Camarinas to Baiona via Portosin

Tue 10 Jun 2014 09:35
42:07.45N:08:50.55W  Our spell in Camarinas allowed us all to visit the Catholic pilgrimage mecca of Santiago de Compostela, last resting place of dragon slayer James. We marvelled at the massive silver incense burner swinging wildly from one side to the other, controlled by at least 6 priests, wondering if they ever had mishaps causing a line of human angels to fly through the air like angels on a Christmas card. During the height of this all powerful service a priest rests, chin on hands, eyes closed, listening to the confessions of a kneeling believer. If you ever go, there are fine bars and restaurants around the Cathedral for inexpensive and tasty food.
If you believe in forebodings then our return to Camarinas in an almighty thunderstorm with lightening and solid rain was one. Andrew, our organiser/manager came to chair a meeting with us the next morning, Sunday 8th June and the outcome was Ca Canny, Infinity and ourselves were underway at 11.40. The intense low had not finished with us yet and blew a defiant 25 from the south, so we were motoring on course for the next headland, Pta Carreiros.
I was sitting in my favourite lobsterpot lookout position when, in a gradual and ladylike fashion the engine stopped. With our help she pointed her nose westward, spread her sails and took off like a bird startled to flight and away from the dreaded Costa del Muerte (coast of death). Rob found a clean filter and no water in the filter cup so we imagined it to be air in the pipe or a blockage from muck in the tank. After a few minutes Zoonie recovered her composure and the engine sprang back into life. We were able to tell kind Ca Canny and Infinity that we were back in action and thanked them both for their patience and attention.
Well if that wasn’t enough a squall comes our way and all of a sudden Ca Canny is surrounded in what appeared to be smoke, swirling like a dervish insanely around her. “Rob she’s smoking!” I yelled, fearing for our friends on board. Then we realised it was a water spout and Ca Canny called Infinity to tell them it was on its way towards them, in fact it passed between us with enough ferocity to have spun all Ca Canny’s fenders vertically into the air from where they were attached in her pushpit.
Soon the decision had to be made on where we would head for the night. We did not fancy being at sea and so close to a coast in the dark with a faulty engine, so we diverted into Portosin while our friends continued on to Bayona, Ca Canny arriving in the small hours, having motored and Infinity a few hours later under sail.
Portosin office did not open until 10.00 so we decided to risk an early departure and let go our lines at 7.10. At 9.25 our log entry reads ‘Yeah, altering course for Bayona, final 25M leg!’ At 11.35 the engine stopped once more and we had settled onto a comfy, safe tack when a powerful squall hit us and spun Zoonie from left to right. “close the hatch and clip on” I said to Rob while doing the same. The rain and hail was so heavy it flattened the sea into an oily, heaving mass. I remember thinking and not for the first time, all things pass!
In fact a soon as the squall started moving away we had the most beautiful sail right down towards Isla Cies rocks that rise to nearly 200mtrs above sea level and mark our destination just south of them. Both sides of the Ria de Vigo have groups of rocks, some visible and others with water breaking over them and reaching out temptingly towards us. We resisted, hunting for the buoys we needed to guide us in. The engine was on again and just past Las Estelas rocks and with the citadel behind the marina to our right, we placed our trust in the engine and furled the mainsail into the mast. Minutes later the engine stopped once more, which was surprising because the water was flat.
I radioed Rally Control and told them our situation. Many of our fleet had been listening out for us as we had previously reported our problem. Ahead was a nice sandy beach, we can anchor in there I reassured Rob as we let out a little of the genoa to give us steerage. Also, I noticed earlier, the pilot and Reeds Nautical Almanac showed a sheltered anchorage just outside the marina itself. So that was plan B sorted, but then plan A came into play as our sistership, Nikita, prepared to come and greet us. What a welcome sight her mast was, making its way along the other side of the wall. Minutes later we were tied alongside and creeping towards the haven where Nikita gently nudged us alongside a hammerhead pontoon where other members of our group took our lines. What a professional and warm team you are Nikita, many many thanks. Our eyes moisten as we remember what you did xx
You might think we’d be knackered after all of that, but no we had a delightful evening up in the bar listening to other similar stories including Nikita having the same problem off Weymouth. So it seems engine failure from whatever cause is part of the initiation into the world of true blue water cruisers and people who love the sea and sailing, like youngsters I find, do not judge.