Stormvogel in her element yesterday afternoon.
We're currently at a little place called 37 deg, 44.24 minutes North, 11 deg, 31.24 minutes West. It's 162 miles SW of Nazare, from where we finally left at 11.00 yesterday. The forecast was promising for the first day – fresh Northerlies at last - but it looked as though we'd then sail into a huge wind hole for a couple of days en route to Madeira, far from perfect. However the clock is ticking for us to get down to the Canaries and later we leave it, the more chance of adverse conditions. A big low pressure system bringing SW gales at the end of this week clinched it, so we made the move.
Sure enough yesterday and last night saw some fantastic sailing condition. Fairly rough seas and 2-3m swells made it interesting but we fair flew along. Unfortunately, as predicted, the wind began to drop this morning and it was then that Stormvogel made a terrible discovery – her new engine wouldn't start! The control panel showed a 'low battery' warning then died altogether, leaving Peter and Heidi in an uncomfortable rolling boat, trying to work out the cause of the problem. We offered them a tow, so Maunie became a tugboat whilst Peter made satellite phone calls to the engine makers and the boatyard that installed it; after about 3 hours of surprisingly good progress – a steady 5 knots without straining our engine – we got a call on the VHF to say that power has been restored.
So we are back motoring in company at about 6 knots and the sea is thankfully fairly placid. At this rate we'll arrive in Porto Santo (the small island 20 miles NW of Madeira) early on Thursday morning but we hope for some wind on Wednesday so we'll see.