25 Sept 2011

[Captains Blog] Off the north coast of Spain

Heading out towards the Atlantic at the moment with the swell right on the nose. A little bumpy as a result, but we expected that. Winds picked up more than forecast, but without the foresail we can't expect to make many knots into the wind with just the main out. In about 30 miles more, we can bear away and get some advantage for the final two legs of our journey to Bayona. Crew of three today, watch periods are 4 hours on, 8 hours off. I got my 4 hours in first and now have time to do my blog!

Went provisioning for the week yesterday afternoon to the only supermarket in town where we spent €110 of the victualling budget. Loaded up the trolley bag, picked up the 12 1.68litre bottles of water and headed out in the vain hope of finding a taxi to take us back to the marina. Sods Law stirkes again - Taxi? Nix. Nada. Niente. None. So we slogged it the mile or so back to the boat trailing a hundredweight of groceries (breaking the tow handle of Sticky's bag in the process). My arms were a good few inches longer by the time we got back.  However, I had a great shower in the marina last night before heading out into the town for some beers and Tapas in a little street just off the main square.

Talking to a couple in the marina who are keeping their boat there for the winter, I found out that the marina charges in la Coruna are far cheaper thath the UK. Not a bad starting and stopping off point for the season. Worth exploring some more, particularly if Spain drops out of the Eurozone and the pound strengthens against the Peseta. There is an airport 10 minutes away with direct flights to London, or Santander is not that far away with regular ferry links to Plymouth. 

I heard an alarm go off on board at 6:00 local time this morning (5am UK time) and there was no getting back to sleep, so I got up and did the passage plan and pilotage plans for the day's sailing. we are aiming to do 130 miles today and should arrive in Bayona in the morning in Daylight to collect two new crew and then straight out towards The Atlantic (keeping 50 miles offshore at all times) and round cape St Vincent, turning east towards cape Trafalgar and the pillars of Hercules before entering the Mediterranean.

A Spanish naval vessel appeared on our starboard quarter and passed us by in the last few minutes - I looked for it on the chartplotter  to see which one it was, but they don't transmit any AIS signal. Sneaky!

A new issue has cropped up today, we are monitoring the level of water in the bilges, checking every two hours and counting the seconds required to pump out dry. Currently about 10 seconds per pump session. We have had the floor panels up trying to find out where the water ingress comes from, but so far have found nothing obvious. The forestay is wobbling around all over the place and we have put a secondary stay in place in the form of the spinnaker halyard as a precaution. That should get us there in one piece.