail if the anchorage we were approaching would give us appropriate protection, we did agree that it would be fine.. however, it would leave us trapped there for probably 3 days as leaving it soon after the storm passed over would have meant sailing through an unwelcome sea state (3-meter swell!.. no thanks!)

As we were sailing along pretty nicely now we looked at alternatives and getting to Faro sprang to mind, about 120 miles further than the 30 we expected to be sailing that day! The overall track was rather long and varied.

The afternoon wind picked up and we were cruising along on our fastest point of sail, a Beam Reach at 7-8knots, it was really the first time in at least a month we have had really fast sailing conditions, so thought may as well carry on as we should have good wind all night!

As night drew in so did the swell, it wasn’t too bad as the wind picked up a little more too which is actually a good thing when there’s swell as it stops the boat from rolling into the wind as much when you come down off a swell wave

My night watch started at about 2am and everything had been going smoothly, about half an hour in we were getting faster and faster, and I shone a light at the anemometer, it said 33knots, I thought that’s rather a lot to have no reefs in, but being still on a beam reach means the boat doesn’t heal as much as close hauled so it’s more comfortable in stronger winds, still I needed to choose to do something as the wind waves were picking up too the options were to reef the sails (had already taken the mizzen down earlier) which is hard work in the night, or turn down wind further, away from our destination but as we were going so fast a few extra miles didn’t make much difference

Adam had woken up by this point saying he felt the vibrations in the hull and asked if we were going faster!

We decided the best action would just be to turn down wind a little which makes it seem like there’s less wind as your going more in the same direction as it

At that point there was a crack and the sound of metal running over the fiberglass deck, I shone the torch outside trying to see what had broken, Adam got out of bed to help, luckily all it turned out to be was the jib forestay which is usually lashed down out of the way when not in use had worn through the lashing, but now was wildly swing around in the wind from the top of the mast, it hit the windscreen and got caught on the windscreen wiper.. just long enough to grab it so it couldn’t cause any more damage, this time I took something more substantial to hold it down, a couple of shackles will do the trick.

I donned my lifejacket and went out into what was turning into a bit of a stormy night to secure it to the deck whilst Adam shone a torch on me all the time!

So with that minor inconvenience sorted out he went back to bed and I carried on with my watch

5am came around and it was almost time for me to have a snooze but not before a wave hit us a bit differently to all the others and knocked the dinghy half out of its bridle, it was now half dragging in the water. We had to put a lasso of rope around the far back tip of the dinghy, turns out our Little Han is not so little when your trying to lean out over the side of the boat to throw a rope around its far side, so with some boat hooking and heaving it up higher it was finally back on and well supported.. time for a sleep 💤

As we rounded the southern corner of Portugal and got into the Lee of the land in the morning the wind subsided as did the swell and we quickly slowed down to a crawl, so time to change the sails again! It was cruising chute weather. (This also looked pretty cool due to the shadow cast by the mast)

We love using our cruising chute now it’s got a sock to be hoisted in, it means you can hoist it without it filling with wind so much less likely to damage the delicate light airs sail

By midday we had both snoozed enough to catch up on the sleep, we’d just missed out on!

The water looked so inviting and knowing it had to be at least be a little warmer than where we were previously I decided it would be a good idea to jump in whilst we sailed along!

We threw one our big fenders out the back on a long line to grab hold of and I threw myself in, the cool water was not as freezing as it was in Spain where I couldn’t even stand it even in a winter wetsuit so we jumped in and out a few times and as the boat was going slowly we could even have a swim next to the boat and not be left behind!

We even took some underwater pics and a video of the hull.. which we are due to clean now that the water is more barrable! Looks at all that gunge 😱

So with all the day’s excitement over we eventually made it to our anchorage not long after sunset and with a few hours of lovely calm sailing before getting there we had the boat all wrapped up in sail covers and tidied up before we anchored, even teeth cleaned so all we had to do was drop anchor, set an anchor drag alarm and get into a well-deserved bed

Day 81: Sesimbra

Day 81: Sesimbra

Our pre planning of heading to Cascais rather than heading further into the Lisboa river served us well on day 81, as the 27nm journey took us 10.5 hours due to light winds (we only adveraged 2.5 knots).

We managed to get the fishing rod out due to our mostly slow sailing. We tried a mixture of single deep diving lures, and also the paravane with feathers and a spinner.

As Adam was making dinner Kathryn started to reel the rod in, but is felt suspisciously heavy. Upon getting the paravane up to the surface Adam walkd away thinking that job was done., before Kathryn said “wait we caught something”.

Normally the paravane should come to the surface when it catches a fish, but either there was something wrong with this fish, the paravane, or perhaps it just bit at the last second?

We caught our first Mackerel scad (thanks Mark for helping us identify).

Anchoring in Sesimbra wasn’t ideal, we arrived just after the sun had set, and the anchorage remained rockey for most of the night, but there were not many alternatives.

Day 79-80: Cascais (again)

Day 79-80: Cascais (again)

Andrew left the boat heading to Lisbon airport on the morning of day 79.

The marina had a quite noisy collection of little crabs that seemed to come out as the tide dropped. They would just sit on the rocks, clicking their little claws together, we assume eating things.

We spent the rest of the morning restocking the boat from a nearby supermarket, doing some last-minute laundry, general cleaning and unexpected boat maintenance (the shower pump out pump ceased up and we needed to take it apart).

Wanting to get out of the marina to avoid spending too much more money, but also not wanting to make our next hop down the coast any longer we decided to head back to Cascais.

The sail was in familiar water and rather short, with only the initial exit out of the river mouth leading us into some slightly lumpy more unprotected water.

We were once again a boat of 2 and spent some time relaxing in the quiet, with no real pressure to be getting anywhere on a timeline (at least not a timeline of a few weeks).

We had been talking of making pastel de natas aboard at some point and decided to give it a go (despite not having any sort of try that would make them pastel de nata sized.

We mostly followed a recipe from, but opted for a rather large dish and made something like a pastel de nata tart.

With the burnt bits trimmed off, and a nice background in place, it looked and tasted delicious!

Day 77: Lisbon (ish)

Day 77: Lisbon (ish)

From Cascais it was only a 5nm sail to our chosen marina near Lisbon, we hoisted the mainsail whilst still at anchor and sailed like a pro out through the other anchored boats quickly unfurling the genoa too

The sea and sky were kind and with lake-like seas, we sped toward Lisbon, this was Andrews’s final day of sailing and it was going to be a fun one, early that morning we had seen a pirate ship approach our anchorage and drop the hook a little way offshore, the ship was huge and could have easily been taken right out of Pirates of the Caribbean! We looked it up online to find that it likely had around 75 people on board, what was funny was that it also had two washing machines and dryers on board too, the luxuries of pirate living!

As we sailed out towards it we tried to get as close as possible to get a good look at it and take some pictures, we waved at everyone on deck.. sadly not a single one waved back! 

But anyway we did get some great pics of it

As we carried on we decided the conditions were perfect for Andrew to do some single-handed sailing, with and without the use of the autopilot, so first I demonstrated how to tack the boat and change the sails without using the autopilot to hold the wheel and then we handed the boat over to Andrew to have a go doing everything himself, he did a very good job at being quick enough to not let the boat tack back again after transferring the headsail to the other side whilst not holding the wheel!

We also tried to sail a circle which obviously had some tacking included but really not a bad effort! You can look at our track on the map

After we had had enough of that Andrew announced that he hadn’t been in the water the entire time he’d been on board!! A whole month on board and he hadn’t dipped his toes in! We had completely forgotten about that as the water before this point had been pretty cold oh and he did get covid for a little bit too :0, so we sailed a little further from shore and decided to ‘heave to’ (stall the boat under sail, like anchoring with no anchor) and drift whilst we all had fun jumping in.

However, not long before we were going to jump in we spotted something in the water that stopped any of us from getting in the water!.. jellyfish and lots of them.

I wanted to get a good picture of the interestingly shaped jellyfish so I jumped in the dinghy with the underwater camera and snapped a few of these, apparently, this is a very common jellyfish found off the coast of Portugal with a moderate sting. We think it is a Catostylus tagi.

We probably spent 40mins admiring the jellyfish before we stopped seeing them.. no time like the present we thought so got into a swimming costume and we all jumped in the sea, Adam and I even tried to halyard swing into the water with some pretty funny results… (you can judge who is best)

So 11.5nm later we arrived at the marina, radioed in, and got a space, luckily the conditions were good as the space they had given us was very tight! With lots of fenders out on both sides, we edged our way into the slip and had a nice little relax before going to check in and find the shower block!

We headed into Lisbon via taxi in the evening to have a final meal with Andrew.

On the way back, we did some much-needed exercise after a big meal and lots to drink!

Tweet from Adam – A beauty at anchor

Tweet from Adam – A beauty at anchor

Just sailed past this beauty at anchor
Entertainingly it is a fair bit newer than the boat I am on (Hannah Penn)
2005 vs 1972
#sailinghannahpenn #sailing #boatlife #pirateship

— Adam Shorland (@addshore)
Sep 4, 2022

Day 75-76: Cascais

Day 75-76: Cascais

Day 75 saw us heading to Cascais. This was the moment we turned the first “corner” on the west coast of Portugal.

The anchorage was large and there was plenty of room for us right in the middle.

That evening we headed to shore to explore what Cascais had to offer and to find some food.

Once again, as keeps happening at many of our ports of call, there was a festival happening.

We stayed in Cascais for 2 days, as long ago during the planning of the trip Kathryn had seen a place called Quinta de Regaleria that looked rather awesome, and we had to check it out.

This meant a short taxi to Sintra and a day spent surrounded by more tourists than any of us have seen in a while.

Instagram Post – Cascais exploration

Instagram Post – Cascais exploration

Tourist day! Anchored in Cascais and got a taxi over to Sintra to see Quinta de Regaleira.

Lovely gardens, grottos, labyrinths and historic buildings, but also the most tourists we have seen in the last 2 months.

Sailing to Lisbon tomorrow, not for to go before some more touristy looking around.

#sintra #quintaderegaleira #cascais #portugal #sailinglife #sailinghannahpenn #cruisergoestouristing

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Day 74: Ericeira

Day 74: Ericeira

The next port of call on the way to Lisbon was Ericeira.

Parts of this hop were quite light on the wind front and mostly downwind.

We found ourselves gull winging with the Genoa and Ghoster, before switching to the cruising chute for the first time since leaving the UK in its newly repaired sock.

What a joy it was to fly in comparison to trying to hoist it behind the Genoa.

Here it is on the way up (excuse the talking)…

And here it is a few minutes later on the way back down when we decided it wasn’t going to work with the wind that we had at the time.

Upon reaching Ericeira we were only joined by one other boat in the anchorage. Most boats seemed to pass by Ericeira, probably due to its small size, and head straight to Cascais of beyond. The one other boat that joined us for the night we had actually been sailing near since Figuera.

The harbour had quite an interesting dock, lowered into the water by crane when in use, but hoisted out most of the time.