Oct 30, 2013

We finally rounded the Cape Finisterre


N 42° 7.154', W 8° 50.682'

I don't think I have to find a roller coaster for a while, we just had our own for about 24 hours. We did not do a loop upside down, but I think everything else was there...

So, we ended up spending 18 days in La Coruña. It was a very nice city, but we are still very anxious to go on, so it was kind of a pain to be stuck there.

A kind of good weather window opened up for us yesterday morning. The strong winds were gone, but so were the winds all together. We motored almost all the way to Baiona, 122 nautical miles.

A couple of days ago a very big storm hit Europe. We didn't get the winds, but we got the waves. The day before we left the waves were 6 meters. The morning we left they were 4 meters. And yes, 4 meters does not sound much, but they were STEEP, something I've never experienced before.

Life on board was quite unpleasant, but we are happy we made it. Now we rounded the tip of Spain and are one step further down south. There was no telling when the next and maybe better window was going to open so just had to go. And we were not the only ones. There were at least 7 boats that left the same morning than we did. Some have waited for the weather window for 3 weeks.

I think the surfers have enjoyed these waves along the coast for a couple of days.

Oct 25, 2013

Stuck in La Coruña

N 43° 22.055', W 8° 23.148'

When we first arrived to La Coruña our plan was to stay here for a few days and then continue down the coast.

Well, that was two weeks ago. It's not that we are not eager to go on, but because of the constant low pressures that keep hitting the Cape Finisterre. Every morning we download the grib-files and every other morning we say "Hey, after two days there could be a weather window for us". And by the next morning it has closed down. 

But I don't want to complain too much. We are already in Spain. Our friends in Finland have hauled up their boats and are scraping the ice of the car windows in the morning. We can still go out wearing t-shirts. 

Now it looks like we might be leaving on Tuesday, but we'll see...

And looks like we are not the only ones to wait for the wind to be more favorable. If you go to Mini Transat 2013, you see that they were supposed to start on the 13th, and they are still postponing the start.

Oct 12, 2013

Bay of Biscay


I've heard so many stories about the Bay of Biscay. Usually they consist of strong winds and monster waves. We didn't meet either of these.

We believe that the main reason was our lack of schedule. We can wait for the good weather prognosis (and then hope for it to be accurate).

We were not alone with our plans, since quite a few other boats left Brest the same day. 

Swedish "Rose" leaving Brest

All the boats that we new that headed for the Biscay left during the day. We waited for the evening and high water so we had the advantage of the tidal current to begin with.

The first night and day we saw some fishing boats and other sailing boats. We also saw some dolphins, I just love to watch those creatures to swim around us.

The second night was pitch black and all we saw was stars. There weren't even any AIS targets on the chart plotter. Just for the reference, when we passed Rotterdam there were 421 AIS targets on our system.

On the North Sea and English Channel we also got quite use to the constant voices on VHF. Now there was no sounds for over 24 hours. It's easier to sleep when it's quite, but there's also sometimes funny things on the air. Like in the English channel when there were "securite" messages warning the traffic about cross channel swimmers. There were three swimmers at the time we were there.

On the Third night we got some AIS targets again, Spanish fishing boats, passenger ship and some cargo ships.

Most of the way we were only using our main sail. For the first day it was hoisted all the way, the second day we had one reef and the third day we had it down to two reefs. In the end we opened our head sail a bit (while the main was still reefed).

Crossing the Bay of Biscay took us 69 hours for the 357 NM.