Battling the Azores High on the way to the Azores

We are 2 days out from Madeira and still have at least a day to go before we reach the first of the Azores, the small island of Santa Maria. We just finished a great chicken dinner with everyone sitting in the cockpit around the dining table and enjoying the food and some wine - while on a close reach in 7 knots of breeze!

Captain's dinner

This trip couldn't have been more different from the sail to Madeira. Except for a few hours of windy conditions right around Madeira, it has been smooth with gentle swells and winds generally below 15 knots. Kincsem excels in all kinds of conditions, including light airs, so the sailing has been great. We've covered 350 miles so far with an average speed of 6.9 knots but we had to motor for 12 hours today (at 6 knots) but now the sails are drawing again in a gentle 7 knots Northeasterly. But we're in the Azores high, so the wind is constantly up and down and shifting severely. The grib files show something different all together from what we are experiencing which makes sense since we've seen very little ship traffic. Without ships reporting what conditions are for real, the grib models apparently cannot be properly initialized, particularly in light air conditions.

Madeira is a wonderful island and I wish we had had more time to explore. It is truly a flower island, with the trademark white and blue hydrengias everywhere except on the East end. We did a strenuous hike on our first day, explored Funchal the capital on the second and toured the North Coast and the interior of the island by car, combined with another hike, on the third. We could have spent many more days without getting bored.

Quinta do Lorde Development and Marina

Our hike on the East end of Madeira

Funchal, the capital of Madeira

Funchal market

Thatched roof houses in Santana on the North Coast


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