ARC Portugal crews have been enjoying a well-earned reward after their Biscay crossing with an exciting time exploring Galicia. On Monday, crews headed to the world-famous pilgrimage site of Santiago de Compostela. Our guide Patricia was excellent showing participants around the town providing them a running commentary as they ambled the picturesque streets of Santiago.
Santiago de Compostela is the capital of the green and wooded region of Galicia in Northern Spain. It was originally a stopping point on a Roman road, but the discovery of the Apostle James’ tomb at the beginning of the 9th century gave rise to a place of worship in this corner of the Iberian Peninsula, which was then dominated by the Moors.
From then on all of Europe started walking towards Santiago, a holy city of Christendom, where absolution awaited them. Known as the Camino de Santiago (Way of Saint James), thousands of Pilgrims walk to Santiago (some ride on their bicycles or horses) every year. The main square in front of the Cathedral was awash with all nationalities having just arrived in this holy place after weeks of walking, many being greeted by their families who have come to meet them. UNESCO now considers Santiago de Compostela a World Heritage Site.
On return from the tour crews gathered on the green of the Monte Real Club de Yates for a brief ceremony to recognise their achievements crossing Biscay. Enjoying a glass or two of local Galician wine bottled especially for the MRCYB, Andrew Bishop welcomed participants and announced that as all yachts had made landfall in alternative ports, or arrived in Bayona after the time limit, no official results would be calculated for Leg 1 and instead prizes would focus on other achievements for the leg. Smiley Miley for Plymouth to Cowes and the first non-stop arrival was awarded to Diablito, and Zafiro guessed closest to Rally Control’s travel distance from Porto to Bayona (via Povoa and Vigo!) Agape were recognised as the boat who visited most ports on their way to Bayona, stopping en route at Camarinas and Muros. Holger and Simone on Tohuwabahu guessed closest to their actual arrival time in the ETA competition, and the most miles sailed by boat that didn’t stop was awarded to Aurora who joined the rally in Bayona. There was a special mention and huge round of applause for the skippers and crews of the yachts who remained at sea during storm Miguel gathered on stage to cheers from their fellow crews.
Following the awards, Andrew also recognised the special association that the rally has with the Monte Real Club de Yates where the rally has visited on each one of its 25 years. He invited Oscar, the General Manager of the club, to say a few words to this year’s fleet and presented a plaque in recognition of the long association as a token of thanks.
Tuesday, the final day in Spain for the rally, saw some crews check off the jobs list in port whilst a group of 16 participants headed to stretch their land-legs in the Galician countryside. The first stop took them to Monte Santa Tegra with stunning views of the River Mino. The second stop saw crews arrive at the Mulinos do Folon – a series of watermills located up the hillside. Following a demonstration of the mill, a short hike up the hill was absolutely stunning with amazing views and perfect weather. Climbing amongst the waterfalls and traditional watermills from the 15th and 16th century provided a bit of exercise away from the marina. At the top of the mountain they all had lunch at a charming restaurant where they enjoyed “the best meal I have ever had in Spain”. Crews will be sad to wave goodbye to beautiful Galicia, as they depart for Leg Two to Povoa de Varzim.