Rounding Cape Saint Vincent to Western Portugal

How to tame boisterous children

Planning was high on my list of priorities as I methodically watched the weather forecasts pending departure. I did not care for a repeat performance of the previous days hair raising port entry. If I wanted to spend my free time surfing, I would have brought a Malibu board to Lagos rather than Eileen of Avoca.

As I waited for easterly winds, I busied myself with some serious relaxing at the beach occasionally burying a locals child to stop “it” running about and making a general mischief. Despite my best efforts, they continued to be a nuisance and even had the gall to find it all rather amusing. Oh well, I’ve never really been that good with kids.

Rounding Cape St. Vincent in calm weather

I’d decided the best way to tackle Cape Vincent was to leave at midday, round the cape during daylight hours and complete the total of slightly less than 80NM to Sines by night. The easterly winds dropped from force 4 to a gentle 1 and 2 overnight and while the sea maintained a significant swell, Cape Vincent came and went as an anticlimax.

Sprayed by dolphins

Dolphins escorted me for much of the journey, and their company was mostly appreciated, the exception being when a particularly cheeky individual would “sneak up” alongside Eileen and enthusiastically shock me awake with a spout of fishy smelling water. Who would have though dolphins had a sadistic sense of humour. I like them more and more each day! 😉

Aside from scaring the living daylights out of me by catching me unaware with their playful nocturnal antics, they effectively made sure I wasn’t going to catch any fish for supper.

I optimistically trolled with a brown lure (holding my newly acquired blue one in reserve), until at about midnight it was lost. to either:

a) the biggest fish I’d ever hooked (the dolphins at this point had vanished), or more likely;

b), a fisherman’ pot (even though I was at the 100m depth contour).

I’m newly resolved to fishing at night only when more than 10 miles off the coast.

At dawn I motored into the lovely little anchorage off the beach in Sines and set to work composing an opus in snore major.

Anchorage at Sines beach Portugal

A sailors reading list

For several years I have been collecting all manner of nautical books to wile away the hours of my quasi-life between sailing adventures. Unfortunately, lugging my treasured library around the world in a tiny boat isn’t feasible, so I have recently set about sorting through the clutter in order to reclaim some space for provisions.

Listed here are my latest finds (from which I winnowed the occasional gem):

Sailmaker’s Apprentice: A Guide for the Self-reliant Sailor

By: Emiliano Marino

I can’t fit a sowing machine on board for sail repairs so I’m counting on this book to guide my attempts at old fashioned needlework. Who knows, once I master this arcane art, I may be qualified to move on to mending my own socks and reattaching shirt buttons.

Troubleshooting Marine Diesel Engines, 4th Ed. (International Marine Sailboat Library)

By: Peter Compton

Perhaps I’ll get some use out of this book in port. At sea however I’m more likely to sick-up over it, the engine and anyone unlucky enough to be within range.

How to Sail Around the World: Advice and Ideas for Voyaging Under Sail

By: Hal Roth

Some good ideas, but this book was not for me.

The Cruiser’s Handbook of Fishing

By: Scott Bannerot, Wendy Bannerot

A must, but only because I am determined to do better than the one tuna and seagull that I have managed to catch so far. All I’ll have to figure out next is whether I can eat what I catch, and for someone that couldn’t even recognize a small tuna, the signs do not bode well.

Boatowner’s Mechanical and Electrical Manual: How to Maintain, Repair, and Improve Your Boat’s Essential Systems (Boatowners)

By: Nigel Calder

Use of this book will follow the “inversely proportional to income” rule. In my dollar challenged future I expect to be using it often.

Hand, Reef and Steer: Traditional Sailing Skills for Classic Boats

By: Tom Cunliffe

Only because I knew nothing about the Gaff rig before I bought Eileen of Avoca.

Storm Tactics Handbook: Modern Methods of Heaving-To for Survival in Extreme Conditions

By: Lin Pardey, Larry Pardey

I like this book and have purchased a Fiorentino parachute sea anchor as part of my heavy weather safety equipment. Unfortunately, the handbook only describes one storm tactic, so rather than risk being a one trick sea pony, I’ve also purchased a Jordan Series Drogue. Both systems allow me to batten down the hatches and ride out the storm in extreme discomfort.

The Atlantic Crossing Guide: RCC Pilotage Foundation

By: Anne Hammick, et al

A must!

Adlard Coles’ Heavy Weather Sailing

By: Peter Bruce

My hopes of finding the definitive way of dealing with heavy weather were dashed after reading this book. Hence my purchase of two entirely different systems to cope with a storm (parachute sea anchor and drogue). Nevertheless, I found the material invaluable and I’d even be so bold as to suggest it be mandatory reading for anyone intending to cross an ocean in their sailboat.

Warning: Don’t let your landlubber relatives read it or they won’t let you go.

Your First Atlantic Crossing: A Planning Guide for Passagemakers

By: Les Weatheritt

Interesting reading but of little practical value for the single handed small boat sailor. A book for those seeking inspiration perhaps?

Seaworthy Offshore Sailboat: A Guide to Essential Features, Gear, and Handling

By: John Vigor

A true gem.

World Cruising Routes: 1000 Routes from the South Seas to the Arctic: Companion to World Cruising Handbook

By: Jimmy Cornell

Traditional routes galore. I use this book as a planning guide for more adventurous itineraries… After much refinement, the end result is often nothing like what I started with, but the handbook is still my first point of reference. Also heavy enough to be used as a vermin exterminator!

Atlantic Pilot Atlas

By: James Clarke

I hope the gods of winds and currents have read this atlas too and decide to honor its content. Being a cynical sort, I’ll just have to take it with me to check up on them.

Essentials of Sea Survival

By: Frank Golden, Michael Tipton

Prepare for the worse and hope for the best? I can’t say this was an enjoyable read. I think I was going through a dark phase in my literary preparations as the following titles attest.

Left for Dead: The Untold Story of the Tragic 1979 Fastnet Race

By: Nick Ward, Sinead O’Brien

Another book to scare the living daylights out of all your friends and relatives. Hand a copy to anyone you don’t want volunteering to be crew.

A Voyage for Madmen

By: Peter Nichols

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