logo Lady Stardust Faro-Portugal to Barcelona - 2010
Date: 27 Jul 2009 19:35:55
Title: First days

The taxi dropped us off at Crosshaven boatyard at 10pm on Saturday evening in the pouring rain.  The driver had told us it had been raining for days and we had to pick our way through some alarmingly deep-looking puddles with our heavy luggage in the fading light.  The boat was propped up in the yard after having work done on its hull so while Paul climbed the ladder to open up I sheltered underneath, shivering and thinking of sunny Spain and Portugal.  Whether we get there or not depends on weather conditions in the Bay of Biscay over the next few days.  This area is notoriously risky for sailing boats due to the fact that it is difficult to predict precisely when and where storms will occur and once you embark on crossing it there are no safe ports to go to - it's a case of literally riding the storm. 
After hurriedly stowing our luggage and making up the bed, we picked our way back through the puddles into town to have a Guinness in Cronin's pub on the waterfront.  It's a lively, atmospheric place and we soon got talking to a friendly local guy who insisted on taking pictures of his new-found English friends.
On Sunday the weather had improved slightly but was still extremely windy - reaching 26 knots at one point. The day was mainly spent cleaning, preparing and fixing things so that we'll be ready for the long passage as soon as we're able. I went to the supermarket to make a start on provisioning and tried not to show too much shock at the prices - £5 for a tub of pesto and £3 for a roll on deodorant for example!
Later, I cooked a veggie Sunday dinner of vegetable pies, roast potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots and local mashed turnips. We decided to set off for Kinsale the following morning rather than stay in Crosshaven because there are more facilities and we can still set off for Biscay from there.
Monday 27th July.
This morning we got up early to be ready for the guys from the boatyard to launch us into the water at 10am. The sun was shining and the forecast was good enough for us to stick to our plan to go to Kinsale.  It was fascinating to watch the hydraulic crane lift and then lower the boat gently into the water. After a quick prep we set off at 10 30.  Kinsale is only 15 miles from Crosshaven and although the strong wind was against us, the current helped us along and out average speed was 4 and a half knots. The sea was very choppy with waves 2 metres high for most of the trip and the spray soaked us a few times. It was quite chilly, too but the rain held off and the autohelm steered for a good part of the journey, allowing us to sit out of the wind, or in Paul's case, to do more boat jobs. We took turns at the helm as we drew nearer to Kinsale because the wind was reaching speeds of 28 knots and the autohelm couldn't cope. Our thermals and oilies kept out much of the cold but it was still a relief to get into the calm and shelter of Kinsale harbour at 2pm this afternoon. We were lucky enough to get a berth in a lovely spot and since we'd had no breakfast we had a hasty lunch in the cockpit washed down with a chilled bottle of white wine thanks to the new, efficient boat fridge Paul had recently fitted.
The weather is still too unpredictable for us to leave tomorrow so we will check the forecast in the morning and hope that we'll be able to leave on Wednesday.  In the meantime it's good to be back in gorgeous Kinsale with the sun shining, no television, loads of books (and weeks of Guardian supplements) to read.
Bye for now,

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