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post #1 of 53 Old 06-11-2007 Thread Starter
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Sailing with the Portuguese

OK, this may take a few posts as I am trying to get caught up. Here goes.

Left norhtern Michigan through Chicago and Philadelphia to Lisbon on Monday morning. Had a flight from Philly to Lisbon at 8:00 PM and took Alex advise to sleep as much as possible. He had suggested Benadryl, and as I use Tylenol PM anyway, I was ready. Added a Philly Cheese Steak sandwich and two beers to insure a sound sleep. Snored my way to Lisbon and was well rested 7 hours later.

Grabbed a cab to Marina Cascais where Alex and many others were working furiously to get the boat ready. I approached the gate ( hey, just anybody can't get into this yard) and asked if there was a very good looking handsome wonderful sailor around. Everyone pointed at a guy in a straw hat, including the guy in the straw hat, and I knew I must be in the right place. Got a bear hug from Alex and a tour of a very cool boat. It looks good in pictures, but when you see it in person on the hard, you can see why it is fast. And, the really expensive paint on the bottom is a small part of it.

The new keel looked good, and then Alex went about his keel art. Like a little kid, he was in heaven. Add a little here, change this color, add some definition, done. Take pictures for the guys at sailnet, cause the only other people that are going to see this thing are the fishes. A little addendum here: Found out that evening at Alex's home that both he and Giulietta are quite accomplished artists. Most all of the artwork on their walls is there own. Alex also has built some large replicas of old sailing ships that are quite impressive. Man of many talents I think.

Worked through the day and very surprised that I am not tired. I think it may have been the strong coffee, good Portuguese beer, and sugar content in the rum drink that Alex kept taking me too. Tired? More like wired!

We got the boat in shape, put on the anchor roller ( a very cool system), the anchor, dodger and started turning her into a cruiser. This is not easy for Alex, I cannot tell you how many times he said that he HATED the dodger ( and that was only the times he said it in English).

Giulietta brought enough groceries for lots more than three days for us and we stocked the fridge and cupboards. She is a beautiful lady, and I asked her what she thought about her husband inviting people that he only knew on the Internet to sail with him and stay in their home. I think that she, just as my wife, thought we were all a little nuts. However, she was very gracious and accepted us as friends.

A little backtrack here. A friend, who thought I was a little nuts to do this trip, asked if I was sure that this guy was not an ax murderer. I told him no problem, nobody carries an ax on a sailboat! Alex may be a little crazy, but no ax.

Splashed the boat at 3:00, put on the sailbag and cruising sails. These sails are like brand new. No worry about baggy sails on this hot rod. Got the boat cleaned up, water in the tanks, everything ship shape, and ready for take off tomorrow. Valiente is having some flight problems , and after he arrives he finds that his bags really liked Amsterdam and decided to stay. Damn! However, he is picked up and assured by Alex that the honor of his country is at stake and the luggage will arrive in the morning before we leave.

Valiente is picked up by Alexandre ( Leadhead to Alex) and they meet us at the boat. V says something about the head so we hand him tools and say sure you can fix it. I still wonder if he just wanted to USE the head, but what the hell, it needed some work and he had rested all day on planes. He got put to work. Alexandre and Alex started to give each other **** about just about everything so it was evident that Leadhead was one of his best friends. These guys talked fast in English and then went into overdrive in Portuguese. V understood many of the words, but this ugly American was totally lost in the language. I had a hard time keeping up with the names of the beers for God's sake.No time to study when we planned the trip the week before, and I have a hard enough time with English. Just ordered a Rosetta Stone course this week so that when I go back, and I can assure you I am going back to this beautiful country, I will understand some of what they are saying about me and be able to throw some back to them.

Alexandre went home to his family and we were taken to Alex's house for a late dinner and some sleep. Giulietta had prepared a wonderful dinner, with some traditional Portuguese dishes, and it was wonderful. Toasted the trip with some wonderful French wine....just kidding Alex!. Portuguese wine is very, very good, and this one was exceptional with dinner.

The children joined us for dinner. If Alex is a good looking great sailor,and you have young female children, lock them up now. Fred is a handsome young man, very personable, fluent in English with hardly an accent, and ready to have some fun. This kid handles himself very well considering what he was thrown into with a bunch of adults. It is quite certain that this is a very loving family.
, At this point it is some time after midnight on Tuesday (which was going to be a pattern we found out) and we were all on our last legs for the day. We were shown to our rooms, introduced to the dogs, and given our wake up times. Tomorrow would be another full day.

Have to skip out now to be road commissioner on our little road. We have so much dust that it is being oiled tonight and I get to supervise. Lucky me. I will try to finish later tonight with tales of supposed mutiny, sailing faster than the wind, great food, hanging captains, etc..
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post #2 of 53 Old 06-11-2007
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Great read Tommy. Can't wait for chapter II.

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post #3 of 53 Old 06-11-2007
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I will second that !!

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I had a dream, I was sailing, I was happy, I was even smiling. Then I looked down and saw that I was on a multi-hull and woke up suddenly in a cold sweat.
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post #4 of 53 Old 06-11-2007
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Great post! Can't wait for the rest. Damn -- where were the video cameras for all this?????????????

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post #5 of 53 Old 06-11-2007
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I await the rest of the story with baited breath. i just can't believe the photo shop has not surfaced. i think Tommy and V have something on G.
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post #6 of 53 Old 06-11-2007
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Jacky's right.... Tommy and Val must have an embarrassing photo of Alex...

I think that Tommy and Val were paid off too... They're being way too nice and complimentary of Alex.


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post #7 of 53 Old 06-11-2007
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I'm headed to the snack stand for popcorn, anybody want anything

oh and save my seat please

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post #8 of 53 Old 06-11-2007
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AGGGHHHH, Tommy you can't stop now! What happens next. Was there really an ax on the boat????

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post #9 of 53 Old 06-11-2007
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Dodgers, popcorn and an Axe! Oh My!

"Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth." - Albert Einstein

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post #10 of 53 Old 06-11-2007 Thread Starter
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Day II

As far as the pictures go, I am hoping that V will come through first on those. I have to review those (my wifes camera) and then get to town to post them. I live in the country, and connect via phone at about 24K. I could take a two week vacation in Europe before they download. Need to get to a cafe to send.

Day II arrives early. 7:30 wake up. Don't these people sleep? More on that later. Alex, Fred and I pick up Alexandre and breakfast. I also got a education in Portuguese law on crosswalks. Be warned, if you are in the crosswalk there you are safe. If you are out of it you are fair game. If they hit you in the crosswalk they go to jail. If they hit you out of it they feel bad...but they are not late. Giulietta takes V to the airport for his bag. Lots of phone calls later the bag is found and we meet at the boat. Load up, fuel up, and we are off just past noon. On our way to Sine for the first leg of about 55 miles.

Alex is not happy! Not nearly enough wind to scare the north Americans. Oh, and did I mention that he hates the dodger? However, we sail. This boat is amazing, and I do wish we would have had some of the 30+ knots that were blowing the day before. I watched the gauges and with Apparent winds at 45 degrees of 5.8 we are doing over 5. Same increase as we pulled in additional winds. We were able to sail at above 10 a few times that day, but the winds never got above 13 that I saw. Someone said that they saw 15 at one time, but it was light with little chop. When they died down the iron jenny was cranked up. This boat, at 2200 RPM and light wind, with the main up, cruised at 9.6 Kts. At that RPM I get about 6 kts.

We continue on our way to Sine working about 15 miles offshore. Everyone is laughing, and Alex is not happy about no wind. We are giving him grief, he is giving us a little, and we are all laughing a lot. Fred is starting to get used to us and he is laughing as well. Obviously, with Fred along our launguage is in check most of the time. Alex moves around the boat constantly. Tweak this, tweak that, he adjusted everything in sight to get the boat moving. This boat has more Dyneema (SP???) line than West Marine, and he was pulling every one of them.

This boat may be set up for cruising now, but it is not an American cruiser. CD, this thing is a Catalina on steroids, but there is not one BBQ on it. How can Alex call it a cruiser without a BBQ? Even with that beautiful dodger.

OK, we are sailing again and Sine is a few miles off. Sails are going to stay up and we are going to make an entrance to this port. Sail right in....just about dark. Select our spot for the night, everyone has their assignment, and Alex is taking us in. This is where the supposed mutiny takes place.

Now picture this. Portuguese docks are shaped like Alex old keel. Not much wider than his new keel, and they are tapered to the end. They are also shorter than we in N. America are used to and the 40' boat is tied to a 30' dock. The dock floats, is narrow, and rocks like the deck of a boat when you walk on it. We are coming in slowly, Alexandre is on the bow, I am at the gate on the lifelines with a spring line, V is manning fenders, and Alex driving. Fred is smart enough to stay away....I think he may have been here before. Alexandre starts signaling to stop the boat, Alex puts it into reverse, and tells me to jump. JUMP????? Is he out of his mind?

MUTINY! Now picture this part. I am the oldest of this group by far at 60. However, at 21 I would not have jumped and my friends thought I would do about anything back then. Alex is already on his way to do this for me when it is TIME to jump and I step off, snub the spring, and slow the boat 15' from the dock. When the captain TOLD me to jump we were 4' away from the dock and the lifeline gate was still 4' from the end of the dock. The gate on his boat is forward of mid ships so you can imagine my surprise when he wanted me to jump. If I jump all I accomplish is a swim in the Atlantic holding onto a line that will do NOTHING!

Now I can understand his anxiety. This boat has the prettiest bow, and these metal docks would do significant damage to it. Alex does not like scratches and dents on his boat. Alexandre was signaling to SLOW the boat, Alex saw the signal as STOP, and I was to be the sacrifice to the sea. Thank goodness I am not as stupid as I once was, or my trip might have been cut short. If I was wrong I think Alex may have cut it short for me.

Once tied up, and everything quiets down, it is established that my mutiny is forgiven, and Alex is forgiven for giving the order, and we laugh our butts off. It is time for DINNER!

After checking into the marina, and us foreign guys showing our passports, we get a cab to the restaurant on the hill. This marina is state of the art facilities, and then you drive in a quaint town, up steep cobblestone streets, down narrow alleys, to the restaurant....that is closed. It is 10:00 on Wednesday night, in a small town, and I am thinking UH OH! No problem! Portuguese is flying, the taxi driver knows just the place, and he assures us that they are open. Away we go a little higher with narrower streets to a great little place that is still full of people. And, you can see the boat from there as well.

Dinner is seafood.....hey, Alex said this town had great seafood and he was right. We order lots of food ( they order for me obviously), plus green wine, beer, port, liquers, etc. V and Alexandre are discussing ports ( read that as arguing) and in the end they found out they both knew a lot about ports. Great time, great food. lots of laughs, and it is now midnight. Remember we had started about 7:30 AM.

Just one little job to do when we get back to the boat. Alex needs to rig some spreader lights so the boat is ready for Villamoura. Giulietta wants them and it is important. OK, I did say spreaders. I also said beer, wine, port, liguer, etc.. Alex was not drinking much because of Fred, but his friends had to pull him up the mast to work on the lights. We rigged the seat, and also a back up line to a harness, and hauled him up. I have to give him credit, he got the job done. The 20 minute job took about 45 minutes a side, but it did get done. He had no feeling in his legs and feet when he came down, and I know that I would have not had the endurance to get it done. I think his real intent was to sober us up so we would be ready to leave at 5:45 AM. Don't these people ever sleep????

V volunteers for the first shift in the morning. Alex wakes him, they get out beyond the freighters, set a course, and Alex goes back to bed. V is enjoying the sail in the peace of the cockpit, tweaking things as he is in control, until I get up about 8:00. I take a shift till about 10:00 when Alex wakes up and then everyone starts to move about. Still not much wind, but we are sailing, and in one stretch we are having a very good time. A few tacks, I looked once and we were heeling at 25 degrees and the boat did not lose a beat. The hull shape allows the boat to heel without adding wetted surface. This thing would be a blast in 20+, but I was having a great time in light winds. ONCE, ALEX EVEN TOLD US WE DID A GOOD TACK!! We are approaching the Cape, and Alex is just hoping and praying that the wind picks up and we get the crap scared out of us. The swells are getting bigger, and because of the steep walls of the cape they are going in all directions. Not much wave, not much wind, but big swells. We sail around the cape as there is no way Alex is motoring around it.NO WAY!!!!!
And he really is not happy about the wind and he mentions that he hates the dodger again. But he loves American tape. Duct Tape!

This coastline is not friendly, but is quite beautiful. Large walls of rock and lots of ocean. Churches, monasteries, and resorts. Rock, beach, rock, beach. Caves that lead to beaches. You could spend forever along the southern end of Portugal just seeing the beaches. But, the wind dies and we motor on to Vilamoura. And he really hates that damn dodger!

Guys, I will finish tomorrow. V should be home late tonight and will add his version as well. We are almost to Vilamoura.
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