We heard that finding a berth in Lisbon was really hard. The marina we stayed in told us we could only be there for 3 days, but in reality once you’re in, you’re in.
We paced up and down Lisbon trying to find the right toilet pipe to replace the old one. Trina battled with the pipe and fitted it one evening. I didn’t think it could be done without cutting up half the boat, as it really is spaghetti junction! Props to Trina for managing to wrestle the beast!
We had a big night out, met some randoms, and drank to the early hours. Took me 2 days to recover!
Our berth was hellish. The tide ran through a narrow entrance which made it impossible to sleep at night, as the boat creaked and yanked back and forth. I spent most of our time there awake til 5am watching movies. The night would be still at first, then you’d hear a small bang and a creak, and then you knew it had begun, and would be hell for the next 5 hours. Then suddenly everything would be still again, just as the sun started to come up.
I’d been watching what looked like a hurricane out at sea for a while. Nobody we knew was talking about it, but the forecasts showed it heading for Madeira. Sometimes the forecast would then show it going back out to sea, or up to Portugal, or down south.
Some friends ahead of us managed to get to Lanzarote before it hit Madeira. Then we watched it make its way on a direct course for Lisbon.
The day it was forecast to hit us was bizarre.Charter boats carried on running in and out of the marina, and life carried on as normal all day. We bought a few more shock absorbers for our mooring lines and went back to the boat. By 6 O’Clock people were starting to tie up their boats, ready for Armageddon.
We strapped the boat down as much as we could, took off solar panels, anything that could blow away and lashed down the mainsail and genoa.
The staff advised us to move the boat to another marina, as once the usual hellish tide set in later that evening, combined with the hurricane we’d be in trouble. By that time it was blowing hard, and I didn’t fancy reversing out so close to the harbour wall. We opted to stay, and was then advised not to stay on the boat that evening.
I started cursing myself when the winds picked up further, as Trina had suggested we move that morning. I couldn’t help but think I’d fucked up royally, and honestly wondered what hell would await us later that evening!
With the wind starting to scream through the rigging, the staff came over and were concerned that the motorboat next to us wasn’t strapped down securely. The owners had used shoe strings to tie their boat down, so between use we used some of our spare line and did what we could.
Down below the motion in Excalibur was pretty comfortable, but from outside it looked like a bucking bronco. We settled in with a Pizza, beer and a movie. What else can you do?!
Come 11pm the wind died down and we crossed our fingers that was it. Hurricane Leslie ended up missing Lisbon, and gave Portugal a good battering further up the coast. I met a French boat later who’d endured 75 knot winds gusting 100 knots. We were pretty lucky and just got a tickle under the chin.
Once the seas died down we did a 24 hour slog to Lagos departing at 21:00. We did a bit of sailing until the wind died, then motored most of the way, and then had a good sail once around the corner. We caught a fat fish as we approached Lagos, perhaps a tuna but the line snapped and got away.
We came into Lagos at night with no issues. We rafted up to a boat just as the rain set in, and had a couple of drinks with them before calling it a day.
We noticed our leisure batteries are causing some issues and not holding their charge, so they’ll need replacing once we get in. Another job!
With bugger all wind from Lagos to the Canaries now, we’re looking to hop along the Moroccan coast just to get further south when we have batteries again.