What are we doing?

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Plymouth to Bayona (Baiona)

An 8am start was the order of the day. The WCC euphemistically asked us to "give back" to Plymouth with a start in front of the Hoe… what nonsense it is just a photo opportunity for the WCC.

At 9am we were off and just like the start of the Sydney - Hobart race the first target was Rame Head. Sea Crusader was in 3rd or 4th Place at this point with the leading boats evenly matched.

As we got further out the tide was taking us all towards the Eddystone Lighthouse and we had to choose to head up and leave it to port or bare away and sail a little faster but in the wrong direction. Most boats left the Eddystone to starboard, we went to port. for the first 24 hours there was clearly a leading pack and approaching Ushant boats had to choose again to either go outside the shipping lanes or take the short cut go inside, cut the corner and then have to cross the shipping lanes again at the other side. We elected to go outside, this meant no mucking about with ships in the middle of the first night. As we approached it was clear that we were still in third of fourth place. It soon became apparent that those that went outside had a clear advantage with both winds and tides and Sea Crusader took the lead.

Later the wind dropped and we had no choice but to either roll around not making progress or switch the engine on. The forecast for Biscay was good so we wanted to get a move on in case bad weather was to move in. After a few hours the wind filled in and we were sailing again.

As day two progressed the winds became more established behind us and I decided to pole out the genoa which was a brilliant move. With the genoa fixed in position the winds built up and we just went faster and faster. As dusk approached I decided to put the main sail away as if with winds increased it is a difficult sail to furl. This was interesting as we were then able to steer the correct course.

As we sat down for dinner the Atlantic swell together with the building waves caused the boat the surge down waves with the boat barrel rolling from one side to another. It was not frightening or of any concern but it made it a very difficult night to sleep through and meal times were a challenge with all the contents of the cupboard shifting from side to side and making a heck of a racket.

During the night we had experience a maximum wind speed of 25 knots and the boat had hit 10.6 knots woo hoo! Our lead was now firmly established.

It is now Tuesday and as the day progressed the wind lessened and the seas quickly smoothed out. We were having a great sail with periodic visits from dolphins. As night approached the wind disappeared completely and we were forced to motor in smooth seas. I had a wonderful sleep with a full fours hours of undisturbed rest. Linda seems to have been the person best able to sleep on this trip which was fantastic as she has agreed to take the grave yard watch (Midnight to 3am).

I was lucky and took the 21:00-Midnight watch and as we are passing Finisterre a yellow light starts flashing immediatly off my starboard bow, I have been told that fishing boats sometimes show these lights (they are not correct lights according to the COLREGS), it is not showing its position on AIS so I can't tell how far away it is. Then I get a small radar signal and it starts moving directly across my path. I made a 90 degree turn to the west only for the vessel (Showing no other lights except this yellow flashing light) to turn with me and parallel to my direction. I continued until it stopped and then I was able to turn South and continue my journey. Nigel thinks the fisherman was layout out a ring net or it could have been protecting an already laid net.

In the morning I managed to get a mobile signal and I looked on AIS and wow we are miles ahead. We continued to sail for as much as we could but the winds went light and from lots of different directions in the end on went the motor. We arrived at just after 4pm, 79 hours from Plymouth. We are at least 5 hours ahead of the next boat.

After we were tied up we went below for a cup of tea whilst in the calm, it is strange after rocking for three days how the body appreciates the stillness of a dock… Within 20 seconds of Linda serving a squall of at least 40knts came through the port which had as scurrying for additional lines. Needless to say the tea got cold and went down the sink.

We made it a Biscay Crossing under sail, it feels like a milestone.

  • Last minute washing - getting ready for the start
  • The start
  • More ready for the start
  • Boats passing The Eddystone Lighthouse
  • Keeping the log
  • Not my favourite motion!
  • Rocking and rolling
  • Things have clamed down now
  • Bliss
  • Lunch time at sea- Linda pouts on a spread!
  • Relaxing
  • Spain



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