14th to 19th February 2018
Passage was boring – motor sailing with the majority of the propulsion coming from the motors, which I don’t think any sailor is a fan of. We wouldn’t have chosen that day for the passage, but we needed to get there in time to meet Nana G who stayed with us for a few days, and at least it was flat enough for the kids to hurtle around deck while we were moving which they always enjoy. And, on the bright side, Charlotte felt OK the whole way – probably at least partly thanks to (reluctantly) taking one of the seasickness pills purchased for Dave in Lisbon.
On arrival we made our way up the well-marked channel to the anchorage – then, just before the mooring ‘pool’, scraped along a sand bar which seemed to extend to almost mid-channel from the left side as you approach the pool! Thankfully there was enough water under us to continue and all was fine. We motored around the moorings and beyond to decide where to anchor, and eventually settled on a spot just down-river from the mooring buoys – we would probably have taken the time to find somewhere slightly closer to the town if the tide was on its way up and/or the kids were not being mischievous, mess-making marvels.
Anyway, we dropped anchor roughly level to the last two mooring buoys then let out plenty of chain (around 5x depth) – then Charlotte rowed out a stern anchor in the dinghy so that when the tide switched we would remain pretty much in place. This was the first time we have used a stern anchor and it worked fantastically well – we would only do this in settled conditions and waters, as I wouldn’t fancy much wind on the beam, but for a few days of settled weather here it was perfect. The next day we noticed our stern anchor rode was fairly shallow and clipped a kellet (a 20kg gym weight which the previous owner of the boat had added an eye-bolt to) marked with a floating buoy to the rode, which holds the rode fairly well under-water most of the time, and marks it for the passing motorboats!
With our new solar panels mounted on the guard rails, as well as the flexible panels on the boom, we have not needed to run the engine for power generation at all since leaving Lisbon. The motor running on the way to Faro, combined with a very sunny day the next day, has both banks near-capacity – with enough spare power to turn the inverter on and charge laptops/hoover etc., and run the watermaker for a while. Hopefully that’ll continue.
We might write some more about Faro at some point – we enjoyed our time there, including a visit from Nana G., but didn’t write anything down.