Sailing holidays on Google

Thank you for a wonderful holiday exploring the Rias.  I enjoyed it all and feel nourished in every way.
The best bit of Googling I have ever done!!

We choose the Spanish Rias to go sailing at this time of year because they offer good protection from the Atlantic weather.  With islands protecting the mouths of each Ria, the huge atlantic swell is dissipated and we get to sail in mainly flat water.  It is still warm and sunny with not very many other yachts around.   We sail during the day and spend our evenings either in a marina or protected anchorage as it is recommended to be in port before dark because of the many mussel farms around.

This year there seemed to be so many mussel farms, all busy with colourful fishing boats tending to them that I thought I would look up some further information.  Here’s what I found:

‘The Galician coast is the natural environment in which more than 95% of Spanish mussel production occurs. Mussels are farmed in the coastal inlets of Galicia by means of a floating raft culture. The Galician mussel sector is based on nearly 3300 installed floating rafts in the five “Rías”
These Ría waters are blessed with an extraordinary quality for the farming of mussels due to their warmth and the high amount of nutrients which they contain. Moreover, the Rías are ocean areas that are protected from severe weather conditions, which is why the mussel farms are resistant to the changing maritime weather. The Galician mussel production has surpassed 200,000 tonnes annually.  Consequently, we are talking about one of the largest mussel producers in the world, and the sector directly generates more than 8000 jobs and incorporates 1000 aquaculture support vessels.’

Interesting, so … the mussel farmers come to Galicia for all the same reasons that we do!!

This week it was quite wet and stormy out in the middle of the Atlantic with lots of low pressure systems and fronts heading towards UK, so we were glad to be in these protected waters.  We sailed 127 miles in the 6 days on the water, and visited 3 of the 5 Rias mentioned above.  Each of the Rias offers a selection of places to visit and we always chose wherever is best for the weather.  We had a couple of glorious evenings with spectacular colourful sunsets, and clear nights with no light pollution which gave us the opportunity to look out for the meteor shower in Orion.

This is the third season we have spent time in the Spanish Rias, and so Richard and I were pleased that this week we still managed to visit 3 places that were new to us.  Two of the three were tiny fishing villages, crammed full of the colourful mussel boats and not a tourist in sight.  Great places to practice your Spanish, sample the local tapas and taste the local wine.

The third new place this week, was Ensenada San Simon,  a mere 5 miles east of Vigo and under a 38m high bridge.  Yet another place full of mussel beds and mussel boats but just far away from the industrial areas of Vigo to be extremely peaceful.  We motored here this week, just for a look, but it is certainly a place to remember to go back to.  Next week or next year….

We will soon be on our way south again, following the sun.  With only 8 weeks until Christmas we can feel the warmth of the Canary Islands calling to us!  Book now to join us there for Christmas, New Year or during January, February and March.

Sailing a Marathon

Richard admiring the view – our first morning in the Rias

When we work out how long a trip is going to take, we always add extra days for bad weather and slow progress.  We were glad of them this year as our starting forecast was a scary Force 8, 9  or 10.  Needless to say we didnt consider this good ‘setting out weather’.  We managed a day sail in Plymouth Sound before the first gale came, and then a dash from Plymouth to Falmouth before the second gale.  We then spent a day in Falmouth waiting out the second gale before eventually setting off.

At first light we crept out of Falmouth in a perfect sailing wind.  We reached across the English Channel from Falmouth to Ushant in record time before the wind headed us.  Despite the unfavourable wind direction, we made steady progress across the bay and finally arrived at Cap Finisterre 4 days later.  The last 60 miles the wind died and we motored downwind arriving in Ria de Vigo late evening.  One of my favourite anchorages is at the western end of this Ria and only 8 miles from Vigo so we stopped here for the night, dropping the anchor almost dead on midnight.

With a bottle of wine to celebrate a successful crossing,  Cior (pronounced chore), our American guest came up with the great analogy that long distance passage making to sailors is equivalent to a marathon for runners.  You have to push yourself hard, often wonder why you are doing it, are determined not to give up and then really enjoy getting to the finish!

Arriving in the dark, we had navigated our way in by the twinkling lights.  Richard and I knew how scenic our anchorage was but it was not until morning that our guests could see the reward – and it was worth waiting for.  There was a glorious blue sky and sun shining on the beach to show off our anchorage at its best.

After a leisurely tapas lunch at anchor we sailed the last few miles to Vigo arriving at 4’ish on the last afternoon.   I love it when a plan comes together.

We’ve been cleaning and polishing today, getting ready for our next two Rias trips.  With the sun beating down on us it feels very much like the Mediterranean without the crowds.

We are full for 16 – 23 October but there are still spaces to join us on the second week,  27th October – 3rd November