We had another uncomfortable night on board as Maunie tugged at her mooring lines but the gale has now reduced to a still-windy Force 6. The boat was covered in salt this morning (from spray blown over the sea wall) and friends walked into the town and reported that a lot of the 4-mile golden beach had just washed away, leaving big holes and rocks.
The forecast suggests that there is a short weather window (just a couple of days) when the wind will go round to the west and reduce a little. Afer this window, there's another big low pressure system heading from the Atlantic which will bring more strong winds and rain. So, we have decided that we will have to miss on visiting the main island of Madeira (even though it's just 20 miles away) for fear of getting caught there for another week; instead we'll head south to the Canaries (about 300 miles so just under 3 days' sail. We'll look at the forecast again in the morning and leave tomorrow (Thursday) if it looks ok.
Whilst we've been here we've met lots of other boats doing the same thing as we are so we've all being comparing notes and debating when to make the break. We had a lovely drinks party on 'Rafiki' at lunchtime with crews from 5 boats today so we'll stay in touch via radio if we do set off tomorrow - we're aiming for La Gomera which looks really interesting. We'll let you know!