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Friday, June 24, 2016

Sail Madeira to Azores 17 to 20 June 2016

The Grib files had idicated for several days that Friday 17 June would be a good time for our planned sail to the Azores. 
So at 0700 hrs we left our berth in Funchal Marina

  and motored West in the lee of island, hugging the Madeira coast.
  The French sailing boat Desirade also left at this time - they had an AIS transmitter on board so we could monitor their position relative to us
As we approached the western side of Madeira, we entered the acceleration zone and the wind increased to well over 20 kts from the NNE.
We were sailing at 60 degrees to the apparent wind with 1 reef in the mainsail and a small amount of Genny 
Making at times well over 8 kts SOG


By 1100 hrs we had exited the acceleration zone and the wind veered to a NEerly 4/5 Bft and we were able to free off the mainsail sailing at 80 degrees to the apparent wind, still maintaining our course of 303 degrees to the Azores.
During the next couple of days the wind remained in the 4/5 Bft range but gradually veered further to the ENE allowing us to free off even further onto a broad reach, 120 degrees to the apparent wind - a much more comfortable point of sailing


At 2230hrs on Sunday evning 19/6 the wind had dropped to a whisper, as predicted, as we entered the Azores High and we started motoring

By 0800 hrs, Santa Maria was clearly visible on the horizon some 35 miles away

Dolphins came to greet us, always a welcome sight
Rounding the southeastern point of Santa Maria

At 1440 hrs Monday 20 June 2016, we were safely berthed in Vila do Porto Marina on Santa Maria, the most SEerly of the Azorian Islands, with the friendly help of Joao and Sergio from the marina

Total distance 484 nmiles in 80 hours of which 20 hrs motored. Average speed 6.0 kts.
The whole trip we had almost full moon so the nights were never really dark - very pleasant.

Below is link to a video of the trip:-

Below is a map of the Azores Group of islands. In the coming weeks we plan to visit many of them, meet up with many of our Azorian friends, and enjoy many wonderful walks on these delightful islands.

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