Madeira – and an update on man vs hobgoblin.

Dawn on the 4th day of our passage brought several volcanic islands out of the mist. First came Porto Santo , 25 miles to the NE of Madeira  and then several more islands of suitably impressive height and ruggedness.  Any sane man would have spotted these as the Ilhas Desertas, but the problem is that by this time the navigator of the good ship Festina was anything but sane.  Dawn  had also brought the realisation that the cure to the hobgoblin situation  ( vide infra) was a false one- it was still there and worse than ever. Picture the situation dear reader, the sun has just broached the Eastern horizon and any passing sentient being would have noted a wild eyed greybeard loon clinging to the mast in the rolling seas  , listening to it with his stethascope! Luckily the only sentient beings , two lazily flapping turtles , made no comment which just goes to show how sensible they were as the reply would have been interesting.

Eventually tiring of playing acoustic games with the hobgoblin ,  said greybeard loon stomped down below and  laid a course for the Desertas. He  then refused to believe the GPS when it mildy reproved him which just goes to show how well the hobgoblin had got under his skin.

However to digress awhile , and moving back to those polite and sensitive turtles , you will note that there were two of them. I always thought that they were solitary creatures , and what is even more interesting is that one was twice the size of the other  ( 2 ft and 4 ft respectively). Was this a previously  scientifically unrecorded  heartrending meeting between mother and baby – who had not seen each other for years since the one extruded the other on some far distant sandy  beach?  Or  did we chance apon a mid ocean romantic encounter. How do turtles do it – and are the males or the females bigger? I know of at least 3 biologists who are occaisional readers of these ramblings , so do let me know.

 We eventually established that the GPS and not the loon was correctly orientated  and put the kite up for the final dash in .This was of course a coded message  to the hobgoblin that he might be winning now but things were going to change and I am pleased to be able to report that we arrived without incident at Quinto do Lorde , a little marina on the East end of the Island in stunning surroundings but miles from anywhere.

You might ask why we didnt go to Funchal , surely THE classic sailing ship anchorage in the world, and indeed I am looking forward to visiting , but just for now this welcoming little place was perfect to sit and think and contact my friends to help us arrive at a solution.

Which is what I did . I sent a long e-mail to Flash Gordan describing how the noise happened with the boom out and a windward pitch and roll. To cut a long story short he wondered if we had our tie bars too tight. Just about the same time Lynda noted that the toilet door had never jammed before this year , and it transpired that I had wound them on ( they stop the deck lifting ) before setting up the shrouds and they were far too tight , so tight in fact that the deck was pulled down til the heads door jammed! In my defense I am sure I remember that on the Sigma 33’s that was how you knew you had the rig tension correct  .Gordan thinks that when the mast is thrown to leeward by the roll and pushed by the boom , the tie bars graunch in the mast and at the deck .We let the rig off , unwound the tie bars , fitted the old toggles ( I know , I know – 2 changes makes a proper scientific solution impossible but we are talking greybeard loons here) , set the rig up again and nervously put to sea again today.

Not a hint of a squeek! There wasnt a great deal of wind either but we went right out from the lee of the island into the swell and are now cautiously optimistic that we have both a credible explanation and a result.  And seriously , seriously relieved.

Tomorrow Madeira. We have promised  Ben we will go in search of Madeira cake , I want to buy some Madeira wine ( it used to be shipped home via the West Indies – under sail  , there is no other way – and  the warm rolling around that is the inevitable accompaniement of this mode of transport contributed to its flavour, or so the theory goes . I fancy testing it out.)

Most of all we want to do some walking on the “levadas ” – trails that follow the ancient irrigation canals from the wet mountain tops down to the coastal settlements.

One Comments

  1. Really worrying that the loon, he of the grey bearded variety, could not out plot the GPS! I remember well when he alledgedly make more checks than Decca and I don’t mean Desmond.

    The old Impala would only go to windward if the toilet door would’nt shut. I blame DT myself.

    Hi Phil, Linda and now Briany.


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