Gilbraltar & Puerto Sherry - Cadiz - 36.35N; 06.15W

Island Wanderer
Peter and Avril Brookes
Sat 1 Oct 2011 17:43
We arrived in Gibraltar on Friday 16th September, where our temporary crew Becca left us. We did a few jobs of tidying the boat and buying spares at the chandlers, interspersed with trips out shopping.
On Sunday 18th Peter, Avril and Helen went for a walk up the Rock to see the views, and in the hope of seeing some Gibraltar Apes.
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Unfortunately we only managed to see one ape – the others were hiding somewhere else. In the harbour we saw a large motorboat, with a tender on the back, which looked like a 40’ sailing yacht, fully rigged, ready to crane off when the owner wanted to go for a sail!
Tuesday 20th saw us flying back to the UK to a very busy schedule. We met up with family and friends, celebrated our silver wedding anniversary, visited the Southampton Boatshow, took some parts home for repair, and took Helen to university.
On our return to Gibraltar we were kept very busy with sorting out a few jobs on the boat, and provisioning from the Morrison’s superstore. Provisioning took a number of trips, with backpacks, bags and trolleys, and one trip we were so loaded up we had to order a taxi, to then find it was a struggle to fit it all in.
The Dessalator water maker is now excellent, and produces water that tastes as good as, or better, than bottled mineral water.
By chance we found out that the Lewmar steering gear fitted to our boat had had a recall on one of the parts. The part had been shipped to the UK dealer, but had not found its way onto our boat, so we collected this, and fitted it when back in Gibraltar. The prescribed time for fitting the replacement part was 1 hour – it took us that amount of time to remove the stores and washing machine from the lazarette before we could get to it!
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                                Before                                                                                                        After
The installation went well, and we now have a beefed up tiller arm connecting the steering to the rudder, and installed some inspection hatches so it can be regularly inspected without emptying the lazarette.
Whilst in Gibraltar a Levanter wind started blowing, with the forecast showing 35 knots at Tarifa, and 2.5 metre high waves. This looked as though it would continue for a while, so when on Friday 30th October the forecast was for slightly reduced winds we set off. We motored out of Gibraltar, and when approaching the straits the wind was very benign, so we let out the main and poled out the genoa, goosewinged. The boat flew along, registering between 10 and 10.7 knots boatspeed, the wind directly behind, and the seas following us. It was an extremely stable setup, even as the wind began to increase, to about 30 knots at Tarifa.( A friendly search and rescue boat waved at us as it rounded Tarifa going in the opposite direction. The crew were probably taking bets on how long we would last once north of the peninsula!) The wind then followed us as we steered towards Cape Trafalgar, but increased to 34 knots, so we reefed the genoa right down, still poled out. Suddenly a gust hit us of 46 – 47 knots. This proved too much for the mast fitting holding the pole end – the pole tore from the mast and shot under the port side rail before you could blink, held there by the pole up-haul and genoa sheet.
We decided that prudence was in order, and rolled away he main, and sailed under reefed genoa at about 7 knots, to arrive at Puerto Sherry, just north of Cadiz, at 8.00pm. The wind was really blowing across the bay, so the approach, directly into the wind was wet and wild. One particularly large wave came over the top, and as Peter ducked, the boat hit another throwing Peter forward, causing him to bash his nose on the wheel. No lasting damage done to his handsome looks, but it caused some pain.
The Levanter continues, and has increased today. We have made a decision to wait for it to ease a little before continuing on, so will be visiting the delights of Puerto Sherry again (we were held up here last year with a Levanter).