Sunday 20 – Wednesday 23 October
Having topped up our water tanks, we set off for Sines under full main and gennaker in a light breeze from the NW. As the wind filled in, it was too far behind us to fill the gennaker, shadowed as it was by the mainsail, so Skipper furled the foresail and we motor sailed briefly before deciding to try the genoa, which was successful.
At 1400 we rounded Cabo Espichel in the company of dolphins, and enjoyed a rollicking run, clocking 7.6 knots, towards Cabo de Sao Vicente. Conditions were so good, we’d decided to carry on sailing, and this next headland, the SW-most point of mainland Europe, from where the famous Portuguese navigators set their bows West into uncharted waters, was for us a left turn onto the lovely Algarve, out of the worst of the Atlantic swell, and into serious ‘Brits abroad winter sunshine’ territory, as we were to discover.
Skipper changed down to the staysail as the wind built a little more, veering to NNW, and was distracted briefly from the rolly ride by the sighting of a whale. Mindful of the shipping lanes further to seaward of the Cape, the crew joined forces to gybe Eastwards, and soon after the wind veered further to NNE, allowing us to harden up onto a broad reach as the wind dropped away towards Monday morning. We actually cleared the headland at 0800, and two hours later resorted to furling the genoa, pulling the main hard in and waking up Trevver for the rest of the passage.
We failed to find enough space to anchor in the main pool at Alvor, and headed back to the surprisingly sheltered bay just inside the entrance to the lagoon. Sandy shallow water is surrounded by green low hills and trees, and the water is clear and blue – all very attractive. As the afternoon thermal breeze filled in again, we were entertained by hordes of colourful kite surfers whizzing around the shallows and anchored boats.
We enjoyed a quiet couple of days recovering from the usual lack of sleep of a 30-hour passage, but satisfied in a job well done and another 155 Miles under our keel.