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Girolle - Days 22, 23, 24 - More soup (pea soup fog) and the final leg
Girolle - Days 22, 23, 24 - More soup (pea soup fog) and the final leg
25/06/2019

Girolle - Days 22, 23, 24 - More soup (pea soup fog) and the final leg

I write today’s blog with a heavy heart as we are in the final hours of our last sail in what has been a month packed with adventure.On Sunday we were awoken by the continual sound of a fog horn and popped our heads out of the cabin to see... not a lot! Our world was suddenly looking wet and very foggy. Rally control delayed our departure, meanwhile we waited, drank coffee and prayed for better weather.It has been a strange month for weather, certainly not the flaming June we expected. Following a skippers’ meeting at midday, Dave decided that we would head for Sines. The forecast was due to improve and we would leave as a group for safety in numbers. The marina at Oieras had reservations to honour so we could not guarantee there would be space for us to stay and if we delayed departure. read more...


Girolle - Day19, 20, 21 - Oeiras
Girolle - Day19, 20, 21 - Oeiras
23/06/2019

Girolle - Day19, 20, 21 - Oeiras

We were fortunate on Thursday in that for the remainder of our trip to Oeiras we had the wind behind us and were finally able to return to ‘proper’ sailing.Half way or so through the journey there was a burst of excitement when 6 naval vessels appeared on the horizon followed by F16 aircraft overhead. We hastily checked all our flags to make sure we were not committing some sort of international sailing faux pas that would lead to our arrest, radio transmissions to other ARC boats indicated that we were on the fringes of a naval exercise.Judging by the aircraft manoeuvres we got the distinct impression we were being watched. The naval vessels drifted away and the rest of the voyage passed without incident, we sailed into Oeiras shortly after 6pm. One of the first crews we came across. read more...


Girolle - Days 18, 19 - Peniche, where’s the wind gone?
Girolle - Days 18, 19 - Peniche, where’s the wind gone?
Girolle - Days 18, 19 - Peniche, where’s the wind gone?
Girolle - Days 18, 19 - Peniche, where’s the wind gone?
20/06/2019

Girolle - Days 18, 19 - Peniche, where’s the wind gone?

We are back at sea for two consecutive days. Yesterday, we set sail from Figueira da Foz to Peniche, a small fishing port some 70NM further South. It rained during the early hours of Wednesday, the day started off cool and with grey skies so we set off wearing full sailing wet weather kit. The weather has been cooler than expected, so much for shorts and t-shirt... I was wearing a down jacket most of the day on Tuesday, not really what I imagined I’d be wearing in Portugal in mid June! Our friend Susie is down in the Algarve this week and assures us better weather is there, we just hope it’s still there when we arrive.An hour or so after setting off, we were joined by Tohuwabohu . Like us, they had decided to start early and set off just after 6 a.m. Some way down the coast there was a. read more...


19/06/2019

Zafiro - Log 6 - Dolphin day today

That’s it then goodbye to Figueira after an extra day due to bad weather.  The Figueira visits were first class especially the one to the university town of Coliseu. Steve from Fair Isle was a very strong contender for one of Mr Bishops prizes for being the only boat to have hoisted all of his flags before the early start to Coliseum.. Howeverthis was quickly undone when he along with the rest of his crew were spotted by him drinking coffee in a quiet back street cafe having slipped away early from the guided tour..! The arrival at Peniche was interesting and a lot of us are rafted up together and we have our own Moody yacht enclave with Casik 3 and Amarone  It was a very early start and some yachts had departed by 06:00. I cannot be completely sure as the light was not very. read more...


Girolle - Days 15, 16, 17 - Figueira da Foz
Girolle - Days 15, 16, 17 - Figueira da Foz
18/06/2019

Girolle - Days 15, 16, 17 - Figueira da Foz

Dear reader, apologies for the lack of blogs for several days, attempting to resume normal service before I end up being sent up the mast as punishment.Believe it or not the Girolle crew were in bed by 10pm Saturday. We had left Povoa just after 6am and were pretty tired after the 12 hour sail. Sunday was spent relaxing. We missed an interesting tour of Coimbra, it’s university and impressive baroque library. We might have been tempted if it were not for the early start (pre 8am) and another long day. Instead, I went to the local market, bought fresh fruit and vegetables.On Rita & Miguel’s (Casik III) recommendation, I also bought some fresh spatchcock chicken. The ‘cooked chicken shop’ is so small I initially walked straight past. The only indication of its presence is the amazing. read more...


Girolle - Day 13 & 14 Porto & beyond
Girolle - Day 13 & 14 Porto & beyond
15/06/2019

Girolle - Day 13 & 14 Porto & beyond

Before I start, I must mention Mike Higginson... Mike, if you are still reading my ramblings, ARC Sarah who does the technical wizardry stuff posting these blogs, showed me your FB comment yesterday. Glad you are enjoying the ramblings, honoured to be known as ‘Soupy Sue’ (I have been called far worse)!Back to the matter in hand. Yesterday, we travelled to Porto where we went on a tuk tuk tour of the beautiful city. It was my third visit to the city and I never tire of its beauty or friendly atmosphere. We were fortunate to have been allocated a young man called Manuel, seemingly the friendliest tuk tuk driver on the planet. So uplifting to come across someone with such zest for life, so smiley and cheerful. His enthusiasm was infectious and being Porto born and bred he seemed to know. read more...


14/06/2019

Casik III - ARC PORTUGAL - Casik III Log - Let the fun begin!

The idea of participating in an Arc Rally has, for a long time, been one of our sailing goals. We have followed other boats adventures, rally experiences, ocean passages, always dreaming that one day, it would be us.Last year we decided to, finally, enter the rally. It was time! We were going to do ARC Portugal 2018!So we got everything ready, but unexpectedly only a few weeks prior to our departure, in late May 2018, Miguel had to be submitted to a hart aneurisma surgery. One of the most vivid memories of this period was being told by the doctor that sailing was completely out of the question for us that year. So we had to postpone our trip one year, starting the counting backwards of the months once again and keeping great faith that in 2019 nothing would stop us!Everything went. read more...


Girolle - Day 12 - Guimaraes and peaches
Girolle - Day 12 - Guimaraes and peaches
13/06/2019

Zafiro - Log 5 - The sun is now getting warmer

I write this while under sail on our next leg down the coast from Bayona to Povao. The sun is out and we are somewhere mid fleet heading south. For the last two hours we have been sailingin close formation with Flight of Time. The two yachts would not separate.  There was a great moment a few minutes ago when two much larger grey dolphins joined us for 10 minutes to play in the bow wave before racing off again. The start today was a very low key affair with little or no wind and most drifted across the start line. Steve from Fair Isle took the opportunity to reassess his eta delayingit by 12 hours before crossing the line to try and win the coveted most accurate arrival time. Instant disqualification I hope. I don’t think Mr Bishop CEO ARC was best pleased with the flippant RT.. read more...


13/06/2019

Girolle - Day 12 - Guimaraes and peaches

Good evening from Povoa de Varzim.We arrived here around 6pm yesterday.After a beautiful sail down from Bayona, getting into the marina was a slightly nerve wracking experience... a relatively short run past the breakwater with barely time to get the headsail down before turning the corner and onto the pontoon. Lines, we need lines out... depth was getting shallow and we had a narrow channel to steer, a strong wind was blowing us towards the pontoon... after a few minutes of frantic activity we were safely moored up, Girolle thankfully unscathed.Wegave her a little reassurance pat and breathed a sigh of relief as the marina procedure had been trickier than what we’ve so far been used to.In the evening all the crews were treated to a hearty meal in the marina club house. Towards the end. read more...


Girolle - Day 11 - Bayona to Povoa de Varzim
Girolle - Day 11 - Bayona to Povoa de Varzim
12/06/2019

Girolle - Day 11 - Bayona to Povoa de Varzim

Greetings from Portuguese waters! After a break of 3 days we are back on the ocean waves. The sea is a lot calmer than what we’ve been used to experiencing over the past 10 days. The sun is shining and we’ve got the spinnaker up. This is the first time since leaving Plymouth that we’ve been able to use the spinnaker. Unfortunately, we haven’t yet managed to fully get to grips with the top down furling system which is most likely due to crew incompetence as opposed to technical issues with the equipment. Every day’s a school day aboard Girolle!Now the boat is sailing at a more comfortable level (i.e. not heeled over) we’vedared to put soup back on the menu. Thankfully no soup incident this time.Now that the music situation is fixed, Dave may have stopped singing but is subjecting Andy and. read more...


Girolle - Lyonie and her crew in A Coruna
Girolle - Lyonie and her crew in A Coruna
Girolle - Photo - Holger & Simone’s arrival in Bayona
Girolle - Photo - Holger & Simone’s arrival in Bayona
Girolle - Days 9 & 10 Santiago
Girolle - Days 9 & 10 Santiago
11/06/2019

Girolle - Days 9 & 10 Santiago

Good afternoon! Pretty windy in Bayona today, though the sun is shining, which apparently cannot be said for soggy Britain. Yesterday Dave and I joined the majority of our fellow ARC Portugal sailors on a coach trip to Santiago de Compostella, destination for several million pilgrims each year who travel the Camino de Santiago, the Saint James pilgrimage route.The purported remains of Saint James are housed in the cathedral. A very knowledgeable local guide took us on a 2 hour tour of the cathedral area, including the square which was packed with scores of pilgrims nursing sore feet, as well as many who had journeyed there on mountain bikes. To complete the pilgrimage on foot takes around 30 days, each day pilgrims collect stamps in a special passport. Just in case you are considering. read more...


Girolle - Photo - Storm clouds and rainbow over the Bay of Biscay
Girolle - Photo - Storm clouds and rainbow over the Bay of Biscay
Girolle - Photo - Sunrise over the Bay of Biscay
Girolle - Photo - Sunrise over the Bay of Biscay
Girolle - Day 7 & 8 - Arrival in Bayona, R&R time
Girolle - Day 7 & 8 - Arrival in Bayona, R&R time
Zafiro - At last....Bayona
Zafiro - At last....Bayona
09/06/2019

Zafiro - Log 4 - “I wasn’t expecting that” - Biscay Crossing

The start of the Rally was a great occasion and lots of fun to be part of as all of the yachts assembled before the start line off Plymouth Hoe. The start looked to go well and a lot of yachts achievedthe line as the signal flag dropped. Once out of Plymouth Sound the weather quickly turned sour as we all tried to make to the west. Winds were not favourable to make it around the shipping lanes at Ushant and Zafirolost a lot of headway during the night with very slow forward progress against the swell and tides. On our boat we all suffered some early sea sickness which hit as soon as we went below. The only solution was to sit up top or lie horizontally in the cabin..!! The gourmet food idea of sitting on deck in the sun soon went out of the window and the reality was water and Digestive. read more...


09/06/2019

Girolle - Day 7 & 8 - Arrival in Bayona, R&R time

Second ‘Hoorah, we’ve made it’; this time to our official stop off in Bayona.You may be tiring of dolphins by now but I feel I should mention the most amazing experience we had during the early hours of Saturday. As I stumbled bleary eyed into the cockpit for my watch at 3am, Dave beckoned me over with excitement and said “look over here, look for the white streaks in the water” Initially I saw nothing and couldn’t work out what I should be looking for. Then suddenly, what looked like a white streak of paint appeared beside the boat... the dolphins were back!Sometimes four streaks would appear at once, all merging towards each other. Looking behind the boat I could see several white streaks approaching. The water was reasonably translucent and occasionally I could make out the shape of a. read more...


Girolle - Day 6 - Update
Girolle - Day 6 - Update
Girolle - Day 6 - back on the high seas
Girolle - Day 6 - back on the high seas
07/06/2019

Girolle - Day 6 - back on the high seas

After over 24 hours of sheltering from Storm Miguel in La Coruna we are back sailing on course for Bayona. We are heading right into 15-17 knots of wind, the wind direction should be more favourable once we start turning the corner of northern Spain and head South down to Bayona. The sea is pretty lumpy today and we are riding some impressive waves. Dave has been trying to stave off sea sickness and is feeling rather queasy.The storm battered La Coruna all afternoon yesterday and well into the night with gale force winds, torrential rain and thunder. We barely ventured from the boat so didn’t even get to sample anything of the locality. Before we left today we had a quick chat to our friends on Lyonie, they were looking considerably more refreshed than when we saw them yesterday. We also. read more...


07/06/2019

Girolle - Day 6 - Update

Late afternoon, I was up on deck and drifted off into my thoughts, one of those moments where I found myself contemplating the magnitude of sailing across the Bay of Biscay in a small boat. We were being thrown around by some big waves which reinforced how tiny and insignificant we are out in the ocean. Suddenly, 4 dolphins leapt out of the water in front of my field of view, as if to reassure me we were not alone in the vastness of the seas. Dave was helming and we were treated to a magnificent display of dolphins alongside us for a good 20 minutes, probably longer. 4 quickly became 8, we watched more leaping towards the boat from quite a distance. They seemed to routinely come and join us on and off until dusk, whether the same ones or lots of different ones we’ll never know. This has. read more...


Girolle - Captain’s brief - cleaning regime aboard Girolle
Girolle - Captain’s brief - cleaning regime aboard Girolle
Girolle - Day 5 - Battening down the hatches in La Coruna
Girolle - Day 5 - Battening down the hatches in La Coruna
Girolle - Fostering camaraderie between Girolle & Lyonie after sailing Plymouth- La Coruña
Girolle - Fostering camaraderie between Girolle & Lyonie after sailing Plymouth- La Coruña
06/06/2019

Girolle - Day 5 - Battening down the hatches in La Coruna

Hoorah! We made it! We have crossed the Bay of Biscay, albeit not quite in accordance with the ARC Portugal itinerary. After 4.5 days at sea we arrived in La Coruna at 8am, exhausted but elated to have crossed the Bay of Biscay.  We entered the marina literally at the same time as Fair Isle and about an hour ahead of Lyonie (who was only a couple of nautical miles behind us for most of yesterday).  We welcomed Lyonie and her crew to the berth next to us, they looked just as exhausted and seemed relieved to be sheltering from the storm.  We had not met them prior to departing Plymouth so it was good to meet them at last. Adventures such as these foster a great sense of camaraderie. Some little known ‘Bay of Biscay’ facts about each of us: Dave - as skipper of Girolle, it. read more...


05/06/2019

Girolle - Day 4 update

Here we are Wednesday evening, the weather forecast is for a storm coming in over Finisterre at about the time we were due to be there tomorrow before we run down to Bayona.We, along with several other boats have decided to head to Northern Spain and seek shelter in La Coruna whilst the storm passes. Consequently, we are currently motor sailing as fast as we can and are some 60 NM away, we hope to make it fingers crossed by around 5am in the morning, wait for the storm to pass before moving on to Bayona.This was not what we had planned, but the prospect of being thrown around in potentially storm force winds doesn’t appeal when there is a hopefully safer alternative.On the plus side, we get to add an extra destination to our list.Whilst Dave was catching up on some rest this afternoon,. read more...


05/06/2019

Girolle - Days 2,3 & 4 Dolphins

Greetings from the Bay of Biscay, approximately 130 miles from our waypoint at Finisterre.Shortly after writing our last blog on day 2, we were joined by dolphins for some 5 or 10 minutes, swimming alongside us, really magical.Unfortunately the sunshine was short lived, we knew there was a weather front coming in, the wind picked up to 15-18 knots so we reduced both the mainsail and headsail before dark and pushed West. Around 4am Tuesday we hit the centre of the weather system, “the calm before the storm”... the wind dropped right off and we found ourselves doing zero knots, literally bobbing around a very calm Bay of Biscay so we had to resort to engine power for a while. Before long we were back into the weather system, the wind picked up, along with the waves the boat speed. After. read more...


04/06/2019

Girolle - Log days 1 & 2 - The Soup Incident.

After months of build up and preparation the big day finally arrived for Girolle and her crew of 3 to set sail on their adventure from Plymouth across the Bay of Biscay to Portugal. Dave and Andy sailed Girolle to Plymouth a week prior, Dave remained in situ to prepare the boat.After a lengthy stint on the glorious M5, Sue and Andy arrived literally just in time to hop on a minibus destined for the welcome briefing and dinner, where thoughts were soon channelled to the task in hand. We got chatting with fellow ARC Portugal participants, forging new friendships that will no doubt endure for years to come.Saturday was spent shopping for provisions and making final preparations. We now realise we have enough food on board to sink a battleship (should we encounter any) and are struggling to. read more...


01/06/2019

Zafiro - Log 3

Skipper frantically running around but crew Ellie very chilled...!!. read more...


01/06/2019

Zafiro - Log 3 - The night before

Well that’s the last day of preparation gone. Everyone is completing their final checks. My crew have thankfully arrived...! The ARC social events have been a great ice breaker and a very nice way of getting to meet the other participants. Already there are a few front runners for the “Bad boys and girls” label and crew Girolle are currently leading the field. Skippers brief now and an early start tomorrow. Weather not looking promising..!!. read more...


Angelina - Angelina
Angelina - Angelina
Angelina - Angelina
Angelina - Angelina
31/05/2019

Angelina - Angelina

I think we need to address our medical kitIMG_5449 IMG_5450. read more...


30/05/2019

Zafiro - Log 2 - First solo and Registration

Due to work commitments, my wife Caroline and daughter Ellie have been unable to join me at Plymouth until Friday. So after nearly 39 years since my first solo in a RAF Jet Provost aircraftI successfully completed my first solo in a 36ft yacht, moving Zafiro from Plymouth Yacht Haven to the Mayflower marina this morning. This first solo was equally as nerve racking as the last but at the same time very satisfying. I received a very warm welcome from the guys at Mayflower and I should like to extend a special thank you to Harry for being on hand as I rounded the headland who directed me tomy berth and was there to take the lines. After checking in I was able to be the first into registration where I was met by Andrew and the rest of the ARC team. Registration went smoothly and was. read more...


Zafiro - Log 1 - ARC Preparation and Positioning
Zafiro - Log 1 - ARC Preparation and Positioning
23/05/2019

Zafiro - Log 1 - ARC Preparation and Positioning

The dream for sailing the ARC began for me several years ago after sailing in the Caribbean and thinking how good it would be to take my own yacht and family on an Atlantic adventure. Thisled me onto reading about the ARC rallies and discovering that there was more than the Atlantic to sail in company. Due to work and family commitments we decided on the ARC Portugal with an ambition to sail the World ARC later. Preparations began for us 2 years ago to get our yacht Zafiro, Moody 36CC up to spec and in good shape to tackle an offshore passage. We think we are there but only taking partin the event will answer that question. The published ARC preparation guidance notes have been a valuable source of information, top tips and is a good read.  For me the next biggest hurdle after. read more...


Beowulf - Thank you
Beowulf - Thank you
Beowulf - Portugal ???? in sight
Beowulf - Portugal ???? in sight

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