Strong Portugal Passat

Strong Winds on the way to Portugal

July 2021

Our mechanical Hydrovane wind vane control – not as precise as the GPS-controlled autopilot with an electric motor, but much more robust – steers us through the night into the strong wind area off the Portuguese coast. Too big an area to steer around, too prevailing to wait. With our weather router (thanks, Alex) we decide to run downwind with wind and waves diagonally astern, thus reducing the power. A triangle appears on the AIS display. Leto, a three hundred meter freighter, is on a collision course. Does he see us? Radio message. It crosses a mile before our bow. Lines drawn in in our cockpit provide support in waves. We are getting close to a traffic separation area, the highway of the seas. The exhausted crew makes turning maneuvers. Orientation becomes easier at dawn, but we see the waves piling up, breaking and leaving white foam on the surfaces. We set the storm jib. In the evening, south of the Algarve, the wind subsides.

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