Portugal to the Caribbean

Portugal to the Caribbean

Oh man did we have some adventures on this stretch!

So as you might know there have been some Orcas that attack yachts along the Spanish and Portuguese Atlantic coast. In general the Orcas attack and destroy the rudder of yachts, a costly and slow thing to fix that could well mean the premature end of an atlantic crossing. When we were planning our next stop after Nasare. we heards that the Orcas were attacking boats just in the next port south of us. So we decided to sail straight for Madeira and thereby avoid the orcas. So we set the autopilot to take us straight out into the atlantic. At sunset we heard a Mayday on the VHF from a boat just where we would have been if we continued south instead of twest. The Orcas had stuck again! Later we heard the boat was towed back to shore with a destroyed rudder. 

After this we had a lovely sail to Porto Santo (close to Madeira) and had a great time for a couple of weeks.



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Mountaineering in Porto Santo

Then we sailed to the Canaries and had some more great times for some more weeks including a visit to the active volcano on La Palma.

Theeeen we set sail for Cap Verde, about 900 nm south of the Canaries. (About a weeks sailing). 3 days after leaving land we noticed the bilge pump running once an hour or so. Worrying but no big problem. The next day it was running every 30 min. More worrying because we are taking on twice as much water as yesterday. We have a leaking keel bolt and I suspected it had started to leak a bit more in the big waves. The next day the bilge pump< was running every 15 min and we officially had a major leak. I started with confirming it was the keel bolt. Yes it was involved in the leak but the main problem was a 30cm crack in the fitting between the boat and the keel.

The crack in the hull<




 






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Poor Alice was actually coming apart with the last third of the boat trying to break away from the rest. I tried to fix the leak but stuffing things in the crack just made the leak worse. So we prepared to evacuate the ship, if the leak continued to open at the same speed as the last couple of days the bilge pump would have been overwhelmed in two more days or so so it was no hurry with the evacuation but better safe than sorry. We monitored the leak closely and I brainstormed different solutions (there are a bunch but nothing really good). Anyway after all this the wind and waves died don't and Alice wasn't rocking so bad, this stopped the crack from growing and after 3 anxious days we reached Cape Verde and could haul out and fix the problem.

Hauling out with a 60 mobil crane in Cape Verde

The girls pontoon fishing. A nice catch of poisonous (and very surprised) blowfish.


Once Alice was fixed we got more crew onboard, Maria's brother Magnus and his gf Hanna. We set on the 2100nm Atlantic crossing and BOY! did we have too much wind and waves every single day for the 16 days the crossing took. The tradewind is fairly reliable but this year it was reliable but a bit harder than usual. We never had less than 10ms and on average maybe 11-12ms. It's not a lot of wind for a 46fot boat but the waves get enormous and since we were going straight downwind Alice was rolling like crazy, 45 degrees in both directions with occasional peaks up to 70 degrees. And then the toilet backed up and EVERYONE got food poisoning. While avoiding any descriptions of our living conditions I must say I'm very impressed with Hanna and Magnus who hardly cried or puked at all.

Molly and My as usual thought it was great fun and were probably the only ones enjoying themselves. Children get used to things quicker than adults apparently.

After 16 days of pure torture we finally arrived in Martinique. Hooray! <

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