My log for that day starts - another nice day.
Well, Mrs Ward’s class, I don’t know if you know yet about Nelson
and his navy fighting the Spanish at the Battle of Trafalgar in 18?? I’ll leave
you to find out when that was.
Anyway we had our own Battle of Trafalgar yesterday. It started after we had got south of
Cadiz and, as usual, the wind gets up a bit in the afternoon and the waves were
going south west. So far so
good. However, we were also coming
under the influence of another wind blowing eastwards out of the Straits of
Gibraltar called the Levant, causing waves which seemed to be going in a
westerly direction. Then the wind
from the east became really strong just before Cape Trafalgar. There is another entry in the log around
2pm which mentions Bill wondering whether to go through the gap between the
Trafalgar Bank (several shallower bits of water which change the behaviour of
the waves) and the Cape. I am so
glad he didn’t ! We headed south to
clear the Banks and then the winds really whipped up to over 30 knots
constant and gusting 38 knots.
By then we were facing the
Straits of Gibraltar and it was funnelling through there straight at us.
We were going to have to turn into the wind and the waves. Engine went on and we battled. It was getting dark. Bill had to take
over the helming from the autopilot for a while because the waves were too
confused. Anyway by this time
everything was on the floor – books, anything we had left on the table or not
stowed away (hence the phrase ship shape
and a lesson we should have
learned). Considering this was the worst weather
experience Bill had had in a yacht, the boat performed well (apart from the
leaks). The best
performance is when pointing the boat at 300 to the waves. It
just ploughs through the very short wave lengths and we weren’t tossed about
that much. Bill says, as he had to
stay in the cockpit and helm he was glad that the water was warm as it came over
the bilge alarm went off (it really is loud). We know it is over sensitive but I had
to go and check how much water had got in.
I had a go at mopping the little that I could see. I got really seasick doing that and had
to come back up. The alarm wouldn’t
shut up so I went and switched it off.
Later Bill had a look and found two areas I hadn’t checked with
measurable amounts in them, but still not major. He reckons there is still a leak from
where the mast comes through the boat.
11 pm we could see the approach to Barbate (pronounced Bar-batty) and had to
keep a look out for tunny nets which come out a very long way – this is how the
Spanish catch tuna fish.
It was wonderful to get in. We had hardly had anything to eat or
drink so that was one of the first jobs after clearing up the worst of the
wetness. All we have done today, the 20th is clear
up and do lots of washing. The
weather still doesn’t look hopeful for tomorrow (don’t get me wrong, on land the
wind is really a welcome from the heat and the sun) when we really wanted to
make for Gibraltar. It may have to
wait until very early 22nd.
Strange to begin hearing exchanges in Arabic over the VHF radio. We are so close to Morrocco. The Arabic
influence in Andalucia is quite strong in the place names and the singing
style. Notice to mariners. Local councils here allow fairgrounds
and other parties till after 3 am!
Don’t know how people get up for work next day.