Finally heading for Sines

After a good nights sleep and a standard breakfast consisting of some müsli, a pair of sandwiches and a glass of orange juice, I prepared Away once more to switch from a living quarter to a transport. Making sure that everything is in place and removing the webbing keeping the lazy bag closed, the bungies that holds slamming halyards in place and moving the potential spinnaker halyard to the base of the mast. After all that I make sure that all the lines and sheets are in order by stretching them out in the cockpit or dropping them down the companionway. She is ready.

I start the engine, go to the bow while thinking all steps through. Realize that I haven’t turned on the instruments, so I go back and down to the switch board where I turn them on, as well as the autopilot. As I get out into the cockpit once more I swing by the helm station and turns the displays on. As I’m there I turn on the engine as well as removing the bungie that holds the steering wheel centered, to avoid it to slam back and forth in any swell or current that might be. I head towards the bow once more, let the mind go through the steps once more while opening and fastening the chain locker lid. As I don’t find anything that I have forgotten I flip open the cover to both of the foot buttons to the windlass, stepping on the one pulling the anchor up. Ironically it is the only one marked with a direction, but it is pointing the wrong way. The chain rattles over the roller and within seconds the knot of the snubber line is close. The thing is that it is too big to go through the roller, so I have to lift it over the roller by hand. Then I push the button a little bit more to get the chain in further to untie the snubber line. Now the chain is free and I can pull up the anchor. As there is literally no wind it doesn’t take long, I don’t even need to wait for the chain to relax itself. The anchor is soon visible as it ascends from the bottom, and within seconds it is solidly in place on the bow. Away is once again free to go places.

Remembering yesterdays wind experience, I don’t trust the wind that I begin to feel as I leave the anchorage. I just keep on motoring with the intention of getting as far as I possibly can before I set my sails. My suspicions was true, as I got a few hundred meters out, the wind died down to pretty much nothing. I like when I can see that I have learned something. So I motor on for a few nautical miles, and as the wind starts to pick up, I turn Away into the wind and sets my main sail. The wind isn’t strong yet, it will most likely increase in the afternoon as usual, but it is sailable. Above all it is great to turn off the engine after having it running for nearly an hour.

The wind does pick up as expected, and I have a fantastic sail down to Sines. As I approach the anchorage I’m having the wind from the stirn on port side, I’m probably an hour out as I alter my course. The wind is now around twenty knots and is pushing Away up to speeds around nine knots, which is fine for me to handle. There is some waves that keeps me on my toes as they shift me around a bit, but the sails are bulging and I’m racing to the anchorage. As I go over a swell I hear a weird sound. I’m not sure what it was, but it didn’t sound too healthy. Broonk! There it was again, I was hoping it wasn’t the damaged keel that finally had decided to part from the boat. That would be bad. Broonk! Broonk! Broooooonk! Uhm… What? I looked on the starboard side of the boat, past the ballooning jib. Ah! A large freighter was heading straight for me. A quick sigh of relief it wasn’t the keel, and then I turned to starboard to let it pass.

I continue towards the spot where there were an opening marked on the charts, but I just couldn’t translate it to what I was seeing. There was a beach, but it couldn’t be it, could it? I was pointing straight at it. Maybe it was. It is some times hard to see the depth of things coming from afar, but as I got closer it was obvious. I winched in my headsail, and steered into the wind and dropped the mainsail.

As I motored through the opening I came into this wonderful little lagoon, with only a fine ripple on the surface and no swell at all.

Tonight I will sleep well.

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