Cruising

New Name!

Wisdom was repainted, and with the new paint means that our old name was sanded off.

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The big question was if we should paint or do vinyl letters. I wanted to paint and Maddie wanted to do vinyl letters.

Happy wife, happy life! We went with vinyl, and I’m am very happy with the results.

On the bow, Maddie decided to add our Rigging Doctor logo, in addition to the name. We have a YouTube channel, so making the boat stand out makes it more videogenic.

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On the stern, we decided to work around the issue of having a wind steering system.

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The old name was written from one side to the other, and the wind steering obscured the whole name.

To solve that issue, we put the name and port on one side of the transom and the logo on the opposite. The goal is to make the transom look clean and neat, while also having the name and port visible from a distance.

Is this real?

The Azores are a wonderland!

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Green fields lead right up to the cliff face which plummets straight into the depths of the Atlantic.  

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The land is subdivided into small plots where each farmer grows a different crop. Some grow plants, some grow cattle to produce dairy products. No matter the crop, the land is divided into a grid that stretches over the landscape.

Green Wine

Northern Portugal and the Azores produce a special type of wine called “Green Wine”. Green wine varies in age, and alcohol content, but it tastes amazing! I am not a wine person (I personally prefer Scotch myself) so I don’t feel confident in giving a thorough wine evaluation.

When you think of wine country, you think of dry climates with lots of sun and warmth. The Azores are perpetually rainy and oscillate between cold and cool. In general, it is much too cold, wet, and windy for wine grapes to grow! The locals have found a way.

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The grape vines live in a shallow hole in a pile of black volcanic rocks surrounded by low walls. The dark stones heat up with the sun and keep the plant warm through the winter nights. The stones also help drain water away, keeping the plants dry, and the walls keep the plants protected from the powerful winds that rage through the land.

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The vines do not grow up, but instead sprawl on the rocks to keep them low on the ground.

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Welcome to an Azorean vinard! Low rocks, and ocean views!

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The vineyard is small, and only produces about 750 bottles per year. The bottles are only sold at a few local restaurants and I must say the wind is delicious!

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Next time you think of “wine country’ and picture Napa, just remember that it could also look like this!

Solar Panel Upgrade

Our old stern panels were a whopping 50W each. One of them died and we decided that instead of replacing, we should upgrade to 150W each!

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Going up in size three fold has its challenges. The panels are much larger but the strength of the panel isn’t. I needed to reinforce the panel with a wooden X and supply support struts to both sides of the panel.

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Wind isn’t as big of a concern to the panels, but water sure is. High winds will present a lot of force on the panels, but a wave will impart many times that amount of energy and with no yielding. The plan is to avoid sailing in heavy weather and plan our ocean crossings for times when the winds (and seas) are not extreme. In heavy weather, the panels can be secured down to prevent damage to the boat, but the plan is to avoid those situations all together.

São Miguel: Fantasy-Reality

Sao Miguel is the most famous island in the Azores. It is the one with the mall, the movie theater, and all the vistas that appear when you Google “Azores”.

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Driving around the island is very difficult! Not because of the road conditions, but because every time you round a bend in the road, your partner will exclaim how you much stop the car to get a picture of the lookout.

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Each mundane road that loops and twists through the mountains will expose you to amazing views that the locals take for granted.

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The island was evidently created by a series of volcanic eruptions and the craters that were once filled with fire are now filled with cool fresh water. These lakes litter the islands surface and create a fantasy land appearance that is easily accessed via a series of hikes.

While our favorite island in the Azores is certainly Terceira, Sao Miguel is certainly an island that should be visited! The views here are amazing, but to get a good feel for the kindness of the people of the Azores, it is best to visit the other islands.