Well, we have made it to Spain in one hop and the gods were pretty kind to us en route after all the problems we had before we left. There was high pressure all the way and Biscay was gentle apart from a rough patch and wind on the nose as we neared Cape Finisterre. We had 4 nights at sea, 3 of them with bright moonlight and along the way tried out most of our sail variations for this more complex boat (603 miles in 99 hours in case you are interested). The down side of the settled weather was the usual yachtsman’s curse of not enough wind at times and we were disappointed to end up motoring for half of the time. Still, everyone says to just get Biscay behind you rather than worrying about how you do it!
First mate was (justifiably) proud of herself for going half way up the mast en route in a rolly sea to rescue a batten that was about to fall out of the mainsail. We decided on this occasion that it was an unskilled task and that skipper was better employed getting me up there and back as fast as possible. I did have some good bruises on my thigh afterwards as the motion of the boat had swung me against the shrouds on the way up, but that means I have some war wounds to show off. Skipper hurt his back pulling rather hard on furling lines to bring in the gennaker in strengthening winds and we both felt a quite achy by the time we arrived here. We now think that was probably the side effects of some vaccinations we had just before we left Lymington and we are still suffering a bit as I write this.
The bright red gennaker flying nicely:
The only other excitement en-route was being hailed on the radio by a French navy plane. Skipper was on watch and had heard some radio chat on the VHF but paid no attention (being in furrinish and all that), but when a military plane circled overhead a couple of times, answered smart-ish when a delightful French accent called “sailing vessel in position…”. We were asked to stop going any further south for half an hour and soon spotted the reason why, as the conning tower and antennae of a very large submarine appeared crossing our previous path.
Another bird of passage:
For those who’ve put up with our moans about the boat over the last few months, we have to say you were right, she is very “sea-kindly” and comfortable. We had a spell of rough seas and wind on the nose, and although she didn’t sail particularly well to windward, the motion wasn’t at all uncomfortable. We also enjoyed the benefits of a deck saloon, being able to be below but not feeling out of touch with what was going on. We even ate below (enjoying Lindsay’s pre-prepared feasts and eating enough for four on each occasion!). It was also a joy not to have to pump a gallon or so of water out of the bilges every hour and to have a (mostly) working set of electronics (with just a few niggles still to fix). So things are looking up!
Muros between the showers:
We arrived in the Ria de Muros in north west Spain around midday on Sunday Sept 9th and anchored off the lovely little town of Muros which we had visited 3 years before. It is a wonderfully peaceful spot and the old Galician town is lovely. This morning we went ashore, using our brand new dinghy for the first time, and sought out a wi-fi bar to restart communication with the outside world. We needed to get in touch quickly as our towed power generator (Duogen) broke. It hadn’t been working well on passage and fell apart whilst I was servicing it. A couple of phone calls and emails should result in spare parts arriving in Baiona in a few days time. The afternoon has brought some wind and rain, but we hope to return to town to sample some of the fabulous local seafood tapas of this area.