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Finally underway

Posted by on 20 februari 2017

Finally underway!
Enough happened since last time.
We planned to haul out end of April 2016 but unfortunate it was already end of May.
Then instead of the planned 3 weeks it became 7 weeks of maintenance.
Long days on the hard but she is better than ever and in perfect condition.
What have we done so far?
Underwater we added an extra 2 layers of Coppercoat.
Added 2 Keelcoolers for fridge and freezer to have less heat in the boat and it is less energy-consuming because the heat is given to the water.
We sanded the gelcoat, primered and painted the hull Stars and Stripes Blue.
The teak deck repaired and completely recaulked with Sikaflex.
Added a Save Marine watergenerator mounted on a stainless steel mounting bracket which we also can use as an outboard bracket for emergency situations (in case of engine failure we can use this to manoeuvre the ship into port).
Installation of an Icom M802 SSB radio with Pactor 4 modem for emailing and weatherforecasts at sea.
New standing rigging with insulated backstay for the SSB and brand new sails.
We sold our bikes and car and emptied our storagebox. Our house was already sold some years before.
At that moment we were really FREE to go but then I went through my back and also had a hernia.
So waitng for surgery first.
For surgery we sailed from Den Helder, our homeport, to Scheveningen because Asha could say goodby to her family and the hospital was closer to our boat.
After that we could really go and there we went.
We started our circumnavigation from Scheveningen, Den Haag already late in season. It was 09th of September 2016.
First port was Oostende, Belgium where we stayed a few days.
From Oostende we sailed to Boulogne sur Mer. We stayed just one night. Boulogne was not attractive to us and the Bay of Biscay was waiting. From Boulogne we sailed to Guernsey were we had a pleasant meeting with an old friend of me. There we spend a few days waiting for a nice weatherwindow for next leg.
After refuelling in Guernsey we sailed via the Chenal du Four to Camaret sur Mer. We had not sailed much and had to use the engine many times. Here we spend a few days and waited for a weatherwindow to cross the Bay of Biscay.
Most people sail to Falmouth on the SW coast of England first and we also planned so but the weather circumstances forced us to keep the French coast. And this was also nice.
From Camaret we crossed the Bay of Biscay after a short visit to Brest.
Again we had to use the engine nearly the whole Bay of Biscay and after 3,5 day we entered La Coruna in the night.
Here we met our friends with Northern Light who left Den Helder already in july. They are sailing with a boy twin age 7 years.
They went via the English coast and had to wait for a long time for a nice weatherwindow.
After a few nice days we sailed out again and headed for Ensenada de Laxa.
Here we stayed only one night at anchor and the other day we rounded Cape finisterre and dropped anchor in the Ensenada de Langousteira. Here was a nice beach and the weather was fine. Here we realised for the first time that we don’t have to rush anymore. The Bay of Biscay was behind us and now we could relax.
From here we sailed to Ria de Muros where we dropped anchor and stayed a few days. from here we went with the dinghy to expore. From here we sailed to Baiona in the entrance of Ria de Vigo.
Here we stayed 2 weeks or something, forgot time and we were relaxing.
Took some time to visit the neighbourhood and also went to Vigo by autobus.
After a nice period at anchor it was time to leave Spain and we sailed down to Povoa de Varzim, Portugal together with Northern Light. Actually we sailed together from La Coruna.
From Povoa de Varzim we headed south to Leixoes. from here we went by bus to Porto, a very ancient and nice city.
From leixoes we sailed to Aveiro to take shelter for the strong winds to come where we anchored again.
It was a small bay and there was hardly place for us two to anchor.
Luckily we were late in season and besides the small sportfishing boats we were the only ones.
In the night there was a very big gust and I saw 58 knots on the windmeter, the boat heeled over and I expected any moment the anchor alarm but the Rocna anchor was holding very good.
This was not so for Northern Light and she had dragged and was just in front of me.
Her anchor was holding again and I decided to give some more chain so that NL didn’t have to hiew in her anchor at night. By first daylight we could do so and we did not rest much that night.
In the morning the weather was already becalmed and NL anchored again far enough away from us.
When the weather was stable again we motored out but not before we went with the Dinghy to Aveiro, little Venetië.
It was very nice to see the gondels over there and a lot of tourists were joining them.
We sailed the same route with our dinghy.lol.
From here we headed south to Nazaré were the championship surfing was held.
Luckily the waves were not so high for us and we entered Nazaré by night. It was a little scaring because it was a very dark night and we could not see how the harbour opened but my electronic chart was very precise.
From here we sailed to Peniche, a nice small town and at the other side a nice beach were a lot of surfschools give lessons. We stayed here for more than a week, the only minor was that the fishing fleet don’t give a sh..t for maximum speed of 3 knots in port so they managed to sail close by with 8 knots given a hugh stern wave.
Our boat can handle it but there were some small boats and they were smashed against the pontoon and nearly on the pontoon.The police don’t do anything against it and that’s shame.They only warn us to have enough fenders and good lines, uhmmm.
From Peniche we liked to go to Lisboa but there was a nice weatherwindow to head for Madeira so we let Lisboa on our port side and headed SW to Madeira. Before Madeira there is a small island called Porto Santo and we dropped anchor in christal clear water at a depth of 10 meters. We were 1 day ahead of Northern light and we waited for their arrival were we handed over a tuna which we caught just before entering the anchorage.
We eated the tuna raw together with them as sashimi. With some sojasauce and wasabi, it was delicious.
The first week the weather was fine and we explored the island by foot and by scooter. Later in the week there were strong winds and because there were high mountains the wind was fallen down with very strenght.
The boats were going everywere and everybody needed enough swinging room.
In the afternoon a french boat came in and anchored close by my anchor. I warned them already that I needed swingin room but they could hardly understand me and told me that they don’t drag behind two anchors.
Ofcourse in the middle of the night, we could not sleep and keeping anchorwatch, they were so close that they could hit us so I called them awake and in panic they started engine and my anchorbuoy was taken by their propellor and off we go. We drifted and I had to take my anchor out. We managed to anchor again and in the morning I took one of the last remaining moorings. The rest was already sunken by bad maintenance but not before I had inspected it by snorkeling to the anchorblock. I connected the chain to my own mooring rope and decided to leave the other day.
In the night it started to blow again and I was inspecting the mooring rope and this was nearly worn out by chafing.
Remon from Northern Light saw my decklights on and gave me assistance with his dinghy to connect another rope with shackle to the chain. I also connected my anchorsnubber to the chain so was double protected now. We were exhausted and felt both asleep after some nights continuous anchorwatch. In same night the french boat was given concerns again by drifting to the Northen Light and everybody on the anchorage was awake except the french people, they slept if nothing was happening. In the morning we both sailed out to Madeira. Enough is enough!
In Madeira we went to Quinta do lorde, a nice resort with marina.
The only minor was the huge price for the berth in the marina but northern Light had some sails to repair and we could have some sleep. We stayed 2 days exploring the island and discovered a small fishing port were we could go alongside a pier for nearly free. This was Machico with a nice beach, out of the ocean swell and normally a fishing port for tuna fishers but we were late in season so all boats were on the hard already. It has some benefits not to sail in season. lol.
From here we visited the capital of Madeira, Funchal by bus and spend a nice day with the family Schreuders from the Northern Light.
From Madeira we sailed to Las Palmas, Gran Canaria were we are now. We have time and decided to stay one year in the Canarian Islands instead of rushing to the other site. The caribbean can wait for us.

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