The last few hours of the passage we pretty memorable. As night started to fall, the wind picked from Force 4/5 to Force 7 gusting 8. We went from full sail to 2nd reef main and no genoa in 15mins and started a moonlit sleigh-ride past the island of Porto Santo and towards Madeira. David, Ben and James added the accompaniment of Pink Floyd to complete the surreal picture. As we approached Madeira, the seas were rising and about 3Nm off the eastern end of the islands we met some particularly gnarly waves. I (Rob) was on the helm and could hear a roar behind before a wave rolled the boat to an alarming angle and then landing on the stern. It filled the cockpit (and my boots) with water. It was bad enough that Jo swore. A few more minutes like this and another rolling drenching before the seas started to flatten nearer the point. On subsequent closer inspection of the chart, it turns out that if you have a gale forcing the sea over a seabed that rises from 4km depth to less than 80 m in 1/2 Nm or so, then you get some big seas!
Behind the island, the sea flattened and we motored the last few miles into the marina. Dark and quiet, we bumbled around trying to find a spot before drifting gently sideways into a large empty berth. ......And breathe.......
We were a bit sluggish yesterday morning, but by the afternoon we had perked up to explore the island - which is more spectacular than I could have imagined. The geology of the place is stunning, and luckily we had James the geologist to explain it all to us. We walked out to the eastern tip and looked out over the patch of sea that got me so wet.
It was rough out there!
David and Ben have just left to fly home and we have another day here before continuing south to Tenerife.
and here are a few action photos
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