Flogging to being Flogged

Leaving Cascais heading south with a N 15 knot forecast we set full sail in 9 knots wind and were making way nicely. Wind climbed to 15 then 23kn so we took a reef in the main but got a bit of an untidy roll in the boom. The main was then stuck as the wind climbed and we started hitting 8kn not knowing what was coming next. We took the easy option of tucking under a headland in smooth water and 5kn wind to sort things out before heading south again under gib only. It was slow going but at dawn we set full sail in 13kn but the sails just flogged with each rise and fall in the swell. We tried all points of sail other than a U-turn upwind and with apparent wind of only 8 kn nothing stopped the banging rig. So we motored 3 hours south to Cabo Vincente. Hitting 15kn we let out the genoa. Within a mile we had a scrap of sail hoisted and we were being flogged in 35kn under the cliffs. We passed a yacht heading north against the wind and could only feel sympathy. The fetch was only a few miles and although the sea built in that time it was a great shape, no swell, and we tanked along at 8kn in the roaring wind completely stable and set as if on rails. Passing Pointe Sagres made no difference and it was not until the Algarve that we saw a drop to 27kn into Lagos bay.


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