Porto, a city looking right out of Assassins’ Creed with its six bridges, dozens of different architectural styles, small streets, plazas and Port-wine. If Ubisoft is looking for a new city for the game they can just do it in Porto, no one would complain. But we’re not here to talk about games. No we’re here to talk about sailing, yachting and being a dummy.
Our stay in Porto turned out mostly as we wanted it to, we played tourists for a couple of days and then we set about doing the hard work that needed to be done. We started working on our new dingy lines and finished that, our secret gift for Fairwinds was completed as well and we made a description on how to use it (we’ll post it as soon as they have gotten it). Being in Porto is like participating in a commercial for romantic vacations, every time we took a stroll down the river a wedding photoshoot took place with the city as a backdrop, at every restaurant there were couples looking deep into each other’s eyes and all that.
Did you drink any wine then?, a curious reader might ask. Sure, we drank some, we had a good 30 year old Tawny at a restaurant, bought a couple of mid and low price bottles and went to a wine tasting and bought some more. Well, needless to say we did like it and now we have stocked up for the rest of the trip. (Word keeps telling me it’s unnecessary to write out needles to say.. hehe)
So if you’re staying in Porto and want a free Port Wine tasting just go to Churchill’s and say you’re staying in Douro Marina, but if you’re not actually staying there you might want to buy a bottle just to keep your conscience clean.
You have to keep reminding me to bring my camera more when we’re out being tourists then you’ll see more pictures.
So Porto to Porto Santo then?
600 something nautical miles of hindquarter wind just keeping watch, quite sunny and not much traffic. We let Aries do the steering and pointed our bow towards 220 degrees, after the wind had stabilised (about 5 hours in to the sail) we were done trimming our sails and didn’t change them until we rolled them in when we arrived. Easy sailing, we rolled out our genua to leeward and used a spinnaker pole to stabilise it reefing in a couple of square meters thus stopping the sail from moving from side to side in the wave motion. After that we set our jib to windward and used our old pole stabilising. It’s really dummy sailing, you don’t have to do anything almost. With the AIS the only boats that surprise you are other yachts without IAS and fishing-vessels.
As the miles on our gps slowly ticked down, we set our routines with three hours watch keeping and six hours of free time. After a while you are fully rested and start reading too much, I’m almost done with the Game of Thrones now (I’m past where the HBO version is right now so give me your monies or I’ll spoil the shit out of it 😉 ) and we have to start digging in our library soon. Our library is under the sofa so we have to lift mattresses, pillows, wooden lids and lots of pilot-books and other stuff before we actually get down to our books. Well enough about books…
When the gps told us 50 NM we got our hopes up, and during the night we saw the light from the lighthouse giving its three flashes every fifteen seconds way ahead in the dark. With dawn came the silhouette and soon came the last two hours of motorerhm I mean steaming in towards the marina. With our moorings tied up and our papers looked at by grumpy harbour-police (they are surprisingly nice but they look badass with their berets, guns and polished boots) we sat down in our cockpit smiling in the sun.
Porto Santo is a big step for our cruise; it is now we actually leave the mainland of Europe until we come back from the west side of the pond. Plus from now on we’re only staying on island as well so bye bye Europe!!
Now a week of just chillaxing on Porto Santo awaits and lots of swimming (it’s ‘round 24 in the sea), scooter driving, beach walking and seawall painting. When I post this we’ve been here a couple of days so I know what is going to happen in the next blog entry already.. I might even have some notes about what it’s going to be about… might even have done some of the photo-shopping that’s needed to be done as well…
Ok TL;DR version.. Porto, port wine, bridges, a city looking like out of a Assassins Creed game, splicing ropes, tourists, weddings, set sail, 600 NM, same wind direction, nothing to do, reading, arriving, harbour police, blue water, hints about spoliers and sunshine.
(edit, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porto_Santo_Island the island we’re on)