Relaxing in the Azores

The last few days have been very hectic, during the day we have worked on the boat.  We sent the alternator away for repair, and now have that back fitted and working and wired up slightly differently so hopefully it will not go wrong again.  We have got everything dried out, washed all our oilies and sailing clothes.  It was quite an amusing sight as Saturday seemed to be the day for washing oilies, and a communal tub was found and passed down the boats with crews looking like they were treading grapes for wine, rather than oilies!  Pete has been up the mast twice and given the rig a good looking over.  We also have replaced some of the cabling to the wind instruments, so are hopeful that they will continue to work all the way home. We have repaired the damage to the sails and done other small maintenance jobs too numerous to mention.

The evenings have been spent with the other crews, on Friday night we had a pontoon party, organised by Penny Wheatley to thank the yacht club guys who manned the race station and sent a rib out to meet every boat as it crossed the finishing line, no matter what time of day or night. 

Then on Saturday was the dinner up at the Club Navel, where there was a delicious three course meal, copious amounts of wine and the prize giving.  Two boats were finishin,g  Tantina II and  Rebecca of Helford, so we all went onto the balcony to cheer them in, providing a hugely emotional moment , which really you had to be there to experience it.  Last night we ate at the local bar, and the talk was all about the weather and restart.  At the moment it seems as if we will have a quiet couple of days to start with, followed by some quite strong winds from the South West for most of the way home, but this of course is all conjecture!

Talking to the other crews, all have a good tale to tell of the trip across, with their problems and difficulties on passage. Stories of hand steering all the way, like us with no battery power and having to shine a hand torch on the compass at night and relay directions back to the helm, sailing the last 500 miles with the storm trysail as the main had given up the ghost, serious flooding situations and from our own experience, during the round Ireland race, how gut wrenching it is to have made the decision to turn the engine on and see the letters on the leader board DNF (did not finish)

The weather since we arrived, and the hospitality of the Azorean people has been superb.  The start line is between a naval gun ship and the shore, once again providing a hugely spectacular sight, racing along the shore line before rounding a buoy and heading off on the 1200mile race back to Falmouth.  With battery power and autopilot restored we hope to find time to fit in a twice daily blog update.

We are finally prepared for the restart tomorrow at 1320 and have had a full day relaxing apart from re-vitalling and winding Sandy from Slippery K up his mast.