Fw: This year we went to sunny Spain - La Coruna eventually......

andromeda of plymouth
Susan and Andrew Wilson
Sat 8 Aug 2009 20:04
----- Original Message -----
From: andromeda
Sent: Sunday, August 09, 2009 5:08 PM
Subject: This year we went to sunny Spain - La Coruna eventually......

Fantastic - we've crossed the Bay of Biscay - 376 miles from La Trinite (sailed - not as the albatross would fly!)
We arrived in La Coruna at about 9:30pm on Friday evening somewhat tired but very excited to have crossed Biscay and arrived in Spain in one piece. Andromeda certainly looked after us very well. We were very relieved that Ian and Glenda from Lucy Alice were here ahead of us to show us where to berth in the marina and to catch our lines. They were incredibly supportive on the crossing with the twice daily radio calls and then very kindly made a late night supper! .
We were much more tired than we thought we would be as the wind vane was playing up and we had to hand steer for the crossing when not motoring. This meant we were doing 2 hours on the wheel then two hours off when under sail - though we did seem to find this schedule pretty much ok as far as the night sailing was concerned. We think the problem is related to having the sails over sheeted leading to an unbalanced sail plan as far as the wind vane is concerned, but not necessarily when hand steering - we will get this sorted out. We also broke a control line and repairing it while hanging over the stern in bouncy seas was not that appealling, nor very safe - however it is top of the list as far as repairs are concerned as we want to enjoy the trips and not arrive physically wrecked :-) The fuel consumption was more than we anticipated so we will also be looking at why this was the case - possibly the conditions were a little bit worse than we thought and the engine was working harder.
The weather window held for the 3 days or so as predicted by the French Met Office - however the South Westerlies are back!. We had some fun with fishing vessels at night but also had the fantastic good luck to encounter three seperate pods of dolphins who swam around Andromeda for 10-15 minutes each time - we could even hear them chattering away to one another - absolutely fantastic. They were not large dolphins, about a metre and a half or so, but swam at amazing speeds under the boat and around the bow. We have now added albatross to our list of observed wild life and grey mullet - the fish of every marina it would seem.
La Coruna is a wonderful place full of local shops and bars etc. and a very vibrant night life. It appears to be somewhere where the Spanish come on holiday and has a real buzz about the place. The architecture and buildings are superb and there are narrow lanes and markets to explore while dodging the cars. Minstrels wander many of the streets during the day and its literally rubbing shoulders when walking the streets at night there are so many people about. Last night there was a firework display which seems to have involved different displays from different quarters of the city over the course of about an hour - brilliant.
We had dinner with Ian and Glenda last night - wine, G&T and many stories - and have spent the day today sorting out and cleaning the boat ready for the next leg and plan to sail in company with them for the next few legs of the journey. Cape Finnisterre is the next major milestone and this will probably involve two or three lengthy day sails rather than over night legs. However, as is always the case, we will need a weather window that does not involve South Westerlies - usually, at this time of year, the wind is from the North East which is just right for the direction we want to go - however El Nino certainly seems to have other plans.
We have very much appreciated the feedback from these updates and will continue to update as we head further south and explore the Rias and then Portugal. We may have miss a few places we had wanted to see due the delays crossing Biscay but will let you know how we progress. We are certainly enjoying La Coruna and would recommend a visit.
More in due course..........
Andrew & Susan
S/V Andromeda