Speedwell of Rhu Ship's Log

20 th to 21 st of April 2018 - A long sail.

Crew : Helen and Andy
Destinations : At sea and Leixões Harbour.
Distance : 170 miles

Having been watching the weather for the last few days it looked as though we had a good opportunity for an overnight sail to Leixões, close to Porto. We left our berth at first light around 0700 and motored out of the river toward Lisbon and the main channel.


As we crossed the lagoon there was a strong wind coming down the river. We set sails, but the wind died down once we had passed the April 25th bridge across the river Tejo so we motored down river. We had a strong tidal stream pushing us down river and once we got to Cascais the wind picked up. By 1020 we were making 6-8 knots under reefed main, mizzen and genoa.

The wind increased as we got toward the most westerly point Cabo do Roca so we dropped the mizzen. The seas were quite lumpy making for an uncomfortable sail. As we passed the Cabo, the wind dropped completely. There was a large mountain which seemed to be acting as a very efficient windbreak. We motored until about 1400 when the wind came back and we were able to get the genoa unfurled again. This lasted for about 2 or 3 hours when the wind died once again.

We passed Peniche in daylight and started our 3 hour watches after a hot meal at 1900. My watch started light but it was grey and there was no sign of sunshine. At about 2100 it was getting dark and there were flashes of lightening over the horizon behind us. I hoped that this was going away from us, but watched as it gradually became forks of lightening and the sky got darker and darker. The wind remained fairly light and on our nose. However, just before my watch came to an end the sails started to lightly flap and the wind started to come from behind us. It was clear the storm had caught up with us. I tried not to imaging us getting struck by lightening but it was difficult. The wind soon picked up and it started to rain. I was very relieved when Andy came up and took over the watch.

The storm died down within an hour and I tried to get some sleep. Andy managed to sail for a couple of hours but the wind was very light. The morning was grey, grey and grey. The seas were quite bouncy all day and it was a relief when we saw Leixões ahead. The large breakwater soon calmed the swell and we found a familiar place to anchor just outside the marina surrounded by big ships and big activity.

Apart from the smell of oil and the noise of the propellors we had a good sleep setting our alarm for 0600 the following morning. 

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