Date: Sunday 3 October 2021
Position: 33° 3.695 N 16° 18.836’ W
Location: Porto Santo, Madeira, Portugal
Distance Sailed during the week: 491 NM
Distance Sailed total: 2779 NM
Weather: , 22° (and 23° in the water)
Most popular on the menu: Hamburgers from our new barbeque
Animals spotted: Squid, dolphins, rays
Comment of the week: “We will take the first night shift!”
We initially planned on leaving Oeiras on Tuesday, but the forecast showed way too much wind (or too much for the journey to be comfortable), so we decided to leave on Thursday instead. The last days in were spent on school, swimming in the big waves and preparations for the crossing. And last, but definitely not least, the kids (not just our kids, all 9 Swedish kids from the age of 2 to 14) were invited to dinner on one of the other Swedish boats. Such a luxury! And they had so much fun!
On Thursday morning we were ready to set sail! Of course we were a bit nervous, mainly of encountering orcas, but also, this would be our longest crossing so far, around 500 NM. It started with more wind and waves than expected, and unfortunately all the kids were feeling seasick. But the main thing, not a single orca in sight! It’s a big relief to leave that area behind us and not have to worry about orcas anymore.
We are starting to get used to the dolphins, but are still so happy and excited every time we see them. What was new on this leg of our journey were squid! We found four squids laying on deck, they had been splashed on board by some big waves.
The first 24h were a bit rough – we were expecting big rolling Atlantic waves but got short choppy waves instead. But then the sea state calmed, and the waves became nicer and the crew could enjoy the sailing, rather than just endure it. When the second night came closer, Atle and Alma wanted to have a watch on their own, so between 20:00 and 21:30, they managed the trimming of the sails and monitoring the AIS/plotter. Hearing them discuss if a tanker doing 20 kn would pass on our stern or bow was amazing. Such a good job!
After 70 h and 491NM we reached land, Porto Santo. We are proud to have come so far!
From the crossings (the Bay of Biscay and now this) we have learned some things that we are happy to have in the experience bank before the BIG crossing. The first 24 hours before everyone has adjusted to the sea state and life aboard are hard. It’s good to have a lot of food prepared, we eat a lot of snacks, potato chips, apples and carrots and we now know the kids are able to take watches on their own.
Another thing we have learned during this crossing. When we are anchored we produce more electricity from our solar panels than what we can consume, even if we run the water heater on the inverter. But when we are heading southwest on a reach our panels are in the shade for a major part of the day and we have to be a bit more conservative with the electricity. During this passage when we were snaking our way southwest at 140 degrees apparent we barely produced as much electricity as we consumed.
We timed our arrival in Porto Santo perfectly (or were lucky) and arrived just after sunrise at 08:30 on Sunday morning. Fortunately we managed to get an anchorage inside the harbour to avoid the swell outside the harbour. It is a really crowded, but beautiful, anchorage with almost 30 boats on anchor or mooring buoys inside the piers.
Once we were safely moored and had gotten everything in order it was time to discover Porto Santo. We started by trying out the islands two specialties: pancakes on sticks and bolo do caco, both were delicious. And of course, the kids enjoy the clear and warm water, 23 degrees – absolutely perfect.
Now we will continue to explore Porto Santo for some days, before heading to Madeira.
Written by Susanna Edholm, edited by Hanna Ericksson