Our Second Passage - Bayona to Sines by JoJo

Passage Bayona Spain to Sines Portugal, October 2014

We woke up on Sunday morning to hear the sound of the yacht Dvina motoring out, bound for Porto.  We had been stuck in Bayona for 11 days (the last four with heavy rain and southerly winds!)  We did manage to fill our tanks with rainwater from the water collection system on the boat, but we were fed up with the rain and wanted to get south.  The weather was on the turn but the winds looked light, so we decided to fill up with diesel and go ashore for a forecast. We decided to leave.
Sunsets at sea are wonderful and different every time.

We sailed out of Bayona at midday with a NNW 1-2 setting all sails.  The wind slowly filled all afternoon until we had a respectable 4/5. I spent the afternoon making ‘North Portugese Cake’ and bread while keeping a weather eye on the course and sails. It felt good to be finally sailing south again.
We crossed the line into Portuguese waters at 18h50 with dolphins playing at our bows and the coast still visible on the port hand side.  

Hauling down the Spanish flag.
The Portuguese flag proudly flying.
As we sailed into the night a big thunderstorm took shape dead ahead and the wind died to nothing! When the wind came back at about 01h00 it was from the south! This was not the plan or the forecast! Slowly the wind increased to a 4-5 and went round to the east. By this time it was just before dawn, we were off Porto, in amongst loads of fishing boats and pots. We were considering making for Porto when it started to rain. An updated forecast indicated rain all day, so we decided to continue on our way south to find the sun. We had visiting birds again but this time (unlike during the Biscay crossing) they were not so tired and they managed to rest and eat (we saw them catch two moths) and continue on their way.
The wind was slowly going back round to SE, which was not good. Finally it died completely (again!) and we made the decision to start the engine and get south out of all this rain and cloud. Our second night at sea was spent motor sailing, which no one likes, but at least we are getting closer to sun and warmth.
Finbar Watching Dolphins.
On Tuesday morning, passing the islands of Estelas and Berlenga, we warmed up some shower water on deck in black bags and all had a wash. Wonderful. Then the wind came back and it was from the NW and slowly increased to a Force 4. Hurray! Island Swift was sailing herself beautifully under all sails, what a wonderful boat. 
At dusk we took down the topsail and jib topsail and the wind veered to NE5, so we jibed round onto the port tack and headed for Cabo da Roca, just north of Lisbon, and the inside passage of the traffic separation zone. It was tricky sailing because I did not want to jibe again in the increasing wind and we could only just make the headland on this port tack. I spent the next three hours on the helm. This was hard work because the swell increased and so did the wind.  Slowly as we came into the lee of Cabo da Roca the wind and the swell both decreased and Simon took over. Luckily the shipping lanes were very quiet and so was the inside passage as the night was inky dark with no moon.
Supper time at sea
After our third night at sea, Island Swift was sailing along under full sail, joyfully making for Cabo de Sao Vicente, the most south westerly point of Portugal, but the crew were very tired and we decided to make port at Sines, which is south of Lisbon. Our friend (and Wylo designer) Nick Skeates welcomed us to port with a delicious rum punch and tales of his 18-day passage from Falmouth. He got caught up in the foul weather we had been sheltering from in Bayona. 
Its funny how time moves differently when sailing.  The next day as we were ashore getting the forecast, we realised we had lost a day! We had to go back to the log and check.  Yes it was Thursday not Wednesday. Anyway, the friendly port of Sines, our first Portugese landfall, welcomed us back to land. We anchored just 50 yards off a sandy beach in the lee of a commanding 15th century castle and overlooked by an impressive statue of Dom Vasco da Gama, the Portugese navigator, who was born in Sines.

Written by JoJo

1 comment: