Friday, 6 July 2012

Spain at last!

At long last we seem to have a weather window long enough to cross Biscay. The high winds forecast should have gone by Saturday morning and the sea state calmed down by the afternoon so we are going late morning.

We set off just before 11.00 the wind a good F4 from the SW so south we go - hard on the wind, sea Moderate to Rough with 3m swells. Forecast to get much better by the afternoon and wind from the NW so we can sail where we want to go. After about 8 hours the wind still had not gone NW but the sea was beginning to get better. Row sick, so we hove to to eat supper.

While Richard ate chilli and I tried to keep down a few grains of rice, we discussed turning back. Eight hours back with the bad seas or carry on and hopefully sail into better weather. The relative  calm induced by heaving to helped us decide to carry on and the forecast proved right.

Sunday was much better. For a while we could sail our course, the sea was calmer and the sun shone! Several times we had common dolphins playing around the boat. The first pod stayed around us for about forty minutes, adults and young. This definitely helped get over the sea sickness. Just as well, as there was little else to see.

 A few ships, the odd gannet that was it.

The wind was not going to play ball and  by Monday early hours we couldn’t sail the course. We either sailed West into the Atlantic, South to Gijon (not where we wanted to go) or called for the assistance of Mr Volvo! The 3rd option won so we motor sailed. At 0830 the log reads “cannot lay Ribedeo, engine on”. With enough wind, ‘Arry was happy to steer while motorsailing. Our options were now either to go to Ribedeo or Viverio (our first option). With only 10 miles difference and a night time arrival to either port we opted for Viveiro. This would save a full day’s sail from Ribedeo to Viveiro later.

Eventually the wind died and ‘Arry gave up. On flat calm seas the electrical autohelm was once more pressed into service.

Watches:-  We agree to divide the watch keeping  on a 2hour on, 2hour off rota. During the day this was fairly relaxed allowing both of us to catch up on our sleep as needed. On watch involved enjoying the sun, reading and checking our course every now and then. Off watch involved sleeping, reading or making tea. Generally the changeover was used to cook a meal and catch up on what was happening, mostly  not much!

Night time we stuck to the 2 hour regime as longer on your own can get a bit grim. However as conditions were benign with moonlit nights, we often let the off watch sleep in for an hour longer.

On the Monday as we had been motoring we took advantage of the hot water generated by the engine to each have a shower. Rowena even washed her hair! What luxury.  

The Spanish coast is well covered with large lighthouses, easy to spot many miles away so we were easily able to find the entrance. A pity the almanac was not up to date as we spent ages looking for a red light flashing once every 5 seconds, which has been replaced by a continuous flashing red! (Later, in the Marina office we discovered that the local chart doesn’t have the correction either!)

 Even at 0200, the entrance was like Piccadilly circus with dozens of small fishing boats, trawlers and other craft. Just as we were clear of the traffic the engine slowed and we heard a CLUNCK -something round the prop! Fortunately the rope cutter did its job and whatever it was fell off. With our hearts in our mouths we entered the Ria, identified and rounded the end of the breakwater to anchor 50m off the beach.

 It was 0300 Tuesday morning. Adrenaline still pumping , we slept.

Champagne in Viveiro


  1. Posted a comment earlier but doesn't appear to have gone thru, so here goes again.

    Well done you two - especially Rowena having to endure sea-sickness and unwashed hair! Do hope the Bay of Biscay is more than ok, and that the crossing is easy never mind the delay....ouch, I know terrible poetry...enough to make you sea-sick all over again! Watching Muaay vs Tsonga at Wimbledon. Murray has just hit a ball into Tsonga's crtoch - poor guy in a lot of pain & not really able to clutch his vitals in full view of centre court!

  2. I've heard about dolphins rescuing drowning swimmers, but not curing illness. Amazing!

  3. Hi R & R ., WHOOPEE!! Nice passage to Espagne. How did you manage to concentrate on a Dolphin Video while feeling so Moby Dick !!!
    Have another glass of wine. Cheers Vic and Sylvia

  4. Having been through what the Bay of Biscay can throw at you myself, you both have my fullest sympathy. Good luck and, believe it or not, booze helps