Biscay crossed

Shangrila's web diary
Ali Pery and Shane Warriker
Wed 12 Jun 2013 14:51

48:16.761N 004:35.734W


With a certain amount of relief, we are happy to report that Shangrila and her crew have crossed the Bay of Biscay and find ourselves tied up alongside in the marina in Camaret Sur Mer, Brittany, France arriving at 4:00 am this morning 13/06/13, with 1257 Miles under the keel since leaving Cartagena last Monday 03/06/13. It feels like a lifetime ago and so much has happened, and as it is with sailing, not much has happened.


Shortly after leaving Cartagena, whilst having a cracking good sail with a perfect wind over the beam (side), we were approached by a Spanish Naval vessel, who asked us to change course because we were interfering with one of their war games.  This change in course left us on a point of sail that obliged us to start the engine (with the headsail frustratingly unable to fill with wind).  Unfortunately this was the last time we were able to make progress with the sails alone (if we were purists we probably could have sailed more, albeit slowly, but we were on a delivery passage after all), and so the throb of our 160 horse power engine was our constant companion for the rest of the journey.


On and on we pressed, down the coast of Spain, passing the rock of Gibraltar so closely we could have almost touched it, through the straits, and across the Gulf of Cadiz, past our old stomping ground in the Algarve and round the cape of Saint Vincent.  Like crazed lemmings we soldiered onwards, and like crazed lemmings all we saw was sea before us.  Sadly for the lads, we never had chance to sample the delights of the fleshpots of the sunkissed southern latitudes.  On and on, ever northwards.  A brief respite in Cascais to fill up with more fuel to be attended to by the rather unhelpful lady (mentioned previously) with impossibly tight trousers, and impossibly large rolls of fat bulging out and straining at the seams, desperately bidding to escape the confines of her smothering leg ware.

...and then on we went, a download of the weather chart, a brief discussion and an unanimous decision to continue straight into Biscay, we have a strong boat and plenty of fuel, we’ll be okay!


It’s tiring but not exhausting to cross as we did.  Three competent people on board and a three hour on and six hours off watch keeping system means that you are able to catch up on broken sleep during your down time.  The hardest part, is trying to block out the surrounding noise and rocking and rolling motion of the boat in order to succumb to blissful slumber.


So now we find ourselves in rain lashed Camaret, and the wind is howling in the rigging overhead.  We are here, and home is only a short hop away.  When I look out the cabin window and see the rain dripping down the glass, I wonder if it has all been worth it, but I know it is, it feels good to be back in Northern Europe, where we are and where we live.




The rain lashes down and the wind howls.

When things started to get a little hairy toward the end.




A couple of our cetacean friends pop in to say hello.  A particular feature of this Biscay crossing was the number of dolphins that accompanied us almost constantly.




Keith adding the finishing touches to the chicken curry he cooked while being flung about the galley in a rough section across Biscay.  Nice one Keith!

Sadly other commitments mean that Russell has to leave the boat, now that he’s helped to bring her this far.  I’ve thoroughly enjoyed having both the guys on board, and have really enjoyed their company.  Once again, I chose two really good blokes to help me deliver Shangrila for this leg, and am going to miss having them around (well, a bit anyway!) when she is finally in the UK.  They have both tirelessly stuck to their watch schedule, haven’t complained (much), and have done all that was asked of them.  Thanks guys!

Keith will be staying on board for the final two day passage to Chichester.