19th July 2008 - Sitges to Barcelona (the end of the trip)

Bali Hai
Neal Stow
Sat 19 Jul 2008 23:06
The last day of this two month trip started well.  When we pulled out of Sitges marina the wind was increasing to 15-16 knots and we had the first really good sail of the week.  A beam reach all the way up to Barcelona.  As we came close to Barcelona the wind had risen to 20+ knots and we dropped sails before crossing the shipping channel into the harbour.  Nipping across between two very large cargo ships, one entering and the other leaving the harbour.
We then headed towards the entrance to the marina, across an anchorage where four large cargo ships were at anchor.  I was just about to cross in front the last when I realised that it had a small bow wave and was in fact moving. A sharp turn to starboard and we came around behind it (albeit rather close)
The wind was still very strong in Port Vell marina and after completing the check-in procedures we headed to our berth.  It should have been straightforward as there were no boats on either side of the space that we were supposed to reverse in to.  Except for the fact that there was 20 knots of breeze blowing across the berth.  The first two attempts to dock failed partly because the wind was so strong that I could not keep the bow up against the wind even using the bow thruster and partly because we were not quick enough securing the boat before the wind blew her out of position.  On the third attempt the same thing happened and then someone shouted to go ahead quickly as the davits were about to hit the electrical station, so I motored hard ahead.  Unfortunately the starboard stern line was not released and the boat swung round cracking into the concrete pontoon, taking a deep chunk out of the edge of the transom.  We were left lying alongside the pontoon and unable to get off because of the wind pinning us on - in the end it took a marina staff with a large rib and the bow thruster to pull us round and on to the berth.  It still took an age to get the boat properly aligned, requiring the use of the electric winches to pull us up the dock.
It was a pretty poor showing by everyone involved, the marina staff, the crew and of course the skipper - who was ultimately to blame for the fiasco.  It was a sad way to end what was overall an excellent trip from Gosport to Barcelona.
At first glance Port Vell marina seems like an excellent place to be (you are given a "Yachtie Yellow Pages" when you arrive and I have already noted that it lists several people who do gel coat repairs!).  The place is full of liveaboards and having met one already, the community seems very pleasant.  Plus of course the location, the marina is perfectly located right in the centre of the city and next to La Rambla.  I have signed up for a year's mooring and first impressions are that keeping the boat here for a year was a very wise decision.
So that brings this log to an end.  I am expecting to do a three week trip around the Balearics in the autumn (late September early October) which I will probably record and then that will be all until late spring in 2009 when Bali Hai will hopefully be heading down the Italian coast.
Thanks for reading, Neal