We have taken the bus up to Parque do Monte – 670m above sea level. Being a bus driver in this city needs special skills and strong nerves. The bus ride was adventure enough for us and therefore we preferred to walk back into town. By chance we ended up on the track the toboggans are heading downwards on these absolute steep gradients, which are getting a bit painful in the knees to walk after a few kilometres. It basically is the shortest straight line down from 670m towards the sea. However, we got a good impression on the outskirts of Funchal city.
I know Funchal and perhaps Madeira is nothing for puppy riders like myself but I had to give it a try this morning. In need for an ewer I went to the next hardware store but nothing is flat here on this island. Keeping my heartbeat under control as long as possible, finally I had to push the bike some stretch of the track as 18% uphill gradient is simply too much for fitness score. Nevertheless the downhill was great and I will have a chance to practice my climbing skills over the weeks to come…😉
In the meantime we have fixed the lines in Marina Funchal on Madeira and taken some very deep long sleep!
The marina is quite busy and I think we have been lucky to get a berth here. Some swell and squeaking mooring lines. A long lasting dream has come true! Fair winds…
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.
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!
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.