Life & Travels Afloat in our Moody
As the 2nd boat to leave the port, we set off with a modest northerly wind. There was noticeable swell, but not so much as prevent us trying out the repaired cruising chute. It was duly hoisted, but on starting to open out the sail, it was slightly twisted in the snuffing sleeve. From the bow, I endeavoured to untwist this, but whilst doing so, disaster struck.
In the swell the sail just coiled itself round the forestay in a couple of minutes, and resisted attempts to straighten it. Motoring round in circles to unravel the unruly beast almost sorted it, but just as it was coming free, it made a bid for freedom by ripping the loudhailer horn off the mast. Worse was to come when we got it down only to find it had committed suicide in the process by 20 ft of tears in the sail panels. Although we will get a sailmaker’s opinion when we get to Lagos, we are resigned to forking out for a new one.
Anyway, the better news came when we then tried out our proposed twin headsail set-up for an Atlantic passage. This involves attaching a 2nd sail to the emergency forestay, and holding it out on a whisker pole. It worked far better than expected, and we also then used the windvane steering as well. These systems are not always reliable on downwind/following sea conditions, but we were delighted (and relieved) that it all worked really well.
Radio messages came from the boats ahead to warn of high winds off Cabo Roca, so we reduced sail and brought down the 2nd headsail. Sure enough the wind increased, and we maintained speed despite this. Having been told that the wind reduced further ahead, we unrolled sail when the windspeed dropped. This led to a very exhilarating, but hairy, run into Oeiras alongside the catamaran, Imagine.
On an excursion to Poets’ Park and the Gunpowder Factory, we realised that we were cultured out, so decided to just have an independent day out in Lisbon. What a beautiful city! Despite poor navigation on the 15 minute walk to the station, (45 mins to the 3rd station down the way..), and after brief use of the Metro (our tickets were wrong for this, more tickets needed), we started our wander. Everywhere you looked, there were magnificent buildings in all states of repair. With trolley buses, trams, and street cars as street scenes, it is a vibrant and fascinating place to visit. Clearly the US Navy thinks so as well, but they arrived with an aircraft carrier!
As this is not a travel blog on cities, suffice it to say that we really enjoyed our wander. We fell foul of the railway ticket system again by stopping off at Belem for lunch. More tickets had to be bought because we had exceeded the time limit for the trip 😦
Never mind, at least the trains are very cheap, totally unlike the UK!