While on the North Atlantic, Portugal-bound from Canada, a rogue fishing net fouled our prop, yanking the diesel off its mounts and we began to take on water.
For nine more days we sailed on, engine-less, often in mountainous seas, bailing around the clock, during which our weather cloths started to tear, the flag halyard broke loose, the radar reflector too, a fitting at the top of our mast snapped off, and our kerosene stove died.
August 18th we made landfall on the south coast of Portugal, and arrived at the port of Lagos.
Here is an excerpt from my memoir, Ready to Come About (Dundurn Press):
After tacking in the bay for two and a half hours, the Policia Marítima came to the rescue. With their monster of a Zodiac, powered by a pair of humongous outboard motors, they towed us in.
At launch, just three months before, Inia was radiant. But she’d been under constant siege by the elements ever since. With her salt-stained canvas, peeling woodwork, ripped weather cloths flapping in the wind, crusted metal, rust dripping from every conceivable seam, she was war ravaged — that’s what she was.
The channel was in the heart of Lagos, with a boardwalk of cobblestone and palm trees running alongside it. As we were unceremoniously dragged along this waterway, passing the hordes of onlookers and gleaming multimillion-dollar yachts, Inia wore her combat wounds as a badge of honour and moved on with dignity. David and I held our heads high, too.
This was our victory march.
It has been said, the rougher the passage, the more joyful the landfall.
What I can say is that our landfall in Lagos is one of the most joy-filled days of my life.