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Budgie smugglers…

 

Saturday 31st. Still getting used to dry land, and nursing a hangover! I had a nice rest in Oeiras, and managed to do plenty of walking. A couple of times I did the very pleasant pedestrian promenade covering the 10km to Alges, before succumbing and getting the bus the remaining 10km to Lisbon. I even walked the route on the day of the Lisbon Marathon – and was happy to be handed a bottle of water by one of the officials who must have thought I had entered in some strange fancy dress.

The big news is that Martin (bro-in-law) and Pete (friend) decided to fly out and join me for the “Canary Island Cruise”. We left Oeiras, Portugal on the 24th, and arrived at Arrecife, Lanzarote on 29th.

I promised the crew blue skies, a gentle ocean swell, 5 star luxury accommodation, and food to die for. I think I delivered on most of these things but not all the time and not in any predictable order. In between there may have been grey skies, a massive swell, sleeping with sail bags, and food from the freezer. Its hard to remember the tough bits when they are over. But it is those bits that make the good bits so good. I don’t think any of us will forget sailing gently along listening to Pink Floyd as the sun set and turned into a moonlit night. Or, blasting along through the night with a large following swell and wind approaching 30kts.

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The big test came about 100 nm from Lanzarote when the autohelm decided to grind to a halt, forcing us to helm manually. Luckily, this lasted the final 24hrs of the journey but it threw the rota out o fthe window. It was a reminder to me however that had I not had Pete and Martin with me things would have got a lot tougher. Fortunately the see state was smooth/slight and the wind pretty much died, so the old 50hp Volvo took us the last part of the journey.

Pete left today, Martin leaves tomorrow. It will be really strange not to have their excellent company. Martin aka “AB” was a stalwart member of the crew; stood his watch alone and even managed to avoid crashing into ships once it was explained to him that when the radar or AIS refer to “targets” that is not an incitement to take aim. The position of 1st Mate was taken by Pete. He is a fine and experienced sailor. However, Pete aka “Grandad” was prone to losing anything and everything from his phone to his spectacles; to his wallet. This would result in him crashing about swearing and muttering before finally accusing “someone” of moving or hiding it. Over and over again I had to go below, find the lost item and exact some punishment on the old gaffer. The consolation to having the muttering old fool on board was that he is in fact a great cook and managed to turn my usual chilli mush into palatable and interesting meals. This 640nm trip was another milestone for us all. A memorable experience, made more so for their company. They will both be missed.

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Of course the conversation between us often turned to the Atlantic. After much heart searching, Pete has volunteered to join me for the hop across the pond. A truly significant decision for him and for me. Unfortunately Martin cannot join us – he is “too young” and still has career and commitments that militate against.

1st Mate hard at work 1st Mate…what the…who’s on watch?
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AB helming, under the careful watch of 1st Mate …. no…. we didn’t catch anything…
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