The Warrior 40DS Firedrake, actually one of the smaller boats in the fleet, was first to cross the line in Bayona last night, at around 2100 local time. They had motor-sailed for a good part of the way, so were able to stay ahead of some of the larger boats who were only under sail. It was crew member Stu’s first experience of offshore sailing, and said ‘the crossing was quite rough, the boat was rolling the whole time’. But followed it with ‘but it’s great to be here, with the sun shining too!’
Larger boats like the Hanse 461 Coral IV (see picture right), which arrived around 0300hrs local time, took the weather more in their stride, and also added that they were pleased to have had 3 people on board. Skipper and co-owner Otto said ‘we had some fantastic sailing, and only motored for 2½ hours on the whole trip. Last night some dolphins joined us, and stayed with us the entire day – it was like a little piece of magic’.
The predicted northwesterly winds did indeed blow relatively hard for the past few days, but slackened off overnight last night, slowing the progress of those still at sea. Katerina, the Dufour 45 Performance of Scott and Julia Weston, arrived just a few hours behind Coral IV, closely followed by Andrew Calvert’s new Moody 45DS Murphy, which had set off from Camaret in France at first light on Sunday morning.
John & Elspeth Perryman on their Hallberg Rassy 37 North Point arrived safely back into UK waters in the early hours of the night too, after taking the decision to turn back in the rough seas a couple of days ago.
Most of the rest of the Rally Portugal fleet are expected to arrive in Bayona during the day today – keep an eye on the Fleet Viewer pages to follow their progress…