I met Ray through the inappropriately named ‘Cruising Association’. He was looking for crew to help him sail ‘Wyvern’ around Britain. Unfortunately I couldn’t make that trip due to other sailing commitments, but this was a nice little over-nighter on the east coast of the UK. Very beautiful.
Strange, isn’t it? We spend all that time in Portugal, Spain and France and the weather was not being very nice to us, then as we enter the English Channel the sun comes out and we’re spending out last days on the boat in glorious weather! As Lee scrabbles to complete his sextant readings we approach the River Dart and head into Dartmouth, one of the most beautiful entrances to a port I’ve yet to experience. Poetic.
I enjoyed a fantastic night watch with the moon playing hide and seek behind storm clouds and when I awoke next morning the wind had finally come round. Not quite the south westerlies as predicted but a marked improvement and the sea state dropped back to moderate, thank god. Jezabel just wasn’t pulling in the results, so I tried the paravane with 4m of trace and the thing shot down into the water pulling what must have been its maximum poundage. I decided to pull it straight back in as we were sailing at over 7 knots.
It was a nasty rainy day and still too rough to leave so the skipper, Lee and I decided to visit Vigo, having been inspired by the local TV station, Vigo TV, which broadcasts sitcoms worse than Crossroads and quizshows with t!ts.
The skipper had pointed out that there was a window of good weather so the possibility of leaving this evening was a real one. The Germans in the wooden ketch next to us obviously thought so and left Bayona at lunch. It wasn’t until we checked the weather that evening that that window of opportunity had turned foul. As dark clouds drew in and the boat bobbed around the forecast was predicting winds of up to 100km! Just as well we didn’t go out when we were planning to as the sh!t really hit the fan. But what of those Germans?
The views of the Portuguese coast were unusually clear. The west coast is notorious for poor visibility and fog. The last few miles, however, were spent with the wind on the nose in a force 5-6, with the bow jumping around and watches spent concentrating on avoiding lobster pots. We approached Bayona on the Spanish border late at night. As soon as we hit the port Lee and I spent half an hour tracking down cigarettes and beer…
It was a beautiful day but there was a strong cold wind, unfortunately coming from the wrong direction so we motor sailed up the west coast past Lisboa, Cascais, Sintra etc. The wind was a light northerly, on the nose, making the passage mildly uncomfortable, so to cheer myself up I christened Harold and cast him over the transom. At the time of writing he hadn’t caught anything yet but I had high hopes for this baby. He looked like a killer!