Leaving Europe

We are departing El Hierro. Our last stop in the Canaries islands and Europe.

Next stop Mindelo, Cape Verde.

Downwind all the way unless the forecast changes.


Domestic Life

We are mostly anchoring with only the occasional stop in a marina.

This makes some aspects of day to day living slightly harder.


The current system is:

  • Dive off the back of the boat to get wet.
  • Stand on the back of the boat and wash with a flannel or shower flower.
  • Dive in again to rinse off.
  • Fresh water rinse with either the solar shower or the extending hose from heads(boat name for the bathroom/toilet) out the hatch.

This works really well. Minimizes water use and you feel properly clean afterwards.

Its not so good now its got later in the year and the water is a bit colder.

Normally needs 20 minutes of psyching yourself up to dive in.

We could theoretically use the shower inside in the heads but this would use too much fresh water and introduce too much moisture inside of the boat.

Post Wash Rinse
Post Wash Rinse

Clothes Washing

We don’t have washing machine on board.
Mostly we’ve just done washing when stopped at a marina lasting in between. We also walked round Camarinas with all our washing as 2 of the Google maps marked laundry’s were permanently closed down and the 3rd turned out to be a dry cleaners, and was also shut for the day.
We’ve also done a hand wash (well Mel did). since we have limited water on board this is a cold wash then rinse in salt water with a final fresh water rinse. All done in a large bucket.

We have net to experiment with towing non valuable clothes behind the boat as we sail which we have yet to try. And a large bucket with a lid that we could fill with water soap and washing then tie to the rail as we sail when its rough to create a shaking washing machine effect.
Both of these would still need a fresh water rinse. Just need to exactly predict a short rain squall.

Clothes drying on the boat

Washing Day
Washing Day

Clothes drying in the boat when it starts raining before everything is dry

Washing day when it starts to rain
Washing day when it starts to rain

Update: We now wash by hand regularly when we have a good supply of fresh water leaving to soak overnight before hand.

Mainsail Reefing

We have a slab reefing with 3 reefs in our mainsail, which is great as it allows us to shorten the sail right down when the wind picks up so we can keep sailing up to about Force 7/8.

All lines lead to the mast and the whole operation is done from there.


However we only have space in our boom for 3 lines.

  • Main outhaul
  • Reef 1 outhaul
  • Reef 2 outhaul

This leaves the 3rd reef outhaul without a dedicated line.


So we end up trying to thread the 1st reefing line through the mainsail when putting the 3rd reef in, normally just as its getting really bumpy and dark. Not the time to balancing stretched upwards from the edge of the cockpit be trying to tread a rope through a flapping sail.

We weren’t even able to pre-thread the 3rd reef instead of one of the others as the reefing lines weren’t long enough to use the sail with no reefs in.


So we have now changed our reefing lines for longer ones so we can pre-rig our to our choice before raising the main.

We now normally leave the 2nd and 3rd reef in as we rarely used the 1st reef and if we want to conditions are more likely to be benign enough so that we can rig it safely.


Maybe at some point we will come up with an inspirational moment of an easy way to rig a 3rd line (more likely see on someone else’s boat). At the moment all our ideas involve attaching blocks and clutches to one side of the boom which would work but feel very inelegant.


Have a great solution for this? Please email us or leave a comment.

Heading for the Algarve

 We had a great sail down the coast.

Light tail winds to start with and a bit slow but then the winds filled in to 11 knots and a broad reach.

Ghosting along with almost no swell at about 5 knots.

The wind gradually came forward leaving us close hauled but still going the right direction.

It built briefly so we put a couple of reefs in for a while then shook them out when it dropped again.

Then it switched changing direction by about 30 degrees forcing us to tack just as we had got far enough south to clear Cabo de Sao Vicente as we sailed SW.


Normally the wind seams to change against you so this was a lovely change.


We pulled into the harbour at Sagress which looked like it should be really sheltered.

We snuggled in as close as we could get to anchor amongst the buoys (took 2 goes to get the spot just right so we didn’t swing into anything).

We could have picked up one of the free buoys but after our Peniche experience we preferred to put the anchor down.

It was surprisingly lumpy with a win swell coming in past the harbour wall. However the wind had already shifted and we hoped that this would be short lived. One lumpy night and it was much quieter in the morning.

Fuel Fun

We’ve were plagued with diesel bug when we came back from the scillies and although we had drained the bottom of the tank we still seemed to have a problem.

We were almost out of fuel and this seemed like a good opportunity to fully drain the tanks and try and get rid of the last residue.

How I love grovelling in the cockpit locker trying to reach the fuel drain on the bottom of the tank emptying it one small tupperware pot at a time and still getting diesel everywhere.


  • Drained the tank

(there is no access hatch on the tank to actually reach in and wipe it out and even if there was one on the top you would need and arm with 3 elbow joints to actually reach in).

  • Changed the primary fuel filter and bled the fuel system
  • Put 6 litres of fuel back in with a heavy dose of bug killer and left overnight.
  • Took the boat for a motor with some sharp turns to try and flush the sides of the tank a bit.

(Don’t know what the Portuguese crew of the nearby anchored boat must have thought that we were doing)

  • Drained the tank again.
  • Refilled with fresh diesel.
  • Bled the fuel system again.

We will change the filter again after a few more hours of engine use.

Don’t trust the Buoys

That was exciting. Not in a good way.

It’s a little bit windy here in Peniche harbour at the moment.

We are about level with where Portugal is written.

The buoy that we were securely tied to just started dragging.

Engine on.

Ditch the buoy leaving one of the lines behind on it.

Engine on Max to motor back up the harbour.

Drop the anchor.

We are now safe and secure.

Turns out we are now right in the middle of the harbour fairway. Will move again when its a bit calmer and daylight.

Did I mention its dark and raining.

Fortunately we are sheltered from the waves breaking over the harbour wall.

Snippets from Spain



Special device for pouring Cider
Special device for pouring Cider



Puerto de Burela


A pretty town and a morning walk up through the Eucalyptus forests to a viewpoint above the town before departure.


A journey right up the river to a tiny marina at the end. We were surprised to find that our chart seemed to show the location of the channel better than the buoys that were supposed to be marking it.
We were lent keys by one of the berth holders as the guy running the marina was away on holiday.
When we left we returned the keys to his boat with a bottle of wine. (finally found a great use for the white wine that neither of us drink)

Puerto de Ortigueira
Puerto de Ortigueira
Puerto de Ortigueira
Puerto de Ortigueira
Puerto de Ortigueira
Puerto de Ortigueira
Puerto de Ortigueira
Puerto de Ortigueira
Puerto de Ortigueira
Puerto de Ortigueira
Puerto de Ortigueira
Puerto de Ortigueira
Puerto de Ortigueira
Puerto de Ortigueira
Puerto de Ortigueira
Puerto de Ortigueira
Puerto de Ortigueira
Puerto de Ortigueira



We changed the roller furler that we broke on the Biscay crossing at Marina Seca.
We couldn’t get the spares to replace the broken foil on the old one as it was at least 20 years old.
While we waited for it to arrive we explored the surrounding Rias and got on with some other maintenance tasks like re-stitching the mainsail cover.


El Ferrol

What a beautiful anchorage under an old fort, in crystal clear water and dead calm.
A fantastic walk around the headland.
When a big ship comes fast into the Ria and you are cooking without the stove gimballed the resulting 1m wake will spill the curry all over the cooker, the floor and the cook (Dan)


Illa de Ons and Ila Cies

A small taste of sailing to beautiful islands. Part of a nature reserve and out of season so almost deserted. They the white sand beaches but we are still looking forward to warmer water as we go further south.

Santiago de Compostela

Well worth the journey inland to visit this historic city.
This brought us to the end of the end of Pilgramage that we completed by sea from Gijon. Even if sailing seemed rather a cheat compared to walking it.

Ile Gavrinis and up the river to Auray

We had a quick stop at Gavrinis. The site of one of the largest megalithic tombs in Brittany.

Turns out you are supposed to book this in advance. So we just snuck in.


We had a French family in a small motor boat stop by asking for directions back to Arradon. Not sure they knew how to read a chart as even when we pointed out exactly where they were they still wanted us to point to them which way they needed to go.


We sailed on to head up the river to Auray.

Got the tides right this time catching the last of the ebb out then the flood as we turned up the river.

We Tacked up the channel until we ran out of wind and it started to get really shallow, so we dropped sail and motored the last mile.

We were kept passing then being passed by a beautiful wooden Smack, the Unity of Lynn. We found out later that this had been built in Essex in 1906. We could sail faster than them but we couldn’t cut the shallow corners.

A Smack is a traditional sailing fishing boat used off the coast of Britain.

Houat to the Gulf of Morbihan

The Gulf of Morbihan is like a mini inland sea full of islands with 2 rivers flowing into it and only a narrow channel connecting it to the ocean.

With the big tidal range in this area there is a really strong tidal flow flowing into and out of the Morbihan. This is fine as long as you time it right.


We were lazy and just looked at the flow arrows on Navionics (our electronic charts). Turns out they are wrong. When we checked in 2 separate almanacs (Reference books showing ports, tides, tidal flows and other useful information for sailing) and showed the correct information.

Still it was pretty interesting sailing up the channels at about 7 knots through the water and 1 knot over the ground. There were several other boats sailing in as well so it felt like a very slow speed race.


We anchored off of Ile Aux Moine (Monk Island). Then moved to a buoy when a boat left as the tidal flows are pretty strong.

The next day we spent exploring the island visiting the dolmen of Penhap and the Cromlech of Kergonan which date back to about 3500 B.C.


A small island with no cars and just a small village.

We spent the day walking round the coast path.


When we left the following morning had a go at sailing off the anchor.

This is where you go from being anchored to sailing without using the engine.

Its good to practice this while we have space and its easy in case we have to do it for real.

It all went well with a slight delay while we extracted a starfish from the anchor chain.

Next one to try is dropping anchor under sail.