Sunrise over Cape Finisterre

 

Thoughts of crossing the Bay of Biscay are enough to get sailors pulses racing – especially when we mention that we are crossing in October.  There are many tales of high winds, huge seas and how difficult it is to round the headlands of Ushant and Cape Finisterre.  These are all true – cross any open stretch of water at the wrong time and it can be treacherous.  However, if you study the weather and pick your time,  this does not have to be the case.

We studied the weather before leaving Plymouth and managed to be around Ushant and far enough south to miss the worst effects of ex hurricane Gonzalo. We had 12 hours of Force 7 winds in the middle of the bay but nothing worse.  Most of the time we had a steady force 5 and Velvet Lady flew across the bay.

As we rounded Cape Finisterre conditions were absolutely the opposite to those you would be led to expect.  Glassy calm sea and light breeze at dawn.   Dolphins playing in the wake and fishermen waving as we went by.  As the day wore on the heat came and by the time we arrived in Bayona we were wearing shorts and t shirts in 27 degrees.

We spent a couple of days in Bayona sorting out some jobs on board before heading up the Ria to Vigo.

We are now in Vigo – ready for a week sailing in the Spanish Rias before continuing south to Lanzarote and more sunshine.

If you fancy sailing in the sunshine this winter why not join us in Lanzarote for one of our real deal sailing weeks, £675 per person all inclusive on board.   Details in our schedule

 

 

After the refit – ready for the Bay of Biscay.

velvet lady ready to go againVelvet Lady looking lovely alongside in Plymouth

Well, thats it.  Major work over for another year.  This year has been quite an epic.  We lifted the mast out in QAB to inspect for faults and completely change all the standing and running rigging.  This is considered routine maintenance after 90,000 miles and once the rig was out Velvet Lady went into a shed in Plymouth Yacht Haven.  Here we removed all the chain plates – (the bits that the standing rigging attach to) to check, and after 28 years were pleased to find they were still in perfect nick.  Whilst the chain plates were out we removed all of the saloon windows and window frames and replaced with new before replacing some of the wood surround and revarnishing.  She looks a million dollars.  They were the big jobs – we also replaced the aft G and T seats, redid the caulking in the cockpit, replaced one of the loos, replaced the duck boards in the showers, cut new carpet, and to round it off replaced the antifoul and polished the topsides.  Our MCA surveyor came along and gave us a clean bill of health so we are ready for the off.

Biscay first – think we’ll wait a couple of days for a weather window, but the forecast for our Spanish Rias trip is looking good.  Then south to Madeira and further south to Lanzarote just in time for December – Fully Booked all the way.  Our first places are in December and there are 4 left on the real deal sailing holiday starting on 7 December.  £675 per person fully inclusive on board for 7 nights.  Circumnavigate Lanzarote in the sunshine.  I have just looked and flights are still available for about £60 return see www.jetcost.co.uk or www.skyscanner.net

We will also be offering this price on our trips in January, February and March but places are booking up fast.