Yacht Fathom - Setting off from England in May 2016 on a single-handed voyage somewhere a bit warmer


I decided to leave the anchorage at Cascais on Tuesday and head 50 nautical miles south to Sines to finish the preparations for the trip to Madeira. Jean on ‘Chartist Lady’ also made the trip with the same intention. Unfortunately the wind was lighter than forecast and the motor was required for most of the trip. On the plus side I witnessed the best display from a pod of dolphins I have ever seen. On the approach to Sines four or five of them put on a great show and somehow I managed to capture one of those moments on camera just as four of them were jumping side by side. It was almost as if they were showing me the way to the anchorage.


Today I am working though a list of jobs and boat admin – fill up with diesel, replace empty gas bottle, top up the water tanks, stock up on fresh food etc. Also some attention is being given to the stowage of food and spares onboard as many are loose and need to be secured and put away properly before heading out to sea. The marina here at Sines is fairly quiet but with a friendly mix of German, Dutch and Norwegian boats. It has been really great hanging out with Jean for the last few days. Over the years, and in preparation for my trip, I have read many many sailing books including accounts of circumnavigations and epic solo voyages. But to be able to spend time and chat with someone like Jean, who circumnavigated in ‘Chartist Lady’ using just a sextant and with no money has been even more interesting and inspiring. Unfortunately Jean has a problem with the gearbox on his engine so is staying here an extra week to try and get it sorted.

I am aiming to depart at first light tomorrow for Porto Santo which is 470 miles away and anticipate arriving within 5 days all being well. There is a weather front coming south in a few days time which I may encounter close to Madeira but next week the weather doesn’t look great up this way so I am keen to get going.

My little boat has now taken me over 1000 nautical miles since leaving Yarmouth at the beginning of May. The ground track is showing 1,436 nautical miles travelled and the log (through the water and I know it under reads) 1,156 nautical miles. Time to add a few more!

Posted on 08 Sep in: Portugal (No Comments)

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