September 15, 2011
Safely back in Lagos after stops at Viana de Casetelo, Leixoes, Figuera da Foz, Nazare, Cascais and Sines. Met old schoolfriends Peter in Oporto and Penny in Nazare. Judith was our crew for this leg and we docked a day early in time for her significant birthday.
August 31, 2011
There was a commotion in the Real Club Nautico de Vigo yesterday as we received a visit from Telefonica, the Spanish entry in the Volvo Ocean Race that starts in Alicante in October. The Club had moved ten boats so that there would be room on our dock. As well as the dozen or so crew, distinctive in their 250 pound Dubarry boots, their were a similar number of shore supporters, bigwigs from the Xunta Galicia and the Club and about half a dozen camera crews.
After getting my snaps I sloped off for lunch by the fishing port, which must be one of the largest in the world, where I enjoyed three courses and half a bottle of wine for 10 Euros. It seemed a fine contrast to the extravangance of the ocean racer.
Alison returns from a lightning visit to the UK tomorrow, with Judith, who will daysail with us for the 350 or so miles to Lagos over the next three weeks.
August 18, 2011
We’ve had a steady succession of crew changes. Passage crew Steven returned to the UK allowing Alison and Robert’s wife Janet to take his place on board for a few days including a visit to the Islas Cies, an idyllic National Park just a few miles off the shore from Bayona. Here we rowed ashore from two anchorages and enjoyed walks among the pine trees to lighthouses with spectacular views.
After Robert and Janet left for a driving tour of Galicia, Brent and Jane have been on board for a few days during which we sailed to Combarro at the head of the Pontevedra Ria. Our visit coincided with the mussel festival which included a procession of religious icons through the narrow streets.
Brent has never shrunk from displaying his athleticism – first leading Stephen into a chilly Atlantic dip, then climbing the mast to recover the lost end of a halyard.
August 06, 2011
YoHoHo arrived in Baiona safe and well at 0700 BST but not before our wildest night of the year with driving rain and steady 30 knot winds. Although we had carefully timed our landfall for dawn, so that we could pick out lights to back up our charts and radar, conditions made our arrival quite challenging as we surged over 8 knots even though the mainsail was furled and only half the genoa deployed.
We’ve found a spot in the Puerto Deportivo and are looking forward to our first walk ashore after nearly six days at sea.
August 04, 2011
Still going well. Just 270 miles to go. The cruising shute, which went round the world in a locker, has really proved helpful.
ETA Vigo, Spain – early Saturday morning
August 02, 2011
Lighter winds so cruising shute in use. All well on board
August 02, 2011
Yohoho and her crew had a good 1st day and sailed over 160 miles in 24 hours. Forecast is still looking good. The satellite phone worked well from the Ocean.
July 31, 2011
Steven and Robert have arrived for the 800 mile voyage to Baiona in Galicia, Spain. Steven brought museli and mints for nightwatch. Robert, who arrived at midnight, brought a 20 kilo fridge. This has chilled down nicely overnight and is now lashed securely to the floor of the glory hole with most of the food for the journey held at 5C inside.
We have been joined in Ponta Delgada by the Portuguese Naval training ship Sagres which makes a magnificent sight by day and night. It was open for visitors today and we enjoyed comparing the work the ratings must have to do controlling her 23 sails with only muscle power while we have winches for everything on YoHoHo.
The weather forecast looks good for our week at sea. We’ll be getting weather updates by Satphone from Alison at home in London, so expect she will post position updates showing our progress.
July 24, 2011
Just as we arrived in Horta the circuit breaker for our fridge tripped, and a smell of burning filled the saloon. On removing the panel in front of the fridge compressor, the emerging smoke made it clear that we had suffered a significant incident. We tracked down a fridge mechanic who arrived from another island the next day, and whilst he was able to swap the spare control unit we had been carrying for thirteen years for the burnt out version, and install a new overheating sensor, it was no surprise that the start-up load on the compressor is a lot higher than it was before the burnout. The fridge still works, but only by running the cooling pump from a completely different power source and by delivering power at the maximum voltage. Worse still we can’t rely on it surviving the week long passage back to the European mainland.
After a good night’s sleep and some research on the internet we decided to ask one of our incoming crew to buy and bring with him a Waeco portable fridge/freezer when he arrives at the end of the month. This will act as our main fridge for the rest of the summer, but could be used as a freezer after we get the built-in fridge replaced this winter.
With our refrigeration on its last legs we decided not to explore some of the less populated Azorean Islands but instead have returned to Ponta Delgada. For most of this 27 hour journey we sailed with light winds from ahead of the beam, interspersed with periods of motoring when the wind dropped or went dead ahead. Most of the motoring seemed to be on Stephen’s watches, with Alison enjoying some lovely sailing. As we left Pico astern we looked back to see its peak framed by a wonderful sunset (see picture).
One of our first tasks after clearing into Ponta Delgada was to fill up with diesel, in case we need to motor a long way on our next passage. In the last few years we’ve had difficulty topping off our fuel tanks without spillage, especially if YoHoHo rocks at a key moment. We think this is because the rising fuel temporarily blocks the breather leaving the air bubble in the top of tank to blast out of the filler, reversing the filling operation and sending nasty diesel everywhere. We’ve developed a multi-part solution to this problem. First we make sure our water tank , on the port side, is full before we start so that we don’t heel to starboard as this increases the chance of the breather blocking. Only Stephen stands on the side deck while filling, for the same reason. We use a funnel to deliver a thin flow of fuel down the centre of the filler, allowing air to escape up the sides. And we fill …very…slowly.
As the Azores are in the middle of the ocean, all their marinas are subject to swell getting in and the waves at the fuel dock in Ponta Delgada were as rough as at any fuel dock we had ever encountered. So we approached the filling exercise with trepidation but are delighted to report there was no spillage at all, and we now have more than 550 litres of diesel in the tank, which should give us a range of over 850 miles in most conditions.
Alison has five more days on board before she flies home and Steven and Robert arrive on Saturday. This is more than enough time to allow for passage preparation so we have a couple of sightseeing trips planned on Sao Miguel.
July 18, 2011
Yesterday we took the ferry across the four mile channel to Pico. In the unlikely location of the lower slopes of a volcano on a windswept Atlantic Island vineyards were established in the Middle Ages by making tiny fields enclosed by lava stone. These are deservedly a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
While walking, we bumped into sailing friends Henri, Nora and Jacques, from the French yacht Hobby. We first met them on Porto Santo, were berthed next to them in Santa Maria and Ponta Delgada, and are just along the dock from them in Horta. We shall miss them when the head west to Flores later this week.