The Boatist

Sailboat Ownership, Translation Work and Tales of Minor Adventure

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

Saturday, July 30, 2016

First Leg: Peniche to Cascais

sailing in fog
Poor visibility, but I've seen worse.
On Sunday morning I woke up to fog so thick I could hardly see the port entrance. Large water drops fell from the soggy sail flaked on the boom ready to be hoisted. The lockers were stocked with sufficient food, the water tank half-filled, and I had enough diesel for 60 hours of motoring.

Out of frustration I washed the deck and cleaned the inside some, but not that much....a boat is a boat and shouldn't look like a clinic.

While sipping my mid-morning instant coffee I spotted a red sailboat, a Challenger called Jane, docking at the transient pontoon across from me. What!! I ran over and asked them if it was less foggy out on the water.

"No, we got caught in it while sailing from Porto," said a recently-retired-looking English woman. To which her husband added, "At one point I couldn't see the genoa. Our radar is ancient but it still works." They looked vaguely familiar, and Google proved me right.

It was less foggy the next morning. At 7 a.m. I pulled in the bow and stern lines and started doing the pivot-propwash manoeuvre. On passing by the Challenger's stern Jane's head popped out of the companionway. 

"We're leaving as soon as we finish breakfast. See you Cascais."

They never showed up.

Anchoring in Cascais
The Cascais anchorage fairly empty in July.
I motorsailed most of the way, even after the fog lifted. And for the first time in 14 years, instead of wind blasting down Sintra Mountain and across Cabo Raso, I motored around the cape with limp sails. 

After anchoring, I celebrated with a glass of red wine and spent the evening lying in the cockpit happy to be alone. Cascais is a beautiful town, and even more so when seen from the peaceful bay.

Friday, July 8, 2016


I've been mute, deaf and dumb since April 19, but I'm still alive.

And I'm hoping to sail south next week, all the way to the anchorage in Culatra.

I offer you a photo-story of what's been going on.

travel lift in Nazare
I sailed - wind, not engine - to Nazaré, spent the night at the marina and got hauled out the next morning.

Installing a thru-hull

Installed a new thru-hull with a ball valve for the galley sink. It's barely above the water line so it could potentially flood the boat if, for example, the anchor dragged and the boat ended up lying on this side in the water.

Boat yard in Nazare

Typical boat mess when working.

Docking accident

This was the first time in 16 years I had a docking accident. When leaving the travel lift pontoon at very low tide with little room to maneuver, the wind blowing in the wrong direction and, if you must know, in a big stupid rush, the boarding ladder caught on the pontoon cleat and this was the result.

Although I had a beautiful fast sail to Peniche, this misshaped mess in my face spoiled the ride.
Later I tied a line to the top pipe, ran it to a snatch block on the railing and back to the big winch and managed to straightened it to a semi-respectable condition.

That's Jakatar on the far right raising sail for the annual regatta in Peniche.

And here's Jakatar flying for the starting line with all 3 sails up. With a freshly painted bottom got a big lead on everybody and gybed around the first buoy, where the wind was blanketed by the cape. Everybody else tried to tack and went into irons.

Then I started yapping with my inexperienced crew of 2, went way off course, bungled the next buoy twice, got caught by a lobster pot which we dragged for quite a while, finally god rid of it, went way off course again, the wind died down and we finished 4th. Don't have the racing mentality, I guess.

See you in Culatra.