Brighton, UK to Povoa de Varzim, Portugal

Tue 27 Aug 2013 17:03
“41:38.00N 08:76.08W to 50:84.29N 00:13.13N”

We didn’t manage to get this up and running before we left, so here is our first blog despite being back in the UK for the next few weeks! Future blogs will be shorter I promise! We have satellite communication on board so will be able to update you throughout our onward journey to Gran Canaria and across the Atlantic to St Lucia. We also have set up a facebook page called Yacht Shenanigan where we have put some photos of the trip so far.

After lots of preparations and additions to Shenanigan and an evening relaxing on board with ‘the Shankster’s’ (who were in Brighton en route to Isle of Wight) we finally left Brighton Marina for Studland Bay at 08:07 on Sunday 28th July. We arrived in Studland Bay at 20:55 making at times 10 knots SOG in a nice SW 12-16 knot wind but by 20:00 the wind was up to 26 knots which blew in a storm and gave us a choppy night at anchor! Because of the weather, we didn’t manage to leave Studland Bay until after lunch on Wednesday 31st July tying up in Torquay marina at 02:21 Thursday morning, a moonless starry night and flat seas.

We spent a day in Torquay tidying the boat and restocking then left Friday morning. The original plan was to leave Torquay and spend a few days in Salcombe but as we were already a few days behind we decided to hit the Bay of Biscay and head for La Coruna. Bad move! Sailing directly into wind and on coming (un-forecast) storm. Timmy and I wedged ourselves in the back cabin and left the night to the intrepid. Brian and Christopher battled the storm off the Cornish coast pounding directly into 30 knots of wind, with rain, huge waves and confused seas. The next morning they both confessed they had found the whole experience exhilarating (yikes!). We made very little progress over night with Biscay living up to its wild reputation so made the decision to head for the shelter of Brest. I took over during the day to allow the night watch to catch up on much needed sleep. We arrived at an anchorage (a wobbly one!) just outside Brest at around midnight having sailed 322.45 nm / 498.39 km in a big zig-zaggy circle. At day break we rafted up in Cameret. A good test of both the boat and us – definitely have sea-legs!

Tuesday 6th August we left Cameret for Concarneau again arriving in the dark and anchoring – in what turned out to be a dinghy training course as we realised when we woke up and were surrounded – we had become another mark on their course! We all enjoyed Concarneau and in fine weather, perfect flat seas and a NW 12-16 knot wind on 8th August we set off for La Coruna.

Night watches went smoothly. -During the days dolphins/porpoises swam with us, in front of us and under us providing great entertainment for hours on end and me difficulty catching them on camera! On Friday we were also accompanied by whales! The wind changed to N 18-21 knots so some good downwind sailing.

We arrived in the marina of La Coruna at 23:00 Saturday 10th August, with wind picking up to 27 knots and waves to match.

We spent some time in La Coruna, visiting Torres de Hercules (oldest working Roman lighthouse in the world), walking the city, visiting the beach and the boys the aquarium, and eating amazing seafood. We met interesting people, picked up some tips and met two other boats had also been caught out off the Cornish coast at the same time as us.

We left La Coruna at 17:15 on 13th August and re-berthed there 1 ½ hours later! welcomed on the pontoon by Lyn and Mike Tonner who were tracking us on AIS! We made the decision to turn back as the 4m waves on the side and 30 knots of wind made the going tough and we didn’t fancy a whole night of it to Camarinas. It took another day for the swell to subside and we set off again on 15th August.

A perfect day sailing and the best dolphin show so far – got my long awaited photos! (on facebook page) We anchored in Carmarinas at 19:17 and left the next morning (my birthday!) arriving Islas Cies 19:35. The next day was spent on the beach until the evening when the sea mist rolled in.

We left Islas Cies on 18th August with the wind behind us and a run all the way to Povoa de Varzim, Portugal. Funny sight to see the boys playing cards on deck in 20 knots of wind. We were whipped into the berth by a 17 knot gust (perfectly controlled landing by Brian! with perfectly placed fenders!). Again the mist descended; apparently this is common in July and August. The night followed with the eerie air raid sounding fog horn and church bells tolling in the mist.

Povoa de Varzim is where this leg stops and Shenanigan rests having sailed 1139.8 nm / 1761.89 km since leaving Brighton. We’ve met some interesting people of all nationalities, met some other ARC boats, seen more dolphins than we can count and learnt an awful lot.

We flew home 22nd August. Next leg to begin shortly – can’t cope with the withdrawal symptoms!

Thank you all for your support so far.