The Land of the 240D

Morocco. It was good to finally get here. I had originally planned to spend more time here, but the delays waiting for repairs had meant our time here would be squeezed.

Marina Smir was more than half empty so we picked a nice spot and moored up. Our first job was to locate an ATM as I’d spent all our Euros on the marina fees – their EFPOS machine wasn’t working. A regular occurence I suspect.

So off we went looking for an ATM. There was one at the marina but it also wasn’t working.

So we called into the hotel at the marina and got some local coin before hopping on a local bus to M’Diq. That was a quick emersion into the land of Arabs. The bus was jam-packed and kept on stopping to pick up yet more people. I was still getting used to the culture shock when I got off.

We wandered around M’Diq and found a few ATMs, none of which took our cards. They would do a cash advance on Visa but not on our normal bank cards from Australia and Canada.

Eventually we did find a bank that did the trick and got some dirhams (dh). Stan at this stage was getting hungry (or should I say hungrier) so we found a local street with lots of Moroccans eating and picked out a restaurant. We all had local fish and Stan ordered a Paella for good measure. It was beautiful, lots of wonderful Moroccan flavours. I think Stan was in heaven.

Next morning, we went in search of a driver to take us to Fez (or Fes as the locals spell it). We found Mohammed, via Rashid, the same driver Ooroo had. We paid Mohammed €300 to drive us to Fez and Tangiers over two full days (and nights).

It took us 4 hours, plus a stop for lunch, to get to Fez. It was a beautiful drive, Morocco had experienced a lot of rain and it was very green and lush. We passed through lovely little villages, with the new and old combination of Massey Ferguson’s and donkeys. Lunch was interesting at a restuarant outside a petrol station, with its own “modern butcher” attached. The moroccan lamb was delicious. The goat was ok – an experience.

We got to Fez about 3 and Mohammed hooked us up with a local guide, who calls himself Sammy, because of his pretty good resembalance to sammy davis jnr. He turned out to be a pretty good name dropper, saying he’s taken the real sammy davis around as well as our mate, ray martin.

The medina at Fez is a real rabbit warren and I reckon a guide is a necessity. There’s 350,000 fezites living in this ancient walled city and a whole heap more living outside – just over a million in total.

Walking around with sammy, we went through a maze of small alley ways that openned up into beautiful architecture. Its like going back in a time machine. The whole place is a maze of shops, all serviced by donkeys. Its said to be the world’s largest contiguous car-free urban area. We managed to cram in all the major ancient sites, including Al-Qarawiyyin, which was founded in AD 859, and is claimed to be the oldest university in the world – although now its a huge mosque.

The old world tanneries were fascinating – and smelly. There were people sitting in shops hand spinning silk, shops full of moroccan spices and the obligitory carpet sellers. I managed to

Sammy also took us to one of the beautiful guesthouses, it was amazing, 6 star luxury and exquisitely decorated with a lovely pool in the centre of the courtyard. Everything you imagined about staying in an exotic location. At €160 a night, it seemed very reasonable.

Then I stopped dreaming and went off to my €20 a night actual accomodation. Successfully checked in, we got Mohammed to drive us around to a few of the moorish castles that guarded the entry to the town for some sunset photos. Then it was back into the medina for dinner, to savour some more moroccan spices. Yum. As we ate, Mohammed filled us in on life in Morocco. He was proving to be an excellent driver and excellent companion.

Next morning, it was up early for a walk to the jewish quarter. Along the way we came across one of the Saharan nomads who was walking into town to sell his rugs. Needless to say, La Mischief now has a new rug and Stan has a new moroccan hat. And best of all, we managed to avoid the medina marfia as he called them – all the people who get their cut along the way.

We never did find the jewish quarter, and with time against us, we headed back to the medina, albeit the other side to where our hotel was. We had the choice of walking around the outside or straight through the middle. We chose the middle -of course We ended up breaking up and Stan beat us back to hotel by quite a mile. I worked out my mistake was to take directions from the locals and these directions ineveratibly lead past a relative’s shop, and not necessarily to our particular hotel.

Anyway we eventually found the hotel and checked out, and then we were on our way with Mohommed down to the coast and along it to Tangiers. Another magnificent drive, passing through an old disused border crossing from the days when morocco was divided into spanish and french colonies.

After a lunch that cost us about $25 for 4 of us (make that 5 – Stan eats for 2) at a packed restaurant in a coastal town, we headed for Tangiers. Our first stop was the Pillar of Hercules, where thee was a cave that opened up underground to the coast. Very spectacular. Parts of it had been chiseled out to mine the marble, which could still be seen.

Then it was onto the famed Kaspar in Tangiers. Mohammed dropped us at the top and we walked down the narrow winding streets to the bottom. Couldn’t really get lost as all you had to do was to keep heading down until you got to the port. After an ice cream and some freshly squeezed orange juice, we found Mohammed and headed back to Marina Smir. No time to find a bar owned by a guy called Rick. Maybe next time.

The drive back was equally impressive as we drove along the cliff tops overlooking the Straits of Gibraltar, before cutting across the mountains and dropping down onto the East Coast where Marina Smir was located. Mohammed dropped us off well after dark after a couple of amazing days.

Next day, Stan and Judy went off driving, whilst I stayed around the marina and did some chores. After, or maybe it was during, I found time for the obligatory camel ride with the equally obligatory pictures of Steve on a camel in front of La Mischief. What else can I say.

As the chores involved the internet, it was also obligatory to visit one of the bars/cafes that run along the front of the marina. Now if you are going to run into other Australian yachties, then there is a fair chance you will do in in such an establishment. And sure enough, I did run into Kevin and Di who’d just bought their Benneteau about a week ago. I also ran into David and Jenny Pakes off Windjammer, who happen to be related to an old lawyer of mine. Great to catch up with other Aussies in far away places. Especially guys who are far more experienced and knowledgeable than novice sailor Steve.

Next morning, we followed Kevin and Di back to Gibraltar, as they were heading for Queensway Quays marina and they suggested we did too.

For photos of morocco see

Into the Mediterrean

The Tangiers Ferry heading straight for us
The Tangiers Ferry heading straight for us

The currents through the Straits of Gibraltar are quite strong because the Med is actually lower than the Atlantic due to the amount of evaporation. That’s good news as evaporation must mean sun – something we’d been in somewhat short supply of so far this trip.

There’s an optimum time to leave Barbate to catch a good tide through the straight, but we decided to leave a couple of hours before this as we were keen to get safely into a marina according  to our 2pm rule, as this is a notoriously windy part of the world.

THe winds tend to be all over the place down here. Its effected by many things – the Atlantic northerly trades, the warm air off the Saraha and the tunneling effect of the Straits themselves.

We started off beating into the wind and then it gradually shifted south and then West, dropping off to next to nothing. Then it slowly built to 10-15kts and by the time we passed Tarifa we were flying our geneker.

We kept it up all the way to Tangiers as we gybed and dodged the shipping, which wasn’t too bad, excepting for the Tangiers ferry that came directly for us at 35kts. It was an awesome sight as it slipped past our stern.


dolphins everywhere
dolphins everywhere


We had a great time watching the dolphins play all around us and I even saw a sun fish. Another first for me.

By the time we had crossed the shipping lanes and got to the Morocco side, the wind had built to 25kts and we pulled down the geneker. We passed by Tangiers and then the Spanish enclave of Ceuta, a bit like a Spanish version of Gibraltar in Morocco.

By the time we rounded the Cape at the end of the Strait, it was blowing 35kts and we had a couple of reefs in. Then as we went down the Moroccan coast it dropped away again.

We motored the last little bit into Marina Smir, where we would stay for our entire stay in Morocco.

It as good to be in the Med. Felt like quite an achievement.


In the footsteps of Nelson

I’m not sure the terminology of the title is completely correct – its hard to be in someone’s footsteps if you are both on a boat. But whatever, I was really excited to sail past Cape Trafalgar, which had a significant impact on the last 200 years or so of history. Especially now that they have discovered the fact that Napoleon was planning to invade Sydney, right up until the point where Nelson wrote his name into the history books.

I always thought that Trafalgar was somewhere around France given it was a French-English get together and was quite surprised to find it way down the bottom of Spain. Well there you go.

Anyway, it wasn’t til about 11am that we managed to get La Mischief into the water and off we headed East. As we closed in on the Straits of Gibraltar, we started to see Africa off in the distance.

Those wonderful northerlies suddenly deserted us as we headed towards the Straits of Gibraltar and we found the wind right on our nose.  On with the iron sails.

With the wind against us and the late start, we were going to break our 2pm rule by quite a bit. And did we pay for it. Cape Trafalgar is a nasty little Cape to go around with lots of shallow water quite a fair way out and boy to we feel it.

La Mischief handled the rough and tumble with a plumb, and we were tied up at the collector jetty in Barbate just after 8pm. Fredy had advised to go around the Tuna nets that go way out to sea, but the charts were fairly good and we could easily go through the 500m gap between the start of the nets and the harbour break wall, so we went the much more direct way.

We were surprised to find the office still open and I’ve got to say it was one of the best little marinas we’ve been to. We ended up checking in two nights as the next day was no good to go through the Straits.

Paul and Ness, whose 60 foot catamaran Paradise, we had anchored beside in Cascais came and helped tie us up and low and behold, Stan and Paul both worked in nuclear power plants, Stan being an engineer and Paul a nuclear physicist. Paul had also worked on nuclear subs, which had Stan fascinated.

Two days gave us time to check out Barbate, and despite what the cruising guide said, we found it a great little town. Fredy told us about how the King of Spain goes to Barbate just to eat their red tuna so Stan and Judy hopped on their bikes, after chatting with Paul and Ness and headed for a restaurant at 10pm. I stayed and went to bed.

Next day, I went and explored the town and checked out red tuna sashimi at one of the many beachside restaurants. Found some good internet access so was able to chat with both Cas and Alex, which was great.

In the afternoon, I trekked along the top of the impressive cliffs towards Cape Trafalgar. Saw a mad kite surfer miles out to sea, skimming along in the stiff breeze. Tarifa just up towards Gibraltar is world-renowned for its wind surfing and kite surfing. Hence why we were waiting an extra day.

Back at the marina, I called in on Paradise and Paul and Ness fed me a beautiful curry. It was finally good to get into the social side of the cruising life. One of the attractions is the friends you quickly make and bump into from time to time. Up until now, we hadn’t seen too many cruisers, but now the cruising season was starting and boats were appearing.

Then it was off to bed, ready for an early start as we sailed out of the Atlantic ocean and into the Med. Wow.

For photos of Barbate see


On our way into Puerto Sherry, we sailed straight past the ancient walled city of Cadiz. The sights of the old walls and the geography of Cadiz, which looks like its built on a small island at the end of a spit, had us curious and excited to go and visit its sights. Which was just as well, as La Mischief was up on the hard for the weekend and we weren’t allowed to sleep on her. 

But before I could plonk myself on the ferry and get over to Cadiz, I had to spend a night at the marina hotel as we needed to do some work the next morning. After that, I wandered over to a function that was happening at the Marina as part of a Festival of Water and chatted with a few people, before getting on the 5pm ferry from nearby El Puerto de Santa Maria and heading for Cadiz. Interestingly, these ferries stop running earlyish (for Spain) at night.

Arriving in Cadiz, my first job was to find some accommodation – and this was harder than I thought because there was a huge religious festival going on. Cadiz is a small city and there were people everywhere.  After checking about 5 different places, I finally found one, and it was nothing to write home about. I booked in for one night and found a much better one for the next (Sunday) night.

Cadiz is said to be the oldest city still standing in Western Europe.  Supposedly, it was founded 80 years after the Troyan Wars, around 1104 B.C. Makes Perth look like a new-born baby, all soft and cuddly.

The link with Seville is interesting. For 200 years Sevilla had the exclusive rights to all trade with the Americas. However, come the 18th century, the sand bars of the river Guadalquivir forced the Spanish government to transfer the monopoly to Cadiz with its better access to the Atlantic. During this time, the city experienced a golden age where it became one of Spain’s greatest and most cosmopolitan cities and home to trading communities from many countries, among whom the richest was the Irish, believe it or not. May explain why Lord Bryon dropped in to declare it the most beautiful town he’d ever beheld. He obviously hadn’t done enough behelding in the vicinity of Sevilla.

After organising my bed for the night, I spent the rest of the afternoon/evening wandering around and photographing a whole heap of beautiful historic buildings and delightful squares in the Old City. It really is a most beautiful city to photograph.

I came across a particularly impressive monument celebrating the fact that Cadiz was where the liberal Spanish Constitution was proclaimed, and where the good citizens of Cadiz  revolted in 1820 to secure a renewal of this constitution. From here the revolution spread right across Spain, leading to the imprisonment of King in Cadiz.

I also spent a bit of time wandering around the top of the wall that surrounds the old city, which is walkable the whole way round.

The next morning was a Sunday and the place was abuzz with people participating, following and spectating on a whole series of grandiose religious  processions with lots of colour and pageantry. It’s evidently a huge annual event and lucky us had stumbled across it quite by accident. More clicking of the camera.

After another morning of pageantry and sightseeing in the old city it was time to check out the beach. Cadiz has got a 4km stretch of sandy beach on its Atlantic side and I think I managed to walk along most of it and back. It was packed, being reasonably hot. I went for a couple of quick swims, but its a bit like Perth water in November, a bit too cold.

Next morning, it was up early and to the ferry terminal to catch the first ferry back to the boat. La Mischief was going back in and we were off again.

For photos of Cadiz see

The Definition of Cruising

Fixing Things in Exotic Places….

The two new bilge pump and air conditioning pump arrived on Thursday and we managed to fit them both after a bit of a struggle. The plug for the air conditioning plug was under our bed and required a 4 ft midget with 6 ft arms to be able to reach under and plug it back in. Unfortunately we didn’t have one of these on board so the guy from Oceancat and myself struggled for an hour to get it sorted.

With that fixed, we said our goodbyes to Monica from Oceancat, who was brilliant, and set off for Puerto Sherry, for our next maintenance item, being the leak, near where the log goes through the hull.

The sail down the coast was brilliant. No engines and the geneker all the way. Zooming along at 7-8 knots. Beautiful, despite the wind speed going on us a few times.

We had to gybe a few times on the way into the bay. The best we could do was about 155 degrees. Definitely need a parasailor for the Atlantic and the Pacific crossing as gybing all that way doesn’t really thrill me.

We anchored just outside the marina off a very nice beach and went in next morning for our lift. On the way in, we passed the boat lifts, and commented that we must be being lifted somewhere else, because these looked only wide enough for monohulls.

Checking in at the office, we were wrong. The slips were 7.7m wide and we were 7.5m so we had a massive 20cm to play with. Piece of cake for Skipper Steve and his crew. And with absolutely no room for fenders. The guys had some thin bits of foam wrapped in plastic, to keep La Mischief off the nasty looking sides, and slowly, slowly we got in okay – despite the tight fit. Lucky there wasn’t much wind to blow us sideways. It was a nervous exercise as we lifted her out.

Its now the second time in 3 months that La Mischief has shown her bottom off – I can tell she’s a little bit naughty!

Whilst she was out we took the opportunity to fiberglass over the hole where they put the emergency ladder, which I must say was the most useless thing I have seen. Lagoon had recalled them and were replacing them with a brass plug to plug up the hole, which Monica, Fredy, Stan and I all concurred was not the best fix below the waterline. So I made an executive decision to use our fiberglass man that was on hand to fix the hull to also make this unnecessary hole disappear. To Lagoons credit, they picked up this bill without question. I must say that the wrap Lagoon get around honoring warranty is a bit unwarranted given the experiences we have had to date.

For photos see

Exploring the Hills of Andalusia

After being picked up by Stan and Judy in their rental car, we headed off to the outskirts of Sevilla where there were the impressive Roman ruins of Italica, at a town called Santiponce. However, due to the particular day of the week, we were not impressed when we found out that they were closed on Mondays. We took a few pictures through the fence and headed off.

From there we took the back roads, through some impressive farming land; buying some oranges from the road verge along the way, to the old Roman town of Carmona. The Roman bit comes largely from the fact that the Romans laid out the street plan, which still survives to this day. Begs the question – What did the Romans ever do for us?

We wandered the old town, stopping for lunch at Bar Goya, as recommended by Lonely Planet; and continued up the hill to the Hotel built inside an old castle. The views were magnificent, as was the chocolate cake that we consumed on the balcony restaurant overlooking the valley.

Full to the brim with an interesting mixture of Tapas, Beer and Chocolate cake, we walked back down through the old town and out the gates to the car, before driving back to Mazagon for the night.

Next morning, it was back in the car and off for a bike ride on the Via Verde de la Sierra – one of 42 Via Verde’s ( Spanish for green way) around Andalusia. The drive to get there was impressive, passing through rolling hills and past lovely looking White Towns, which the region is known for.

This 36km bike ride goes along a railway line that was built a while ago, but never saw a train. Stan and Judy rode their fold up bikes and I hired an off road bike, which was quite reasonable. There are 30 tunnels and 4 viaducts along the 36km – that’s a lot of overs and unders. It did however make for a very flat ride, going slightly uphill from Puerto Serrano to Olvera, where we had lunch at a restaurant looking into an indoor equestrian ring, and then back again. Judy was the only one that took a torch, and whilst the tunnels are supposed to have automatic lights, lots didn’t. There was one over a 1km long, with only about half lit – that was a bit eery. The back again part was quite quick, which was a relief as my legs weren’t really used to a 72km bike ride.

The beer at the pub at the end tasted really, really, really good.

For photos of Carmona see

For photos of Via Verde de la Sierra see

My New Favorite City

Sevilla – what can I say.

We initially thought about taking La Mischief up the 55nm of Ria Guadalquivir to Savilla but the travel time would have been too great so we decided to hire car it instead. That was a petty because we’ve been talking to people since and its a great adventure.

I was totally captivated by Sevilla’s (thats how the locals say and write it) sights and its people. Stan and Judy dropped me off on Saturday morning after a quick 110km drive up from Mazagon. They left me just outside the bull ring and so the museum became my first stop.

I wanted to learn about bull fighting. Without having ever experienced it, my surface reaction was abhorance to the animal cruelty; but along side that was a curiousity about it, stemming back to childhood when we didn’t realise what happened to the bulls and instead had a nieve romantic notion of the bullfighter wnd his cape.

It is so engrained in spanish culture that it beckons to be understood – and so as to better understand the Spanish – especially the drama and bravado of Spanish masculinity – i decided to attend a fight despite the grotesque nature of the so called contest. I started with the museum tour, a one on one tour given by a demure Spanish lady, to give me some initial context for what was to come the next day.

After the museum and a coffee, I wandered the streets towards the main square with its imposing Gothic Cathedral and the Alcazar. The Alcázar of Seville started life as a Moorish fort, and is now the oldest royal palace still in use in Europe – the upper levels of the Alcázar are used by the royal family as their official Seville residence. Both the Alcazar and the Cathedral are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, along General Archive of the Indies. The Cathedral is the largest gothic cathedral in the world, and the 3rd biggest cathedral behind St Peters and St Pauls.

But enough about the history of the place – sevilla is just a great place to wander around. After a while carrying my backpack I thought id better find a hotel and stumbled across Hotel Maestranza, a gem of a place, clean with great staff, cheap and 200m from the Cathedral. But best of all it was surrounded by great Tapas bars.

After trying a few, I wandered back to the hotel where the girl behind the counter knew her tapas bars and pointed me at the best one. Had a great time there socialising with the locals. One girl was off to brisbane to work as a pharmacist and her doctor boyfriend was going out for a holiday. Suggested they go to the whitsundays. When they went, I talked to another doctor who had just graduated along with her very charismatic lawyer boyfriend. Asked her why she smoked and she said its becoming a big problem for spain. Healthcare is free and hospitals are struggling. She is trying to give up but its hard as everyone smokes.

By 6pm the bar emptied out (only to come alive again after 9 evidently). I had a Flamenco show to go to so that suited me. It was about 40 minutes walk away (which was unusual as everything in Seville is close). I took the opportunity to wander the steeets again and take more photos.

The flamenco show was very touristy but still very enjoyable. Its not a local dance but was brought here by the gypsies. Very spectacular and very skilful. Reminded me of Strictly Ballroom. Ifound out later there was a more aurhentic (free) one but I didnt really care – I really enjoyed the one I went to.

After my walk back, I dropped into another tapas bar, but it didn’t live up to expectations so off I went to bed.

Next morning it was off for my bike tour of Sevilla. We met our guide, Desiree at 10 along with 3 young guys from New York and off we went. We started over at Triana, with it yellow houses, mirroring the colour of the bullring. Here we rode along the river and to the oldest church in sevilla, a converted moorish mosque. It was a real cooks tour, stopping for breakfast, visiting the site of the 1929 world expo, stopping off to see desiree’s friends at a coffee house, seeing the world’s first tobacco factory (where the problems first started) and a hundred and one other places.

The tour went on and on, way past its alotted end time until Desiree’s boss called to say he wanted the bikes back. Then we all had photos with her boss and some other random guys that turned up, before all retiring to a few old authenic tapas bars.

Afterwards I just managed to fit in a visit to the Alcazar, and its garden, as inspiring as Versailles, but so much closer to the centre of the city. The Alcazar was built in the dark ages but you wouldnt know it. It simply stunning – evidently one of the best remaining examples of mudéjar architecture going around.

Then it was time to go to the bull fight. There were three matadores on the schedule and they had two fights each. There was a crowd of about 10, 000 there in an ancient ring. The start of each fight was interesting as the bull had a bit of a chance, but then it went downhill from there.

A lot of people dont realise but the fight only ends when the bull is killed. If the bull isnt killed then the matadore goes to jail. I won’t say much more, but it was definitely a one off experience for me. I’d been to an abbortoir as a kid and seen animals put down humanely, but there was nothing humane about this. I found the idea of a crowd watching a killing to be very bizarre and more than a little bit disturbing; and it occurred to me that there is a fine line when it comes to humanity. The celebration of Spanish masulinity as represented by the bullfight is highly engrained in the culture and will be hard to vanquish – but it certainly needs to be in my opinion after witnessing the cruelty first hand.

After the fight, I hung around for my new found friends from NY to turn up to no avail, before I decided to return to my favourite bar . This time I found some english speakers, a banker from inner london and his teacher wife (who had also been to the fight and had come away with the same opinion). As they went to leave, a couple of girls came up after hearing my aussie accent. They were aussies working in london. I was interested to find myself really enjoying socialising with australians after not seeing any for a while. They had their boyfriends with them so the 5 of us tried to find an open bar at 1am on sunday morning.

We managed to find somewhere and then managed to thoroughly upset an english couple sitting behind us with our loud australianess. They left after a while saying they never did like australians. Hope we get the same result in the cricket.

Next morning I just had time to check out the cathedral before stan and judy swung past to pick me up.

And so ended a brilliant weekend in my new favorite European city.

For photos see

Water, Water Everywhere

We left our anchorage in Cabo De Santa Maria early and got out of the entrance at slack tide, which made it a lot easier than coming in.

We pointed east and as we were motoring we decided to make some water. Stan pulled up the floorboards to check on which tank the water was being drawn from and found a bilge full of water. Something was filling it up and the automatic bilge pump (and alarm!) had failed to kick in. Luckily the Lagoon comes with three sets of bilge pumps so we quickly turned on the manual electric one and pumped out the water.

We then went on a witch hunt to find out where the water was coming from. Eventually after some searching, we found the culprit – one of the 230V salt water pumps for the airconditioning units had blown a seal. We shut off the sea cock and pulled out the faulty bilge pump. Luckily it was a nice calm day and Judy stood watch, while Stan and I had our heads down in the bilge. We worked out that the culprit was the sensor and I few emails later we had Oceancat in Mazagon on standby to have a look at the problem.

We made it into Mazagon just after 3 and quickly found Monica from Oceancat. Monica turned out to be another gem, couldn’t be more helpful. In no time at all she had the parts ordered from Lagoon in France. I also got her to have a look at another leak, that Jorge had diagnosed as coming from the shower sump. It ended up to be a good move because they worked out it was coming through a join in the fibreglass where there os a separate section of fibreglass, for the fishfinder transducer, the holding tank outlet and toilet inlet, just behind the owners bathroom door.

So with a wait for parts and a lift in Peurto Sherry (outside of Cadiz) organised for a weeks time, we booked La Mischief into the marina for a week and set off in a hire car to explore Seville and its surrounds.

See photo at

Desperately Seeking Crew

I have a gap that desperately needs filling.

Stan and Judy leave me in gibraltar on the 10th and cas joins me in valencia on the 25th june.

I have a spare cabin from now until 25th June that needs filling.

I will be in morocco at marina smir (10nm from gibraltar) until the 9th june and then in gibraltar from 9th to 19th june getting out of EU for a while.

Then on the 20th june I set sail for valencia.

So if you are anywhere in the vicinity and want to come sailing on a beautiful lagoon 421 catamaran and explore gibraltar and the costa sol along the way then let us know.

Racing into Harbour

We needed to drop by another Lagoon dealer called Oceancat in a place called Mazagon, so that we could pick up a plug for our emergency swim ladder that had been recalled. It was a bit far for a day sail so we settled on Cabo De Santa Maria, near Fago, about 40nm along the coast from Lagos.

The day started off well and we soon had our newly repaired geneker up, going along at 6 to 7 knots.With a few hours to go, the waves started to build so we made the decision to drop it. We were still going along at a good clip with the geneker out, but the wind instructs were starting to act strange. The True wind was only showing 7 kts and the apparant wind was down to 0. We were travelling along at 7 kts so that was pretty good. Only problem was there were white caps starting to appear and we eventually worked out that the wind instruments weren’t working.

As our 2pm rule had passed, we decided to err on the side of caution and put a couple of reefs in. As we went outside a large fish farm, we noticed we had company – another 40 cat had crept up behind us. As we got closer to shore where we had to head in through a breakwater and into a large estuary behind, we dropped our sails and turned on our motors. Our new found friend kept on sailing. It was a nasty entrance, with the tide rushing out of the estuary, against what was now a reasonably strong wind. With our two 75hp earning their keep, we were being tossed all around the place in the whirlpools that were forming near the entrance as it went from shallow water to a deep hole back to shallow. We were doing 7kts of speed but only 3kts over ground. Meanwhile our new found friend had his whole sail up and was flying in first behind then beside us through the narrow entrance. I was not all that impressed as I struggled to keep La Mischief going straight. As he sped past, I realised he only had small outboards and his only way in was to get enough speed up and sail in. I think he must have gone through here before.

Safely in the channel, we motored around to the anchorage, where we joined about 20 other yachts at anchor for the night. As we anchored, we noticed that our wind instruments had come back to life and were showing 40kts of wind – perhaps a voltage drop problem. Something else to add to the list.

See photo at: