Thursday, September 22, 2005

Viana do Castelo to Nazare

It wasn't difficult to hang around Viana do Castelo for four days. We had the company of Gordan and Anne on Wild Irish Rose, Port wine to sample, Porto to visit, a beautiful town to wander around, a new phrase book to experiment with and free mooring in the smelly fish dock. We left on Tuesday afternoon in the company of Wild Irish Rose. Their boat is slightly larger than Kika, with a significantly larger sail area and they quickly pulled away from us. This gave us the impetus we needed to try out various sail configurations to regain some ground (sea?). We initially experimented with the cruising chute. It worked, but didn't appear to make any difference to our speed. Wild Irish Rose had almost disappeared over the horizon, when Gordon called up on the VHF. He suggested I tried to pole out a Genoa on the windward side, keeping the standard Genoa up. After much rope, pole and sail faff we had the two Geneoas rigged. Quickly our miserable 2.5knots of speed increased to 4.5knots. Apparently the poled-out sail scoops the wind into the leeward sail increasing efficency. We sailed along all day very happily under this rig until 12.30 at night when the wind died and we had fun dismantling the rig in the dark.
Naughty fishing pots
We've found the sea off the coast of Portugal to be littered with fishing pot markers. Ed and Genie had warned me to "watch out for the naughty fishing pots", but I wasn't prepared for their frequency or naughtiness. The pilot guide warns:
A few years ago a yacht had to be freed by the authorities at Viana do Castelo having become entangled, at night with a pot float marked by a black flag. Beware!
The worst pots are marked with nothing more than a plastic two pint milk bottle, difficult to spot in the day and impossible to see at night. We headed off-shore over night to try to avoid the majority, but still had a close shave with a number. It's hard to differeniate between small marks and sleeping birds until you hear the latter's disgruntled squawks.
During the night we had numerious dolphin visits. It's disconcerting when you're sailing along in a soundless night and a dolphin suddenly surfaces right beside you. No matter how many times its happened dolphin visits never fail to surprise then delight us. The phosphorescence trail they leave at night is magical.

1 comment:

roland67 said...

Hi Nick,

Roland here, from London/NYKRIS .... just heard you're sailing round the world ... fantastic!

All the best, hope you're well,
Cheers Roland.