Mylor To La Coruna via the Bay Of Biscay

Sun 9 Oct 2011 18:54
Day 1 - Friday the 30th September - CREW: Phil, Gareth and Dickon
We leave at 10am. We already have a man down inn the form of Dickon who is sick before we leave the pontoon. Everyone is very pensive considering last years performance. We leave under engine and motor for 5 hours under autopilot until smoke starts coming out of the engine compartment! We lift it up to discover that a belt on the engine we have just had serviced has split causing the engine to overheat. We are 50 nautical miles in and decide to carry on. Fuck turning back now. We have sails so we shall enter the unknown the old school way. The only problem is that we have lots of things on board that require the alternator to charge like radar, navigational lights for night time and gps etc. Pretty important things. So a hand held, battery powered GPS will be our guide. So be it. Around 9pm Gareth Falls ill and I start shitting myself.
Day 2 -
The Shift patterns have been 2 hours on and four hours off but today Dickon and I are doing it all as Gareth has a proper temperature. It is taking it's toll as Dickon is still ill as well. Night time is pretty hairy as huge super tankers roar by and strange noises get into your head. It's a mile and a half deep and we are miles away from anything. Weather is average. We are being followed by pods of dolphins and porpoises. We spot a whale in the distance and hope that it stays there.
Day 3 & 4 -
No wind. Bobbing around in the middle of Biscay. It is like a mill pond. We pass the time by shooting apples and other targets we put out and by eating loads. We still have the local wildlife with us and the weather is beautiful. Give up trying to fix the engine as it is quite a job to get to the specific belt. We  need more tools than we thought. Praying for wind as we still have a lot of miles to do and although it is quite serene we just want to get there. We all get a good nights sleep. The most surreal experience of all is that it feels as though we could be anchored up in a calm river somewhere. Bizarre Morale is good though. The lack of engine has meant that we have experienced some beauty out here where we could have normally just motored on.
Next 3 days -
Wind kicks in and more so than predicted. For the next 72 hours we are having it. Proper full on sailing. Amazing. This yacht is hardcore and we are flying. Just as well as a storm is chasing us. The rest is a bit of a blur and we arrive in La Coruna on Friday the 7th of October in the morning. We seem to have got a line tangled round our propeller during all this as well (not off our boat) so we have to get towed into the marina. But we are here!
It has been a mix of emotions. I miss Annie, Dickon misses Dawn and Dibble (Black Labrador) and G misses Catherine. It has been good to do it just under sail although some would call us foolish. But we just had to do it. Highs and lows. Our bodies are broken and we are waiting for an engineer to come and look at our boat on Monday and I have had my phone stolen. Marvelous.
Anyway. More to come when we head off again. Won't bore you with day to day stuff. Generally sitting in the pub at the moment anyway.
Love to you all x