Bastard of a Day - Barbate AKA Cape Trafalgar 36:11:04N 05:56:01W

Zipadedoda of Dart
David H Kerr
Fri 7 Sep 2007 17:43

The plan today was to sail (motor) from Rota Marina in the Bay of Cadiz, down to Barbate, which is just east of the Cape of Trafalgar, where Nelson had his famous victory and also came to a sticky end.


WE too almost came to a sticky end when a brand new Beneteau 50 “Sunbird” nearly collided with us. He completely ignored the Colregs, and I  twice had to make drastic course changes, in big seas. Gave me quite a fright I can tell you.  If I ever meet that skipper there will be a presentation. Best not to go into details……………


The day started well enough. Gentle breeze on the nose, and forecast easterly 3 to 4. About half way to our destination the wind picked up, and within 20 minutes we had 30 knots on the nose. The prevailing current is east flowing, around 1.5 to 3 knots, so the sea heaps up quickly in these conditions.


The following pictures give a flavour of the enjoyment we had. They are called Splash and Whoosh respectively……




They were taken within a couple of seconds of each other from exactly the same spot. (Well as best as I could manage given the “nodding Donkey motion of the boat at the time).


Mercifully the Tunny nets that usually surround this port were removed at the beginning of this week, so getting into the bay was no big deal, other than avoiding the overfalls and the race.


As we rounded Cape Trafalgar the seas also started to ease. Note Jennie taking yet  another picture of a light house. Quite a worrying trend………….



The best was yet to come. We managed to navigate into the harbour, where the crew roped up and fendered in preparation for mooring on the reception pontoon. As we were just about to berth Zipadedoda, a chap appeared and waved us on. I thought to the nearest hammerhead.  Wrong again, it was into a finger berth,(a very short one at that), with the wind more or less at 45 degrees to the beam. Oh and gusting 30 knots again. Never mind there were marina chaps and two other Brits on hand to help. Needless to say it was a case of too many cooks, and the manoeuvre was a disaster. We now have a graze to the bow, and a dent to my pride. Moral of the story, rely on your own crew and your own judgement. I should never have accepted the berth, or the help.


So once we had “let go the helpers”,  We got a line to the finger pontoon and using the primary winch, managed to get her alongside and then sorted out all the knitting!!


After a short walk to calm down, peace has once again been restored to all the crew, aided by a glass or two……………………….


Now its time to get the passage plan sorted for the lumpy ride around to Gibraltar tomorrow. Tarifa is officially the windiest place in Europe with 300 days a year when it is over 30 knots. Can’t wait…………….