Yacht delivery to assist owners onboard their new yacht
Simon Phillips owner of Seaway assists new yacht owners on delivery from Portsmouth to Portugal.
In summary – not as bad as one would imagine for this time of year – temperature, wind and sea were very autumnal and not middle of winter horrendous!
Joining a very nice Hanse 540e in Portsmouth, previously delivered there by us from Holland a few weeks’ earlier, Peter and myself were pleased to be able to continue the voyage and advising / instructing the new owners on the way.
Departing Portsmouth with a N/NW wind force 4 for the next few days, clear and sunny – if a little cool sounded like bliss! Leaving The Solent with a spring tide, we soon reached the Needles with speeds of over 10 knots at times! With the forecast not being accurate, with winds much stronger than expected we put into Portland for a couple of days to wait until the wind and sea state decreased. This time was spent doing some jobs onboard and going through the yacht with the owners.
Setting sail from Portland our next stop was to be Camaret, this was due to a power issue onboard – the batteries were not charging! With a good weather forecast to cross Biscay for the next few days – not so frequent at the best of times and especially not in December, we were rather frustrated to be stopping but it was necessary! Despite an ‘electrician’ being onboard in Portsmouth to check the charging system and battery conditions, which were clearly on their way out but apparently not so by the electrician! Arrival into Camaret confirmed our initial diagnosis of worn out batteries! These were changed by a very knowledgeable, professional and helpful person which immediately resolved the issue.
Waiting for ‘perfect’ weather would probably result in us being there until Easter, we sailed with a reasonably good forecast of N/NW winds F4-6 with a possible force 7, ideal for a south westerly course, if a little breezy. We enjoyed good sailing conditions with 2 reefs in the main and around half of the genoa out. Although one night we did see 40plus knots across the deck, with bigger seas than forecasted, but this lasted only but a few hours. This always happens at night!! Why?!
Sailing passed cape Finisterre, we continued down the Spanish and then Portuguese coast to Cascais where we filled up with water and ice creams as it was becoming much warmer! Being greeted by an enormous pod of dolphins and gannets diving into the sea having a mass feeding frenzy, was spectacular to see. Even the owners’ little dog was intrigued by this and was gazing out to see this with awe!
Re-fuelled on ice cream we set out for the last 24 hours’ sail to the Algarve. A lovely sunset which was very warm – I had taken around three layers off since the UK! Sunglasses certainly, shorts were threatening to come out, but not quite!
Strong winds around Cape St.Vincent meant furling the headsail away and keeping on a broad reach until passing the wind acceleration zone – again at about 4am! Safely passed this, it was a close reach all the way along the south coast of Portugal, with ever decreasing wind strength. Perfect, flat calm sailing conditions with a beautiful orange sky. A few photos taken of it to send home for those with ‘normal’ jobs who rarely see such a beautiful sight, sails were dropped and we anchored off a pretty sandy beach. Some jobs done onboard and general tidying up and unstowing of stowed items, we motored into the marina.
Performing our necessary duties and then going through everything onboard for and with the owners’ – rigging extra lines, taking the mainsail off for the sail maker, inflating the dinghy, hoisting the very heavy outboard from the fo’c’s’le with a halyard and putting this onto the tender and so on. We then had the rest of the evening to relax, have a meal out and pack ready for our taxi early the following morning.
An early flight back to the UK in time for a few days before Christmas had been booked from Faro to London. Leaving the owners onboard for their new adventure of sailing for the next two years’ was rather sad as we had become friends whilst enroute.
Keeping in touch with the owners and assisting them with maintenance items and cruising plans will hopefully be very helpful to them as this is a new yacht to them.
A very successful delivery trip, very happy clients’ and Christmas just a few days away made this a very pleasant and memorable last trip of 2014!