Boating & Biking Adventures

Author: Bernd via DL9BS/mm Page 2 of 3

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.

Bay of Biscay…1st update

We have done 100 nautical miles now since left, or in other words in 16.5 hours. This gives an average speed of 6kts, which is not bad but also due to favorable tide streams. 3 hours under engine, another 3 hours under engine together with sails up and balance 10.5 hours under sails only. Our position is 47 degree 03 minutes North and 005 degree 53 minutes West. Water depth is around 2500m and we are crossing the Audierne Canyon shortly, which brings us into even deeper water around 4500 plus meters. The fascinating BLUE WATER is expected upon sunrise!
The night is again pitch-black but pleasant. The moon has just come out but is not very strong. Wind around 10kts keeping the 6kts speed in the boat in a swell of around 1m on a course about half to the wind. I have just downloaded the latest weather GRIB files with Winlink and they forecast similar conditions over the next couple of days. Two times per day I get updated GRIB weather files to check any changes on short notice.
While SY malwieder is sailing with a qauter of a nautical mile distance sailing alongside next to us, SY Charisma is a bit further away in parallel, about 10 nautical miles off but still within in reach of VHF radio for regular calls. Three more fellow sailors are crossing a bit behind us: SY Dawn, SY Rare Breed and SY Moana – all members of Trans-Ocean e.V.. While Susan is sleeping, I am typing these lines to get them online. Shortly I will have another VHF call with Ralf from SY malwieder to synchronize our approach on the upcoming hours and days until landfall in Spain.
Will keep you posted.
Fair winds…

Another fantastic night…

It is 1:30am and we have passed Banc des Langoustiers on the way to Roscoff. There were still a few fishing vessels which kept us busy and awake. The sunset was marvelous, half moon is out and the best part were the dolphins escorting us for about an hour playing and jumping around the boat. I was not expecting them this early on the trip, soonest in the Biscay. Hope they come back at dawn to get some photos with better light. There is very little swell, long waves as a leftover from Atlantic influence, quite pleasant. The sky is crystal clear and the stars are up. The moon will ditch into the water shortly making this another pitch-dark night for a few hours. Wind is gone and we are running under engine again to arrive in time in Roscoff. It is beneficial to arrive at a certain time of the tide in this marina as mooring shall be easier with less current but against our direction. It is very hard to describe these nights at sea, you simply have to go out and do it. I am following two lights now, SY malwieder and SY Colette, both in front of us. Last in the squadron behind us is SY Maupiti, who has joined us again on this leg. I will get back to enjoy the stars now. Fair winds…

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