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Flag etiquette..

I decided that I would fill up with fuel before leaving Baiona. The fuel gauge was still not working, but I had recorded the engine hours used and the approximate average revs that I ran the engine at since leaving Coruna. By filling up now I hoped top get a better idea of consumption. This would be critical so long as the gauge was inoperable. I put in 75 litres. My log book calculation was 74.19 – approx. 1 litre out. That at least was comforting and would be useful even after the fuel sensor is fixed.

The wind was moderate, I raised full sail and turned the engine off when I could finally turn south – directly into the wind from SSW. Not again!. So tacking into the head wind was the order of the day. although I was travelling at over 5/6kts speed over the ground I was making 3kts towards Viana do Castelo.

At about 12 I decided I should change the courtesy flag that is flown on the right hand spreader. I located the Portuguese flag from the bag of flags. Luckily its quite distinctive being so grandiose. Climbing out of the cockpit and clipping on to the jack stays was the most frustrating part. I raised myself to my feet at the mast with the old Bentley lolloping along at about 25o. from vertical. Bringing the Spanish flag down, trying not to let go of the flag halyard and also not let go of the mast – while undoing a bowline; switching flags; and retying a bowline is quite a task for someone who was not brought up in the circus. But I managed to complete the trick and crawl back to the cockpit vowing to move the jack stays so that they don’t run up and along the side deck but across the boat diagonally. This in my view means far less obstruction for the safety line as you crawl forward and less need to unclip and re-clip to get passed ropes and other hazards.

The journey which was only 35nm and should have been a breezy 7hrs, actually took 11.5 hrs. As a result when I got to Viana and travelled up river to the marina entrance, the bridge separating the marina from the river was down. I was directed to the waiting pontoon in the river. Luckily, since this had power and water and was a brand new pontoon it wasn’t a great hardship. There was wash from the occasional passing boat but not too disturbing. I decided to stay 2 nights and to stay outside the marina which looked mighty congested anyway. Once more no WiFi. So after a wonder around the town, a splendid fish lunch, and a small supermarket dash, I sat in the “Irish Pub” which is actually a trendy glass fronted, themed, sports bar right on the river front – and overlooking the Enterprise. This general lack of WiFi in marinas is truly annoying. Never mind, the “Irish” had it right. I caught up with emails and made a couple of calls using Whats App and FaceTime.


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Moored in the river. Day2. At least no one rafted up.
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Much more basic than Baiona A small family restaurant.
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Supermarket chill cabinets are different here… No shortage of dried fish (Maldive Fish?) either!
The things you have to do to get WiFi !

2 comments to Flag etiquette..

  • Gary

    For a non-sailor like me,sailing appears to involve an expertise in contorting the body that Houdini would have been hard pressed to master.BTW,where are the small family outside the restaurant?

  • Stuart

    I seem to have missed you getting the alternator belt tightened. Unclipping the safety line doesn’t sound great. Have you thought of two lines with at least one attached at any one time? Working in the chemical industry makes you want belt, braces and, as a backup, string.

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