Crew change..and return trip to UK beckons


Today Jaz left Lagos to return to the UK and work. It was very sad to let her go. Little did we know that she was returning to be told on her first day back that she was being made redundant! Why are some people such a$$holes. I sometimes think of people in business as they may have been in the playground at school when they were 13 years old. Jaz’s boss was definitely the bully who carefully picked on the smallest boy in the playground.

Luckily there was a threat of an air traffic controllers strike so her flight was delayed to Saturday 30th June – she will leave by taxi at 1600, so she will be able to meet up with Sam & Joe who arrive about 1100.

It is a gorgeous sunny day, Joe and Sam arrive on time and we have a nice handover, and lunch together, before saying goodbye to Jaz, and getting Sam and Joe settled in the boat. We await the arrival of Bruce the 1st Mate hired through PYD (Professional Yacht Delivery).

In hiring Bruce I had calculated that at least there would be two of us who could sail the boat singlehandedly in case the more inexperienced members were incapacitated  due to illness, or just not able to deal with the challenge. I shouldn’t have worried – the weeks ahead proved that Joe (Son), Sam (Joe’s girlfriend) and Martin (Bro in law) who joined in Baiona were more than up for it and were a great asset to the the arduous journey home.

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The pilot books and all the wisdom states that you are in for a bashing if you try and sail north up the Portuguese and Spanish coasts in July/August when the Portuguese Trades have set in. Well the journey down had shown that the weather had been far from predictable. We had not had fair downwind sailing as predicted by the pilot books and by WCC. So why should we have the predicted winds going back?

Then, as the days in Lagos passed by the Portuguese Trades (Nortada) set in with a vengeance – they would wouldn’t they! The patterns seemed to be that the mornings up to midday would have slight winds and then in mid afternoon strong winds – over 20kts and up to 30kts would set in until dusk, when again the winds would die away over night. I also knew that the 3 main Capes (Cabo Finsiterre, Cabo da Roca, Cabo de São Vicente) we had had negotiated on the way down had a nasty habit of increasing wind strength if you tried to cut the corner –so they needed a wide berth of at least 5 or 10nm.

I planned on getting from Lagos to Baiona – the first crew change and a good staging post for the final leg across Biscay – in two hops. Both would entail large tacks out to sea and back. Each tack would be several days in duration, allowing a week overall to get to Baiona.

This I figured would allow us to sail – close hauled – but, as I had found on the way south, the “old Bentley” seemed to shrug off such challenges. I hoped I could just set “cruise control” and sit back. That was the plan.

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