Sailing Long Distances

Lagos – Cabo Sao Vicente and tourism

We are no longer used to this time of the day. The alarm clock went off at five, half an hour later, we cast off, in the pitch-black darkness of the night. The keen sailor would have waited until noon in the vague hope of favorable wind and had passed Cape Sao Vicente at midnight. 
I think its safe to say we’re more the kind of souls who like to see the landscape we are travel in. A lighthouse at night isn’t on the list. The next day we met the guys who left at noon, and they had no wind either. So far, for gambling on wind forecasts.
The mist lifted one more curtain when we approached the Cape, and the lighthouse shone brightly in the sun. Cape Sao Vicente is the southwestern-most point of Portugal and mainland Europe. The people of medieval times believed the sun sank here hissing into the ocean. With no land to see, this Cape unquestionably marked the end of their world-known. 
The shape of the world, the globe, doesn’t allow a distant view. On a boat, one can look maybe as far as twenty miles around. Friends, who sailed the first time offshore, no land in sight, stated, they thought the world and the ocean would be much bigger, more impressive. Let’s say the earth would be as flat as the bellies of our smart guys. To put more cream on it, one would be able to see what’s going on at the other side of an ocean. At Sao Vicente, the entire American Continent from Alaska to Chile would be on view. 
Yet, the flat ripped bellies of our smart guys are hard to beat, so we focused on the water instead. A few commercial vessels went round the Cape, heading north. Sao Vicente is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world. To manage the traffic, a separation scheme of twenty-five miles wide, with two lanes north and two south, is in force. To grasp the dimensions, imagine a four-lane motorway with the first and the last road almost fifty kilometers apart. The vessels are modern cars, and your task is to cross all lanes with a horse carriage and stay alive. That’s what sailors do when they intend to go to the Azores or Madeira and pass this area. 
The lighthouse is among the most powerful in Europe. Its two 1,000 W lamps can be seen as far as 60 kilometers (37 nm) away. Passing the traffic separation scheme for Madeira, with no light to see finally, the sailor can crack open a bottle of champagne and propose the toast, I made it, I’m simply the best.…Read More