Rolling down the Portuguese trades – or doing a rainy Wednesday night race at Hamble?


Well , both actually! 

Last weekend was spent sailing from Bayonna to Lisbon . We set off in 20 knots and as evening fell it gradually increased until we had a solid 28 knots for most of the first night. Both wind and swell were from the quarter  and we ended up with two small headsails with twin poles , the wind vane in charge of steering  and nothing much to do other than admire the stars or sleep in the firm embrace of the saloon leecloth- because it was ROLLY!

The direct line course took us along the continental shelf  and on this reckoning , when the wind does blow , it must be a rough old place. Offshore would have been more comfortable , but that would have meant being in the shipping lane – and judging by the AIS , world trade has certainly  picked up and most of it was  busily transitting  the Iberian Peninsular.

In the morning the wind died away , and of course that was worse as we rattled and rolled around with nothing to steady us.  The seas flattened out eventually and we were able to dribble downwind under kite , take a peek at the tiny volcanic islands of Berlenga , and finally drop anchor in Cascais bay an hour before dawn.

And thats when life  became ever so slightly surreal . We got a text  from our good friend Barney  , saying that he had heard we were somewhere on the Iberian peninsular – and he was arriving at a place called Cascais  (!) at 8 that morning driving a white van full of furniture  ( dont ask!) . This appeared to have enough of an improbability factor to power an intergalactic spaceship ( cf Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy) but nevertheless we had supper with him that night to prove that fact is frequently stranger than even Douglas Adams fevered imagination!

So there we were in Lisbon  , safely out of the clutches of the northern European climate ( I hope I dont come to regret that statement!) and thus able to fly home for a couple of weeks to attend to all those things that got left undone in the rush to get to our Northerly winds 3 weeks ago.

Which brings me to that rainy Wednesday night race at Hamble. Its a very small and funny old world we live in!

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