Wednesday, 10 February 2016


31-Jan: Lagos to Vilamoura

First thing in the morning, I went to the marina reception for checking in. It was closed when I arrived late in the evening. I was expecting to pay an overnight stay, but people at reception were extremely kind and, since we arrived in the middle of the night and we'll be leaving in a few minutes after a few hours in the reception pontoon, they don't charge us the daily fee. More than the money value of the fee, it was the way we were welcome that matters. It was not my first time in Lagos Marina and won't be the last, for sure. I maintain my strongly recommendation to my fellow sailors: if you're passing by, Lagos Marina is an excellent choice both for one-night rest or for longer stays.

Leaving Lagos Marina
The hours just after leaving Lagos were of slow sailing with a gentle breeze pushing the boat at a speed of around two to three knots. I used that time for taking off the weather gear (it was a warm sunny day, after all), washing the deck and eating the second breakfast. All before the wind changes and a moderate northern breeze start pushing us faster and faster. At some point, Trovoada was sailing at more than seven knots over ground. 

Saling at more that seven knots, speed over ground.
Despite its more than fifteen knots, the wind was steady, with no gusts. The sea was calm. In these conditions, Trovoada is quite easy to handle. With the sails well trimmed, she sailed by herself. Even the auto-pilot is unnecessary. Thus, I can relax and enjoy the sunshine. 

Relaxed sailing
Even while relaxing, when you're sailing you should keep a sharp eye. I was doing exactly that when I spot, at far, a dark speed boat heading in my direction from starboard. As it got closer I recognized that it was the maritime police. Well, they saw me just as you see in the pic above, casual, to say the least. They quickly put the speedboat side by side with Trovoada and started asking me questions: from I came; to where I was going; if I was alone; if they can step onboard. I furled the jib, released the mainsail and they came on board.

I was expecting a quick documents check. Instead, they inspected everything. From documents to emergency equipment, including checking the expiration date of flares and liferaft. They even wanted to look at bow and aft cabins. I didn't look at the clock, but I'm sure they were onboard for more than half-hour. Fortunately, everything was ok and they left just with wishes for a pleasant journey. 

It was indeed pleasant, but just for a while. I was fine trimming the sails when I notice a strange behavior on the mainsail. I looked up and what my eyes saw froze my blood for a couple of seconds. The main sail was starting to rip. 

The main sail, ripping.
Softly, I released the main halyard and tried to let the sail down. But the main head wasn't falling as supposed. It was stuck at the top of the mast. I was aware that I had only two options. Either I climb up the mast to pull the sail down or try to gently push it. The first was unfeasible since I was alone onboard. I went for the second. Naturally, even with very gentle handling, the sail ripped in two during the process.

Trovoada humped the next nine miles to Marina de Vilamoura, sailing only with the jib. My morale was obviously down. I was analysing my options. It was not possible to continue the journey as planned. I needed to stay in Vilamoura to repair or replace the sail. There was nothing to do now. The adventure will halt for a while.

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