Alarm clock woke us at 0500hrs on Tuesday 18 October. Checked grib files - weather still looked fine for trip to Santa Maria.
Preparations took longer than expected but by 0700hrs we left the marina in the dark. Hoisted the Mainsail with one reef in and were soon sailing SE on a beam reach in an ENE 3 to 4 Beaufort
Soon the dawn started to break
and Ponta Delgada became more visible
We were treated to a superb sunrise at 07.56 GMT, (= local time)
As we got further south we left the lee of the island and the wind increased to an ENE 5 to 6 Beaufort - gusting over 25knots.
and the sea became a bit lumpy and the decks became regularly washed
We were glad to have put a reef in the main and with two reefs in the Genny our progress was excellent with SOG (Speed Over Ground) mostly over 7 knots.
Santa Maria comes into view
By 15.30hrs we were approaching the marina of Vila do Porto on Santa Maria
By 1600hrs we were moored in the marina - no problem finding a place as the marina is fairly empty.
Trip statistics - distance covered 57.7 nautical miles in 9 hours of which less than 2 hours motoring in and out of marinas. Average speed 6.4 knots.
As we were mooring, the very friendly harbour master Armando Soares came to welcome us.
The marina is reputed to be better protected than Ponta Delgada and indeed so far there is absolutely no swell despite the disturbed sea outside.
The original plan of leaving for Madeira on Friday looks less likely now as the latest grib files are showing some pretty nasty weather this coming weekend - Monday looks more promising - we shall see.