Rota -> Barbate

Stephen & Anne
Fri 21 Mar 2008 08:29

36:11.064N 5:55.981W


Today we decided to move on from Rota down to Barbate. Barbate is the last place we can go before Gibraltar. We have spent the last few days studying the weather and were still unsure whether to go today or not (in fact at one point last night we decided not to go).


We set off about 11am. Our main reason for leaving was that the winds were perfect for a trip to Barbate and then to Gibraltar a few days later. The uncertainty was due to the strong winds we have had the last few days and what the sea state would be like. In the end we decided we would never know exactly what the sea state would be like unless we went out and found out. We headed off, our plan was to turn round and go back if it was too bumpy for us. As it turned out it was fine (not flat calm but not too bad).


The wind started of behaving as it should, easterly backing northerly, less than 10kn. Perfect for a gentle sail down the coast. Then it went haywire; as one point it was clear the wind at the bottom of the sail was coming from a different direction than the wind at the top of the sail! Eventually it settled down to be southerly ie on our nose.


As we approached Cabo Trafalgar we hit some really rough seas. This part of the sea is notoriously rough, hence we picked a perfect day with not much wind, and a northerly wind going with the current. The good new was the wind stayed below 10kn – a mere light breeze. However with the wind against the current and other local conditions (overfalls and races) meant we had seas crashing over the bow of the boat all the way back to the cockpit. We were even careful to stay in the deep parts of the sea away from the banks where condition would be worst. It really was amazing how rough the seas were in such light winds. None of us enjoyed this bit, especially the cats. Luckily the rough sea didn’t last for too long about ½ hour (at the time that was far too long).  We apologise for the lack of photos of the trip but it really was very rough and taking photo’s was not top of our priorities.


We then had the fun of the approach to Barbate. There are several Tuna nets laid each year, one of then ends a few meters from the harbor entrance which makes it a very narrow entrance. Avoiding lobster pots is relatively easy – you avoid any pots in your path. Tuna nets are like lobster pots except they are all joined together, hence you must avoid the whole line of buoys – oh and the nets are about 2 miles long.


All our books said the marina office closed at 17.30 and we were still about 20 minutes away at this point hence we called them on the VHF. We were told to go to the visitors pontoon and then go to the office; we weren’t sure if they would stay open for us or what. When we arrived and tied up on the visitors pontoon, Stephen rushed up to the office to find they stay open to 20.00.


We moored up, sorted ourselves out and prepared a meal. It was an early night and a deep sleep after an exciting sail.