Alone Like a Rolling Stone

Porto Santo

 We are now the third day at sea. Slowly silence returns, the wind decreases more and more. A certain routine takes over on board and we enjoy the positive things about the Atlantic. Compared to the Mediterranean, the wind is more steady here and you don't have to change the sailing position all the time. We haven't touched the sails for two days. Now that the wind is slowly levelling off and more from the east, we're using the whisker for the genoa and sailing it to starboard, while the mainsail boom is on port. Still with five knots we are above the calculated cut. When we had 11 knots on the log yesterday, for a short time, we were a bit surprised that we can sail so fast with our Katinka at all. Ship traffic is out here, almost non-existent, sometimes a small triangle appears on the AIS, but the ship is passing out of our sight.

Land in front of you! Porto Santo

Also otherwise we are cut off from civilization, no cell phone reception, no Wlan, the only thing we have left is the shortwave reception to download a weather fax to our computer. Also on the FM frequencies it has become quiet. We enjoy the silence and prepare for another night. Since the night watches, when there is nothing going on outside, are very exhausting for us, we have introduced a new wake rhythm. We take turns every two hours, which at least helps the watchman a lot. On the fourth day we have no wind at all for hours and our patience is put to the test once again. The wave and a little bit of wind pushes us with two knots towards Madeira. We say that the miles we gained on the second and third day are wasted, and on the fifth day we have reached our average again. On the sixth day the wind comes up again and it becomes clear that we will arrive in Porto Santo during the night. We don't like to do this, but since it is a port where we anchor, at least the waves are no problem. In the meantime we have the lighthouse of Porto Santo crosswise. The wind has increased to 20 knots and we are already almost eight knots above ground again. Shortly before we reach the port entrance, we hoist the sails and enter the port basin under engine. The green beacon shows us the way, from the red one, as mentioned in the map, no trace.

Ferry in Porto Santo

The next day it turned out that it had broken down. Slowly we were passing the existing boats, of which only the anchor light was visible. We search for a free place, at 22:30 the anchor drops and we arrive in Porto Santo. We don't want to fall asleep and so it will be a long night with a glass of red wine. The next morning there is a lot to do. There was no reaction to the e-mail I had written to Porto Santo before we left. I called Port Control by radio and we clarified the procedure for the obligatory corona test, without which, negative of course, we are not allowed ashore. Fatima, at the other end is very friendly and explains the procedure and arranges an appointment. At two o'clock we meet about 15 people at the Dinghi Dock who, like us, have to take the test. We are picked up and led into a room under supervision. Again we meet a very nice nurse who does the test. She said goodbye with the words that the test result will be available until eight o'clock the next morning. In fact, the result is there the next morning and we are allowed to move freely on the island. Unfortunately, nothing will come of it, because during the night mighty gusts of wind turned the dinghy, the engine and the petrol can upside down. Now we had to limit the damage. In the early morning the engine is disassembled and rinsed with fresh water.

Engine cleaning on the Katinka

Drain the water again via the spark plug openings and then conserve it with WD40. I removed some components to be able to free the engine housing better from salt water. The next day I reassembled everything. Except for the fuel which is possibly contaminated with seawater, everything is now ready for a test run. In the afternoon we looked for a gas station and rowed ashore. Unfortunately the next one is 2.5 kilometers away and with a stinking gas canister it's hard to find a ride on the island. So plan B has to work. The next day we want to walk to the gas station with a handcart and do the whole thing on foot. But this is not going to work out either, as the next storm is already sweeping over us. With a wind of 25 knots and gusts of 42 knots, we don't like to leave the boat alone, even not at all due to good seamanship. So the test run will have to wait. 

Main square Porto Santo

Despite the circumstances we like what we have seen of the island so far very much. The people are very friendly and we are moving on Corona free territory again for a long time. For the small island, the shopping possibilities are enormous and if you ask for something special, one person knows, always another person who knows where to get it. We like that very much here. As soon as we have done the necessary things, we will take a closer look at the island and then sail on to Madeira. 

40 Knots in Porto Santo

What else we experience on Porto Santo and how we get to Madeira you can read in the next blog, until then as always Fair Winds and keep a stiff upper lip.