Already gone for 10 days

I am a bad guy.

I promised English articles and we have been already gone for10 days and nothing published yet.

Actually the original intention was to translate one and every articles published (by Anne) in French but I couldn’t find the time to do it over the past days.

I hear you saying: “ you lazy boy! You’re on holidays and nearly retired and you have no time! That’s bull s…!

Actually it’s not. Let me explain. My wife Anne and myself we are both co-skipper of the boat but then we have also our own area of responsibility. She does the helm, she is the finance, admin and supply manager (that’s including fishing :)) and moreover the media (wo)man or onboard reporter whereas I am the trimmer, the bow man, the navigator and the chief engineer (the benefit being skipper even co- is that you can promote yourself easily). When we left Les Sable d’Olonne, the boat was technically ready in that sense that we had completed our turn around and the todo list was all ticked off But obviously with so many new systems onboard it was a fair bit of commissioning, calibration and tuning to do. Hence the chief engineer was very busy until now when we can relax and enjoy the weekend in Cascais.

Anyway here is the account of our first 10 days.

We left les Sables d’Olonne on July 11

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We took a night rest at l’île d’Yeu before the first jump: Biscaye. We left on 12/7 at 14:30. Crossing was very smooth one of the most relaxing ever. North eathterly wind 8 to 10 knots. We were dead down wind with our sails in butterfly most of the time. We even had the spinaker up for some hours but the sea was a bit choppy (no big swell or anything just kind of disorganized) and we had to sail at 160° from the wind and the speed gain was not compensating for the extra distance (bad VMG) so we went back to our butterfly.

Right in the middle of the gulf where the water is at is deepest (like -4000m or something) we were met by a very large fleet of spanish fishing boats hunting for tunas. They were more than 50. Must have been some tunas around. We put our tuna line in the water with the nice lure fabricated by Martin with special Borlink materials and trailed it for a good part of the day without catching anything. We finally pull it completely up and realized that the lure was gone probably between the teeth of a very big one. Sad because it was a gift! To make up for it, we put another one on immediately (some kind of plastic squid) and 10′ later we had our first tuna. A beautiful one of 4 kg. (when I say we here, I mean Anne: I was just watching :)) Getting it on board was a bloody business (literally: my hook catched it in the belly…). This was the first large fish we ever catched so we were really happy and proud!

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About 40 hours after our departure from l’île d’Yeu, we were in front of the cape Ortegal but we never saw it: it was surrounded by low clouds and mist. Also the temperature change was amazing during the past 2 days we had nice warm weather 20°C to 26°C and the sea water was also warm  on the surface (23°) but there at 20 miles from the coast it was 18°C both air and water. The wind was completely gone too.

We reach Cedeira and we moored in the bay at 23:30 on 14/7 (our French national day!). We have been there many times and we love it. First of all it’s a very easy to access and well sheltered mooring (360° wind and sea protection). The landscape is gorgeous with the Eucalyptus forest going from the surrounding mountains right into the sea. And the old village is very typical and beautyfull.

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In the morning we inflate the kayak to go ashore. We come back with Galicia’s specialties: Empanada de Bacalau and Tarta de Santiago, just to make sure we are really there.

The next day (16/7) we leave to Camariñas clause hauled in 10 knots southerly wind and cloudy sky. We use the opportunity to have to tack several times to finish the calibration of the wind instruments. As we reach the Islas Sisargas the wind change again and we hoist the genaker.Unfortunately not for very long the mist is coming again and the wind die on us and we have to put the engine on to reach our destination around midnight . We drop the anchor in the north east angle of the bay and settle for dinner under our dog house. That’s when they start the firework in the fishing harbour. Camariñas is a small place lost on the wild Galician coast but the firework was a huge magnificent one. Once the last rocket is fired the music starts (although we are about 2 miles upwind, we hear it lound and clear) It will go till 6 AM.

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We spent the day (17/7) at the small marina (the cheapest and friendliest on the west coast of Spain). A bit of grocery shopping, laundry washing and a walk in the forest along the coast in the afternoon. We leave the marina at 20:00 to return to the mooring. The “Fiesta” is resuming and it is really too noisy to stay.

18/7: cloudy and cold weather again. No problem we are going south. The “Portugese trade winds” are not properly established yet. We have a northerly but only 12 knots which go down to 8 once we have passed the famous Cape Finisterre. We have the spinaker up but the wind is giving up on us when we pass by the island of Salvora (Ria d’Arosa). We decide to stop for the night at San Vincente de Grove.

19/7 Lazy morning, swimmming (water temp almost 20°c) showering and breakfast. It is already 10:30 when I check my mail and surprise: there is a message from our friends Fanny and Alain. They were staying in O Grove 1km away with their mobilehome (camping car in French) and they saw us coming on Marine Traffic. They came to the beach and tried to contact us… we call them back and go ashore to have a coffee with them ato share our adventures since we last met… this was a very nice moment. By 13:00 we leave them and get ready to go. We are not sure to where, though, because the sky is still mostly grey and the wind almost non existent. Anyway, we start going between the islands (Ons and Cies) and the continent with Bayona as a possible stop over. The islands are beautifull and to make it even better, the sun is starting to shine.

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I download a grib. The Portugese trade wind should be finally establishing. We decide to go directly to Cascais. A quick routeing gives us an ETA around 4 AM on Saturday: on time for grocery shopping. The wind finally pickup in the evening, about 15 knots and obviously we are again dead down wind in our favorite butterfly configuration. It will reach up to 27 knots in the middle of the night. The sea is again completely disorganized with very steep and short waves. It is a bit scarry with the full main. We decide to reef and experiment the downwind reefing technique (without altering the course or the sheeting). It works really well: you just have to coordinate very well the halyard and the reef line. With this we still go at more than 8 knots.

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21/7 01:30 AM we drop our achor in front of Cascais beach. We get some sleep and in the morning we go to the marina. Our nephew Adrien and his family on holidays in Nazaré came to visit us. We had a wonderfull lunch with them and he drove us to the “Jumbo” supermarket for grocery shopping in the afternoon.

Cascais is a lovely resort a short train trip from Lisbon, most of the villas have been build in the beginning of the century by the Lisbon establishment and the city as kept the atmosphere.

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22/07 the morning is spent cleaning and washing for Anne and checking all critical equipment for me. In the afternoon we go back to the outside mooring to get ready to leave tomorrow (probably for Madeira).

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This is it for now.

Cheers!

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