Well, we finally made it!
Tenacious is now safely tied up alongside in the harbour of Ponta Delgada, the capital of the Azores, on the island of Sao Miguel – St Michael’s as it used to be known to British mariners.
The voyage has lasted six days and has been pretty uneventful. The stiff northerlies that sped us on our way as we took our departure from Cape St Vincent gradually eased and veered into the east and eventually south east. The main excitements – apart from mealtimes – were the occasional visits from dolphins.
The low cloud soon returned and there’ve been few opportunities for sextant sights, though I did a round of ten star sights with one of the cadets – with excellent results. I’ve also done another talk or two.
We managed to carry sail until the early hours of today when we were pottering slowly along the south coast of São Miguel in darkness. At 1000 the pilot boat came alongside as we approached the great breakwater that protects the harbour from the Atlantic swells.
As we came in, we dipped our ensign to HMS Lancaster, a Royal Navy frigate already in the harbour. She returned the compliment.
I haven’t been here since 1981 when I sailed out from England in a Contessa 32. It’s changed a lot. Masses of ugly high rise buildings have shot up and there’s now a cruise ship berth (where we’re tied up) and a marina. But the waterfront is still as elegant as ever and I’m really looking forward to exploring the town again – and the island.
Everyone now has to clean ship – only then we can go ashore!