After months of preparation the crew of Majic-L (Richard our skipper, Linda his wife – the boat owners, Tony and myself Mark) set sail from Plymouth with Tony’s wife Karen waving us off enthusiastically from the cannons
on the Hoe. Wind picked up as we cleared the breakwater and we were keen to launch the cruising chute as soon as we could. With the sail being bright red we stood out amongst the other boats, although we noted we were not alone in using this sail. Unfortunately
for us, a change in the wind fairly early on meant we had to pack it away again and unfurl the Genoa. Whilst we were doing this, other boats forged ahead and most stayed ahead until Bayona. This being said, with the changes in wind direction, course corrections,
trying to sail smoothly as possible at night to help crew sleeping and coming across quite gusty winds at time – very many sail configurations were used across the 4 and a bit
days we took. Challenging at times to be sure but then all part of the ARC experience.
We were very keen to minimise usage of the engine, and up until the final leg into Bayona were pretty successful in this, even when it meant clocking up extra time and miles by tacking to maintain sail power. One of the
improvements in kit aboard Majic-L that Richard had made was a solar panel arch on the rear and we anticipated we would be fine at night for power. On the second night Linda and I were on watch at 3am and the AIS display started to flash. We were still musing
on this when I noticed the nav lights at the top of the mast were also fading in and out. Had to wake the skipper, but turned out we needed to run the engine to charge the batteries for an hour (as the sun doesn’t shine at night!) – which meant a rude awakening
for those in the stern cabins!
Linda had planned in advance a selection of hot meals, and being fortunate to have a freezer onboard we all brought ready cooked meals that just needed defrosting and heating up. I’m the one who has the least yachting
hours, and I was amazed at the skippers sense of balance in getting hot dishes from oven to table when the boat was rolling around at the same time like some sort of fairground ride!
One of the odd things was seeing birds when we were miles out at sea. On Tuesday we didn’t see another boat around us all day. We did get a visit from a dove that sat on our boom for quite a while recovering strength
to continue its journey. Chatting to others in the bar when we reached Bayona, this dove had visited other boats as well in fact named “Derek” by the Sofa So Good crew.
Boat wise, unfortunately on the last day tacking we heard a bang and it turned out that our Genoa halyard had snapped at the top of the mast. We were able to furl up the sail, but repairs will need a rigger so that will
need to wait until Lagos. We do have our cruising chute and working jib on inner forestay so we will use these with the main for the remainder of the rally.
We ate well – but we were so grateful for the shower facilities at Bayona. It’s an interesting town – clearly from a tourist view for the Spanish and very different from the Costas in the south.
Really enjoyed the socials organised by WCC so far. The Sangria reception and meal in town, where drink and food were plentiful, were thoroughly enjoyed. What a sociable bunch the ARC ralliers are and we can see friendships