It is done. The first Biscay crossing for everyone of the crew is accomplished. This area is known for bad weather and difficult conditions. Our crossing in a few words below:
Friday, May the 15th
We motored out of Rade de Brest in order to fill our batteries (mains power supply was cut off last night before the departure and the batteries were only half full). It is recommended to make some way west first when leaving Brest and not directly head to La Coruña or the Spanish NW corner for the case the weather deteriorates. Doing so, the chance to keep clear from the continental shelf where huge waves can break in bad conditions is higher if needed.
Leaving Brest and heading into the Bay of Biscay
Enjoying the sunny afternoon
Saturday, May the 16th
The wind backed (turned anticlockwise) in the night and we had to alter our course to S. Although the Bay of Biscay had been very kind to us till now with wind forces not exceeding F4, the old swell running in from the Atlantic was massive and the night was gray and cold as usually with one crew member suffering from sea sickness. Nevertheless, a nice constant breeze F4 had been pushing us all through the night. We passed the continental shelf at about 10:00 MEZ. From now on, it is “blue water sailing”, we have more than 3000m saltwater under the keel. Early in the afternoon the wind died away and we started the engine.
Sunday, May the 17th
Temperature 12°C, humidity 80%, the night was… (I am not going to repeat this…). In the morning a fresh northeasterly breeze started to blow and we hoisted the sails again. The sky was completely covered by clouds and it was drizzling. Many dolphins came along and raced at the bow for a long time. At about 12:00 we saw another sailing yacht in the distance overtaking us. Visibility was poor and the sails of the overtaking yacht could only hardly be made out against the gray sky. It was more “gray” than “blue water sailing” like in the English Channel.
Later in the day the sky cleared and the sun came out. The sea turned deep blue. A northeasterly wind F4 was pushing us towards Spain and Cap Finisterre. We turned on the FM Radio and tuned to Radio 3. Spanish music and the warm afternoon sun laid a holiday atmosphere over the scene. We are almost in Spain.
Monday, May the 18th
The night was clear most of the time with the sky covered in stars but the Biscay couldn’t let us go without giving us an idea of how bad the conditions could be in this area. It was blowing a northeast F5 (only…). The Atlantic swell mixed with the reflected waves in the bay and the wind waves now coming from NE and created a very chaotic sea with waves ranging up to 4 meters. In conditions like these relaxing between the shifts in the night is almost impossible. At about midday Patrick reported “Land in sight!” The landmasses of NW Spain became apparent at the horizon. Because of a near gale warning and the expected bigger swell, we decided not to round Cap Finisterre this night but to make landfall to Camariñas.
Dolphins visited Matilda many times all along the crossing
Our first and only sunset in the Bay of Biscay
Container carrier following the traffic separation scheme
Landfall in Camariñas
Entering Ria de Camariñas
Camariñas harbour – Not really nice but safe