Welcome back Boatbloggers,
Thank you for all your comments and likes from our last blog, though first of all I would like to put an end to the rumour started by someone who shall remain nameless (but his name rhymes with “Wave,” and he looks a bit like me) that the damage to the halyard sheave was somehow connected to my first visit to the top of the mast. I know that in the past my DIY attempts have not always been entirely successful, but this this time the damage was entirely coincidental
And particular thanks to Chris from Universal (www.universalyachting.com) who has put up a link with photos of us racing down the Solent.
…but if you can’t get to that, here’s a couple of them to give you an idea…
So, a lot has happened since we last blogged, waiting it out in Camaret-Sur-Mer for the weather to improve.
Our last night there was interrupted by the French RNLI, coastguard, ambulances and gendarmes all charging up and down the marina. It seems that the skipper of one of the British boats moored alongside us had been out drinking with his friend. On the way back, the friend fell asleep on the pontoon and couldn’t be roused, so the skipper went off to find someone to help carry him back to the boat. When he returned with the rest of the crew, the unconscious man was nowhere to be seen. Fearing the worst he ran back to his boat, and desperate to save his friend used the boat’s loud hailer to wake everyone up, shouting, “Man Overboard! Man Overboard!” at full volume. Not wanting to leave any stone unturned, he sent out a Mayday call to the French Coastguard on the VHF. Soon the whole marina was awake, and with the coastguard’s RIB’s, they scoured the midnight waters for sight of the drowning man. Alas, there was no sight of him, and after an hour or so hopes were beginning to fade.
Fortunately however, it turned out the man had woken up, and gone back to the bar for a few more drinks. He was later found unconscious outside the lavatories.
It makes you proud to be British.
But the next morning, the weather was fine, the forecast was good and so we decided to set sail across the Bay of Biscay for A Coruna on the North West coast of Spain. At a little less than 400 miles it would take about three days to cross and was our longest voyage to date. We filled up to the gunnels with provisions, fuel and water and cast off mid-morning on Sunday.
We were soon out of sight of land, and as the sun went down we were surrounded by a school of dolphins. (is that the right collective noun? Or is it a pod of dolphins? There were so many it should be called a swarm. A swarm of dolphins. Anyway, there were loads of them.) We tried to get some photos, but dolphins are very quick, and all we managed to get was lots of pictures of the splashes that they make just after they’ve jumped.
Here is a small selection…
SIX DOLPHINS JUMPING TOGETHER
So we gave up with the photos and here is a video
We certainly eat fantastically well. Lyn is in charge of provisioning and if we’re honest, she cooks better at sea. Even in a Force 6, we were getting Chicken au vin blanc with mash lyonaise.
CHEF DE LA MER
And we did see some pretty strong winds. Up to Force 7 one night, which is officially a “Near Gale.” Clive, using official Yachtmaster terminology called it “..a bit of a hooley.”
But we got through it all, and eventually caught our first sight of Spain.
According to Clive, it’s a naval tradition that the first person to shout, “Land Ahoy!” buys all the drinks. He didn’t tell me that till after I’d said it.
We arrived in A Coruna late on Tuesday, and were staggered to find that the lady who came out to help us tie up was a friend of my brother ,Dave. Julie Skentelbery was on her way back to Falmouth with her husband Andy in their yacht Blue Iguana. Andy built his yacht from scratch, actually starting with a tree, which to someone like me who wants a round of applause if I wire up a plug without blowing something up, is an incredible achievement. He’s rather dismissive of boats made of fibreglass, describing our pride and joy as a “plant pot.”
ANDY & JULIE IN FRONT OF THEIR HAND-BUILT BOAT
We bid adios to Clive who was off to Liverpool to deliver another boat somewhere else. Such is the lot of the professional sailor. And spent a fun few days mooching about.
A CORONA IN A CORUNA – Drinks with our boat neighbours Peter & Nicki on Melisande.
Though it wasn’t all fun and games. Someone needed some music writing for a TV ad…
ANOTHER HARD DAY AT THE OFFICE
By the weekend, a weather window opened up for us to round Cape Finisterre, another notorious bit of sea, certain to strike fear into the hearts of the stoutest of mariners. Not quite Cape Horn, but enough for us. Early Saturday morning we set off, once more bound for Baiona.
It was a quick run down. We even managed to get out our spinnaker pole, which to the experienced sailors among you will not sound like too much of a big deal. But it took us an hour and a half. But we got there in the end, and were soon racing past other boats that didn’t have one, with their miserable jibs flogging uselessly in the lee of their mains’ls. (Notice how good we’re getting with the jargon.)
POLED OUT HEADSAIL
You see some great sunsets on a boat…
But as usual, just when you think it’s all going to plan….
The wind was starting to build, so we furled the jib and turned to port so we could head back into wind to put a reef in the main.
Which was when the lazyjacks broke.
Now for those of you that only know port as a type of fortified wine, the lazyjacks are the bits of rope that hold up the sail bag which the main sail drops into when you drop it down. What this meant was that when we lowered the sail it didn’t go into the bag, which was now only half hanging on, but went all over the deck. Bouncing around, heading to windward in what were now pretty strong winds, with a bloody big sail flapping about all over the place it took an age to get it all back into the bag. But somehow we managed it, and were able to carry on just with the jib.
And at last we arrived in Baiona, a week later than planned. Which in sailing, is ahead of schedule.
Adios for now
Ju & Lyn
NEXT STOP – PORTUGAL