Today is the big day and we are casting off the bowlines and leave Portimao, a small town full of English and German expats in Southern Portugal. Our destination is Lanzarote in the Canaries.
I have been monitoring the weather pattern in this part of the ocean over the last couple of weeks. Lows keep on forming offshore, then head for the Portuguese coast.
These frontal systems bring strong to gale force winds along a line between Cape San Vicente (southern tip of Portugal) and Madeira. East of this line winds are light.
The challenge will be to find a line that keeps us away from the gales, yet not be too far east into the light winds.
All of yesterday was spent to check out the boat: Up the mast, checking running & standing rigging to check for any issues and tape any potential chafe points. Checked safetey equipment on and below decks. Then down into the engine room. Let me tell you this was the most spacious engine room I have ever seen on a small sailboat: With easy access all around it was a joy to do a routine maintenace check: Enigne & gear oil, coolant system, belts, fuel system all checked out.
WIth provisions stored away, little was left to do and we downloaded the latest weather update. This was painful as internet here is even slower than the old dial up connections in the 80s. The bits and pices of electronic information that would evuentally fill our screen with little arrows showing where the wind might blow trickled at1.5k/s through the lines.
There is something to be said about the good old weather fax and barometer instead of rellying internet access and fancy software to get weather. Talking about barometers: Pressure is 1008 mbar, down one mbar from yesterday evening. The approacing low shows 1003 mbar in it’s centre, not too grim.
It’s now 5 :30 am. Time to get up, pack the PFD again (I left it inflated for 24 hours to check for leaks), and get the sailing cloths ready. It looks like we just need a light wind breaker today and a warmer jacket at night. Although overcast, the thermometer climbs to around 18 deg celsius during the day and drops about 5 degrees at night.
From S/V Shanty.
Let the adventure begin.
Christof is the owner and operator of Simply Sailing. An enthusiastic sailor he loves to share his knowledge with other sailors.
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