+++++Land, ho!+++++Land, ho!+++++ Land, ho!+++++
We have 32nm to go but the island of Santa Maria is already clearly visible on the horizon. The weather is back to expectation – sugar sailing conditions. 15kn wind from NNE quadrant with a 1m wind wave under 4/8 blue sky. As I have taken the reef in the foresail out, we are pushing ahead for arrival late afternoon in Vila do Porto, the one and only marina on this smaller island of the widely spread archipelago.
The routing strategy overall worked well with the only exception, that the wind was within some stretches significant higher than predicted. Not the first time but the first time up to this extend. BUT, they – the weather makers – rather get the wind direction right and cheat a bit on the speed than the other way round. I think for us sailors is the accuracy of the wind direction more important than the accuracy of the wind speed. Open for discussion.
The first two days on this passage from Madeira to Azores were hard. I have observed before, that it takes initially some time to get body and boat in line. More rest, less food, ultra slow movements, just be there, save energy as and when needed. The last two and a half days of this 4 days passage I could move around without constraints, had good appetite and was able to enjoy the ocean environment more. I believe this is a pattern which stays after the initial acclimatisation while starting a longer passage.
Thanks for your accompany of our passage from Canary Islands to Azores with two(!) stop-overs at Funchal/Madeira. I hope you enjoyed it, even with some distance. Feel free to leave a comment under any of the blog posts and my answer on the same will be guaranteed. It will be nice reading these comments – years after this Boating & Biking Adventures are over – to recall, who joined us mentally, if not physically, and we shared a moment.
I will start to prepare the lady for the marina now knowing that Petra & Jan from SY Sutje together with Rony from SY Blue Aligator are expecting us to come in shortly.
A bit disappointed as my expectation was to have a pleasant sail through the night. Although clause hauled all the way, with winds around 13kn and a wave of 1.3m the lady is more than willing to ensure a smooth ride. The weather system we went into offered 20-25kn (still on) and a wave juggling the boat around. Menno, this is too much deviation. We add the 5kn from experience but the significant gap is not acceptable.
Under max reef again with a claused hauled setting, which is still allowing some minimum comfort, we are still bouncing into the waves now and then. It is a balance between comfort and not arriving in Santa Maria to far in the South In other words, you just postpone the pain. In sailor’s language: beating time! Sailing against the wind.
Nevertheless, my sailing limits are being pushed on this passage like never before. The same counts for my confidence and trust into our lady AND the pilot They negotiate the deal and after some fine tuning get you through the water with no complains.
Daybreak is arising and it still looks grey and miserable. Not sure we see the sun later the day. It is another 55nm to go until we arrive in Vila do Porto. The ETA will shift and best guess is later this evening and worst case scenario is tomorrow morning. The latter one is in case I will not make landfall in daylight. The harbour can be approached at any time of the day, but I prefer to wait until next morning.
And the saying goes: Jung, blief tuhüs.
PS: I will talk to Jan from SY Sutje at 8 o’clock UTC on 2Mhz Marine Radio to update each other. Very much appreciated.
We tacked and are now in convoy with three tankers/bulk carriers/container vessels in roughly 15nm safety distance. They are running at more than 12kn, so in a couple of hours we shall be clear. I cannot even see them through the binoculars but the beauty is that they appear via AIS on the chart plotter.
I got two sailor’s opinion just before tacking. One saying, its time to tack and one saying I shall tack in a few hours time. I decided to follow my qtVlm routing as it seems to be logic and look forward now for the wind to veer back via North to hopefully a tiny little bit NNE. As a result, we are going to sail a lee-banana as shown in the routing I have shared earlier. With a slight hockey stick swing to the South (lee-banana) I will hopefully end up at the doorstep of the Marina Vila Do Porto around lunch time tomorrow. Worst case I have to tack again or use the engine a bit longer depending on the distance to the harbour at arrival South of the island. I have to squeeze a bit for more close hauled sailing position going forward.
Well, it’s nice out here on the ocean and there are no severe conditions approaching my neck, so let’s keep learning.
Now it get’s a bit technical. The HF Radio installed is causing some HF Inteference by nature. This cannot be prevented in total. The challenge on our boats is to minimize the interference through the lowest possible SWR, which is done by the automatic antenna tuner with a good counterpoise. The HF interference can trigger other electrical systems on the boat. I have heard stories that autopilots were kicked out while talking on the HF Radio, which is not uncommon. We have not had that. The only issue we experienced in the past was that the bow thruster came alive, when using DSC on certain frequencies in the marina while testing. We have not had that same phenomenom while out at sea. Some LEDs on the boat’s 12V control pannel flashed a bit at high power settings (150W) but that has been reduced since Lothar/EA8DES and myself installed the additional aluminum foil in Las Palmas earlier this year, which definitely improved the counterpoise. Overall our installation is solid and performing.
Long story short. The HF now interferes with the cotroller of the SailinGen. Running the SailinGen and same time transmit on the HF Radio does trigger a voltage alarm on the controller. For the moment, I operate either or but not together. Following some advice from Prof. Armin Horn received this morning, I shall try to focus on the +12V feeding line. While we have put a ferrite cores on the -12V line during installation of the system, we ignored the positive side. With two spare ferrite cores left, I have now covered the positive side as well.
Tonight is testing party.
PS: The two ferrit cores did not bring the expected result and I have to experiment further.
With a bit of delay we tacked and do follow the proposed track closely. The wind shift came slowly but as soon as we could not maintain a course higher than 270º we had to tack.
Wind is around 10kn and we make 5kn boat speed through the water – comfortable sail. We preferred not to get the engine running and motor in 20h to Santa Maria, which was a tempted option. About 120nm on a direct line into Vila do Porto (what a fabulous name for a harbour) takes us less than a day and consumes around 100l diesel. Great for Greta and our pocket!
Out next and final tack is proposed in 40nm at 14:30pm local time. ETA Vila do Porto is 2n June afternoon.
It all depends on the wind.
PS: It is mostly cloudy at the moment and I hope the sun will clear part of it soon.