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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sailing from Funchal Madeira to Agadir Morocco 5 to 8 November 2011

Woke at 0530 hrs Saturday 5 November and decided to start the time consuming process of preparing Dutch Link to leave its mooring and motor over to the fuel dock. Due to the fact that the fixed bow line was too short for our size of boat and the large surges we had been experiencing the last few days causing the stern to repeatedly collide with the pontoon, we had a large number of fenders on the stern and many ropes attempting to control the boat and reduce the risk of damage. By 0700 hrs this was completed and we motored the short distance to the fuel dock to await the arrival of the attendant.

There was quite a surge at the fuel dock as well., of course, but this was easier to control being alongside.

Video showing surge at fuel dock - Please click on arrow

The fuel pump attendant arrived on time at 0830 hrs and at 0845hrs we set off on the 400 nautical mile trip to Agadir in Morocco

 The first hour or so there was very little wind as we were in the lee of Madeira so we motored past the southeast coast
 By 1000hrs the wind increased to a NNW 4Bft so we could start sailing - one reef already in the main as, from last years experience, we expected an acceleration zone close to the coast
 An elegant looking older cruise ship close to the east side of Madeira
 Approaching Las Ihlas Desertas
The wind dropped and we had the impression we had current against as we crossed the shallower channel between Madeira and Las Ilhas Desertas so we started the engine. After a short while, the wind picked up to NNW4 to 5 Bft and we could resume sailing leaving Las Ilhas astern
The sun has set 
 but the almost full moon is already high in the sky
 ready to light our path through most of the long night ahead
Sailing under a good moon, is one of the very special delights of night sailing
 For the whole trip, the wind was more or less exactly as predicted by the Grib files and we had a brisk sail on a beam to fine reach (the fastest and most enjoyable points of sailing) most of the way in a northerly 4 to 5 beaufort wind, at times getting up to over 25 knots (6 Bft). The Grib file wind direction predictions were spot on, the actual wind speed was a little higher.

We did not wish to arrive at night and would have to average over 7 knots to arrive on Monday afternoon. So we put in a second reef in the mainsail and only had a small amount of genny unfurled, thus keeping the speed down to 5 to 6 knots.

It meant an extra night at sea but also a more comfortable sail in the choppy seas and reduced the strain on our third crew member - our faithful autopilot.
 Dawn breaks as we approach the Moroccan coast on Tuesday 8 November
 22 nmiles off Agadir we came in the lee of the coast - motor on as the wind dropped to a whisper and the seas became calm
Please click on arrow to play video of our trip:-
Chart of the approaches to Agadir
Relief map of the region
 Several miles before reaching Agadir, we were called up by a ship approaching from the south who politely asked us to alter course to faciltate his approach to the anchorage a few miles west of the port. We duly altered course 20 degrees to starboard to pass behind his stern.

Steering between the ships in the anchorage 

 Raising the Moroccan courtesy flag and yellow Q flag (indicates we have yet to check in to the country)
Map of Agadir
Chart of Agadir Port
 The entrance to the marina is close to the beach

By 0930hrs, Tuesday 8 November, Dutch Link was safely moored in Agadir Marina, alongside a small finger, after a very enjoyable 402 nautical mile sail - time taken 72.75 hours of which motored only7 hours almost all of which were in the lees of Madeira and the Moroccan coast,
average speed 5.5 knots,

Monday and Tuesday of this week are the Eid al-Adha  "feast of sacrifice" public holidays in Morocco. We were fortunate that the maina staff were still working and could help us to berth. The very polite Police and Customs officers were also on duty and came to the boat to formally check us into the country - they hold our boat papers until we depart.
 We were very happy to see Luis and Teresa who had  arrived here on their beautiful S/V Limay on Monday afternoon from Porto Santo - we had been in SSB contact twice a day during our trip.
For them this is a very special time - they had to spend the last year in Ponta Delgada waiting for a new mast to be shipped from the USA. They had gone through the traumatic experince of being dismasted en route from the Azores to Lisbon. Finally after many frustrating months they have a new mast installed and  they could  sail away again and make plans - we are very happy for them
 Also had a very pleasant surprise to meetup again with Leonard and Julie, friends from Praia da Vitoria who have arrived from Portugal
 can just see Dutch Link in the background  to the left of the red boat

 Thought of you, Ana and Alice ! do you have room for a few more cats? they were sitting at the side of the marina looking for a home

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Wonderful adventure, photos and charts! Looking forward to following your blog. Fair winds! From Canada