Crossing the Bay of Biscay, again

Crossing the Bay of Biscay, again

28. August 2020 Off By June

We stayed in Brest for more than a week, and even though we were in good company, we really  wanted to move on and cross the Bay of Biscay. First we had to install the autopilot as this would make it possible not to have a person at the helm all the time, but in certain periods just do a thorough lookout.

Weather models for the next four days are studiet with great seriousness

Friday evening on the 21st of August we had a weather-meeting with the crew on Papaya and Idefix, two Danish boats whose company we have enjoyed in Brest. The weather window was quite narrow if sailing off Saturday evening. We wanted the swell from the heavy winds of the last few days to calm down a bit, so this was why we didn’t want to sail off during the morning. At the same time we could see that a new low pressure would mean more heavy winds by the Spanish coast Tuesday morning, so we would have to push it if we should avoid it. Saturday at noon we decided to leave at 6 pm as planned. We would start with current and wind against us, but this would become better as the wind should calm down, and the current turn in our favor. It also meant, that the auto pilot installation would be finished.

It was a tough start on the Biscay, all 3 boats made some sacrifices to Neptune. When we talked on the VHF Sunday morning everyone was tired, it had been very difficult to get any sleep. But the rough night had the most beautiful starry sky. The Milky Way was clear and there was so many bright stars that we had a hard time finding the constellations, and lots of shooting stars.

Sunday the weather got better, dolphins came to visit us, and we cheered each other up on the VHF. The wind decreased and we had to start the motor.The night between Sunday and Monday went very well, at 9 pm Laura sent the rest of us to bed, and was supposed to wake June at 11 pm, but she didn’t wake June until 2 am, this gave Søren a long sleep, and he needed it because he had not slept much the night before.

Whales and bread delivered

Monday was windless, the crews sang for each other on the VHF, Papaya baked buns, and sailed up next to us and threw warm buns to us – how often do you get fresh delivery from the bakery on the Bay of Biscay? We made pancakes and got our mandatory half-way-pancakes. We saw dolphins and blows from whales, and suddenly Laura yelled: Whale, and right there, 50 meters from the boat we saw a big whale, it came to the surface twice before it disappeared out in the deep ocean. We don’t know which kind of whale, but it was bigger than our boat. One of our big wishes was to see a whale, and it already came true here in the deep clear waters of the Bay of Biscay.

Plan B

By the end of the day the wind increased, a double up from what the forecast said, and not the direction we expected. We had one more rough night, worse than the first one. The waves hammered and lots of water was thrown at us, we had a hard time avoiding fishing ships, we talked a lot on the VHF that night cheering each other up, Laura and June sang for the other boats. By the end of the night we all agreed to go to plan B, and sail to an anchorage and not sail more than 6 hours against wind and waves to A Coruna. And finally we arrived in Ria de Cedeira in Spain, a nice little bay, after 358 nm, 2 days and 15 hours. If we had waited for better weather for the passage, we would have stayed in Brest for at least one more week. We are happy to be in Spain, and grateful to do the passage with the best buddy boats we could wish for. Tuesday evening we all met at Papaya for debriefing and stories from the trip.

Danish meet-up

Wednesday was windless and we all sailed to A Coruña. The marina in A Coruña has a lot less boats than we have seen before, but we are 6 Danish boats side by side, one boat is sailing to the Mediterranean Sea, two are sailing home and the rest of us are crossing the Atlantic Ocean.It’s impossible to make a proper description of the passage, the camaraderie, the never ending starry sky, the deep clear water, ocean as far as you can see in all directions, exhaustion and overcoming. We are grateful for every part of it.