The Algarve

Autumn makes a good reason to go further south to the Algarve. An other reason to hurry a bit by making longer day trips, was that we wanted to get the windvane pilot trimmed for downwind courses. We haven't been very successful until now, and most assuredly not with apparent winds of less than 10 knots (for those who do not sail: when sailing downwind this is wind force 4, a rather common wind speed). But after some experimenting we have found the solution in setting up various sizes of windvanes. We carry 5 vanes for "just in case". So we cut some "flags" from sailcloth and mounted these on the vanes; the flukier the wind, the larger the flag. The flags result in a little more pressure and make the vane move more easily. So after some experimenting and cutting and lots of duck tape, we are completely happy. For every windspeed another shape and colour. It works perfect! 
Want to see the vanes? Click
During the summer we enjoyed temperatures of over 30C, but the now remaining 23C is okay for us. Now and then a low pressure area is passing rather close to the Portuguese coast, bringing in lots of wind, rough seas and grey clouds with rain! So you won't have to be too jealous.
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During our first days in the Algarve we were anchored in Alvor River, a magnificent area of unspoilt nature with large drying sand banks where lots of birds are moving around. It reminded us of the Dutch Delta near Benedensas and De Heen, when the river was still called Volkerak and the Krammersluis did not yet exist.
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Minke joined us here and we celebrated this with champagne (just as it should be when one is going on a cruise). Great company with spaghetti alla vongole, of course with "home caught" cockles, olive oil, garlic, onion, parsil, mmm.
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Lots of entertainment in the Algarve, not only because we were with three people on board, but also because after Cascais we had a reunion of yachts again in Portimao. We had a great beach barbecue party with seven crews, including a campfire and we talked and talked until late.
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But the biggest surprise was that our friends Susan and Henk (Minke's parents) suddenly showed up!! They took us to a nice restaurant and we all enjoyed the good company and a great meal with sardines, grilled in the Portuguese way with olive oil and course sea salt. They joined us a few days later on board and we are now almost out of champagne.

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