30 June. Introductions over. Safety briefings complete, lifejackets distributed, luggage stowed. I tell the crew that we must move the boat to out past the lifting bridge and tie up on the fuel pontoon ready for an early start. The mood is buoyant we are looking forward to whatever the journey throws at us.
0600 1 July 2012. We cast off on time. The plan is to do a 24hr run to Sines where we stopped on the way down with the Rally. I feel that this will be a good shake down for everyone – get their sea legs – test the anti-sea sickness tablets – give everyone a feel for a watch keeping routine – but not overdo it.
Giving Cabo Sao Vicente more respect than I did on the way down we make good time. Bruce is great and fits in with the family crew well. Always willing to make hot drinks, cook lunch, do any sail adjustments –and it turns out he is quite a raconteur too and keeps everyone amused and relaxed with his light hearted chatter. A great asset.
As dusk approaches we are at 37.00N 09.07W as planned and the wind is in the mid 20’s as predicted by the Grib files. The sea is pretty rough though making it quite an initiation for Joe and Sam. Waves are 2m to 3m but they are confused and irregular. All day Joe has been green, he caves in eventually with seasickness. A combination of work pressure and 60hr weeks has caught up with him. He is eventually persuaded to go below and sleep. That is really the best place to be when you feel like this. It can happen to anyone.
For once the weather routing software I am using – MaxSea TZ – has predicted the route and the timings almost to a tee. The distance travelled is 132nm in 25.5hrs.
We can see Sines in the distance as dawn breaks. It’s easy to make out the gas light of the refinery and the town is so small that it is easy to pick out the breakwater – remembering that there is a submerged part of the breakwater with a single light at its end. From the sea it looks like there is a reef with surf breaking around it. We pass safely and in no time we are being guided to an easy mooring alongside by the friendly marina staff.