I came on watch again at 04:00 on Tuesday to find that the island Ilha do Porto Santo was visible ahead with its lighthouse flashing 3 times every 15 seconds. Given our speed through the water we would be arriving in pitch darkness, so as a mark headed for his bunk I reefed the Genoa right down and slowed up to 3 knots so that we arrived as dawn broke.
The rhythm of our sail from Cascais had settled down through initial queasiness to feeling much more at home. There's a curious separation between the outside and the inside of the boat. One can step below out of the wind and noise into a calm environment. A glance out of the windows shows the sea going past like a roaring river, but the sensation is of a smooth calm ride, despite the surge and roll of the sea which one's brain somehow discounts.
During the night hours we alternate four hour watches on deck and in our bunks. In daylight we are often both on deck enjoying the sunshine. "George" steers most of the time, although occasionally Mark or I take the helm to enjoy the ride more.
Yesterday I finally dug out the fishing kit Tom th aft starboard deck locker ( pity it as the the other side ass it turned out later) and trailed it astern. The Watamu Yoyo was with us in 2005 on the ARC but didn't catch much. It trails a very strong line with a bungee to take the shock of a strike, with an orange fish that skitters along the surface trailed by a bright red 4" long squid which hides a big hook. Two hours later I checked again and there was a big golden dorado. Once aboard, this beautiful golden fish was subdued with a slug of rum in the gills, and then we saw its beautiful sky blue spots and golden colour change as it died. It weighed 6 kg and was 85cm long, and as I butchered it on the rolling aft back, slippery with gore I wasn't sure I had the appetite to eat it. We had a couple of big steaks for supper though and they were excellent with rice and tomato salsa.
We have been plagued with a mysterious electrical problem which Mark has been very assiduously trying to track down. Something somewhere is leaking electricity to the metal hull. We spent many hours trying to track it down, finally concluding that the problem got somewhat better when the boat rolled heavily to starboard. Mark crawled into the engine space to see if a loose wire was swinging and making contact. We lifted floorboards, isolated electrical systems and still it continued. We postulated that it might be water in the bilges sloshing into a piece of electrical equipment and spent ages pumping water out of every place we could find. All to no avail !
So our arrival at Porto Santo was to find a calm anchorage and go through Nigel Calder's book The Boat Electrical Bible and follow his methodology to isolate and disconnect each piece of equipment in turn to track down the current leak.
As we prepared to enter the port we had the option of anchoring or finding a spot in the little marina. I got fenders out of our aft port deck,locker, and was horrified to find it half full of sea water! In there is also our long range radio transmitter, and here was the solution to the problem that had been plaguing us for the last three days. Once pumped out, rinsed with Fran water and dried the cu rent meter was showing all green again. What a relief! The problem was to find out how the water had got in and we can only conclude that the new seal we installed round the lid has failed.