49:11.66N 05:45.35W Biscay!

Niord's Big Adventure
Tony Gratton
Sat 1 Jul 2023 19:58
29/06/2023 Biscay Day 1
As night fell, both wind and sea rose, and Biscay started living up to it's fearsome reputation. Our first mistake was made. Despite Tony's best intentions, Niord was still carrying a full main and Yankee as night fell. Unfortunately for us, the wind which had been blowing F5/6 during the day now rose to F7, and there was a corresponding rise in the sea state with breaking waves. Gusts over 40 knots were not uncommon. Not ideal for our first night! Niord buried her rail, and surged on quite happily. The same could not be said for the crew. Poor Neil became incapacitated with sea-sickness, and one of our rubber buckets quickly became his best friend. Despite his protests, we despatched him below to sleep. Karen had a nasty fall in the heads, careering from the open door to crash against the light above the toilet, giving her a black eye. We were heeled to port, and careering about, so entry was tricky. Karen struggled to reach the handholds both in the cabin and the heads. We have since reflected on this, and regard it as our second mistake. Before setting off we transferred all of the gear out of the aft cabin into the forecabin, blocking off the Jack and Jill door from there into the heads which would have been the safer route, as the sink could be used to hang onto.
No sooner had Karen joined Tony in the cockpit for their watch than she was thrown from one side to the other. Bemoaning her other half for getting her into this, she spent the rest of the watch on the cockpit floor for safety. After a quick conflab, it was decided that neither Karen nor Neil would take any further night watches in this weather for their own safety, so Tony and Chris saw out the night. Karen and Neil appeared groggily to take over at 6am to give the night crew some much needed rest.
48:00.85N 06:49.16W
In the early afternoon with all on deck Tony decided to reef in the main as the sea had moderated slightly though there was a short Atlantic swell running. Before departure from Fowey Tony had changed Niord's reefs, switching first reef for third, leaving our second reef as our first deep reef. The engine had to be used, and it was tricky, but it had the desired effect. Niord's speed was unchanged at 8 to over 9 knots, but she was flatter in the water. The staysail was taken in as well, but the staysail kicker wrapped itself around the block and ripped out the split pin. Tony had a trip to the foredeck, clipped on, to get it back in, and the staysail was effectively out of action until either the weather moderated or we reached port for fear of it ripping out again and losing the block holding our Hoyt boom in place.
30/06/2023 Biscay Day 2
Midnight Position 46:50.91N 7:36.36W
Tony and Chris on the night watch again. Wind shifted WNW, nothing less than F6. Some shipping. Still making good time even with our reduced sail plan.
1300 everyone pretty tired now with the constant battering, although Niord is happy enough! Decision made to divert to La Coruna, shortening the passage by a day. We head due South. The met office issues a gale warning for Fitzroy, but further South off Portugal. We're bang in the middle of Fitzroy, well clear of the continental shelf. We've made the right decision.
01/07/2023 Biscay Day 3
Midnight Position 44:14.87N 8:24.86W
By the end of the day Neil was starting to feel better, so stands his first night watch with Chris while Tony gets some much needed rest. We're now 35nm from the nearest coast with 46nm left to run.
0500 the boys get to bed, Tony and Karen take over, the engine goes on as the wind has finally deserted us, the sails come down as they make a racket in the Atlantic swell, and the Spanish courtesy flag is run up!
1100 arrive at the Marina Real, La Coruna in the middle of the World Triathlon Championship!