So near and yet so far...
I started my watch at 6am just as we turned the corner and left the lighthouse Cape Vincent behind us, the first land I’ve seen in seven days. The wind was brisk and we were moving well as the sun came up. The crew are all buzzing about reaching Portimãotoday and the talk is all about what we want first: a shower, a beer, a steak, a laundry machine. As the sun rose slowly, the adjacent hills shook off their dawn mist and we were able to make out details of land. The first of the small communities appeared and then, eventually, the high rises of Portimãoon the distant horizon.
That was the exciting part!
Then the fickle winds slowly died and our speed dropped off to less than 1 knot. We tried every trick we could think of to generate speed. Sail change, weight shifts to the low side. We were moving but barely and it was agonising to watch the lobster pots with their little flags ever so slowly work their way past the boat. The Portimãohigh rises and all that they promise, tease us. We are about twelve miles away, so we will have to watch those high rises all day.
The crew set their minds to how to make harbour faster. Suggestions include swimming and pushing the boat, inflating the dingy and towing the boat, enlisting dolphins to push or tow, calling the wind farm on the hills beside us and see if they will turn them on us, and my personal favourite: put our Bluetooth speakers on deck, blast the tunes and get the sound waves to push us in. We’re not sure if the racing rules allow any of those options so we will wait and watch and wait and watch.