After four years of trying, we finally got the weather we wanted on New Year's Eve and took Red Ruth out into the bay of Funchal to watch the firework display welcoming in 2018. What a wonderful atmosphere out there on the water with hundreds of other boats, of all sizes. All of them filled with people from all over the world, all coming together and celebrating together. If only as a race we could keep the contentment and peace every day!
We were in the company of around 12 cruise ships, numerous tourist boats from around Madeira and too many to count private boats of all types. We took advantage of an early departure from Funchal Marina to motor around and view all the cruise liners.
The evening weather was quite mild with a very calm sea and a gentle breeze. We eventually decided on a spot to 'hover' around while we watched the fireworks. Our Skipper ever watchful for the other boats and drift.
The display from the sea was spectacular. Fireworks are let off simultaneously around the Funchal basin at an approximate height of 150 metres above sea level (i.e from most of the bridges on the Rapido) and on the barges anchored at the Harbour wall. It was almost too much to take in from our vantage point.
When the show was over we motored back into the Marina to drop off the ladies, who would pick up the car and attempt to exit Funchal and meet the remaining crew and Red Ruth back at Quinta do Lorde Marina, a good 2-hour motor away. Fortunately, the night was mild as Lorraine and Julia had to wait at the Marina until around 2.30am for Red Ruth to arrive.
We all managed a few hours sleep at home before heading down to Machico Beach at mid-day for our Annual New Year's Day Plunge. This is our 3rd year of open invitation and with increasing numbers, we enjoy a completely international event. Nothing is organised other than to meet at Mid-Day. Everyone brings something to eat and drink. Some bring their hangover from the evening before, but we all have a good get together and a swim.
pic: proof that the water is not TOO cold!
This year a load of funny hats and wigs found their way onto the beach, so we had a few incognito people and even a hippie "beach band" (without instruments).
Pic: Our Beach Air Band
Happy New Year - 2018
Some of you may have read our 2017 blog page where we told you that we became proud owners of a 3month old puppy in Feb 2017. We have taken Ziggy down to Red Ruth a few times now. He enjoys sitting on board and as the months have passed, he is quite happy to jump aboard, walk up and down the pontoon and lie in the sun while we get on with the maintenance jobs.
We took him out sailing with us, and he was quite content to lie in the cockpit and watch everyone. That is until we started to heel over. He was very anxious about losing his grip. As you can see he is quite a large dog and therefore would take up all the space in the footwell (if we could get him to go into it).
The result is that we have a dog who is most definitely not a 'Sea Dog'. He is quite happy to join us on deck as long as we are tied up in the Marina.
February each year is the Quinta do Lorde Anniversary Regatta. Quinta do Lorde is our home Marina in Madeira so we make a particular effort to ensure we can participate.
This year we made our entry as normal however we were unable to participate in our ORC rating. This was because, at the end of the last sailing season, a challenge had been made against us, sighting a technical issue. Basically, despite our measurements being taken by an ORC official and all our sails and configuration being stated, it was believed that as we were using our staysail we were not compliant with the ORC regulations.
After much discourse and emails back and forward between ARVM, the challenger and the defendant, a final decision was made by the ORC organisation who advised that the use of our staysail fell within their regulations.
This ruling did not come in time for us to participate in our home regatta so, we participated in the Open Class. We had some extra experienced crew on board and so, as the conditions were perfect, we decided to try out our spinnaker. In ORC we don't fly the Spinnaker as we often don't have enough crew but today we cracked it open.
After a little trial and error, up it went. What a magnificent sight. Up went our speed as well! The courses are quite short for Red Ruth so we no sooner had the Spinnaker flying when we had to take it down to round the buoy!
We were disappointed that we could not participate with a rating, but we had an enjoyable day on the water.
Pic: Rounding the first buoy.
Pic: That way!
Pic: Spinnaker hoisted - Beautiful.
February also saw Transquadra sailors leaving Madeira to continue their journey. The weather was a little on the rough side resulting in two or three yachts returning to Madeira after 24 hours or so. The remainder arrived safely.
The March Regatta was cancelled due to severe storms that hit the Island and lasted for two weeks. Power lines were down all over, hundreds of trees blown over, shore cafes destroyed.
Pic: Entrance to Quinta do Lorde Marina at the start of the storms.
Pic: 5-metre waves pounding the harbour and shore - not easy to see in the photo, but trust me they were big.
During March Lorraine took a trip to South Africa to visit her parents. We have been following the Volvo Ocean Race and are very supportive of the Turn the Tide on Plastic team and their message to rid to oceans of plastic. It was with interest that while in South Africa the city of Cape Town was in the midst of a drought with water rationing making headlines worldwide. Lorraine found a couple of interesting messages to the public about plastics in the ocean and recycling of water.
Pic: Helping to save our oceans - Ocean Basket Bethlehem, South Africa
Pic: helping to reduce the amount of water used - City Lodge Hotel, Bloemfontein. Sorry it's on its side.
This is the 3rd year of the CEX Championship. As you will see from our photo's, Red Ruth is sponsored by CEX and sports the logo on her Main Sail. The event is held on the weekend closest to the 1st of May and comprises of 3 days sailing events for cruisers.
This year Peter was Skipper with our usual crew members Bruce and Hugh. Lorraine was not able to sail on the first two days due to work commitments. We were also joined by new sailing friends Joao and Catia.
Day 1: Time spent looking for wind. A trip East of Funchal found some wind around the Garajau point, but it was decided that there was too much wind for some of the boats. Back to Funchal bay where a late start (3 pm instead of 1 pm) was held in winds of around 10 knots.
Pic: Chasing down Aye.
In the middle of the regatta, the Cruise Liner decided to leave the harbour. This caused some consternation to some of the Skippers with a right of way to sail being called. Not sure how the Skipper of the Cruise Ship was going to hear them! Eventually, the Pilot Boat ordered the yachts to get out of the way. We wondered if a protest would be put in......
An overall 2nd place was achieved by Red Ruth. Well done Crew.
Day 2: Again the hunt for the wind.
Pic: committee looking for wind...
Today we motored around to Porto Nova to the east of Funchal, and almost at the airport. There wasn't much wind to talk about and at the first buoy, with the tide pushing us back, it took us nearly an hour to round it. Frustrating.
Pic: A beautiful day but not much wind.
Day 3: We arrived at the Marina at 10h30 to get things ready. Lorraine was joining us today so we would have a crew of 7, as Joao and Catia were bringing their daughter who is the Optimist Champion in Madeira. We all arrived, made the boat ready and had some coffee while we waited to hear from the Committee which direction we were to head out for the Regatta start. The start was scheduled for 1pm and by noon we had heard nothing and there was not a breath of wind. The radio started chirping as yachts, tourist boats and committee boats went in various directions to find some wind. By 2pm most of the entrants had gone off to Praia Formosa to drop anchor and have a liquid lunch. We remained in the Marina as we knew we had enough fuel on board to motor back to Quinta do Lorde, but were not sure we had enough to spend 4 hours motoring around looking for wind. We then heard that the Committee would make a final decision at 4 pm. At that point, we decided some lunch was in order so we went ashore. At 3.30pm we made the decision to head out to sea and toward Quinta do Lorde Marina. If, at 4 pm the Committee called a start we would not have far to go to get back. Needless to say at 3.50 pm the Regatta was cancelled. The maximum wind recorded was 7 knots for 3 minutes! As we needed a car to get back to Funchal for the dinner and prize giving Lorraine stayed ashore and picked us up at the other end.
Pic: Red Ruth Crew - an overall 3rd in Class
The weather so far in May has not been conducive to sailing. The wind is either too strong or there is not enough of it. Still, the J22 Championship of Madeira 1st Race was scheduled for 12 & 13 May.
Peter was to be skipper on one of the CeX Champion boats, with Bruce (our regular Red Ruth crew member) and our youngest member so far, Alyeesha.
Saturday in Funchal was overcast with the proverbial lack of wind in the harbour and too much outside the harbour so the boats bobbed about for a couple of hours waiting for the Committee to decide there was enough wind to start.
Two races were scheduled however one was abandoned not long after it started. In the lack of wind a minor collision between two boats - who had 'right of way'?
Sunday's sailing was more of the same - no wind, but this time the crews waited on shore instead of bobbing about in the swell. Eventually, some wind filled in and one race was held.
J22 Pictures courtesy of Rosa Ornelas, facebook 16/5/18
The 4th round of ORC Regatta was due to be held on 9th June but we were notified a couple of days in advance that it was cancelled as there were not enough entrants to hold the Regatta. The next Regatta would be on 16th June and would be the long race from Machico to the Desertas Islands. This is a good race for Red Ruth.
The 16th dawned grey and misty up our mountain, but we were hopeful that down at sea level the sun would be out. We had invited some friends along for the day out and to help crew. Down at the Marina by 9am for an early departure as the start was expected to be 1030. We were advised at the Skippers meeting that 7 boats were entered so it all looked good for a great day out.
By 9.30 we were notified that only 3 boats were now going to take part as the conditions were quite windy. By 10am another boat had withdrawn and we decided that with winds sustained 25 knots and gusting 37 it was probably a good idea not to sail. We did, however, take Red Ruth out for an hour motor around to give the engine a run. I have to say it was rather windy and our heel was quite significant even with no sail up!
These last few days have been spent making a new sail bag, boot cover for the mast and spray hood for Red Ruth. The coverings that we have had on her for the 10 years of our ownership finally disintegrated. It's amazing what UV and salt water does to fabric.
I have to admit to being glad when the job was completed as these things are quite large when working at home with them. Still - she looks good now!