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Europe (Portugal)

Date: 27/9 - 8/10/2004
(all pictures are clickable)

For this journey, my intention was to sail from Ostend towards VilaMoura (south of Portugal). There I should pick up a friend with who I would cross the Atlantic ocean towards the Caribbean. I left Ostend quite late in the season and had a lot of contrary and hard winds, which with a catamaran is not ideal because it is not good in beating up the wind... I waited for a good weather window, but due to the contrary winds, lost a lot of time. Additional to that, I noticed that one of the axes that support my solar panels was loose. So I had to stop in Cherbourg to fix this. Because of all this, I got into rougher weather then expected. At the height of Brest I got winds of 35-40kn (8Bft) for 2-3 hours which then lowered to a 6-7Bft. The next day (2/10), I noticed my first dolphins! 2 days later, in the southwest part of the Gulf of Biscay, I got, quite unexpectedly (cfr weathercharts) during over 8 hours, winds between 35 and 46 knots (8-9 Bft). To make things harder, I had to sail against these winds... And not even 6 hours later, I got no wind at all anymore! Although the weather was nearly continuously making my job hard, I had some nice sunsets to cheer me up...


The day I passed the Cap Finisterre (northwest of Spain), I've never seen soo many dolphins in 1 day (over 100 swimmed in front of my boat)!

And then, to the north of the Cape San Vincente (SW of Portugal) traffic lane, I lost my mast! It broke down while the weather conditions were not too bad (6Bft)... I had to dump the mast, sails, boom and new radar. A cargo offered his assistance but I managed to motor to the harbor of Vilamoura. I was at only under 100nm (185km) of my destination and had already done over 1500nm (2780km) !


I couldn't resist to making a picture of the Cabo Sao Vincente with its lighthouse...

At first sight I thought I was lucky that the mast didn't punch a whole thru the hull, but I was wrong. Although the leak seemed not too important, there definitively was one! More about this in the next story item...

As a friend of mine stated gracefully, "Thierry, you don't have a sailboat anymore, but you still have a motorboat...".

The deckside where the mast felt... A clean deck...

While in Vilamoura (between Albufeira and Faro), I went to Guia to ZooMarine. It's a recreational park with the marine world as theme. There I swam and petted dolphins! A magical moment... Friends took me for a short ride into the lands. Although it's a dry season and so the landscapes are "brown", it sure is a nice region which unfortunately had severe fires recently...

Night scene in the harbour... Zoomarine

Inlands Algarve