The Boatist

Sailboat Ownership, Translation Work and Tales of Minor Adventure

Retire early, be passionate, don't worry, die poor

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Saturday Storm

Manuel called me Friday evening - I could barely hear his voice over the whistling rasping wind and banging noises.

"It's blowing like hell here and it's gonna get a lot worse tonight," he shouted into the mobile.

"Yeah, it's supposed to hit 45 knots," I shouted back from my cozy office.

"Windguru says gusts will reach 65 knots early this morning!"

"65 knots," I repeated, not shouting anymore, as my stomach tightened. "Shit, my jeep broke down yesterday. I'll borrow Ana's car and pop over before it gets dark."

"Don't bother, I'm on your boat right now. Everything is OK. I untied two sail sheets and tied them to the cleats on the pontoon. You're only tied-off to the fingers, and they're heaving up like crazy. If they snap at least now you're tied to the pontoon."

I thanked him and went back to my emergency translation.

I shot this video Saturday morning at Praia da Areia Branca after the worst had passed.
In the morning nobody called from the marina, so I figured Jakatar was still in its berth and floating. I kept on working.

Then the power failed in town and I couldn't work anymore; I asked Ana to drive me to the marina.
Storm in Peniche
Look at the waves in the hills charging the beach. The foam on the far right is from a wave that crashed over the breakwater.
Breakwater in Penich
Huge waves coming over the breakwater and all I got was this barely visible white spray (in the center) just before getting into the car.
I guess I'm an amateur blogger: I timed a fast dash to the gate to avoid waves crashing over the breakwater; was on the boat that was heeling and bouncing around like an enraged bull; had a perfect view of the massive waves steamrolling toward the beach - and only remembered to take pictures when I got back to the car. What an idiot!!!

Don't go away, there's more.

Back home, there's still no power by 5 pm. Trees have fallen over power lines and everything is a mess. I got a job to finish, the deadline is covered by a bank guarantee and I'm starting to get jittery.

What to do, What to do?

There's only one thing to do. I made a bunch of sandwiches (actually Ana did), packed the laptop and an extra blanket. Then Ana drove me back to the marina where I would spend the night and the next day working in the boat. Amazingly, there's power at the marina.

Just as I was settling down to work in the boat that's rolling and jerking violently at the dock lines, Ana calls. "The power is back."

What a life.

News report: Peniche had the strongest wind clocked at 140 km/h; Nazaré had the largest wave (measured by a wave-measuring buoy) of 19.2 meters.

That's enough excitement for now.


  1. 120ks thats major, a category 5 no damage i hope

    1. On the boat, the mainsail cover ripped, it was getting old anyway. Will check better as soon as the jeep is repaired.
      Lots of fallen trees, damaged roofs, flattened greenhouses, etc., around the country.

  2. Holy ^$%%$#
    Now that is why I hauled out this winter.
    Dude, that stuff is hardcore. How do you sleep at night?? Or am I just a wuss. But I can relate with the broken down jeep and being swamped for work just when you need the opposite circumstances. Yup, such is life... but sometimes.... you know....

    1. You said it, "such is life". If you check Windguru for Peniche, you'll see that it's still showing 43 knot gusts for today and waves over 9 m. Damn, and I haven't got a vehicle or time to go check the boat...but it's lashed down good, it will be alright until I get a phone call.
      But this life is better than the one by the guy who told his friend the following.
      I told my wife, "honey, if I'm ever hooked up to a machine and living off liquids, don't listen to the doctors, uplug me and get it over with."
      "Can you believe it, the bitch turned off the TV and threw out my beer bottle!!!"