Family Sailing round the world – In Caiscais, Portugal

It’s a Wednesday afternoon.

I’ve read my Board papers and made notes and prepared.

I’m dialling in for the monthly management meeting at Trovus.

It’s just like a normal management meeting other than I’m sitting under a tree in Nazares in Portugal. Life goes on no matter what and you just find a way to adapt.

It’s been a super last couple of days.

The highlight has been making new friends. 2 nights ago late in the evening a boat rafted alongside us with a Dutch Family. Over the past 48 hours we’ve spent much of our time with them and their 2 children who are 10 and 9 from the yacht Pacific. The similarities between our journey and theirs are striking – we have much in common. Our own businesses, young children, much time in the planning. In the space of 12 hours their 9 year old daughter and Bluebell have bonded and the first sleepover planned. The children now start to believe our long standing re-assurances that they will meet other boat children. The simplest way of putting things that any parent will understand is that it went quiet for 12 hours. The children contented, happy and making friends.

The days continue to blend into one.

Two days in Figuera da Foz where we met up with Pentagram and met Mikael, a single handed Swedish sailor. Sailing south from there, we stopped at Nazares. One day turned into 3 days as the children wanted to play with the children from Pacific. Days spent fixing things on the boat, sharing experiences, visiting the beach and stocking up on provisions.

From Nazares, it was a short 4 hour sail South to Peniche for one night, and then a 9am departure for the 50 mile sail to Caiscais, just 20km from Lisbon.

This stretch of coastline is rich with history and the original explorers who set off from and lots of original architecture. Our friends without children set off to explore many of the places/ Right now for us getting into a settled routine of schoolwork, boat maintenance and sailing are the priority.

I reflect that it’s now been 3 week since all 5 of us have been on board. Two weeks of that were in Porvoa and since then we’ve had a week’s sailing. We’ve just been day sailing with the children – 80 miles is the longest in one day and we seem to have a system worked out. On departure, we put on the videos that my brother Max made for the children to keep them occupied. That buys Nichola and me the time to slip lines and get Aretha in and out of the harbour or marina. We’ve done 5 departures and arrivals now with just the 2 of us. The fluency and understanding is coming and we are working together as a team well. We’ve moored up onto hammerhead pontoons, finger pontoons, rafted alongside other boats and anchored. This was one of the areas of concern we had before – how would we handle Aretha with just the two of us, but all seems fine ….touch wood.

On a passage, the children are still taking a little time to settle. Some of their time is spent on deck (Columbus is loving his fishing and has more garfish and mullet to add to his rapidly growing tally), Bluebell ventures up once in a while and Willow is clamouring to get on deck at any opportunity.

Sailing from Nazares to Peniche Willow had a touch of seasickness (it’s great at that age – you’re sick and 30 seconds later you are smiling). The mistake we made was Nichola going down to clean the sick. I peered down the companion way to see both mother and daughter vomiting in time into the blue washing up bowl. They are a tough bunch this crew and recover quickly.

The sailing has been good – our first passage as a full crew was motoring all the way, then motor sailing with the genoa only. Yesterday’s sail to Caiscais was with full main and full genoa in winds gusting 30 knots. We even started some gentle racing with our friends on Pentagram as we surfed down the Atlantic rollers at 10.5 knots. Wonderful stuff.

So, today is Sunday and we were joined late last night by our friends again on Pacific. The children are happy between boats using the dinghies to cross between and are content playing Lego and making loom bands. We’ve cleaned the boat and have supper planned on board as we are cooking for our friends.

Pacific has an interesting story for the sailors reading this. She was built to the same model as Pen Duick III – the boat designed by the famous French sailor Eric Tabarly. They bought her 10 years ago in the Caribbean and have spent the past 10 years rebuilding her.

It still feels strange settling into our new life and we hanker (Nichola in particular) for a regular routine. We have much to learn still and are sponges for information and shared learning. The great thing about the sailing community is their helpfulness and there is always some willing to offer advice and help you fix things.

We are becoming the go-to boat for fishing advice (I hasten to add based only on limited success) and are happy to share whatever knowledge we have gleaned about offshore warm water fishing.

Of course, there are highs and lows – Nichola and I have never spent this much time together and we both need our time out and space. The children are…well the children and are delightful and frustrating in equal measures.

Right now, life is peaceful. We have 5 children on board all happily playing. The sun is shining. We are at anchor and the breeze blows through at 20 knots or so. The harbour is alive with colour with Laser SB3’s and 420’s racing along, a fleet of yellow sailed Optimists and there are around 20 yachts anchored all around and we’re heading ashore shortly.

Tomorrow is a trip to Lisbon for long standing spare parts (and ordering up new spares for the latest things to break). Then, it’s up the rig for rig check and fixing new wind instruments and Tuesday sees up head south again probably to Sines or Lagos.

Thank you all again for your lovely comments and feedback – we all love hearing them and it’s a highlight to read them to the crew over a meal.

For now, over and out. Have an awesome day everyone.

The crew on Aretha.

Sailing Holidays in Caiscais, Portugal

Sailing Holidays in Caiscais, Portugal

Our friends on Pacific

Our friends on Pacific

Racing down the Portugese coast with Pentagram

Racing down the Portugese coast with Pentagram

The largest wave surfed in the world - at Nazares, Portugal

The largest wave surfed in the world – at Nazares, Portugal

The Former Political prison at Peniche

The Former Political prison at Peniche

Fruit & Veg markets at Figuera da Foz

Fruit & Veg markets at Figuera da Foz

A9 A11 A7 A6 A4 A2

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Nichola up the rig on Aretha

Nichola's first video blog...

Nichola sailing into Nazare in Portugal Columbus & Willow at sea

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Comments
  1. Hi everyone. You are all having such a great time by the sounds of it. We are so pleased to hear you have met a family of fellow voyagers and the children have playmates. CJ is becoming a very accomplished angler and will be able to offer advise to grandad on technique. Love to everyone. Mum and dad. Xxx

  2. sounds like you’re having a great time and as you say … if the kids are happy the parents are happy 🙂 Its great they’ve made some friends to shar the experience with. All good here, although barney’s fractured his wrist so is off sport for a bit … i’m missing the rugby but not the early morning swimming! Glad to hear Columbus continuing to deplete the local fishing stock, i wonder how many different types he’ll have caught by the time you return! Enjoy Lisbon. Love to all, MZB&Z

  3. PortugalHi Casper just read your story, glad things are going well, we sailed from Oeiras to Lanzarote a couple of weeks ago. It took about 4 1/2 days, great sailing with a bit of motoring at the end. Like you we had quite a few breakages across Biscay and to Lanzarote, Hopefully some of them are being fixed as we speak. Nothing to stop us going on the ARC but would be handy to have like the self steering !!!
    I am flying back out to the Rubicon Marina on the 1st, getting Oyster Blew lifted and washed on the 3rd and then down to Las Palmas on the 7th. Then the real fun starts !!!
    Safe sailing and see you soon
    Kind regards
    Hugh and Ann

  4. Great to hear from you, and glad that it is all falling into place. Certainly you are having the best of the European weather, awful here!
    Hope all your preparations go well in Lisbon, and wish you fair winds to Lagos.
    All the very best. Jon

  5. You paint a marvelous picture of your new life at sea and I was transported from ‘desk to deck’ within moments!

    Love to you all and keep writing / clicking – your articles make my day :o) Lizzie xxx

  6. Hi guys. Glad to hear things are going so well and Bluebell & Columbus & Willow have met some playmates. Still full of admiration that you haven’t killed each other yet in such a small space! Not sure we would have achieved such success!! The seasickness sounds….erm…not quite so appealing as the ambling around the lovely food markets of Portugal. I’m wondering if at the moment it still feels like an extended holiday and if you look into the future or if you’re taking it day by day? Do the kids miss the routine of school or are they loving the freedom of it? Love the blog post as always, wonderful to hear how you are all getting on. Keep going all. We follow with interest! Jo, Clive, Issie, Lottie & Monty dog. xx

  7. Great that life is settling down for all. The weather looks beautiful as we now start to emerge into autumn proper here. The weather has been wonderful, but overnight the leaves have turned as has the weather. Enjoy every moment as it will be over before you know it. Fair winds to all…

    DT x

  8. Hi Sailors

    Great to get the latest progress. We are reading your interesting report sitting in our motorhome by the shores of Lake Okanagan in the heart of the Rocky Mountains in Canada. The sun is shinning, 22 degrees and some lovely walks. I have been out searching for black bears in the wild in the mountains and forests, but no luck yet. Returning to the UK on Sunday means we will have spent a very enjoyable 6 weeks cruising to Canada, Alaska & camervanning

    Best wishes for the next phase of your journey

    Gea & Paul

  9. Great to know you guys are getting into swing on board you’ve extended the summer, always a bonus. The video’s and posts have been great I certainly have the dejavue from when you went off on Quadstone all those years ago. Competing against yourselves will always throw up a platform to build from and a desire to be in the now! Challenges change but futures follow.I would say you will not find the answers to everything but everything will have an answer! Not sure if Handbag throwing is classed as PE, but Nichola surely Blu will value Mullberry by the time she graduates from Uni of Aretha. Look forward to continuing to see you all thrive. Great to see The smiles!

  10. Hi…Mark here; Sarah is away at the moment in Dartmouth; nothing as nice as this! The blog has kept me entertained this evening and makes great reading.Thank you and best wishes, ‘sail safely.’ Markx

  11. I really enjoy your stories.
    You know I have helped with the ARC for many a year, at both ends, but my fave was always the 2 start weeks, & I always ran the kids beach party & did family night. I loved the kids who sailed with their families, they were all so much more special, for doing what they were doing.
    You are giving them such a head start in life. Awesome.
    Proud to know you Casper!

    Cheers, The Bear

  12. So great to read your blogs and share in your amazing adventure. Glad to hear the kids are settling into their life at sea and that they have met some new friends, I love the photo of them with their Dutch buddies! My husband is very jealous of Columbus and his fishing success! Looking forward to your next blog! Best wishes, Charlotte

  13. Nice to see that all is happening as it should be, and all of you are enjoying the experience.

    Portugal is great so try to enjoy it lots.

    Keep us informed.

    Best Regards

    David

  14. Wow oh wow Nichola what a fearless girl you are becoming. New career move you can join cirque du soleil on your return, perhaps I can attend an open day on your behalf ( pupillage fair private joke ) Nichola will understand. You are all doing so brilliantly. Lots of love and hugs. Mum and Dad. Xxxxx

  15. Hi all,
    Great to hear you’re all having a fab time and that Bluebell, Columbus and Willow have made new friends. Freya loved seeing the photos of Willow, she definitely misses not playing with Willow and Rachael every week! Freya has a life jacket just like Willow’s as her daddy has just bought a boat but she doesn’t like wearing it much!
    Enjoy the great weather – autumn has started here in England!
    Katie Isaac x

  16. Hi everyone,

    Love reading your blog and watching the videos.
    You’re definitely not living a mundane life, more like taking it by the scruff of the neck,
    and giving it a good shake.
    The children look happy and are obviously
    embracing all the experiences.
    Full of admiration for you all.

    Thinking of you all, safe sailing.

    love, Linda and Davidxx

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