Puerto Sherry-Gibraltar16th-17th October

Chris & Sally Longstaff
Fri 20 Oct 2006 22:37

From Puerto Sherry


Although choosing to stay and explore the area, we are now in a situation where it is looking difficult to leave, with the right weather conditions to do the two day run to Gibraltar; the critical part being getting through the Strait of Gib.


We decide Monday / Tuesday looks favourable.We leave Puerto Sherry with 30 knots of wind against us, getting out of the marina, but are not too discouraged because local conditions are very windy. However when we get into open sea we find that the predicted 10 knots southerly is anything but; we are in a Force seven from the south against which we try to beat for about two hours, repeatedly tacking to see Cadiz on our port bow ! We give up and motor head-on into the weather. Fortunately the weather eases sufficiently for us to take turns at resting; by the time we reach Cape Trafalgar we are in a regular Force 4/5, and arrive eventually at Barbate a little b..b..battered.

We agree on a cycling holiday next year.


Full waterproofs and we still got wet                                     Cape Trafalgar - a long way round!

We prepare for the following day with some trepidation, The Strait of Gib and rounding Tarifa having a reputation for being one of the windiest places in Europe (the whole world ??!!), where you can expect a rapid increase in wind of at least 40%. Talk to “Summer Breeze” who are heading in the same direction, half an hour ahead of us. We agree to turn back if we see they cannot make any headway! In the event a relatively calm sea and a 20 knot wind never transform themselves into anything more, and to our  great relief it is “plain motoring” (wind on nose again!) all the way to Gib !  


The Rock of Gibraltar

Gibraltar ! What an extraordinary place. Rather bleak when we arrive ahead of a pursuing cold front, but the welcome was very polite and pleasant. The bay is full of commercial shipping, the rock of new housing developments by the look. I thought this was a dying economy? Not if the building projects are an indication. We are berthed approximately 100 yards from the airport runway. Interesting. Space is obviously something of a premium. Not surprisingly lots of British yachts around, many of whom are either sail-training or preparing, like us, for the Atlantic trip. Really nice atmosphere around the marina and adjacent bars/restaurants; fun, friendly, in the way that English sailing communities can be (lots of easy drinking going on). Shepherds Pie, pint of beer, and Newcastle United on the TV last night. A corner of England! The “Pie” was good, the beer ok, and Newcastle abysmal (even in winning 1-0). Sally cooking tonight so it will be a good book, a fine Rioja, and something exotic off the 2-ring cooker (watch this space).

As I write a howling gale is tearing at our moorings, and rain is lashing down every hour. Some mistake surely? Well, Lauren arrives tomorrow, and we are taking off for a “big chill” in Marrakech, leaving all boating matters behind for a week. Returning to explore Gibraltar, provision, and prepare for the next stage………with the addition of Will, honorary member of the Moondance family, who we are all looking forward to seeing again.