Lagos – Lisbon
We were not certain that we were going to be able to sail during the mid-term break this fall, but luckily, it turned out to be possible. It has been a super trip from Lagos – we managed to leave this time without issues – and we arrived at the yard in Seixal south of Lisbon yesterday. The boat is just about to be lifted, and then we will travel back home. Last night we prepared Carpe Diem for the winter, taking down sails etc.
The period in the yard at Lagos has been different from what we normally experience. “They are good at what they do, but it is hard to get them to do it,” said an English sailor who also had his boat at the yard, and who we spoke to this summer when we arrived. The latter part of what he said has not been a problem for us. On the contrary. “Can I get a price for welding the wheel?” Reminding them of my question a couple of weeks later, they told me they had already fixed it. This happened a few times where I tried being more clear that this was a request for price, so it ended up being difficult to manage and know the final price of the work. This added to the decision of sailing the boat to Lisbon.
Yes, it did get expensive. We decided this summer to let the yard do all the work, mostly because this was what we were able to manage and because travelling to and from Lagos is more expensive than what we were used to with Torrevieja. Therefore, it would be expensive no matter what. They have now cleaned the fuel tank, added an inspection hatch, fixed the injection pump, added prefilters that separates water from the fuel, and welded a broken spokes on the wheel.
Only June and I were able to sail the boat this time, so it was a combined sailing and romantic trip, which was perfect. The weather forecast promised us very calm weather, which makes it easier handling the boat shorthanded. The plan was to sail all the way in one go, with an option of a stop-over in Sines approximately half way. The forecast was right, so we motored a lot in no wind at all, but also had moments with the best sailing by sail we ever had with this boat.
The following is from the logbook, added a few details of the adventures we had with dolphins, stingrays and a soft grounding.
Lagos – Lisbon, Tuesday October 18th 2016
130 nautical miles
No clouds, above 20 degrees Celsius
between 1 and 7 m/s
1 – 2 m
07:45 Leaving Lagos by motor
12:00 beautiful morning, partly clouded, and after a couple of hours we could set sail. We have rye bread in the oven, and are fishing, so far without luck. A coast guard sailed towards us for a while, and just as we thought we just as well might find the papers, they turned away 200 meters from us.
We are right now going around the most southern part of Portugal mainland, and can say goodbye to the prevailing westerly direction. We keep a close watch for hammerhead sharks, as there should be some here in this area. We have already seen dolphins, which we as always enjoy.
6:00pm The Atlantic Ocean shows us its more gentle side. We have been motoring 4 out of 10 hours so far, and when sailing by sail it has been perfect cruising. We have not seen more dolphins, but instead three stingrays suddenly jumped above the water 50 metres away. In a couple of hours, it is dark, which will remain for 12 hours. We still expect to have no wind and motor our way forward. Preparations for the night include warm clothes, snacks, easy accessible safety equipment, and an emergency motor light mounted in the mast as the real one was broken. I am estimating expected time for arrival at Lisbon, as we need to have currents with us going in to the river Tagus up to Lisbon.
07:00 A beautiful sunset and a long night on the Atlantic, a bit of swell but no wind. Huge amounts of dolphins swimming by our side. From 9pm until 6am, we saw dolphins at least once an hour, and between 3:30 and 4:30 they were constantly around us. Too bad, it was not daylight so we could see them properly. We did not stop in Sines, as we would have to enter in the dark. We have calculated, or rather guessed, on the level of fuel, and with 20 extra litres, it should be fine.
09:00 We are a bit early at the estuary of River Tagus, so the current was quite heavy against us. Instead of going up against the current, we went into Oeiras outside Lisbon, where we also have fuelled. It turned out, that our fuel tank was almost empty. It would not have been a pleasant experience running out of fuel in heavy current and no wind, but let us not think more about that, now at least we better know how much fuel is consumed.
While at the bridge in Oeiras, a man suddenly speak to us in Danish. He is heading south with his family to cross the Atlantic Ocean to Caribbean. It was nice speaking to him. If you want to follow a family, who has taken a quick decision to sell their belongings, buy a boat and sail to the Caribbean you should check out their blog, therosentofts.dk.
13:00 Sail by motor and currents with us into Doca de Alcantaras in Lisbon, where we will be staying the night. When entering the harbour, we see the Danish Trainingship Danmark, with a crew giving us a warm welcome when they see our Danish flag.
Lisbon – Seixal, Thursday October 20th 2016
6 nautical miles
No clouds, above 20 degrees Celsius
between 1 and 5 m/s
03:00 pm We leave for Seixal. We made an agreement with the yard to arrive at 4pm, as the tide is at its highest, which is required. We follow the buoys that mark the canal to the yard. We are there at 4pm sharp, and slowly sail towards the waiting pontoon, when we suddenly stop moving. I speed up a bit but it has no effect. Is there a problem with the propeller? No, we are just grounded in the mud, I can pull us out again easily, and we wait another hour at an old barge. Then we can get into the waiting pontoon. We will stay here during the night and the boat is lifted tomorrow morning. The owner of the yard has ensured us, that they dug a big hole at the waiting pontoon so it will not be a problem at low water.