Captains Blog 50 – 24 Hours with A&E

We’d planned to get hold of a few crucial boat bits while in Lisbon, but Chandlers were short on the ground and what there was wasn’t overwhelmed with boat gear. No problem, we managed to get hold of what we needed, though it cost a shed load more than expected.

Once sorted we were off to play at the Castle or more accurately the Castelo de São Jorge. I quickly realised that I wouldn’t be running around the castle like an excited child (my normal state) exploring all the best hiding places as there were far too many people to spoil the fun. That and with the dodgy looking Peacocks  showing a tad too much interest in me stopped me getting carried away.

The views from the castle and from the Parque Eduardo VII across the City and river were great and we topped off the day with some great tapas at Faz Frio, a recommendation given to us in a shop 
earlier in the day. It was here that the first mate did her usual thing of chatting to complete strangers, on this occasion, a couple at the next table. I would never do this, as I have a default setting that’s programmed to always treat strangers with suspicion! But I don’t need to worry as I 
have an expert on hand, who’ll gladly chat to anyone, anytime, anywhere about anything and she’s damned good at it. 

The couple, who turned out not to be a couple as the first mate picked up on straight away. Me? Not  a notion. Anyway, they were both on holiday from the US, but neither were originally from there. He 
was South African and the lovely chatty lady was from Uruguay. We talked about our plans to visit the US and try to time a visit to New York for my next birthday. She insisted that we should visit her  in Brooklyn as we could moor the boat in the marina next to her apartment block. Dollar signs reeled  in front of my eyes. I have since met an American fella called Bob who has, coincidently,  circumnavigated 3 times and he assured me that we could anchor in and around the Hudson River  instead. 

A few days after arriving in Lisbon Gary and Ali from the 42’ Moody, Charlotte Elizabeth, arrived.  They wanted to sort a few jobs before meeting friends in Cascais a few days later. It was good to see  them again and their plans mirror ours, so we’ll probably see more of them as we continue our 
It was time to get moving again. We’d arranged to get Elice’s topsides (the hull between the  waterline and toe rail) painted by Slick hull in Portimão and were due to be lifted at the end of August. Our plan was to head to Sines, a small-town South of Lisbon, on the West coast, before the  final push to the Algarve.

We had a pretty good sail to Sines, aside from the fading starter batteries. There were, thankfully, no signs of the angry Orcas who’d been honing their rudder wrecking skills with increasing regularity between Biscay and Gibraltar. As we arrived in the bay, we had a very enthusiastic wave from a 
couple on another British boat called Freebird, who we’d been following most of the way there.

The next morning, we relocated to the marina to try and sort the battery issue out and the couple  who’d waved from Freebird came in on their dinghy and stopped alongside to say hello. They were  Andrew and Emma, or A&E as they signed their e-mails. They were heading to Morocco for the Winter so they’d be out of Europe before the requisite 3-month period so they could go into the  Med in 2023.

We were invited onboard Freebird early that evening and it was great to hear all about their plans and about how they were funding their trip. One of the real pleasures is meeting different people along the way, no matter who they are, where they’re from, background, how fancy or not their boat is! None of it matters, you all have a common interest and it’s one of the real joys of travelling like this.

A&E were doing things on a shoestring budget but still making the most their adventure. I think they’re pretty shrewd and will likely be sailing for many years. Hopefully we’ll catch up again one day
in another corner of the planet.

It took a couple of days to restore both batteries to their fully charged state. It was an ongoing issue with charging so had purchased a new alternator in the UK, which our good friends David and Nicky
had collected and were bringing down, when they sailed to the Algarve a few weeks later.

We left Sines early in the morning and saw Freebird leave the harbour just after us. They were followed by several more vessels so we had quite a convey enroute South. The sail started well and we made good time. As we progressed closer to Cabo St Vincent the wind petered out and the
engine went on. I suspected that this would change as we rounded the cape.

From no wind to 30 knots in a matter of seconds and we were full tilt clinging on and hoping it would ease. Cape’s are notorious wind acceleration zones and totally unpredictable. They’re mental. The
panic was short lived and Elice flew into the bay with a full set of sails that were kept up until the last minute when we needed to turn into the wind, to get in and drop anchor.

I watched boat after boat round the headland into the bay to rest up for the night. There was plenty of room and it was a great spot that perhaps warranted a longer stay, however we’d arranged a mooring at Lagos and were both looking forward to getting back there in the new (old) boat.

A&E were first off the blocks at daybreak though we weren’t too far behind them. It was only 15 nautical miles to Lagos and we sailed the first 5 miles or so before losing the wind and disappearing into a blanket of fog. It didn’t last and before long we were approaching the harbour entrance. We
knew this as we were completely swamped by small day tripper boats, jet skis, kayaks, fishing boats etc all whizzing around at full tilt in all directions.

The harbour entrance condensed the melee even further. In fairness, we were the biggest vessel apart from the party catamaran and a couple of other sailing vessels, so I put my foot down and went for it. As far as I’m aware, nobody was hurt and nothing was damaged as a result. That said, I didn’t look behind me.

We moored on a completely different pontoon to where we’d been previously. We’d moved up into the fancy big boat section. We felt quite smug and important until we realised that everyone we knew would be on the other pontoons. It all seemed a bit of an anti-climax.

Lagos was just the same as previously with one major exception. There were people everywhere. Holiday makers! Loads of um, all over the place. I’d never seen it so busy before because we’d always arrived in Autumn for the Winter and left again in Spring. It was nearly as swamped as En Vau
in France during a global pandemic, there were so many people. (Captains Blog 36)

Despite the crowds, it was good to catch up with old friends and revisit some of our favourite haunts and places to eat. We needed to make the most of our short stop, it would soon be work, work and more work in Portimão.

The question is, did our master plan to get lifted and tarted up before heading off to the Canaries all go swimmingly?

I’ll let you know next time!


Captain Mac

2 Replies to “Captains Blog 50 – 24 Hours with A&E”

  1. Out friends who have the same boat as us, a Canadian flagged C&C 37 called Cabernet are in the same area that you are currently in. Their names are: Larry and Georgie. If you see them say hello for us.


    1. We’ll keep a lookout for them and definitely say hello if we see them. In all fairness, there can’t be many folk left in Canada! They’re all here apart from you two😆👍🏻⛵


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