We left Ponta Delgada on Sao Miguel, the Azores , Sunday 13 August 2017 at 09.15 for the 770 nautical mile passage to Lisbon.We expected to have to motor for the first 2 days as we had to pass through the fickle winds in the Azores High pressure zone which was lying to the east of us - see below Grib File from the iGrib app.
We first motored eastwards close to the south coast of Sao Miguel
View of the pretty fishing port/ restuarant of Caloura
At 1630hrs 13/8, a pod of around 8 dolphins came to play in front of our bow - always a wonderful sight
As predicted the wind dropped further
Moon at 0055 hrs 15/8
Unfortunately the engine sea water pump developed a leak - bearings had failed - so had to spend a few hours replacing the pump - luckily this was while we were still in the Azores High so the boat was not rolling too much.
Photo of the removed pump showing half of the ball bearings in the bearing are missing
Used the torque wrench to tighten the nut securing the drive pulley to the water pump shaft to 41 Nm. Needed the wrench again set to 60 Nm to tension the drive belt - very good we have the detailed Volvo Penta Workshop Manual for our engine on board.
Very happy to say that the newly installed pump ran leak free!
During the repair we were able to sail at around 3 knots SOG.
We were much longer in the Azores High than originally predicted as the High was moving eastwards at a similar pace to us. However, by steering north of our direct course , we managed to pick up the light SWerlies on top of the High so we could sail more than expected in the first days. (Mailasail grib files via Iridium/ Redbox using Windows Live Mail)
On our passage across the Azores High, the sea was so calm we could even play Rummycup in the cockpit
We exited the Azores High at daybreak 0545 hrs 18/8 and entered the so called Portuguese Trade Winds which blow fairly consistently on the east side of the Azores High. Initially we had a pleasant NNW 3 to 4 Bft wind enabling us to sail at 5 to 6 knots on a Beam Reach. (Downloaded these Grib files via Iridium/ Redbox from Mailasail using Windows Live Mail)
However, during the evening, life on board changed dramatically - blue skies were replaced by dark clouds and by 2000 hrs we were in a NNE rain squall /5.
The wind became stronger and stronger during the night and we had hours of 30+ knots northerly winds (7bft) with seas to match - waves breaking over the deck sending spray into the cockpit. We were very happy that we had put 3 reefs in the main in the evening and had a very small amount of Genny unfurled.
However Dutch Link performed well and took its punishment in her stride.
The last day, however, the world changed again and the wind and seas became much calmeras predicted on the grib files.
We entered the Traffic Separation Zone around the Cabo Raso at 0445 hrs 20/8 sailing on a fine reach in a pleasant N5 Bft wind (chartlet from Navionic Navigation app on Ipad - excellent for Navigation)
At 0830 hrs 20/8 a pod of around 10 dolphins spotted us and came racing to us, leaping out of the water out in their rush to play around the boat, crisscrossing gracefully and seemingly effortlessly within centimeters of our bow for at least 20 minutes - always a delight to watch.
Around 1000 hrs we had our first sight of land for 7 days as Cabo Raso appeared through the morning haze. (Camera could not handle the haze)
As predicted the wind dropped further
At 1000 hrs 20/8 we started motoring past Cascais and via the Barra Norte channel into the Rio Tejo
along the waterfront of the historic city of Lisbon and its many old forts and many beaches lined with sunbathers.
Ponte 25 de Abril (clearance 70 m)
We were very lucky with our timing and made it to the Marina Parque das Nacoes on the RioTejo (Tagus) after 7 days at sea - a trip of 794 nautical miles by 1400 hrs - lucky because 1400 hrs was High Water today which meant we benefited from the flood and were making 8 knots and arrived at the marina at slackish water which made the tricky narrow entrance that much easier. We called the marina up 15 minutes before arriving and Marina staff Luis and Antonio came out in a dinghy to lead us into the marina to our berth B1 and help us dock - very helpful.
The passage was a bit longer than originally hoped as the Azores high kept moving eastwards with us - consequence, very little wind for the first few days and we had to motor a couple of days. However on the positive side it meant that the first 4 or so days we were gliding along under blue skies on a calm ocean - amazing how the huge Atlantic Ocean can be so calm at times - wonderful.
Distance covered 794 nmiles in 7 days 5 hours, average speed 4.6 knots
Sailed 109.3 hours (4 days 13 hours), Motored 64 hours (2 days 16 hours)
All in all a very enjoyable if not a bit too exciting at times, memorable trip.
The next day we gave Dutch Link a thorough wash to remove all that salt, including spraying the sails
At low tide, we are only just afloat - the marina has a silting problem
The very friendly marina staff Filipa, Caterina and Monica checked us in and gave us lots of useful info about the marina and the city.