It felt like we had been in the British Isles forever. In fact it was just 10 weeks. The last 6 weeks had been lived a day or two at a time, trying to organize relatively modest boat repairs. But it was holiday season and holidaymaker season, so things took time. We seemed to always be a week from leaving. One item would have a delay of a day or two, then another, then we found something extra that needed to be done, and it all added up. The end result has been worth it. I just wish we’d known in advance it was going to be 6 weeks – we could have spent more time visiting friends in the UK.
We’re now on passage from Pwllheli to northern Spain, ideally Vigo. I’m writing this close to Ouessant (France), in very calm seas, motoring with 4kts of wind. We’re having a Biscay crossing that is the polar opposite of the “horror story” reputation Biscay has. Since leaving Pwllheli we’ve had a mix of headwinds, fairwinds and calms going south along the Irish Sea, and anchored at Dale (near Milford Haven) for 36 hours to see out some stronger unfavourable winds. Since then it’s been a straightforward trip around Land’s End and across the channel in fog, and now we’re heading as far east as we can to get the best angle on the ESE winds that are expected to start tomorrow morning and take us to the NW corner of Spain in about 2 days of hopefully lovely sailing. The weather after that is less co-operative, so we still don’t know where we will make landfall.
The night watches are getting warmer as we head south. Sailing in the UK at night it was full foul weather gear, thermal gloves, neck gaiter, several layers of fleece, a warm hat, and sometimes thermal sailing boots. Now in mid Biscay it’s jeans, deck shoes, one fleece, a warm hat, and just the top of the foul weather gear to protect against the wind. The air, although not yet describable as warm at night, is definitely more friendly against my face than it was just a few nights ago.
What a passage this has been. The last two days really have been perfect sailing – a beam reach in bright sunshine with the wind exactly in Otra Vida’s sweet spot of 12-18kts. And it’s warmer. Day watches are now just a t-shirt, and night watches need only a fleece and no outer jacket. We’re in the south again!