36N 5W, The defenition of Insanity

IDEA Sailing
Idea Yacht Racing Ltd
Mon 8 Jul 2013 11:27
The Definition of Insanity.

They say that insanity is = Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Well boys and girls we here on IDEA have just proved that theory correct.

Some of you know and others by now have gathered that IDEA has done this trip before. Not necessarily in the same order, but we've left Barbados through Horta and on to further ports. We've also been into Gibraltar before, and during the previous trip we got an absolute pounding coming into and through the Straits.

Deja Vu all over again: Most of the day yesterday we had rather large breeze and had to really hug the coast of Portugal and Spain to try and escape the sea. Which for a boat like this is more of a hazard than is the wind. So said so done: Right up into the land we went, then we cut across the middle of the big bay out there and sailed straight back into the coast on the other side. Then a right hand turn and down the coast again.

Most of the night we tacked back and forth going as close as 3 miles to the coast before heading back out into the sea. And what a state the sea was. With 25 - 30 knots of breeze all night it had built the ocean into a very difficult state for us. Rising up on the waves and falling down into the troughs. Pounding down "GAAADUNG, BRUGDUNG!"

For the entire night this went on, and we hadn't even turned the corner into the actual straights. Sometime around 5am this morning just as we were working our way toward the corner, our 25 - 30 knots of breeze suddenly and without preamble or warning blew up into 40 -45 knots of howling wind. (Something many of you may not know is that when the wind increases the forces it exerts on us does not increase in parallel. The forces increase exponentially.) The seastate, already severely ugly got worse. Coupled with that was the salt spray that was being ripped off the tops of the waves and blowing horizontally right into our faces scouring any bit of exposed flesh.

ALL HANDS ON DECK! It took a massive effort of the entire crew to haul down our tiny little mainsail. After most of us being awake for the past 18 hours enough was enough. With motor only we persevered and plowed onward. And still the sea and wind seemed determined to pound us into submission. I keep using that word "Pounding" yet it doesn't quite convey what we were being subjected to. Thrashing, beating, hammering: None of these words describe the unholy hell we found ourselves in.

On and on this continued for hours. Us very slowly forcing our way into and through the Straits. The Straits unmercifully trying to pound us down until finally the breezed settled back to 20 - 25 knots. Not to long after that the seastate settled down and with the sun blazing strong it turned into a relatively nice day. Waterproof layers got shed. Sun glasses came out. Shoes were even removed.

We turned the final corner and there in front of us in full view = The Rock of Gibraltar. We motored on toward the marina (which we still haven't reached at the time of this sending), and were greeted to the sight of a massive whale out for a leisurely stroll. Just on the surface. It was easily 50 feet long if not longer. It crossed our bow at about 200 feet and we turned to follow it for a few minutes before it disappeared back into the depths.

Welcome to Gibraltar everyone. We have for all intents and purposes arrived.

The last 36 - 48 hours have been absolutely exhausting for us (the crew), and IDEA, and more than ever we will be looking forward to a hot shower, a cold beer, and a stationary nap.

This is not our last stop on this journey, so keep tuned to our up and coming schedule. In the meantime we still have some work to do. First thing is to park the boat. Then the clean and tidy.

For the moment we will again say
TTFN = Ta Ta For Now