Over the past 36 hours at the Monte Real Club de Yates, the visitor’s pontoon has been transformed from an expectant empty basin into a hub of colour and congratulations. The arrival of ARC Portugal 2019 into Bayona might have been a little later than anticipated, but it has certainly been a special welcome as the crews are delighted to have been reunited following their crossing of the Bay of Biscay.
Reaching the docks first was the tandem arrival of Angelina and Embla II who had sailed round from their temporary landfall in Camariñas. Arriving just after midnight, they were welcomed by Rally Control to take their lines and get them settled in for the night. A busy morning then followed with Fair Isle, Poli Poli, Girolle and Flight of Time each arriving from their pitstop in A Coruña. It was then the turn of Diablito, who had remained at sea and weathered the low pressure system to make their way in to port. Due to engine troubles, they received a tow in from the friendly marineros at the MRCYB to guide them safely to their berth where Rally Control and their fellow crews had gathered to give them a big welcome after their challenging six days at sea. There were big smiles all round as the lines were made fast and crew were able to relax.
Throughout Saturday afternoon, arrivals continued and the docked boats hoisted their code flags adding to the festive atmosphere. Crews compared notes on how they had fared in the storm, with the crew of Iona Bess proudly recounting their tales of cooking up a culinary masterpiece of Cumberland sausages and sautéed leeks as ‘Miguel’ raged outside.
In the early evening sunshine crews then gathered for a welcome sangria on the green of the prestigious yacht club, and after enjoying a glass or two made their way to Restaurante El Tunel for a crew supper. With Sunday now a free day for crews to relax, several stayed out after supper to enjoy the late night flavours of Bayona’s quaint wine bars.
After dinner, Rally Control were back on the docks to welcome the final three arrivals of Biscay crossers. Zafiro had had a particularly tough time in the Bay but Rob, Ellie and Caroline rode out the large waves and 30-40knt winds hove to on their Moody 36CC as their blog explains. Rally Control were also delighted to welcome Aurora who joins the fleet here for the first time. They had also weathered the storm, overcoming steering and engine problems to reach the shores of northern Spain. The final boat to be welcomed in the early hours of Sunday was Lyonie following a long day sail from their stop in A Coruña.
With the rally causing quite a stir in the Monte Real Club de Yates, club members were eager to find out more about the boats and crews on this year’s rally and so Alvaro gave an introductory talk for the local sailors. Explaining about World Cruising Club and the benefits of joining a rally like ARC Portugal, he took the small crowd around the docks to chat to skippers on Sunday morning.
Tomorrow, the schedule will continue with a trip to Santiago de Compostela with a guided tour of the historic city. In the evening, a formal rally dinner will take place at the Yacht Club and on Tuesday, one of the best reviewed trips on the ARC Portugal itinerary takes place to the Molinos de Folon waterfalls followed by a delightful Galician lunch at a hillside restaurant. It’s a great opportunity for crews to enjoy some down time on land before they set sail to the next port of call in Povoa da Varzim on Wednesday.