Hello again, Ponta Delgado!
We arrived back in the Azores on Wednesday afternoon. The staff in the Skippers�Bar were delighted to see us again… or maybe not!
We�d been unlucky in that the weather forecasters changed their minds shortly after we set sail on 4th May – the revised forecast showing that we�d be heading into increasingly stormy conditions as we headed north. We slugged it out for a couple of days, and then came to the difficult decision that there was little point in making life miserable for ourselves, so we would return to the Azores and wait for more favourable conditions.
Once that decision had been made, our luck changed and we managed to avoid the worst of the weather on our way back to the safe haven of Ponta Delgado, and in fact enjoyed several days of very pleasant downwind sailing.
This is a less than ideal situation for skipper Russ, to embark on the final leg of his circumnavigation only to be thwarted by a freak period of prolonged easterly winds.
But purely selfishly, I�ve achieved everything I needed to during this phase of my preparations – I�m now confident that I can cope with big waves, dark moonless nights, being in a small boat far from land, night watches and disrupted sleep. All this will stand me in good stead come November.
And get this – I�ve managed to find myself an ocean rowing boat to practice in! Well, OK, more of a coastal rowing boat… the local yacht club just happens to have a craft designed by ocean-rowing legend Gerard D�Aboville, which will be the perfect way for me to get some training in before I head back to the UK.
Photo: crewmate Claire strikes the warrior pose atop a mountain in the Azore