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Atlantic Day 17: 2,000 Miles Down

Atlantic Day 17: 2,000 Miles Down

Tacking continues, and whenever we get a wind shift, that pushes us too far away from our target of Flores, Azores we tack.

We expect to be tacking for the next 48 hours at least, and then hopefully curve north on a port tack all the way to the Azores, hopefully ahead of the low pressure that is forecast to pass beneath the Azores.

The forecast is still changing day by day, and we currently plan to make landfall on either Monday 29th or Tuesday 30th May with around 550 miles left to sail.

We have had a few more container ship sightings, but more interestingly we probably came within 200 meters of a French sailing catamaran a few days ago, so close we could wave to each other 😀👋.

Podcasts have become our latest focus of entertainment during the mornings, and yesterday we also spent some time trying to get some great pictures of Portuguese man o’ wars. After managing to snap 20-30, here are two of the best.

The temperature continues to drop as we head north, and the days are noticing longer with the sun rising at 5 am and not setting until after 8 pm

One thing we really should have done before setting off was taking down the ensign we have on the mizzen topping lift, it really hasn’t enjoyed a month of sailing

We are still in contact with the other boats we have met along the way that all set off at roughly the same time.

One thing we like to do by email is riddles and quizzes.

Here is a copy of the music quiz we just created. We might put the answers in the next post!

The first 10 questions are lyrics, please guess the song name and artist!

  1. You were always on my mind, you were always on my mind
  2. Here’s a little song I wrote, you might want to sing it note for note
  3. And I would do anything for love, I’d run right into hell and back
  4. I tried so hard, and got so far, in the end, it doesn’t even matter
  5. You’re my doll, rock’n’roll, feel the glamour in pink, kiss me there, touch me there, hanky panky
  6. Are you ready, are you ready for this, are you hanging on the edge of your seat?
  7. I was scared of pretty girls, and starting conversations
  8. In one single moment your whole life can turn around, stand there for a minute staring straight into the ground
  9. I wanna love ya, and treat you right
  10. Instinctively you give to me, the love that I need, I cherish the moments with you

The second 10 questions are general music trivia

  1. How old was Michael Jackson his song ABC was released as part of the Jackson 5?
  2. How many times is the name “Jolene” sung in the song Jolene by Dolly Parton
  3. What are the first 17 words to the song Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen?
  4. What is the first instrument you hear in Ring of Fire by Johnny Cash?
  5. What was the first major sea shanty to become popular on TikTok? Bonus points if you know the original origin of the song.
  6. What year did daft punk disband/retire?
  7. Who is the lead singer in the band Gorillaz?
  8. What comedy band features in the song “Everything is Awesome” from The Lego Movie?
  9. Where does the artist “Tones” come from, who sang the recent-ish hit song “Dance Monkey”?
  10. Who sang the latest James Bond theme song? What song? And what film?
Atlantic Day 8: It only took 8 days to catch a fish

Atlantic Day 8: It only took 8 days to catch a fish

We have started turning to the east, and in general are making great progress to the Azores. So far we are very happy with the window that we set off in, as we have had rather flat seas the whole way, and mostly enough wind, though we have been motor sailing through some lighter wind spots.

During some of those lighter wind spots, we jump in the sea, have a cool down and a little wash, before rinsing with fresh water onboard Hannah with the solar shower.

We (one by one) hang off the back of the ladder at the back of the boat while sailing, with an extra line also out the back in the water. We wouldn’t be doing this if we were in lighter winds and flatter seas. This time, we also jumped off the bow to try and get a picture of Hannah sailing past before grabbing the line, but you can’t get very far away

During our peaceful sailing times, we keep getting more and more birdy visits. The larger of these birds kept swooping down right next to the cockpit on the look out for scraps of food.

Also recently up for dinner was pizza. Little did we know before setting off, we accidentally bought cashew milk mozzarella. It’s okay, but looking forward to opening the real pack of mozzarella we have soon.

We were not very successful in fishing coming east to west due to all of the seaweed. The rods have been out the back of Hannah during the day time since day 3 of this crossing. We had one bite, that came off while being reeled in. Another bit that took the whole lure and leader. But finally today, we reeled in a little tasty Amber Jack for our dinner. We cooked it with some tomato, onions, courgette, lemon juice, dill and butter.

Another evening draws to a close aboard Hannah, as the magic autopilot continues to steer us on.

Tomorrow might be quite a low wind day, and we may end up motoring quite a bit, after which the winds should come back and allows us to continue sailing on toward the Azores.

Still no sign of the other boats we are near, but hopefully we will catch up with them in the coming days.

Day 71-72: Nazaré

Day 71-72: Nazaré

After a lovely time in Figueria, Andrew had rejoined the boat after his bout of COVID and it was time to head off to our next port down the coast, Nazaré.

We were a little apprehensive about coming into Nazaré knowing that this is the place which has recorded the biggest waves in the world, but fortunately, our day of sailing saw near 0 swell.

If you don’t know much about Nazaré you need to read about the North Canyon to see why the swell gets so large, or watch the waves on YouTube.

We apparently forgot to start the Navionics track when leaving Figueria, so half of the route is missing below.

Of course there were more dolphins along the way, this time doing something rather interesting… I checked in with a marina mammal expert, and yes they may be doing what you are thinking while enjoying the bow wave of Hannah.

Shortly after… Baby dolphins!

Due to the dropping wind in the evening, we had to motor the last couple of miles around the Nazaré headland and into the marina. Once again, we were entirely engulfed in fog.

We spent one of our free days before needing to get to Lisbon for Andrews flight here exploring on land.

That of course meant a trip to the headland to see the red lighthouse of Nazaré, the museum at the top as well as Praia do Norte from the headland. A shame there was no swell!

Sunset from the south beach
Day 58-60: Porto

Day 58-60: Porto

We arrived in the early morning of the 16th of August (the day of Daisy’s flight). @sv_bluenote were anchored in the river, as we cruised in and headed toward the marina, planning on staying there for a night or two.

Even though it was early there was someone at the marina to show us to a berth, and we ended up being pretty close to sv_zoe.

It was Daisy’s last day with us, and we made the most of it by seeing some sights in Porto, eating a very yummy Francesinha, and having some drinks on the river, then much to Daisy’s excitement, we rode electric scooters back to the marina along the river side all before it was time for her to taxi to the airport. There was only some minor running involved to get her and her bags to the taxi on time!

I’m glossing over the fact for the longest time Daisy was convinced her flight was on the 17th (next day). Glad we checked, otherwise she would have had a rather sad arrival to the check-in desk.

The next day the remaining 3 of us spent most of the day working, battling with the pretty slow WiFi at the marina.

The marina did redeem themselves from the WiFi though as it came with a free port tasting for each of us at Churchill’s, which we made the most of in the afternoon. €45 worth of free port tasting in fact, with a tour of the various port cellars and giant 55,000L port barrels, which was essentially the price of one of the nights stay in the marina! We did of course try a few more ports than came in the free tasting!… 15 tasting glasses later we stumbled home.

After our second and final night in the marina we spent much of the day working and doing laundry before heading to anchor in the river with sv_bluenote who had invited us for dinner.

It was so delicious I forgot to take a picture, but it was a lovely creamy risotto with asparagus.

But we did snap these pictures of Hannah in the sunset from Blue Note.

We planned on doing a night sail all the way down to Figuera da Foz that same night, but shortly after arriving back from dinner Andrew said he wasn’t feeling so good.

We hunted around to find the thermometer, only to find it was out of battery.

On a whim we got Andrew to do a covid test, and quite surprisingly he was positive!!!

Needless to say, we didn’t start to sail, instead staying anchored for the night.

Come morning Andrew decided it would be best to head to a hotel for his first covid experience rather than stay on small old Hannah, so we shipped him to shore in the dinghy.

Andrew headed to a hotel, and Kathryn and I prepared to chase Blue Note down…

We quickly pulled up anchor once we had the dinghy back on board and scoffed some food down whilst motoring out of the river, trying to chase Blue Note down who had left a couple of hours ago, but let’s save that for the next post!

Day 53-55: Reaching Portugal

Day 53-55: Reaching Portugal

We said goodbye to our first onboard guest (Warren) on day 52. Just 1 more week until our second guest (Daisy) will also be departing.

It turns out writing blog posts with so many people onboard and also sailing most days is quite hard, hence a bit of delay in these posts 🙂

Baiona (continuing south)

After spending a few weeks in the rivers of western Spain, we needed to continue heading south and into Portugal. We headed to Baiona to provide a good staging area for our next bigger sail. We would be mostly out of the Vigo river and set up ready to head to Portugal.

We tacked all the way out of the river, sneaking through the Islotes Las Estelas in order to get into Baiona earlier than planned. This was quite a busy anchorage, with probably 20 boats or more all anchored up. Once again we found ourselves in the same anchorage as Sailing Vessel Zoe!

The anchorage was alive with fishy activity.

Entering Portugal

Next stop, Portugal!

The next 26 or so miles took us out of Spain and into Portugal (just).

We aimed for Caminha, and a small anchorage on the river that holds the border between Spain and Portugal.

The wind was frustratingly light throughout the sail. But toward the end, we did manage to get onto a straight downwind run and tried out the Ghoster for the first time!

Due to the slow first half of the sail, we came into the river mouth an hour or so after high tide and there was about 3-5 knots of tide flowing out of the mouth.

This led to us motoring in at probably the highest RPM we have had the engine at, doing only 2 knots over land, but 7 knots through the water!

We anchored mostly out of the river flow near the beach on the Portuguese side. The maritime police soon showed up to check us into Portugal. They also advised that we move slightly, so once again up with the anchor to move a few 10s of meters.

We spent 2 nights in the Caminha anchorage, as it was rather lovely, protected, close to shore, and we wanted to break up our sailing.

On night 2 we tried out the boat BBQ for the first time and made some rather tasty burgers.

Day 51 & 52: Goodbye Warren

Day 51 & 52: Goodbye Warren

We headed back to our favorite, and the cheapest marina in Vigo (Liceo Marítimo de Bouzas) the day before Warren needed to catch his flight.

Land chores were the theme of the day with showers for everyone, multiple loads of washing at the launderette nearby, and a big boat clean.

For Warren’s last night, we headed for a fishy meal out, and boy were we in for a treat.

The next morning Warren headed off. We will miss him, his cake baking, and also his wonderful readings of The Hobbit.

Chapter 5 of The Hobbit, read by Warren.

We ended up servicing the engine, all filters, belts and an oil change. A job well done! 🧑‍🔧

Engine oil being pumped out into a bottle

We also went to every chandlery we could find in Vigo, only to find that the only money we spent was in the very first one. We managed to pick up a few small items, but not the large haul of deck caulking that we really wanted.

Leaving the marina we spotted Blue Note and passed the bag they left aboard Hannah over with a boat hook as we passed by.

Conveniently the fuel barge on the way out of the marina, outside Marina Davila Sport was still just about open (it closes at 10pm) so we topped up the tanks.

We sailed for about 5 minutes but had to motor most of the way across the river to another of our known anchorages, the same anchorage as Day 46 for some shuteye before trying to get down to Porto in a week. At least it was flat and pretty.

Day 39: Camarinas to Louro

Day 39: Camarinas to Louro

It was a slow start this morning, we tried to leave our anchorage early to make use of the morning sea breeze as there was very little wind forecast, a sea breeze is when the land and the sea are different temperatures, in the mornings the sea is warmer than the land so the cold air is drawn off the land and over the warm sea as that air rises.. well that’s the idea anyway.

The sea breeze sailing didn’t really go to plan so we very slowly sailed down the coast till we lost the wind completely, sadly having to motor for a little while.

Eventually, we got the wind back and were able to pole out the Genoa with the reaching strut to sail directly downwind

Poled-out Genoa using the reaching strut

We had had the fishing rods out for the whole day again not getting a nibble.. till we had the awkward poled-out sail and then we got a bite! Just our luck!

Adam grabbed the rod whilst I (Kathryn) furled the sail got the engine going and turned so we could bring the fish alongside, ready with the landing net and bucket we brought it closer, excited to see what we had caught!

It came into view but was not the sort of fish we were expecting, we debated letting it go for a moment but decided to give it go and bring it aboard. It turned out to be a 1.3lb Needlefish otherwise called a Garfish which has a greeny blue tint to its flesh.

Our first ‘big’ fish, a Needlefish

So with the fish excitement over we were approaching our chosen anchorage, just in time for the wind to pick up and we had a quick beam reach into the bay just as the sun was setting.

Sunset with the Porpoises

But the day wasn’t over yet when I heard a big breath of air right next to the boat, of course, it was dolphins escorting us in! They stayed with us for over 45mins! The pod was quite large with what looked like a number of generations, mum and baby and a very large older-looking one with a white speckled fin and tail. I actually think these were porpoises, not dolphins as they have a much stubbier nose.

Definitely the best end to a very long day of sailing.

As I’m finishing typing up this Adam is filleting the fish… I’m sure you’ll find out tomorrow how we cook it and how good it was when we eat it for lunch tomorrow 😛