The final leg

As predicted, the final day's sailing was a disappointment, but not without incident. We had been 'serenaded' by the crews of Serendipity and Leviathan II until about 0100 so the 0530 alarm was not welcome! Just before we started getting ready to slip lines I found that we had run out of water, the gauge had stuck and we didn't still have three quarters of a tank. We started refilling while we got everything ready then, at about 0610, we slipped our lines and set off towards Lagos, into rolly seas with no wind so it became a motor boat race. During the morning the wind picked up a bit so we pulled out the genoa and cut the engine. A bit later we rolled away the genoa and pulled up the cruising chute for the first time since Biscay, other than to dry it while we were in the marina at Povoa. It went up without a hitch, the wind started dying, we started drifting so down it came again, without a hitch. Meanwhile drama was unfolding elsewhere, Serendipity called the fleet on channel 77 to say they were drifting with no wind and no engine. Ocean Trilogy took them under tow while they tried to find the cause of their starting problems. Lots of boats called up with sound practical advice, others reported on the wind conditions approaching Cape St Vincent and Cape de Sagres. As Serendipity approached the windy area they dropped the tow. Another boat, Abraxas, had a spare starter motor, identical to the suspect one, so turned around and sailed about 4 miles back to them then successfully transferred it across. Sadly this did not solve their problem. We all experienced about 20 to 25 knots of wind around the first cape, dropping then rising again as we approached the second cape then it dropped and changed direction, straight from Lagos! Motor on time again for the last 15 miles. Serendipity sailed until they were beating towards Morocco making 4 knots when they set up another tow, this time with Webster. Entry into the canal to the marina was daunting. We probably entered at about half tide and the waves were breaking at the entrance, looking very challenging. Webster and Serendipity arrived about three hours later when there was much less water at the entrance, breaking far more steeply. They did a fantastic job and both boats were welcomed on to the reception pontoon by many of the rally participants. Wednesday was the last day of the rally. We did a self-guided walking tour of Lagos, completed the quiz with some difficulty and had the best moules marinara (moules pescatores or something in Portuguese) that we have ever eaten! Back on the boat I washed the decks, John found a replacement fuel can for the outboard but is now waiting for the right connector then he removed the roller furling line and washed it. You are not meant to be able to push a bit of string, you could make this one stand vertically! The final dinner of the rally was held in the Waypoint Restaurant with drinks in the garden to start with. We won first prize for the quiz with only one wrong answer. I don't know which question that was but it could have been one of several guesses! Once all the formal presentations were made the crew from Serendipity took to the floor and gave out presents, seriously well thought out. John was given a copy of the Machine Mart catalogue because they felt that would be the sort of shop he would run well, given the tools and spares we carry on Starblazer. The other gifts were in a similar comedic vein. A very good time was had by all and we got to bed rather late. Thursday morning on the pontoon is rather quiet. Many crews are flying home today, hopefully the general strike will not disrupt them too much. Some boats are moving swiftly on, others are planning to stay for a time be it weeks, months or a year. We plan to leave on Monday, but we are cruising and plans can change. This will almost certainly be my last blog on this page of the World Cruising Club website though occasional blogs should start popping up on the ARC page. We should also be able to find the time now to get our website running: www.yachtstarblazer.co.uk and we will reactivate SPOT as we have given the Yellow Brick Tracker back. More soon from us, somewhere on the Internet. Joyce

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