Bolero - The final leg!
The time had come for the final leg of Rally Portugal to Lagos.We were up with the sparrows and left our berth at 6:00am, we raised the main and unfurled the genoa.This was to be a leg with the start time of the boats logged as the crossed the start and the finish lines.We drifted in the zephyrs over the start line.Lack of wind and distance were a challenge.The entrance to the marina in Lagos is behind a bridge, the final raising of the bridge is a 21:50.After 30 minutes of slowly gliding through the water at 2.5 knots, our ETA at Cape St Vincent was 23:59….. with a further 20 miles to go.Nick asked if we wanted to get there, or carry on sailing.It was time to switch on the engine!The VHF sprung to life with questions about Bolero’s sail plan as she was going so well……. others commented. read more...
Bolero - Sines
The spinnaker was brought up on deck the night before departure in preparation for a down wind leg the next morning……….. well that was the plan, the elements had different intentions.We left the the marina for the 10am start.The current was pretty strong as we left the shelter of the harbour wall and some boats found themselves on the wrong side of the line.The start horn blasted and we were off …….. beating to windward.No one minded the up wind sailing as the sun was shining and it was beautifully warm. Every inch of flesh had been slathered in sun screen as we thought it was going to be a real scorcher.So that’s two assumptions incorrect!As we made our way along the coast, a haze developed which transformed into low cloud and we were looking at the many shades of grey from the paint. read more...
Blonde Moment - Blog 11 Sines
A dull morning in Sines but warm.The crews all assembled at the castle high above the marina and sandy beach.The Portugese explorer and navigator Vasco da Gama was born here in 1469 and an excavation at the castle has unearthed coins, pottery and even Roman artefacts.We were given a tour of the castle and museum and then treated to a delicous spead of tarts, quiches, salads and fruit with cake.A real treat.The sun came out in the afternoon as we were all preparing for tomorrow's final leg and a really long one round Cape St Vincent to the Algarve and Lagos.. read more...
Blonde Moment - Blog 10 Nazare to Oeiras
The wind and sea conditions meant that the fleet were given the choice of sailing on to Oeiras on the Thursday or Friday.Seven boats left on the Thursday but we were enjoying Nazare so much, we decided to stay the extra day.A walk along the red flagged beach with huge dumping waves in lovely warm sunshine was just what we needed.The sail to Oeiras on Friday 1st July started slowly but the wind gradually kicked in and we enjoyed a great downwind sail until the headland......an acceleration zone exists there and the wind went very rapidly from 10 to 16 to 34 knots needing 3 reefs in the main and the headsail reduced to a postage stamp.Very exciting sailing!A maximum speed of 10.8 knots was recorded........Oeiras gave crews the opportunity to hop on a train to visit Lisbon, Cascais or. read more...
Blonde Moment - Blog 9 Figuero da Foz to Nazare
`Having recovered from the long sail and a very late night celebrating over sardines......it was also our wedding anniversary.... Paul and I decided to skip the tour of Coimbra as we had both been before.BM was given a thorough bubbles wash down outside and a good dust and polish inside whilst the washing machine did endless loads.Sometimes on these rallies you just need a day to catch up with yourself.We popped over to the market opposite the marina and bought half a kilo of fresh prawns and some lovely bread and thoroughly enjoyed our lunch in between jobs.There is also a walk along the beach which is worthwhile.Monday 27th there was a coach trip to the top of the hills behind Figuera with a stunning view along the coast.We also visited the museum with lots of modern art and finally. read more...
Bolero - Sunshine!
Saturday dawned with a cloudless blue sky, we were up bright and early for our 0800 start.We rigged the spinnaker and left the marina.The engine was stopped and the spinnaker hoisted.We drifted across the start line a few minutes after the starting horn well behind most of the other 10 starters who had decided to motor in the sporadic zephyrs.The wind played games with us, we raised and lowered the spinnaker pole, eased it forward and brought it back, raised it again…… these fun and games went on for a while….. the first cup of coffee didn’t help matters, but second an hour later with a piece of yoghurt cake seemed to do the trick and the wind filled in and Bolero lifted her skirts and slowly took off.We had a lovely sail along the Portuguese coast gradually catching up with the fleet.As. read more...
Arkyla - The dolphins are back!
Kite Runner - Looking out for where the best breeze is
Kite Runner - Sunset over Porto
Kite Runner - Getting hammers at São João
Kite Runner - Sea Horse and Kite Runner enjoying the São João festivities in Porto
Kite Runner - Port cellar tour
Kite Runner - Crew photo overlooking Porto
Kite Runner - Walk to crew dinner on arrival at Povoa de Varzim
Kite Runner - Crew in race mode
Bolero - Festivals two ways!
Wednesday, our departure day from Bayona dawned as seems customary for the ARC Portugal rally with rain.However, by the time we had slipped our lines, the decks were beginning to dry and the sun was attempting to break through the clouds and blue sky was making the odd appearance. The whole fleet crossed the start line under engine at 10.30.We switched off the engine after 55 minutes and hoisted our asymmetric cruising chute.The winds were light and the sail wasn’t happy until the wind ghosted above 12 knots.There were no complaints from the crew as the layers were gradually shed and we were sailing in shorts and tee shirts in proper sunshine!We gybed twice on our way south, firstly by snuffing the sail into the squeezer and then passing it forward of the forestay and then raising the. read more...
Arkyla - Broad reaching past Porto
Arkyla - Free Spirit wave riding
Arkyla - Falcon - Blue Water Runner
Arkyla - Brizo disappearing act
Blonde Moment - Blog 8 Povoa to Figuero de Foz
And now we are two........ (Roy flew home from Porto).Another windless start line which most boats motored over as this is one of the longest legs - 74 nm.We really needed to keep an average speed of 6 knots in order to reach Figuero before the 9pm cut off and start of the sardine bbq.Two hours of motoring and the wind began to fill in so we started with main and poled out headsail; quickly this set up was changed for the blue water runner - lasted only half and hour before the skipper wanted the Code Zero out.........you get the idea!Five sail changes; rapidly increasing winds and changing angles and eleven and a half hours later we reached our destination with time for a quick shower and up to the the clubhouse for our sardines - tasted great!. read more...
Blonde Moment - Blog 7 Baiona to Povoa de Varzim
Beautiful sunny day but very little wind at the start line, which every boat took under engine.However, having motored straight out for 30 minutes the skipper decided we would cut the engine and try sailing under Code Zero, but only after the crew had finished their coffee!This was ok but only until we changed course when the wind angle no longer suited the huge sail so this was dropped and Paul and Roy rigged the blue water runner - only its second outing!The blue water runner is a great downwind sail and allowed us to follow the rhumbline whereas the Code Zero meant we had to gybe in and out (takes longer).So we were making good speed in the right direction - an enjoyable 10 hour downwind sail.The sailing club of Povoa hosted us for a lovely meal in their clubhouse so everyone could. read more...
Arkyla - 22-24 Jun 22 – Bayona to Povoa de Vazim... feeling 'international'!
Captain’s log: Allegedly “a gentleman never sails to windward” so, with a certificate signed by HM the Queen to testify I was once both officer and said gentle person, I was very pleased with the Rally decision to delay the push south by 24 hours. However, even with the wind blowing from the north, all was not well as, when we fired up the mighty Yanmar to head to Wednesday’s start line, Arkyla’s over-charging issue reared its ugly head again. Trying to keep revs as low as possible so we wouldn’t cook all the electronics, we watched somewhat frustrated as the fleet charged off in the near calm leaving us with a splendid view of a score of sterns departing Bayona! Once out of the Bay however the wind filled a little and we set the twin headsails to head south to Portugal. The. read more...
Arkyla - Arkyla: Castle Island wing-on-wing
Arkyla - Arkyla: Castle Island & crew
Arkyla - Arkyla: Katy under parasail
Arkyla - Arkyla: Katy and Via Mio under cruising chutes
Arkyla - Arkyla: Moonrise mid-Biscay
Bolero - Bayona
A shower and a very welcome sleep were deemed priorities when we were safely moored in the marina of the Monte Real Club de Yates, Bayona followed by a leisurely stroll in late afternoon sunshine around the walls of the peninsular by the Paradore de Baiona.On Friday, Katy, the final boat to arrive moored to a loud cheer from everyone just as we were abut to be taken to Vigo so UK passport holders could be checked in to Spain. Steve stayed in Vigo so he could meet Judith at the airport. Maz, Nick and WIlly returned to the good ship Bolero to give her a clean and wash down. Bolero crew was once again quorate when Steve and Judith arrived. All rally crews enjoyed a sangria on the balcony of the yacht club and then a lovely dinner at a local restaurant. Saturday. read more...
Blonde Moment - Baiona, Spain Blog 6
Baiona - a really welcome and lovely stop-over.Thursday was spent washing the boat down inside and out.Fresh food was bought and enjoyed and each time another Rallyer arrived we downed tools and welcomed them in.Paul and Roy managed to re-hoist our headsail whilst Dee rinsed the salt off it after its unscheduled swim in the Bay of Biscay!Everyone feeling pretty exhausted after the crossing.Friday the last boat arrived and we were all bused to Vigo to have our passports stamped.Laundry was the order of the day but we finished with a Welcome Sangria on the terrace of the prestigious Yacht Club overlooking the bay followed by an enormous feast in a local restaurant.Saturday most crews went to Santiago de Compostela but having been twice before we decided to walk locally and repair bits and. read more...
Arkyla - Arkyla: Dolphin Escorts
Arkyla - 19 June 22 – Normality returns
That’s it… the last of my delivery crew have jumped (been firmly shoved off) ship, and Jenny has successfully navigated all UK airport chaos to join the boat at 0230 this morning.Arkyla has her standard 2-up crew again!Much like the weather, life onboard has also moderated with the return of the feminine touch to the boat; sudden squalls of flatulence, long swells of crude humour, and kidney-killing nights of madness are hopefully now distant storms in our wake!I’ll miss those boys (cantankerous old men) though and send them a massive vote of thanks – it was a real blast, and I couldn’t have made the crossing without them, but it’s definitely time to settle into chill mode!So here we go… we’re looking forward to getting to know all the ARC P crews a bit better now as we head south to the. read more...
Arkyla - Sea Crusader: Plymouth start
Arkyla - Katy, Bolero & Blue Pearl(?): Plymouth start
Arkyla - L'Horizon: Plymouth start
Arkyla - Falcon: Plymouth start
Arkyla - Arkyla's dolphin escort
Arkyla - 12-16 June 22 – Biscay Crossing (is that all you can throw at us Poseidon?)
Sunday morning and my crew is, if not well-oiled, at least sufficiently tarred and feathered!We fire up the iron mainsail and head to the start line with morale at an initial 100%.On the gun, we head for outside the Ushant TSS; somewhat annoyingly the Eddystone is in our way and we are forced to drop east and watch Falcon smugly point higher to the west… but our battle is not yet over with this 2-handed band of blue-hulled pirates!In a few hours the fleet is splitting either ‘inside’ or ‘outside’; we go west tracking Sea Crusader hoping to outwit our nemesis Kite Runner who has stubbornly maintained a mile‘s gap ahead of us all day.By 0400 we are clear of the TSS and heading south.I turn on the engine to charge batteries to be somewhat panicked at the ensuing alarms from chart plotters,. read more...
Falcon - Log Day 4 Emergency Deck Hand
Falcon - Log Day 4 Deck Hand
Blonde Moment - LOG 5 - Arrival
"Let's head South for better, warmer weather" the skipper said during the winter when I mooted another summer cruising in Scotland.As I write there is thunder and lightning; we are in full oilskins; it is black up ahead and although it is warmer, it is also raining!We woke (Wednesday morning) to fog north of Finisterre and very little wind.Gradually it got brighter and enough wind to sail - Happy Days! Then as Roy and I were on watch sailing happily along in 8-10 knots of wind we could see a line across the water.Whilst Roy went to get his waterproofs on it went from 8 to 18 and then 34 knots within seconds and seriously needing to let the mainsail out.and reef......scary!From early afternoon till we got in to Baiona at 10pm (UK time) we had no wind - squalls - too much wind - a happy. read more...
Falcon - Log Day 4
What can I say…it’s not plain sailing!Started the day watching sunrise for an hour with a pod of dolphins and had weather calm enough for showers; all was glorious. Ended the day in multiple gust fronts around the Cape being smacked over again with 25-30 knot winds, pulley breakages on the main, Hydrovane bolts working loose (thanks for the tip to check SV Walkabout!), and to top it off the BWR sail escaping in 25 knots and necessitating an emergency drop on deck in the dark surrounded by fishing boats. A lot for two weary sailors also having to hand steer! And then a weather check to find the rest of the journey is directly upwind and it’ll be raining on arrival. I guess they were really good dolphins though! :-)image3. read more...
Bolero - Rocking, Rolling, Riding
Finisterre lived up to its reputation, and delivered a challenging passage.The last 60 miles into Bayona proved that the game ain’t over until the fat lady sings.We had said how perfect the conditions had been for anyone crossing Biscay………… then things pepped up a bit from 19.30.The wind completely died and we wallowed tacking and gybing on the same heading to find the merest of zephyrs on a perfectly smooth sea.Then, as quickly as it had gone, the wind returned and we were off again in heavy seas.This pattern continued all the way to Bayona.A crash gybe followed by goose winging in 35 knots is not for the faint hearted.The headsail was furled and we charged on under full main at 8 knots….quite quick for 43 year old 19 tons!The wind finally died down and by midnight we were becalmed. read more...
Bolero - Land ho!
We are now flying the Spanish courtesy flag and Q flag and can see the coastline of Spain.We had hoped that sailing in Spanish waters would mean shorts and tee shirts……. Sadly these are hidden under our oilskins at the moment.The frustrations of sailing: a cold damp night with a fading breeze.Yesterday’s sun has been replaced by numerous shades of grey which would put the Farrow and Ball paint chart to shame.The highlight of the night was being joined by a pod of dolphins at 0230.Steve and Maz spent some time overnight trying to work out ship’s time as some of the electronic gadgets were showing UTC and some BST.It took a while to remember that wind up wrist watches gave the correct time!This morning we saw pods of dolphins, a school of whales and two fishing boat and lots of sea mist.We. read more...
Blonde Moment - Day 4
Everyone slept well after the excitement of yesterday.However, as I came on watch at 5am Roy reported the fog was beginning to roll in......radar on and Roy stayed with me for an hour when Paul joined me as two pairs of eyes better than one.We heard the liner "Anthem of the Seas" fog horn two miles away but could see nothing.A minor miracle - the halyard and remains of the shackle have been coaxed down so no need for Paul to go up the mast and we are planning on getting the headsail back up soon. read more...
Arkyla - 11 Jun 22: Ready to go
The time is nearly upon us for the start. Over the last few days skipper James has been eyeing up the weather, racer-boy Rich has been eyeing up the opposition, charmer Mark has been eying up the totty, and motorboater Mike has mostly been eyeing up the chocolate rations! A quiet evening is planned for tonight after yesterday’s day sail around the Hoe and impromptu attempt to drink Jolly Jacks dry after the Rally welcome dinner; we will be as fresh for the Biscay leg as our combined 227 years of creaking bones will allow… James Kenning . read more...