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

Cascais to Canary Islands

Portugal is beautiful!

Cascais is a nice coastal town with a beautiful old center, though quite hilly again.

Souvenir shopping: a tea towel for the collection.

That’s the one:

Outing to Lisbon

We had booked a tour via the gift voucher (thanks again to the NXP colleagues 🙂 ): “Secret Gardens of Lisboa” A real stroke of luck, we were the only ones on the tour and the guide was great. But it meant taking the train to Lisbon and then walking for at least 3 hours through the city. Well, our hiking boots came in handy afterall.

On the tour we learned how the aqueduct system and the gardens in Lisbon are connected. Lisbon has always had to fetch its water from far away. The aqueduct system has Roman roots, but was expanded in the 18th century. Nowadays it has been replaced by modern water pipes to the individual houses, but the old buildings of the old system are still open to the public as museums. In the past, every quarter of Lisbon had a central public garden. The largest gardens were on the mountains, where the water arrived at one point after more than 50 km and was transferred via communicating pipes to the other hills – very cool. The pipelines still exist under the streets of Lisbon. Today, unfortunately, there are only two quarters that still have their central gardens. But the love for plants has remained, there are connecting passages between the houses, which are decorated by the residents with many potted plants. It is not been possible anymore to tell who owns which plant and the pot gardens are jointly maintained by all residents.

On the tour we visited the garden of the Prime Minister. Here you can find well-kept lawns (water-intensive) and exotic plants like banana trees and huge cacti. These were brought from overseas by the last Portuguese king. That was the best way for him to show how far his power extended.

There’s an old English cemetery in Lisbon that doesn’t look like a normal cemetery. In the past only Catholics were allowed to be buried near the churches. The others were simply thrown into the sea. However, many of the bodies washed back to the coast, so another solution had to be found. A cemetery was built which was hidden by garden architecture and did not look like a Portuguese cemetery.

This plaque commemorates the tomb of the first American ambassador in Portugal, who died in a duel shortly after he arrived. Guide’s comment: “Must have been a great diplomat if he wanted to solve a problem by a duel after only a few weeks.”


At the end of the tour we visited the top reservoir where the aqueduct arrived. Doesn’t it look like the Chamber of Secrets?

Yet another garden: here a conifer grows horizontally instead of into the sky. It started after there had been a fire. The support is being extended again and again.

14.10. Birthday Greetings to our daughter.

Next stop was Vilamoura. A very touristy but also green place. There I left the ship for a short stay in Hamburg. I wanted to be on the way from Wednesday to Sunday. But that turned out to be wishful thinking. Wednesday I flew from Faro via Munich. When everyone was already sitting in the plane in Munich, it was announced that the Hamburg airport is closed until further notice. A bomb from the Second World War was found nearby and had to be disarmed first. Such bad luck – the bombs are currently chasing us ( In any case, everybody had to leave the plane again and were accommodated in hotels. I arrived in Hamburg on Thursday. Because the journey was stressful enough, I didn’t want to risk getting stranded on the way back as well. A strike was announced for Sunday that would have affected my flight. So I changed my booking to Saturday. As you can imagine, the strike was cancelled Friday afternoon. The only positive thing about the rebooking was that we were able to use the Sunday and got going sooner.

In the meantime Mathias set about installing the next shelf – this time at the back of the central hull behind the engine, mainly to store spare parts that were rarely need. By the way, the engine runs great again after the oil sump in Cascais got a new seal and the oil doser for the turbo had been replaced (at least that’s how it was explained to us as laymen). On the way to his anchorage Mathias also calibrated the forward looking depth sounder. With it we can look about 2 boat lengths forward. This will be helpful when anchoring and in narrow passages in shallow water. But it only works at slow speed and won’t warn us about containers. With 3000 meters of water under the keel it showed a water depth of 170 cm….

Mathias also made 6 grocery-shopping trips in one day by bike to really stock up our provisions – well done! It took me half a day to distribute the stuff to the various storage spaces in the ship.

Now began our first long journey and the next milestone in our adventure:

On to the Canary Islands!

4 days and nights without internet but with night watches and days filled with reading, cooking and sailing manoeuvres. You may not be able to imagine it, but there is hardly any time left for other things.

Here are a few events during the crossing:

Dolphins spotted, line of the first reef torn

Knotted Genua Schot sorted out.

Make use of the blue Parasailor: We made it, the wind was right and the largest of our Parasailors was used – 283 m2. Sailing with it was very pleasant and the speed was right. The recovery of the big sail was not easy. We were glad that we had taken it down in the evening. You don’t want to do it at night. For the night we set the jib plus the genoa in butterfly arrangement (one sail to port, one sail to starboard). Then we set the autopilot to “wind” and let us push along. This worked so well that we had almost nothing to do during night watches. Other ships also were far away.

For the handling of the big sails I always use my helmet now. That way my glasses stay put and anyone who knows me knows that I always run the risk of bumping into something. The helmet has already protected me from at least 2 bumps on the head. It is usually rather used on racing catamarans than on houseboats, but, hey, who cares – I like it.

Here you can see that during the crossing even the pages in the diary remained empty and had to be filled later. But we could read a lot during the quieter night watches 🙂

We used the Spinnaker for stronger wind

On 24.10. land was in sight again, we had reached the Canary Islands!

Soon after there was net again and the idyll came to an end 😉

Here in the waters of the Canary Islands there is again a lot of radio traffic on channel 16. Alarming are the reports about refugee boats, which are on their way from Africa to the Canary Islands. I have already heard 3 of those in the short time. Also it is amazing how large the range of AIS is (the Automated Identification System, which is mandatory for commercial shipping). Even in 280 nautical miles we were able to “see” a tanker like this. AIS reaches only to the horizon and so it depends finally on the height of the antennas of the ships involved. Seems that really big pots steam around here…

In the anchor field in the port of Las Palmas. Here Mathias refitted our main sheets. They had been placed under the reef lines and had chafed.

In the marina we are right next to another Neel 51 🙂

The next milestone will be the start of the ARC+ here in Gran Canaria.

You can already have a look:

Start over the big pond will be November 10th, then you can watch our progress with this app:

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