three hulls, two people, one trip around the world…

From Madeira to Portimão

In Baia d’Abra

We weathered several storms here. One had gusts of up to 54 knots. We were alone in the bay most of the time. It was only when the weather calmed down that more boats arrived. However, the stream of hikers walking over the hilltops didn’t stall during storms, but only when it got dark. Then there were only a few hikers who ventured onto the cliff with a torch. (You can easily see the hikers in the middle picture).

21. Oct. 23: Here you can see that we drifted briefly at anchor once. But the hook buried itself well again and because we had the whole bay to ourselves, there was plenty of room.

When the weather window finally seemed to last long enough for us to continue our journey, we set off eagerly to weigh anchor. But it did not take long for a nasty surprise to happen: the anchor had got stuck somewhere. We carefully hauled in the chain, the anchor winch groaning loudly, until we could see the disaster: the anchor chain had twisted around an old lorry axle several times!!!!!

Our guide had warned us that three old lorries had been sunk in this bay, but we stayed far enough away from the coordinates given. So this axle must have wandered, or another ship got caught in it and dragged it along. Sunk lorries in an anchorage are simply a stupid idea, if only for environmental reasons (see picture with leaking brake fluid), but we now had to act somehow. We secured the axle at height with lines from on board and also the chain behind the axle. This allowed us to take the tension out of the chain and start to untie the knot by loosening more and more of the chain. This work turned out to be strenuous and not entirely without danger. It was only possible because there was almost no wind or waves. For a whole day, we dived together or took turns, loosened the chain, pulled heavy loops over the axle and had to be careful not to pinch our hands. After a good 10 hours, we had freed all but 3 wraps of the chain. Now the contraption had to be secured for the night and we were frustrated and exhausted.

The next day, only Mathias went into the water and I assisted from the deck, as more and more metres of chain had to be secured, which were loose but still hanging over the axle with their full weight. A few hours later, there was only one more wrap, but jammed in a nook. This last loop took another few hours. It wasn’t until around 2 p.m. that the miracle was accomplished: we had freed the anchor chain from the axle!!!

We left the axle hanging off the side of the boat and towed it out of the bay, where we dropped it in 31 metres of water. Hopefully it will stay there and not interfere with any other boats.

Turn to Portimão

517 nautical miles in about 3.5 days.

We managed the trip without strong winds. Sometimes it went really well, sometimes the wind was too astern. So we had to use the engine at times to avoid slowing down too much. After all, our route took us through an area where the belligerent orcas live. Fortunately, we didn’t encounter them. If you haven’t heard of them yet, there is a group of orcas that hunt sailing boats and damage their rudder blades. The boat is then unable to manoeuvre or the mounting of the rudder blade is damaged and water can get in. Several sailing boats have already sunk due to such encounters.

We encountered quite a few ships on this trip. As our AIS is working again, we were able to adjust well to the encounters. Only once did that not work. I looked out of the kitchen window and saw a grey ship on the grey sea (it was an overcast day), the ship had no AIS signal and was also otherwise not illuminated. It could only be a warship. And yes, shortly afterwards we were circled by a helicopter. Apparently they thought we were harmless, because the helicopter disappeared and the grey ship sailed into an area of rain and was no longer visible to the naked eye.

Literally with the last drops of diesel we anchored in the harbour of Portimão. Although we still had 100 litres in canisters on board, we hadn’t refilled them yet. The day tank pump failed, so nothing could be pumped in. As we had entered the harbour at around 3 o’clock in the morning, we didn’t look in the tank until a few days later. You can see from the photo opposite that it looks great, no biodiesel slag at the bottom. But the problem with the air in the pipes has to be fixed now. As if nothing else would require our attention ….

Other work on the SAN:

Potential equalisation hub near the base of the mast, part of the lightning protection project, to be continued….

First thoughts here: Lightning protection SAN

The anchor field in the harbour of Portimão

So now we’ve arrived at the European mainland. We will probably spend the winter here in the area, as there have already been a few heavy autumn storms in the Atlantic. We hardly noticed them here in the harbour. But you have to be careful when and if you can leave the harbour. Outside there is sometimes very high swell (8 metre high waves). The anchor field here is large and we can run our water maker during rising tide. We haven’t explored the town any further yet, but there is a wharf on the eastern side of the river from where you can reach marine equipment shops and a Lidl supermarket is not far away. It’s well-stocked, and at the moment they have gingerbread and stollen. They taste good because the climate is cooler here. It’s often only 18 degrees in the morning and we close the glass door when it’s overcast. Sometimes it’s only 15 degrees if you forget to close the flap over the hob on a windy night. 🙂

This was in the parcel that Anja had given to us in Hamburg. A very nice birthday greeting. ❤️

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. Annette Wallace

    What a journey – sunken lorries et al! Portimao looks a good sheltered place (on the map!) so I can see why you might over-winter there. It once took my father over 6 weeks to get OUT of the Mediterranean, from Malta, en rout back to the West Indies.
    Wonderful to hear from you on your travels. Ordinary life would seem very strange if you ever return.
    Happy Christmas wherever you end up. Annette

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