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:

Round the Cape to the Bottom of Portugal

We left Sines at the crack of dawn, which was quite a sight with the red light on the colourful fishing fleet. We had another big day ahead, wanting to get round Cabo De Sao Vincente and into the Algarve, on the south coast of Portugal.

It was another lovely sail down the coast with the winds and waves behind us. As we got near the cape the winds started to build. We had the geneker down by that stage and through in a couple of reefs.

It was an amazing transformation from the Alantic swells to the flat water of the Algarve. The wind picked up to 30kts and was were speeding along on a nice reach, a much better angle now we had turned the corner.

We decided we would strikeout for Lago, making it a long 75nm day, but we had had great winds all day and had made excellent progress.

As we neared Lagos, we could see a thunder storm developing in the distance. Stan suggested we drop some speed so we could time our arrival into Lagos after the storm had passed southwards.

As we got closer we dropped the main as the winds freshened. Remarkably the seas remained completely flat, but the wind kept climbing as we neared the storm. It peeked with a short gust at 77kts (a new record) but it felt like about 30.

That was its last hoorah as we passed safely to the north of it, missing all those nasty looking lightening bolts. We found out later one of the yachts in the marina was hit by lightening. Youch!

It was a nice motor into Lagos,past a spectacular coastline, soft sandstone chisled by the weather into grottos, honeycomb columns sticking out of the water, interspersed by nice looking beaches. Much of Lagos tourist trade involves boats taking hoards of people out swimming, kayaking and sightseeing amongst these formations.

We found the anchorage just off the beach and dropped the pick in 4m of water. What a lovely spot to anchor – the view once again spectacular.

We’d booked in with the sailmaker at Lagos (Fofo’s), recommended by Jorge, to tidy up our geneker that had taken a bit of a battering coming bck from Sesimbra. The geneker now gets put away religiously after each use. We packed up the geneker into its sail bag and popped it in the dingy, for the ride into town.

We tied up at the collector jetty and asked at the marina if we needed to check in with the authorities, which according to the cruising guide is a particular requirement for Portugal if you are a non-EU boat. But the guy at the marina office said it was not necessary. So there you go once again.

After dropping off the sail at the sailmaker, Stan andJudy took off for a mammoth 4 hour walk along the cliff tops, which they highly recommended. I stayed around town to do some chores. Everyone I ran into seemed to be from England. There were english living here, both in the marina and in town and plenty of english tourists. The pubs all sold Guiness and everyone at the phone shops and chanderlies spoke good english to cater for their clientele.
After lunch, we had a wander around town, picked up the sail and headed back to La Mischief.

Net morning, we headed out early in the dingy to do our own spot of Grotto touring. With cameras clicking, we leisuring weaved our way around, between and sometimes through the rocky formations.

Dingy tour over, it was time to up anchor and head East.

For photos see

Heading South Again

With mast fixed and working beautifully, and the weather fining up, off we headed to Sines, some 50nm away.

Stan and Judy were especially keen to get going, as they’d been on board for a while now,and they were looking forward to a bit of adventure on the high seas. Stan had also eaten Lisbon and Cascais out of food and was keen to try and eat his way through some more fishing towns further south. I’ve never seen someone eat so much (ok – I have but they were teenagers and don’t count). But he’s pretty active – a cycling nut – we now have two fold up bikes on board that Stand and Judy brought with them. And they hike whereever they can, so he does chew up a lot of calories. But still its good fun, ribbing him about it.

Our days on the ocean are pretty set with the weather now settled. We start off motoring, then we fly the geneker for a while, then the wind picks up in the afternoon, so down comes the geneker and out going the genoa. Then the wind picks up some more so we reef. Then we get there. Its all downwind sailing so pretty nice in a cat, even when its blowing hard.

Sines was a nice spot. We got a good anchorage off the beach inside the breakwater. The cruising guide said we needed to pay the marina 35% of the berthing fees to anchor, so we trotted off to the marina, only to get a strange look and told anchoring was free and no need to check in.

So off we went to explore the town. First stop was dinner (of course) and Stan had taken quite a liking to Sea Snails. I wasn’t so sure I wanted to sit at a table with Stan watching him eat sea snails but I endured. They must have been good because the restuarant did a roaring trade in take away sea snails (BYO tupperware container). Afterwards we had a wander around and visited the fort (that was closed) and the statue of Vasco De Gama, who was born here and left to discover the sailing route to India from Sines.

Not a bad spot to spend an afternoon.

For photos see
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