A motley crew joined Brighton Belle during the week, some simply to enjoy the diversions and beauty of the wonderful island of Madeira, and others to prepare her for the forthcoming delivery to the Azores, but mostly to have a good time. BB was moored in Quinta do Lorde Marina towards the eastern end of the island which is somewhat remote, to say the least, however we did manage to enjoy some easy walking and sightseeing during the week.
The weather over the weekend was not conducive to a relaxed departure and so we sailed a few miles along the coast, past the interesting airport built on stilts and Funchal, the capital city, to Calheta towards the western end of Madeira. Here we checked the forecast again and decided that it was time to go. The conditions didn't look ideal but, hey ho, they never are and it was still only early May. Thanks to Bob's excellent weather service we got exactly what was forecast, not perfect but more than acceptable for good old BB even if she was showing her age a little with a wet and windy passage. After five and a half days we arrived in Vila do Porto on the tiny island of Santa Maria which gave us a welcome break. As skipper I couldn't have asked for a better crew who took everything in their stride.
After a couple of nights we set off again, this time for Ponta Delgada the capital of the Azores where we were to lose three of our stalwart crewmembers who would be replaced by fresh legs (no this is not a marathon!). Unfortunately our old adversary, the weather gods, were not playing ball and delayed us leaving for Horta on Faial by a day which was a shame, as this constricted the rest of the week for us. Nothing daunted we sailed overnight and made landfall in Peter's Cafe Sport, a goal for any adventurous sailor. After sampling their atmosphere (& one or two beers) we headed off again for Angra on Terceira. Luckily we had reserved a berth which proved easy enough to get into but.....well, not so easy to leave. We spent a day wandering and exploring this World Heritage Site and then did another overnight sail back to Ponta Delgada. (Managing to avoid the active underwater volcano half way along our route)
Thank you everyone for making this a memorable cruise and I just hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did.