Speedwell of Rhu Ship's Log

11 th to 13 th of April 2018 - A change of direction

Crew : Helen and Andy
Destinations : Culatra and Ria de Formosa.
Distance : 45 miles

We didn't want to get stuck for too long in Lagos, partly because it was so expensive and because the marina was very busy we were starting to feel hemmed in. (It did have very nice showers however). It looked like there was going to be a bit of a weather window for us to go somewhere, although we didn't fancy facing the Atlantic swell just yet. The choices were therefore either going back to Portimao or a facing a longer trip to Faro. Portimao would give us access to a cheaper marina and there is a also big anchorage. However, the wind and swell forecast would probably mean we would have to be in the marina. Faro would be a relatively protected anchorage in strong winds with little swell, although it was further to sail. When we woke, it was still a bit gusty. However, we decided with a following wind and swell the sail would be fairly fast. We waited for a lull in the wind to get out of our berth and we had a smooth departure.

As soon as we were out we hoisted the mizen and unfurled the genoa to the second reef. As we got away from the coast the swell picked up, but it was behind us so we surfed and sailed our way to Faro, making around 6-7 knots. The wind was quite changeable so we did have full genoa for a short time. However, as we approached Faro it picked up again so we reefed it again. The swell was around 4m and quite short as we passed the most southerly point of mainland Portugal. However, we surfed along occasionally making 10 knots over the ground until we sailed between the breakwaters under a tiny bit of headsail and mizen. The wind was still gusty so we decided to head right up to Culatra rather than anchoring in the entrance like last time. The anchorage off Culatra was very empty compared to last year. We anchored with 3 other yachts, two of which appeared to be empty. Nearer the shore in the drying lagoon were the catamarans moored here for the winter.

Over night the wind died down only to pick up as expected the following day. The torrential rain of the morning slowly died down and the air became clearer. However, the wind remain a Force 7/8. It was a bit bouncy but since we were lying to the wind the waves were on our nose and there was no swell. Needless to say we didn't take the tender ashore.

The following day we decided to have a change of scenery and moved back to anchor near the lighthouse with a view out to sea and the overfalls at the entrance. 

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