Boating & Biking Adventures

Author: Bernd via DL9BS/mm Page 1 of 2

Porto to Funchal – Logblog 7

We are now about 35nm North of lha de Porto Santo and in the evening the contours of the island already became visible at the horizon just before sunset. I was surprised that at this distance we already shouted “Land, ho!”. Total of 65nm remaining to Funchal/Madeira. The sea is quite choppy and cooking dinner was a challenge. Anyway, Susan managed to get the “Matrosenschmaus” prepared, one of my favourite dishes.

I have been in contact with the Harbour Master of Marina Funchal and got out reservation confirmed. Initially from Porto but today we got the final confirmation via Winlink E-Mail from Sergio. It is a small marina with some up- and downsides but we will give it a go to get our own opinion. Before departing from Porto I also got the COVID Certification for Susan and myself confirmed by the Maritime Police of Funchal, so imigration is a given as well. All good to go!

As we do not want to arrive at Funchal in the dark, we have reduced sail to go slow through the night and expect arrival tomorrow around noon time. Both of us are superexcited to complete this journey in safety, comfort and style and look forward to visit this magnificant island in the Atlantic.

Fair winds…

Porto to Funchal – Logblog 6

I am on shift. It is 4:45am local time and pitch-dark. The moon gives good company from 9pm to 4pm but then disappears and you sail into black, as black as you can imagine, just the deepest dark black. Well, the stars are there and can only be seen in detail once the moon has settled. I sense we have a good mixture though to enjoy both scenarios. I was wondering the other day, why ORION is already visible out there as my memories tell me, that ORION is a star formation for winter…hope I am wrong, need to check that. Winter…the air temperature is increasing night by night. Tonight we have a fast sail. Wing by wing with the main full unfurled and the 110% foresail, winds of 10 to 13kts from astern we are constantly above 7kts and occassionally staying above 8kts speed over ground. The Lady wants to arrive!

We plan landfall at Madeira during the next night. Our approach will be early morning but I am sure that we will see the lighthouses many many miles before getting close to the islands. All going well we shall berth in Funchal before noon on 18th September. Clarifications with the marinas are ongoing by mail. We have some options but our preference is Funchal.

Need to make a cup of tea now!

Fair winds…

Porto to Funchal – Logblog 5

Early morning we got caught by a rain shower after which the wind direction changed slightly from NNW to NNE as forecasted. After adjusting the sails and the sun coming out it became another nice Bluewater Sailing day. 2 other ships we could see far away the whole day, relaxed sailing compared to the coastline of Belgium!

It was the day of “Favonius” to come into play, the name of our new Hydrovane installed and not tested yet. Our elctrical autopilot (no name yet) works marvelous but I did not want to rely on it without a second system onboard. The Hydrovane is a hydro-mechanical rudder installed at the stern of the boat steering the boat by a windvane set into the preferred wind/direction. After some minor adjustments in the setting of the vane and the gear it worked all day without playing games. The course of the boat followed the course of our weather routing on a wing by wing set-up in 12 to 15 knots of backwinds. Already impressed Favonius will not only provide us with good winds in future but also help to steer them out.

We are now entering night number four and it is clear that this will become a five night trip. We expect to arrive in Madeira on Saturday, 18th September before noon. There is no rush as the weather window is open to the end and we are not under pressure to arrive e.g. before some bad weather kicks in. This is an important factor to consider from the start, something I learned from Inge and Ralf from SY malwieder and TO friends. The Bluewater remains fascinating and I could just sit and watch all day to absorb this unique atmosphere the ocean offers.

Fair winds…

Favonius - our Hydrovane wind steering system - in operation. Thank you!

Porto to Funchal – Logblog 4

Need some more for a meal! 😉
Lunch time...😋...Flying fish on the boat.

It is 3 o’clock local time in the morning and I just started my watch. Susan is back into bed having some rest. We have chaned the roster scheme from four hours each to three hours as Susan felt, that four hours is too long. I think she is right, three hours is better for a two crew sail.

Yesterday was a Bluewater Sailing day in the area of Josephine, which is the name of the nautical area referrred to in weather forecasts issued for example by the Portuguese Weather Institute on Navtext and other channels. The forecast was very much in line with the Grib files received from Wetterwelt and perfectly fits into the real weather situation we are facing at the moment. The notherly wind has kicked in as expected with 10 to 15 knots , gusting 20kts, from a 345 to 360 degree bearing. Our course is 215 degree, so that gives us an so called true wind angle of about 130 degree from starboard side – good angle for a night sail, The waves have increased to 2.5 to 3.5 m I would guess but the direction of the boat is in good harmony with the direction of the waves, the latter ones coming from NW direction.

For the night we have taken almost all of the main sail in and are progressing still with 5 to 6 kts, which is about the max speed I prefer when it is dark. Trashing the boat through the night with 8kts does not make sense to me on a passage unless you need to escape some bad weather. Our weather window to Funchal/Madeira is open, so even if we arrive 1 or 2 days later, the conditions at the time of arrival will still me managable. In other words there is no bad weather at the scheduled arrival of this journey pushing us to high speed night sailing.

Under blue sky and deep bluewater we were pressing along with 7 to 8 knots most of the day. We had all our meals and good rest with additional sleep. During the whole day only one other ship appeared on the horizon and on the AIS. There is not much traffic here, which is good. This night we had three ships heading West, which proberly came out of the Strait of Gibraltar, which is the latitude we are on about.

The moon has settled about an hour ago and it is now pitch-dark again. You cannot even see the bow or stern of the boat but you can see million of stars giving accompany out here on the ocean…

Fair winds…

Porto to Funchal – Logblog 3

We have reached the southern tip of the low pressure system and the wind has changed to NW direction as expected and needed to get to Madeira. Still a bit low with 7kts but forecast is that it will go up to 20kts over night, which should bring us a smooth sail through our second night on the ocean. Tomorrow the wind shall veer futher North and provide us with a stable breeze until the arrival at our destination. Highlights today were the jumping dolphins close to our boat and two wales passing by in about 100m distance. Susan discovered them first during her watch and it gave me a goose bumps feeling to see them slowly passing along breathing and showing the characteristic fountain on the water only created by these magnificant creatures. Cooking, spleeing, going watch, enjoying the sea….took us through the day. The moon is out, the starts are up, some clouds and we are heading into the darkness further South to our destination Madeira.

Fair winds…

Porto to Funchal – Logblog 2

Interesting & impressive cloud formations...most of them friendly some a bit nasty.

The night was quite and peaceful and we could sail all through. Today will be some hours under engine as we are passing the low pressure system to get to the notherly winds on its backside which will then take us all down to Funchal/Madeira. Waves are moderate and some light clouds. A bird giving us some accompany during the night has left, probably also recharged and ready to go again. Shipping traffic is now down to zero as we are out of the main shipping tracks…therefore some more relaxed watches. All going well we should reach the northerly winds this evening just before the second night will kick in.

Fair winds…

Porto to Funchal – Logblog 1

We are heading into the first night and if all went well with our IT settings there should be a blog below this one to show our roster duty schedule on this voyage.

After an early out of bed this morning last few things got put in place and then we went at 7am to the backary to get some late fresh bread and pastry. Back onboard it started to rain…hm…but then also some thunder was approaching Porto from South. Checking the weather radar showed that the weather front should be gone by 9am, our scheduled departure time.

It became a bit of a rought start at the beginning, some current against wind waves at the port entrance bara and then suddenly up to 30kts wind out of nowhere. After a while it stabilized and one of the factors was to get away from the shore. Under some blue sky and a wave pattern typical for the Baltic Sea we made our way along our routing track – some under sail and some under engine and some under both, so called motor sailing.

Dolpins were suddenly jumping around the boat, some distance lightning around but far away we are now crossing the motor way North-South-North of the major merchant ships. Visibility is great, the moon shows us the way, a bird has just landed on our outboard engine to take some rest and we are enjoying the first night on the ocean.

Up to now the weather routing works and we hope it will not surprise us later…

Fair winds…

Bay of Biscay…4th update

This will be the fourth and last update via ham radio on this crossing as we expect to arrive in A Coruña in a few hours. The plan has changed to go straight to A Coruña despite Cedeira. We are not sure yet, if we drop the anchor or prefer a mooring in the marina. Decision will be taken upon arrival. The coastline of Galicia looks very interessting with steep hills and the BLUE WATER around us is simply amazing. Our Bay of Biscay crossing comes to an end and was a very encouraging experience at sea.
Fair winds…

Bay of Biscay…3rd update

Wind and swell has slightly increased to 17kts and 1.5m. We are still sailing close to the wind at 200° with a reef in both – main sail and foresail – to accomodate speed of the different boats and ensure staying together within 1 nautical mile distance from each other. Just downloaded the latest weather forecast from Saildoc and the Grib file shows perfect conditions for our landfall. We have around 55 nautical miles to go and the forecast predicts wind shifting from 260° towards North at 285° and speed going down slightly. Upon arrival we shall have 7kts wind and less than 1m swell – good conditions to arrive. Knowing these changing conditions on a longer leg is quite comforting as we are not running into the unexpected.
I just took watch back from Susan after enjoying a couple of hours sleep in the cockpit and have to say that these two hours make a big difference compared to no sleep at all during the single-handed-one-night-trips done along the North Sea and English Channel so far.
Dawn will start in about 1 hour and we look forward to a loud cheering *Land, ho!* once the coastline of Galicia will appear at the horizon at our bow….
Fair winds…

SY malwieder with first signs of sunrise early morning.

Bay of Biscay….2nd update

After a comfortable sunny day in light winds and little swell we are now heading into the second night and plan our landfall tomorrow sometime around noon. Our current position is 45° 04” N and 007° 24” W and we have done 250 nautical miles in now 40 hours, which gives an average speed of 6.25kts. We are sailing clause hauled towards a westerly breeze of around 10kts and latest weather forecast recieved via Grib files predecit slightly relaxed wind angle lateron and perhaps a couple of kts more windspeed. We have to face it as it comes but the weather routing up to know was not only precise but also giving a very good level of comfort and good predictability about the voyage.
We caught up with some sleep during the day, enjoyed the BLUE WATER and hoisted the Spannish flag under the lower spreader bar of the mast. Unfortunately no dolphins today.
By the way, the moon came out late last night after pushing the clouds away and we had some nice twilight sailing under the stars next to our friends Ralf and Inge from SY malwieder. The photo will follow. Hopefully tonight will be similar but the weatherforecast also mentions some shows….let’s wait and see.
Twice a day we hook up over the ham radio with Intermar e.V. to receive additional weather information and exchange our ship’s position with them. Very nice catch-up. Additionally we have established a radio call among the Trans-Ocean e.V. yachts out here with Short Wave Radios installed. Besides ourselves, these are namely SY malwieder, SY Charisma, SY Dawn, and SY Moana.
We look forward to our landfall in Galicia/Spain tomorrow.
Fair winds…

SY malwieder with Inge and Ralf sailing alongside through the night crossing Bay of Biscay.

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