3rd July 2008 - Cadiz to Gibralter (Looking for the French fleet)

Bali Hai
Neal Stow
Thu 3 Jul 2008 23:01
Last night the wind had really got up and been howling around the boat.  The forecast was now for Force 4-5 with 3m high waves, which were expected to be stronger through the Straits of Gibraltar.  I decided it was safer to take the bimini down and put up the sprayhood and also so check that everything was locked away safely.  I was up at six and surprise surprise followed shortly afterwards by Julian (munching his sea sickness pills).  I asked him where the open bottle of wine was that Jim had had for his nightcap glass only to be told that Jim's nightcap glass had become the whole bottle!
Excessive drinking before another long sail is not a good idea and I was preparing myself for another voyage with Jim in bed when both he and Lyn appeared looking bright and breezy.  With the Duracell Bunny still going and everyone helping prepare the boat we were actually able to leave before our scheduled departure time of seven.
It was quite windy and very choppy as we left Cadiz harbour (the sprayhood was a good idea).  As we turned down the coast we had the wind behind us and it was quite a good sail.  With the swell it was quite tricky to sail downwind and although I still rigged a boom preventer, Jim demonstrated some impressive helming skills.  It was unfortunate for Julian and Lyn that they could not really get a chance to helm as zig-zagging along with a fairly strong wind behind is a bit risky.
The wind was behind us for the whole way and as the boat does not sail well downwind without the cruising chute up and speed was important for such a long trip, we had to resort to motor sailing much of the time.  We rounded Cape Trafalgar (where Julian was expecting to find some sort of memorial to Nelson in the middle of the ocean) and shortly before Tarifa the wind rose to 16-17 knots and we had a fantastic sail all the way to Gibraltar. 
I was very worried about the docking in Marina Bay marina which was to be stern to the pontoon with lazy lines (that is no finger pontoon along the side of the boat).  It was only my second such docking since Bayona and the crew's first.  Everyone was briefed and the marina had a staff on hand to take lines ashore.  Everything went perfectly at first as we reversed into our space.  Then there was chaos.  It was no fault of the crew who did a great job but it was the lines provided by the marina that were tangled and unreachable and the dock itself very high, non-floating and made of concrete.  With there still being a tide in Gibraltar and overhanging davits to worry about I could not reverse the boat close enough the dock to use the fancy new gangplank. To get ashore we had to resort to tottering along long plank of bouncy wood I found on the dock or clambering over the dinghy and using the fender step that we had rigged to the dock.
In the evening we headed into town.  Jim, having been posted here with the RAF, was keen to visit old haunts.  Not that there would be many still here as his posting was in 1982 but we did manage steak and ale pie and a pint of IPA in the Gibraltar Arms.