With favourable conditions across the Bay of Biscay, the approach and rounding of Cap Finisterre provided some challenging seas for the fleet, with Maz on Bolero describing their last 24 hours of the journey as ‘quite challenging’.
Sea Crusader, a Discovery 55, was the first to arrive into the Monte Real Club de Yates Bayona just before teatime on Wednesday and so began a busy 36 hours for the Yellow Shirt team as the remainder of the fleet sailed in from the squally conditions along the coast of Galicia.
Blonde Moment the Halberg Rassy 48 and Grey Goose a Hanse 548 were next as darkness fell, finding that the natural protection provided by the marina provided a welcome relief from the weather outside the bay.
By dawn eight of the fleet were safely moored up and with the weather improving the remainder were able to speed up leaving only Katy the Westerly Konsort to arrive just before 10:00hrs on Friday morning. The smallest boat in the fleet, the doublehanded crew were greeted on the pontoon with huge applause from their fellow participants.
‘I absolutely loved it’ were Gary’s first words to the assembled crowd. Travelling slower than the fleet meant Gary and Larry onboard the 29' Westerly not only benefitted from the favourable wind crossing the Bay of Biscay, but then missed all the squalls along the coast to Bayona, arriving into the marina in glorious sunshine.
They also arrived just in time to join the rest of the non-Schengen passport holders, most of the fleet from the UK, on a bus journey to visit the Frontier Police in the local port of Vigo. A necessity brought about by the changes in the Spanish immigration protocol following Brexit.
With all the Mayflower Marina departures now safely moored up and the fleet bolstered by four of the five boats joining the Rally here in Bayona, the participants gathered on the Yacht Club terrace for Welcome Drinks. This was followed by a short walk into town to the Crew Dinner venue. Held in Recuncho Marineiro, the fleet filled the top floor of the restaurant and enjoyed a four course meal of local meat and fish, taking the opportunity to share tables and exchange stories of the crossing.
The schedule continues with a trip to Santiago de Compostela and a guided tour of this historic city. Sunday sees a formal rally dinner and Prize Giving in Yacht Club and on Monday, one of the best reviewed trips on the ARC Portugal itinerary takes place to the Molinos de Folon watermills followed by a delightful Galician lunch at a hillside restaurant. It’s an ideal opportunity for crews to enjoy some down time on land before they set sail to the next port of call in Povoa da Varzim on Tuesday.