21st-22nd September – Baiona to Leixoes

Well I eventually got away from Biaona after being weather bound for 5 days in which it pretty much rained all the time and blew pretty strong at times. It eventually cleared up late Saturday afternoon. Sunday I was pretty tardy getting started and I hadn’t thought I’d be leaving but it looked right so I did. I had a struggle get the anchor up as it had really dug itself in and eventually came up with about a ton, well it felt that heavy when you’ve no winch to do the donkey work, of mud on it. I  then motored into the marina to fill up with diesel and then away. Clear of the harbour all plain sail was set and we reached out to the cardinal mark clearing the rocks off Cabo Silleiro. Here we turned south, we have left the Rias behind and the coast more or less runs south for a couple of hundred miles.

Almost becalmed for a while past the mark and then a nice  Northerly breeze kicked in. Instead of keeping on a dead run I decided to sail  with the wind a few points off the quarter, that way the foresails stay filled and there is less risk of a gybe, altogether more relaxing. Late in the afternoon saw me cross into Portugese waters so I swopped the Spanish for the Portugese courtesy flag flying at the spreaders. It was dark as I approached Viano de Castello, the first feasible port to stop but the almanac advising against a night entry if swell was running plus not being able to spot the red light at the mole end made my mind up to carry on. Its always stressful entering strange ports at night plus it was 3 miles to motor up the river to the marina. Only trouble was the wind deserted me just like the fan had been switched off. There was an impressive display of lightning with both sheet and forks lighting up the whole sky over land. We had now a fickle breeze from the south.

The Coast had certainly changed in character since leaving Spain, now it was low and at night appeared as a continuous string of lights as far as the eye could see. As I continued I was a little surprised at the number of boats there were about, some passed quite close, no catnapping tonight I needed to keep a constant watch. Later it started to rain.

Daylight found us somewhere off Povoa de Varzim but now the coast was shrouded in mist and rain and the need for tacks every so often I was finding a bit wearing, progress was slow. In the end I decided to motor the last miles as the wind was right on the nose. Leixoes was spotted but it seemed to take forever to reach. By now at least the mist had cleared and the rain lighter and entering the harbour it stopped. Fenders out, lines made ready and I entered the Marina. Where to go?  the marina staff waved me to a pontoon and helped with my my lines.  It was midday, so a passage of 24 hours for what the chart  says should be 63 nautical miles, but I must have sailed farther with the gybes and tacks. The log is still under reading, wretched thing says 53. First things first a cup of tea and then a nap I think.