The ARC Portugal 2021 flag is now raised and flying high in Monte Real Club de Yates in Baiona, Spain. After what many consider their great crossing of Biscay, the fleet will now spend a few days in the only Spanish stopover of the rally before heading to Portugal.
Arriving ARC Portugal crews have been eager to share their tales from the 550nm passage from Plymouth, with the highlight for many being spotting pilot whales and dolphins coming down, a new experience for most of them as it was their first wildlife encounter during an offshore sail in deep waters. Another highlight has been their atmospheric arrivals as so far their landfalls have been timed with either the sunset or the sunrise, a perfect scenario as an introduction to sunny Spain.
It would have been hard to have a more favourable forecast for the sail and the fleet capitalised on the moderate north and north-westerly winds blowing them to Baiona since setting off from Plymouth Sound last Sunday. Pure Elegance managed to get to Galicia fast enough to make in less than 3 days, arriving in the early hours of Wednesday Morning. Ithaka arrived next, coinciding their landfall to enter with a perfect sunset with enough time to make it for dinner in the joyful town of Baiona. A little friendly competition has also hit the fleet with Gertha V and Oyster Moon jostling all the way down, overtaking one another three times making for an exciting tracker watch. In the end, possibly calling on his experience from many visits to Baiona with previous editions of ARC Portugal, it was Simon Ridley's Gertha V reaching the Monte Real Club de Yates docks first of the pair, but no less celebrations for Julian & Olivia Kesner on Oyster Moon. There are plenty more sailing legs ahead as the rally will proceed down the Portuguese coast.
Khamsin arrived this afternoon, Thursday, to make it 5 out of 6 of the fleet conquering the Bay of Biscay, but there is not too long to wait until the fleet will be complete. This evening, we’ll have the sixth boat arriving, Hanse 388 Free Spirit. Crewed by Jacky & Peter Barnett and their beagle boat dog, we can imagine the excitement to get on land and explore the charming town of Baiona.