A beautiful port on the Algarve. We arrived around 1700hrs on 7 May entering the canal just before a dredging barge which steamed up behind us. We pulled in alongside the reception dock to complete formalities only to be told to go straight into our berth before we were cut off by the dredge. They raised the bridge to allow us through and we managed to berth without incident in spite of very strong crosswinds. The ‘new crew’ thought that the captain was a little intense when shouting out to ‘get the lines on’! I explained that it is not a time to dawdle.
During the previous night the top of the leach of the mainsail had torn while flogging as we put a reef in the main. Also two slugs had broken out of the mast slide which if you are unlucky could have torn the whole sail free like ripping the buttons off a shirt. The Capitanerie recommended a local sailmaker who sorted the problem and sold us some spare slugs for running repairs at sea should we need them.
The following day we rented a car and drove to Sagres as I wanted to show the crew the fort and the wind compass of Henry the Navigator, one of Portugal’s heroes. It was blowing strong enough to blow dogs off chains and I think we were all pleased that we were on Terra Firma and not at sea.
We also drove out to Cape St. Vincent the most western point of Europe. There is a very impressive lighthouse there which we sailed past after leaving Lagos. When you look at the 300ft shear cliff and the waves that have travelled all the way across the Atlantic Ocean breaking against them you feel sorry for the old sailing ships faced with a lee shore! We gave her a wide berth as we sailed north to Lisbon. Again the wind was on the nose so we motor sailed on the best tack available. Sarah spent much of the night in the cockpit before being doused with a big wave that covered the entire
coach roof. She went below and toughed it out. We were in 4 metre seas.