Ready to sail the Bay of Biscay

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We have spent the last 2 weeks in Plymouth preparing for this next trip, across the Bay of Biscay, and down the coast of Spain and Portugal, finishing in Vilamoura.  We are due to leave tomorrow and since the Bay of Biscay has such a reputation for bad weather we have been studying the forecasts with interest.  There is currently a big high pressure sitting over the English Channel and Bay of Biscay, so although it is October we are looking forward to medium winds and sunshine at least for the start of the trip- hope I haven’t spoken too soon.  In 10 days time we expect to be sitting sipping Port in Vilamoura!  We will then be cruising the Algarve for a short time, and still have some places available.  Why not take a look at the Schedule on our website.

Happy Customers

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I have just been flicking through our guest book and though you might like to see a selection of what people have had to say during the past 5 months. 

‘…what a magnificent adventure….


….for those that like to combine sailing and wild life there is nothing to beat this ‘Arctic Sea’ adventure holiday……
…..These 10 days exceeded all my expectations and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I cant wait to sail with you again…..

….A wonderful variety of sights and sailing experiences coupled with excellent food and accommodation. A delight…

…Keep on with the enthusiasm, hospitality and gourmet cuisine,  Looking forward to coming on board again…..

….This trip was a combinaton of fun, adventure, learning and sightseeing all wrapped up into your gorgeous boat….

….The sea in all its many forms from glassy to rough- from deep green to black – all amazing.  Thank you for a wonderful time……

Windy Windy Windy

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Velvet Lady is now in Plymouth following her successful first season in Iceland. The 14 day trip home from Reykjavik was windy, windy and more windy – with the anemometer never showing less than 25 knots. We were joined on this passage by Jon, his first ocean passage and what a baptism of fire! He now knows all about seamanship in gales, sleeping in a tumble dryer and cooking at an angle. Dealing with the constant motion of the boat is very tiring and so we decided to take a breather in Bangor, Northern Ireland. For about 2 hours, we managed to carry full sail in the shelter of Belfast Lough. As it happened the breather was well timed, we missed the southerly gales, and went back out when the gales were more favourable north westerly!!

migrating_whales.JPGNo ocean passage is uneventful, and this one was not different. Our events began at the beginning of the trip, when we managed to suck a plastic bag up the seawater intake of the engine. The most spectacular event of the trip was when we encounterd a pod of migrating whales. These pilot whales appeared on the horizon late one evening, at first we counted about 20 whales, they just kept coming and it dawned on us that they weren’t the same whales playing, but hundreds of whales migrating south,. It took 2 hours for the whole pod to clear us, and it was just fascinating watching them and listening to them. We could hear them communicating to each other under water, mesmerising.

The dark nights gave us plenty of time to observe shipping and learn the characteristic of navigation lights – we had fishing boats, ships carrying dangerous cargo, sailing boats, tug and tow, and a ship not under command. The navy were exercising when we arrived in Plymouth, and we were followed up the harbour by a ‘submarine’

We are now busy preparing for our winter season in the sunshine and will be leaving Plymouth on 13 October; the full programme is available on our website.

Whales and Gales

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Strong winds and gales have been with us all the way on our passage from Reykjavik to Northern Ireland. Until we reached the North Channel we did not see less than 25 knots on the anemometer, more often than not 35 knots and occasionally even 55 knots. This wet and windy ride was also fast and exhiliarating with Velvet Lady reaching along at speeds up to 10 knots. After 6 days we are now ‘resting’ in Bangor, before setting off again to Plymouth tomorrow. We were not the only ones on passage from Iceland southwards, roughly half way across we were surrounded by pilot whales. For approximately 2 hours these pilot whales were overtaking us down both sides, some of them merely feet away from the side of the boat. At any one time there were about 20 in view, their speed and motion creating even more waves than the gale itself!! Sitting watching them was a mesmerising experience. These are John’s best photos, enjoy.

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