Posted on Feb 19, 2020 by Captain Thierry Simon
Change of the watch…
Curanta Cridhe, as her name suggests, really has a Brave Heart and she kept on sailing against the NW winds and the ferocious waves with courage and determination. Despite the fact life was pretty hard going, the crew kept a superb morale and maintained safe watches on board. At one point the waves were so big that they exploded the spinnaker locker’s hatch on deck and the crew on watch had just the time to run toward the forward deck to prevent the tragic loss of this beautiful sail that was going fast overboard. We put the spinnaker back in it’s locker, managed a temporary repair to hold the cover in closed position and went back to the cockpit very wet… but relieved.
I would have expected the traditional Portuguese Trade Winds for this portion of our passage. These trade winds would have allowed a downwind ride which should have been enjoyable and fast… I guess I will experience the Portuguese Trade Winds next Spring, on my way back to the Med… We never have the weather we want!
Then the wind veered to SSE and I saw there was a chance to tack and make a direct route to Madeira. This new wind was not as strong as the 25-30 kt SW wind we had for two days but the sea was hectic and our boat’s motion through the water was painful. We continued our route toward our target and we saw on the morning of November 25, around 0600hrs, the lights of Porto Santo Island, a small island close to Madeira.
At 1000hrs, we were docked in Quinta Do Lorde Marina, a beautiful harbour in Madeira. Good to walk on the ground for a change and have a great breakfast in a restaurant! Well, the breakfast was rather disappointing but the feeling to be back on firm land was good!
The forest in Madeira.
We rented a car and divided the next two days between the various repairs to be done and the exploration of this superb island. Each time I come to Madeira I experience rough weather on my way getting there and each time, I am fascinated by the natural beauty of this volcanic island, as well as the warm welcome of it’s inhabitants. I am always amazed by the variety of the vegetation, ranging from sub-tropical palm trees, banana trees, orchards of all kinds, it’s fantastic cedar forest in the mountains and the multi-coloured flowers everywhere. Waterfalls, natural breathtaking sea pools complete the program and it is going to take several more visits to see it all! Of course, we could not miss a stop at a traditional wine store to taste some amazing Madeira wines, accompanied with cured ham and other island specialities that made this particular evening most memorable…
Flowers of Madeira…
The problem with delivery passages is that you cannot stop. You have to carry on and continue your journey until you arrive at your destination. The crew had their return flights scheduled to fly back home, so sadly we left this beautiful Island, but with the desire to come back in the near future. A strong Southerly wind, on the nose again!... was waiting for us and we hoisted our jib and reefed the main, setting our course toward another special island.....Lanzarote!