36:35.3N 6:20.7W Castillo de San Sebastian west cardinal buoy Bahia de Cadiz
Thu 8 Oct 2015 15:12
On the 20th October 1805 the French and Spanish fleets left Cadiz Bay as part of their plan to invade England. HMS Sirius and HMS Pickle were spying on them and relayed the message to Nelson who was waiting south off Cabo Trafalgar.
The next day Nelson’s simple but brilliant plan was put into practice. His 27 ships divided into two pincer arms and sailed down both sides, to windward and leeward of Captain Villeneuve’s 33 vessels. With their sailors under attack from both sides they were unable to escape or man guns on both sides at the same time. Every enemy ship was destroyed but on the second centenary the navies and yacht clubs of all the sides involved gathered in the summer off Portsmouth for the Fleet Review and in October off Cabo Trafalgar to lay wreaths to honour the heroism and loss of life, including Nelson’s, on all sides.
Just short of 110 years later, on the 6th October, we left these famous waters just after Flirtie who called across as they passed us, “Are you coming then?” They were on their way to Portimao for the winter.
We had light airs to begin with as the land to the north was hiding the wind. It felt good to be on our way again, making progress, albeit slow, but in the right direction. We headed west to give the African coast a wide berth as this is where a weather system was building.
During the night there were many ships approaching and leaving the Med. We had to avoid two and called a third, who, judging by his response, hadn’t seen us so eyes were ever watchful. The wind rose to 17 knots now that we were clear of the land and getting what the Atlantic had on offer, so we put in a first reef.
7th October. I came off watch at 3.22am and as our system allows the person on this stand down to sleep as long as they need, I awoke and stepped up the companionway steps just as the sun peeped above the horizon at 8.28.
We had a line out all day but no fish. The wind has now filled in nicely and we are on a beam reach, our only company the occasional gannet and a few shearwater. We are power-saving, chart plotter dimmed, soduko from a paper back, minimum kettle fill and fridge opening, just to see how the new batteries hold out. I frightened Rob when I came up for my long night watch, by wearing a black balaclava, “Argh its Barbara Meinhoff !” At least we had few ships to concern us.
8th October. Today we changed course for Lanzarote and Zoonie is presently goose-winged and making nice progress in the light airs. We have done 196 miles out of 600 total.