19 Apr Westerly winds
19 April 2019
After passing an Acores high on engine last week, westerly winds built up. As for some time the wind was more North West the destination Horta on the island Faial was not within sailing reach. Therefore, we headed for the island of Sao Miguel with Santa Maria as a plan B. We wanted to have destination options as the weather forecast showed increasing winds up to gale force. We were too far off the islands to the be in time in the harbor for shelter. So, we prepared for the high winds. As wind increased to 7 Bft with gusts of 8, sails were decreased till we had only the stay sail and a double reefed schooner sail.
Waves built up to more than 6 meters. The old lady can handle that very well. The ship rolled sometimes more than 30 degrees, water flushing over the railing. This water was drained very effectively via the scupper holes (spuigaten).
Then with a sudden bang a wave threw a few tons of solid water on the deck. The hatches were closed but not tightened yet. So, some water dropped underneath the hatches into the saloon and cabins. That gave consternation, but the issue was remedied quickly.
We kept the speed low to enter the port of Ponte Delgada at morning daylight and not at night. Ponta Delgada is a nice old Portuguese and well-maintained city from the colonial age. Sao Miguel is a friendly and green island.
We stayed two days for repair, maintenance and rest. Some of the guest crew made a tour with an hop-on hop-off bus. Others rented a car. The island has two old volcanos with crater lakes. The abundant green plants were about to blossom, making the island a flower paradise.
At the moment we are back on the ocean for the leg to Rotterdam. We are in a next Acores high (meaning no wind). On engine we are heading North again in search for new westerly winds…