Welcome to the Maunie of Ardwall blog

This is the blog of Maunie of Ardwall. After a six-year adventure sailing from Dartmouth to Australia, we are now back in Britain.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Jobs done, wind's arrived, 538 miles to go

Today is definitely the last at Nazare and we've had a really busy few days. This photo is just a little example of the sort of things that have been filling our days – fitting bungee to the front-opening fridge to stop the contents flying out when we open the door just as the boat rolls! After the 3rd or 4th time it gets wearing to have to retrieve wayward jars and bottles so this little modification will make a big difference to our sanity as we roll across the Alantic.
The biggest success of the week, though, was the fitting of a replacement VHF aerial. The makers, Shakespeare / Vtronix in Lancashire, had no hesitation in sending a new unit free of charge when ours failed after 3 years atop the mast (wonderful after-sales service) so hopefully we'll be loud and clear from now on.
We were planning to leave this morning but last night we saw a familiar boat name on www. marinetraffic.com (it allows you to follow boats and ships with AIS transponders all around the world – slightly Big Brother but have a look at it and type in 'Maunie of Ardwall' under the 'Vessels' tab to find where we are). Our friends Peter & Heidi in Stormvogel were heading here from Porto after a long and frustrating time in Vigo having a new engine fitted. They arrived at 06.30 after a tiring night sail but plan to go to Madeira too, so it was an easy decision for us to delay our departure by a day so that we can sail in company again. The 'Biscay Alliance', as Peter calls it, is reborn!
Whilst we're very much ready to move on, we've really enjoyed our time in this part of Portugal. The marina, thanks to the wonderful Mike & Sally who run it, is a little oasis of calm in a busy fishing port and the costs have been a fraction of anywhere else we've visited. 164 Euros for 14 nights is a very unusual bargain in the sailing world and long may it remain so.
So we now face the start of a significant ocean passage in the morning. The distance to Porto Santo, the island 20 miles NE of Madeira, is 538 miles so that'll be at least 4 days and nights – a long time with just two aboard to keep watch. We are therefore slightly apprehensive of rolling sail ahead of us, really just from the inevitable lack of sleep. The forecast shows that we shouldn't get any adverse weather (the wind may be a bit light if anything) and, at least, the fridge shouldn't spill its contents!


  1. Hi there, my name is Thorsten Dorsch and I am moderating Heidi's and Peter's Stormvogel Blog. So I'm reading there (and here of course) on a daily basis. I have a question concerning the AIS system. As far as I understand, the system is driven by land based receivers which get the signals from your boat's transmitter and send this information via the internet to the central marinetraffic.com server system. That would explain why the map only shows ships around coastal regions and also the fact, that Maunie and Stormvogel went off the map shortly after your departure from Nazare. Am I right?

    1. Hi Thorsten

      Sorry for the delay in replying. You're right, the AIS data is collected by shore stations. It's transmitted on VHF which has, basically, a line-of-sight range and depends on how hight the aerial is on the boat. We can see large ships on our AIS from about 10 miles away but Stromvogel and Maunie lose each others signals at about 4 miles.

      Obviously, on big passsages like the trip to Madeira, we'll be out of range for most of it, so it works best for coastal passages and to confirm when we're in harbour.

      Best regards