Dolphins join us in the Spanish Rias

We are still based in Vigo  and have been lucky enough to obtain a berth at the Marina alongside the 100 year old Real Club Nautico.  Velvet Lady is moored alongside the main office and from the ‘rooftop’ we can look down on her!  Whilst we are moored here we are allowed to use the facilities of the yacht club which also includes the pool and  a sauna. We just have to remember that Spanish regulations require the use of a swimming cap in the pool!

Our guests arrived on Saturday for a weeks sailing in the Rias and apart from an unpredicted day of fog we were fortunate with the weather. After visiting Bayona for a look around the fort, anchoring  off the Islas Cies and swimming at ‘the most beautiful beach in the world’ we set off to sail to the Ria de Arousa, which proved to be the highlight of the week.  After motoring much of the day, the breeze picked up as we entered the Ria, 16 tacks later we had sailed through the narrows avoiding rocks and mussel beds and been chased by the customs boat who had difficulty in keeping up with us.

As we approached the marina in Pobra, we were suddenly surrounded by a pod of large dolphins, at least 20 of them, and we spent 20 minutes just drifting and letting them swim right up to the boat.  A fantastic sight.  As we tied up in the marina the customs boat came in behind us, just on a routine check.

We gybed out of the Ria the following day and headed south to  Sanxenxo in the Ria de Pontevedra where we sat in the yacht club bar to watch the sun set before sailing back to Vigo on our last day.  As usual, all too soon the week was over and it was time for flights home.

The sun continued to shine on Saturday, but Sunday brought a break in the weather and a typical ‘british gale’  We were glad it was our ‘day off’ and were happy to be inside listening to the rain outside!

Benign Biscay and fabulous sailing in Spanish Rias

I realise there has been quite a long gap in blogs, and do apologise.  We have been especially busy recently, first with a bouncy trip from Bergen to Plymouth and then with jobs to do in Plymouth.  We were lifted out of the water in Plymouth and whilst we were having our 5 year renewal coding inspection we took the opportunity to antifoul and polish.  As soon as we were relaunched and back in Mayflower marina, Richard and I headed to Buckingham to be godparents at the christening of Richards twin nephews.  No sooner where we back in Plymouth than it was time to head across Biscay to Vigo, and here we are!

Our crossing of the Bay of Biscay was remarkably smooth with the weather dominated by high pressure systems and light airs.  The sea was flat and Velvet Lady with her new polish and antifouling slipped along easily at 8 knots in a force 4 wind.

The calm sea made it especially easy to spot wildlife, and we had the company of dolphins most days.  We also saw more whales than we have seen before on this route with whales surfacing within 20 metres of the boat on 3 separate occasions.  There were also basking sharks and plenty of birds.

Will and Phil were on board, using the trip towards their RYA Ocean Yachtmaster, with a flat sea to help them to be more precise we navigated our way across using ‘3 sextants’ and a little help from the GPS

This was the fastest crossing of Biscay we have done and we were left with plenty of time to explore more of the Spanish Rias at our leisure.   We visited Bayona, Sanxenxo and anchored off the white sandy beach in Subrido before heading up to the Real Club Nautico in Vigo.  The marina here is situated right in the centre of the old town in Vigo, and as we sat on the yacht club balcony last night, gin and tonic in hand, Liz mused that it would be great to be able to charter a boat here and have more time to explore.

That is just what we are going to do on our next 2 trips which have proved extremely popular and are sold out, but there is still one more chance left this year to visit the Rias and we are now reducing the price.

November 5 to November 15, was £995 now £895
Join us in Vigo, Spain and sail with us to Lisbon
We will set off from Vigo and spend 3 or 4 days sailing and exploring the many nooks and crannies, anchorages and ports of the Spanish Rias.  Even the western entrances to the Rias are protected by islands so we have a large area of sheltered water to sail in.  These islands are all nature reserves, and we have been lucky enough to get permission to go and anchor there if the weather is right.  Just perfect for short day sails and plenty of time to sample tapas in the bars ashore!

After these days of familiarisation with Velvet Lady and gaining our sea legs, we set off for a longer sail (60nm) and, weather permitting, arrive in Leixoes just after dark.  Leixoes is at the entrance to the River Douro, and after a good night sleep we will be able to take the bus from here into Oporto and sample some of the local port wine!  If the conditions are flat we might even be able to take Velvet Lady right up the river.

From here we head further south and have the chance to do some proper night sailing including watches as we sail overnight the 120 nm to the old Portuguese town of Peniche.  From Peniche we head south the last 25nm to Cascais the marina for Lisbon.
It always seems a shame to arrive in this vibrant city and have to leave straight away, so included in this itinerary is one day extra living on board Velvet Lady with the opportunity to visit Lisbon by train.

The price as usual is fully inclusive of everything on board, and you only have to pay your flights, transfers and travel insurance.  (Please remember the exact itinerary will be weather dependent)

I have just checked flights for this trip – and as of today, 10th October the cheapest route is
5th November
London Gatwick to Barcelona, Monarch Airlines, £41
Barcelona to Vigo, Vuelling Airlines, £31
Returning
15th November
Lisbon to London Gatwick, TAP Airlines, £58
I found all of these individual legs on www.skyscanner.net, and if you would like me to help you with flights please just ask.

It is also feasible to fly to Porto and catch the airport bus from Porto airport to Vigo bus station.  The airport bus takes 1hr 45 mins and costs just 10 euro. There are buses every 3 hours on weekdays, but please be aware there is only one at 09.45 on a Saturday.  In your planning don’t forget there is a time difference between Spain and Portugal, Portugal is on UK time and Spain is an hour ahead.

As with Lisbon it is a shame to visit Vigo and leave without a proper look around, so why not come a day early and spend the night ashore in Vigo before joining Velvet Lady.  Richard and I had never been here before and are discovering that it is very Spanish and not touristy at all!

This Wednesday is a Fiesta, and Thursday and Friday there is yacht racing in the bay so we will have plenty to watch whilst waiting for our new guests to join us on Saturday.