The regatta calender has been published and, with her local handicap, Red Ruth should be competitive. Our aim is to participate in as many of the local cruiser regattas this year as possible.
The first regatta was held on Saturday 7th February. This was hosted by Quinta do Lorde Marina, which is our home port in Madeira. Red Ruth had a good start, with 5 of us on board, and we headed off to the first mark. Unfortunately a loop in our lines which went into the pulley during the tack saw us lose 'ground'. A lack of wind on the down-wind legs meant that we lost further 'ground' as we need about 10 knots of wind speed to keep us moving. The 5-7 knots on these legs had us bouncing around a bit, but we kept going and are pleased to say that we did not finish last (just!).
RTP Madeira - the local TV station, reported on the race. Click on the link below and have a look at us sailing here in Madeira. For those of you reading who don't know - we are the red yacht!
Last week we motored over to the boat yard under the airport runway. Red Ruth was due for a haul-out and a new anti-foul coat of paint on her keel. She will be on the hard for about 4 weeks, which will allow us to get some other minor repairs done (seacock maintenance, engine oil and filter changes etc). On replacing the oil filter we noticed that the cast iron bracket holding the filter onto the engine had broken, so now we are investigating a repair/replacement. A new hawk and VHF aerial had been fitted whilst we were still in the marina - Thanks to Bruce for so bravely spending a few hours at the top of the mast.
Early in the month two of our friends completed their RYA Day Skipper course. We had lent them Red Ruth for this purpose, with us as crew. It was a fantastic week, with lots of refresher learning for us. The weather was extremely good to us, with sunshine and a variety of winds.
The second Regatta took place mid March in Funchal. We sailed to Funchal the afternoon before the Regatta, where we berthed for the weekend. Saturday's Skippers meeting gave us the course instructions with a possible 3 start lines. Two of them were outside the harbour walls and the light wind start was to be inside the harbour confines. As usual for us we couldn't quite understand the radio calls so we were unsure where the start was so:- We followed everyone else!!! Approximately 8 minutes before the start we saw everyone else heading back into the harbour confines so we followed. Good luck struck and as we got to the start line the countdown started. When the gun fired we were in a fantastic position which allowed us to cross the line - on time - and half way up the fleet.
We had a great time, Red Ruth performed well and kept up with those 'spinnakered' yachts. Our result for the day was a grand 3rd place in the 2nd & 3rd combined class.
The April Regatta was postponed from 11th to 17th of the month which meant that one of our regular crew members was unable to join us due to a previous commitment. The postponement came at the last minute as the realisation that Easter fell on the weekend of the 11th only struck home late in the day. All things being well - there was no wind that weekend anyway. So on 17th we duly arrived in Funchal. The wind was predicted to be a NE 10 knots - what did we get? 38 knots ENE. It was blowing quite nicely in Funchal harbour! A couple of the Regatta entrants had to abandon or did not start the race. We completed the course but under a reefed main and a stay sail only. We did have quite a few bruises on board with crew members flying across the boat on a few of the gybes. It was definately a 'hard work' sail.
pic: start line with a strong wind and a cruise ship!
We were advised afterwards that due to some of the boats not taking part, the Class 2 yachts were split between Class 1 and Class 3. This meant of course that our 3rd place in Class 3 was diluted to a 4th place in combined class! You can spot us on the link below at 1.52 minutes into the video.
May Day weekend was the date set for the CAMPEONATO DA MADEIRA DE CRUZEIROS - BRISA. It was a three date event with 4 Regatta races - a long race on Friday, an inshore race on Saturday and 2 technical races on Sunday. Twelve yachts were entered into the weekend event.
Friday - The sun was shining, the sky was blue and the wind was non-existent. We managed to complete half of the race in lessening winds but with the time limit we knew we would not be able to complete, so we retired along with another yacht.
Saturday - Once again the sun is shining and the sky is blue. The wind was blowing and we had a good race, finishing ahead of our competition.
Sunday - The wind was westerly giving us great conditions for the technical race - two 5nm round the buoys. We met a couple from Holland in the harbour who we invited to join us. Mika and Michelle have a Westerly yacht back home. We did really well in the weather, had good company and completed both races in good time. At the prize giving we were delighted to receive a 2nd in our Class.
ANM organised a Regatta on 23rd May to raise funds for the local Cancer Charities. The weather leading up to the Regatta was awful on the east of the island. So much so that friends of ours en route to Gilbratar from the Canaries were holed up in Quinta de Lorde for an extra week. The morning of the Regatta was quiet when we arrived at the boat and the decision made to head to Funchal for the Regatta. Down wind sail there was perfect and our friends joined us on board. The event in Funchal was a bit slow to start with no wind (or at least not enough for us). Our down wind leg had us speeding along at 0 knots! One or two yachts gave up due to the lack of wind and we made the decision that if by 4pm we still had no wind we would retire. As 4pm approached we drifted around the marker buoy and found some wind - out of nowhere we were suddenly having a great run back up the course and did manage to finish within time. Unfortunately we couldn't stay for the prize giving (we got a 3rd) as we felt if prudent to head back to home base. A great sail back with gusts of close to 30 knots every time we passed a gap in the mountains. Thanks to Caroline and Robert for coming along and helping us have a great day.
pic: Approaching the finish line.
Big excitment this month. We had a trip to Lisbon to attend the Volvo Ocean Race. It was our intention to get in a few days of tourism before the weekend In-Port Race and the Start race. We were able to spend the afternoon on Thursday watching the first Pro-Am race. On Saturday, the day of the In-Port race, we only managed to get to the Village in time for the end of the race however we were delighted to be able to watch the yachts berth followed by the Awards Ceremony.
Sunday dawned bright and hot. Temperatures were up in the early 30's. We were fortunate enough to have been given a place on the Rebonave Tugboat which we had to meet on the Pontinha at Alcantara. The train ride was short, with a very quick walk to the end of the harbour wall where we embarked. The Tugboat was held off behind the start line until the Volvo yachts had rounded the two marks.
At that point we, along with the other yachts and boats on the water, followed the yachts back down the river. Just under the bridge we could see the sky darkening on the horizon, the water got choppy and the wind filled in. The yachts suddenly went from sailing in a non-existent wind to brilliant sailing in good winds.
On our return to the harbour the wind blew up quite fiercely for about 20 minutes. Some of the boats returning to the harbour struggled a little to berth. We learned later that this wind had been reported as a mini 'cyclone'.
13th June was the 5th Regatta of the season with MEO as sponsor. We had a great beat from the start to the first buoy followed by a run to the Desertas Islands with a beat back to the finish. The wind was good for Red Ruth, not too strong and not too weak. We slipped to 5th around the first mark and 6th at the second mark but managed to take our 5th place back on the run to the finish. This small victory was applauded by some dolphins and a couple of whales off our starboard side. We took 5th place on the water but with corrected time we finished 4th overall and 2nd in our class. The day was further enhanced when a new mobile phone was won in the raffle draw! I guess my SCA tee-shirt brought good luck after all - and well done SCA on winning the VOR leg to Lorient.
pics: 2015 MEO Regatta - courtesy of Clube Naval de Funchal
July was time for us to visit Porto Santo. We sailed over on a Sunday morning with weather conditions forecast to be up to 20 knots. As usual the weather didn't listen to the forecasters. Winds did not drop below 20 knots and peaked around 26 knots. Once past the tip of Sao Lourenco point the swell was up to 4 metres at times - rather a large hole in the sea to drop into! With a north east wind and a north east course we had to go quite far south and east before tacking back toward the Island. We tied up in the Marina in Porto Santo around 5.30pm, tired and glad to be there. Dinner on board and early to bed (after a couple of glasses of wine in the Marina Bar of course).
As it was my first visit to the Island we decided on Monday morning to cycle into the town, up to the airport, back to town and around the Marina. By the time we had finished there we were both a bit saddle-sore. Monday evening we cycled to restaurant Pe Na Agua (foot in the water). We had a superb meal there with excellent service - highly recommended.
Tuesday was another cycle around town with a visit to Christopher Columbus Museum (very interesting and worth a visit), followed by delicious cocktails at a bar/cafe in the church square. The afternoon was spent cycling to Calheta Point to enjoy the view, a well deserved cold beer and a cycle back to the boat.
Dinner was a very nice, basic and tasty meal at the Marina Bar. We left on Wednsday to sail back to Madeira - wind north east on a south west course so foresail up and off we went.
Weekend of 25th July was the Santa Cruz Anniversary Regatta. Again the wind hadn't read the forecast and was stronger than anticipated, but a good wind for Red Ruth. 6 boats started the race with one retiring very early. We managed to achieve a 1st place in class - very satisfactory outcome to a hard days sailing (we were only 3 on board due to holidays).
pic: catching up!! (pictures courtesy of: Iate Clube de Santa Cruz -facebook page)
pic: Prize giving (pictures courtesy of: Iate Clube de Santa Cruz - facebook page)
The weekend of 14th August was the annual Madeira to Porto Santo Regatta. The start line was off Santa Cruz (at the end of the airport runway) leaving at 20h00 on Friday night. The straight line distance to Porto Santo is about 25 miles but with the prevailing wing being North East and the direction in a straight line also North East, we required to travel further south east, or tack on the Rhum line. We opted for a bit of both, and tacked north west after about 3 hours, tacking again back to the SE course another hour later. After that we headed on a SE track until about 3am when we were able to tack north, heading straight up toward the finish line which was at the entrance to the Porto Santo harbour. This year we had no broken bones and with a slightly better sea, visibility and wind speed, we were able to finish in 9 hours, with arrival around 5am.
A couple of hours sleep was followed by the Golden Bay Regatta in the Porto Santo Bay at 13h00. We had a lovely afternoon and were joined on board by our good friend Pedro who was on holiday in Porto Santo. The Regatta end was followed by a couple of hours socialising in the beach bar, but as we were so tired we decided to head back to the Marina. A good evening meal and social was provided, which we thoroughly enjoyed.
pic: Porto Santo to Madeira start - (courtesy of Club Navale do Funchal facebook page)
Sunday morning we were back on the water by 11am for a Noon start to the race back to Madeira. We had an In-Port race before rounding the second mark to head back out to sea toward Santa Cruz. The wind was in our favour and, despite a poor start, we managed to have a fantastic sail back with an average of 7.2 knots speed. Within half a mile of the finish line we hit a hole in the wind and stopped dead for about 5 minutes - long enough to let our nearest competitor pass us! We eventually got the wind back and finished 5th over the water and taking a provisional 3rd place in the overall Regatta weekend. After calculating the times, the organisers have given us an overall 4th position.
The 8th and final round of the Madeira Regatta series was due to be held on 5th/6th September with a 'Round the Island' regatta. We were booked to head back to the UK that weekend for a visit with friends and the Southampton Boat Show, and were fully set to miss the sail. Our luck held though with a phone-call a couple of days before we left to say the race had been postponed and rescheduled for later in the month.
Our trip to the UK was a good one. We had a day in Lisbon en-route before arriving at Heathrow in the late evening. A mystery hotel booking had us in the Holiday Inn at Heathrow M4 junction. Very comfortable and an excellent price. Next day we were back at Heathrow airport to catch the National express bus to Portsmouth. A good, comfortable drive with a very helpful driver. We got off at the ferry stop as we were to catch the ferry across the river to Gosport. As we off-loaded out luggage we happened to ask the driver where to get the ferry - needless to say we had to get back on the bus and carry on to the next stop!
A day at the Boat show was well spent - new clothes, rope and other bits and bobs. An old family friend was met over a pint (and a very expensive glass of Pimms - £6 a glass!!!) You can't get much of an update of 35 years in an hour, but we did well!
Dinner in the evening with the Rustler owners group was a quiet event. Maybe all the other owners are off sailing their Rustlers around the world.
On our trip back to the airport to return to Madeira, we stopped off in Chertsey to meet up with good friends from Orkney. We had a lovely walk along the Thames path where we met a few runners doing a charity run for Children of Bereavement - great work and well done to all of them. We, of course, had to sit and have lunch in a lovely pub at the side of the Thames and watch them run by....
Next day we were off to London. Staying at Cruising Association accommodation - fantastic and so central, allowed us time to explore a bit of Canary Wharf. Our trip from Waterloo to our accommodation was such fun. We took the Thames Clipper from Waterloo and saw all the sights from the river.
Brilliant time, but good to be back on the Island.
All preparations were done ready for the re-scheduled 'Round the Island' regatta on 19th September, only to receive some news on Friday to say that the regatta has been cancelled as not enough participants had registered. Such a shame, but we will go round the Island ourselves some time soon.
December is upon us and once again we reflect on the year. 2015 was a good year for us - no broken bones!! At the annual prize giving ceremony, sporting our new team T-shirts, we were awarded two prizes - an outstanding achievement for the whole team. Red Ruth is now out of the water for a few months to have her usual annual maintenance and 'resting' period. Now the challenge is on for 2016!
pic: Award Ceremony - photograph courtesy of ARVM/Clube Naval do Funchal facebook page
For many of our friends and family 2015 has brought some difficulties and sadness, so we wish that 2016 is a year with happy moments that create wonderful memories to call upon in times of darkness, and to help us to smile.
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas, a Fabulous New Year and everything of the very best for you and yours in 2016.
Team Red Ruth