2018 Nov 18, A Coruña to Camariñas

We left Sunday pretty late, about 1300 because there was almost no wind in the morning. Just as we came out of the marina there was a huge Norwegian tallship, the Christian Radich that had been docked nearby. She was heading out to sea. Too bad we didn’t get to see her with all her sails set.  We stopped off for 100L of diesel (€133) at Nautico Deportivo, associated with the RCNC, Real Club Nautico Coruña. It was a little cheaper than the Marina Coruña and nicer marina, closer to town. There was still an annoying surge but by keeping the lines loose it didn’t bother Goldilocks much.

About 1400 we had her filled up and headed out to sea. Light winds to start but that built up pretty soon and we had to roll in the genoa halfway and all the way soon after. That was after we had passed Sisarga Grande, an island that sticks out a bit. After that we could turn more south and were running dead downwind. The winds picked up as did the swell and we had nearly 20-25 gusting 30kts and swell about 4m. They were getting pretty steep and the autopilot could not handle it even before Sisarga Grande. Jean started steering and he did a great job. It’s all about the feel of the boat and getting the rudder over just as the wave starts pushing the stern over, and keeping her perpendicular to the waves.

We surfed down the waves as they passed us and we often exceeded 9kts and even broke 10 once. We must have been averaging 8 kts through much of that time. The water turbine is on a long rope and as the boat speeds up it puts a major twist in the line, then runs at a much higher speed making a strange whirring sound. Jean spent some time looking for the Emperor Penguin that it sounds much like before he figured out where the sound was coming from!

We had been very lucky that the sky was clear and the moon was about 3/4 and shining brightly enough to see the waves pretty well. The wind was forecast to lighten in the late afternoon. It did so about 9pm, just in time since we were approaching some shoals where we needed to be able to maneuver and get off the perpendicular-to-waves course. The waves got a lot less steep after that and steering became easier and the risk of broaching much less, so the timing was perfect. We also slowed down to about 5 kts or less. After passing some fishing boats pitching in the big waves, we passed between shore and a large shoal that had huge breakers on it. The sea we passed through was covered with spindrift from the breakers. It reminded me of why I rarely go into an unknown harbor at night. We motored the last mile or so and dropped the hook just near the small town of Camariñas, cooked some soup and got some much needed sleep. With a well-found boat, good crew and some luck we had a great transit. Tomorrow no wind, so we’ll sit at anchor. Hopefully depart Tuesday for Muros about 39nm further south.

Safely in Spain

Goldilocks arrived safely in A Coruna on the 17th.  Then went further south to Camariñas. They are safely anchored with plans to leave Tuesday and head further south.  The goal is to get far enough south to catch the best wind for a westward sail to the Canaries.  These are some posts from Captain Hoy.

2018 November 16, Brest, France to A Coruña, Spain

We finally made it to Spain!! If we had fair winds we would have gone straight down to Canaries, but as there was a large storm to the west and winds not at all good for getting south, we stopped at a marina in A Coruña.

This is a short description and I expect to fill it in later but I wanted to get some info on here.

I saw whales!! A pod passed us going the other way at about 200m. I guess at least 5 individuals. I saw 3 spouts at one time. Only once did I see a breach, just a back with a prominent dorsal fin. I have not checked to see what kind they are, but offhand maybe Grey or Minke whales. ???

Approaching the coast of Spain.

Not a bad swell but still breaking big on the shore about 2nm away. 

Update:

Captain Hoy and Jean have made over 120 nm (nautical miles) since last night.  I received a message saying they had pretty rough seas to start and last night it was too calm to sail so they were motoring.  Now appears to be under sail again because of the current speed.  They are well within reach of A Coruna tomorrow, (knock on wood, lol) and will probably make Cape Finisterre just fine if the winds hold.

Rough Seas

Goldilocks is on her way!

Hi everyone, I’m Hoy’s sister Mikki and will be hopefully updating you during his trek across the mighty Atlantic.

Goldilocks left port on November 12th (French time) as seen in the graphic below.

The first picture shows his track so far.  As you can see he is having to tack quite a bit so the winds are not ideal.  He states that his goal is to reach Cape Finisterre in Spain, but he will settle for A Coruna.  He appears to be just under halfway. (please note that the time stamp on this post is U.S. pacific time).

Current position for Goldilocks

2018 Nov 6, Brest, Weather is sucky

The prevailing winds seem to be from the SW. Guess which direction I want to go? Of course: the SW. From Brest, France, it’s SSW to Cape Finistere, the NW point of Spain.

This was the wind this afternoon. Pretty typical. Right on the nose.

This is this coming Friday and why there is no point in leaving, but Saturday is looking promising. Not good, but maybe good enough. Knock wood. 🙂

Image

2018 Nov 5, Considering Bay of Biscay and Shipping

While checking weather windows for sailing down to Canaries, the route is very important. I want to stay out the shipping lanes as much as possible. Easier said then done here. Based on MarineTraffic website, where they display vessels with AIS, Automatic Identification System, there is a whole lotta traffic just offshore here, and inshore too. I already got the worst of it around Scillys and especially Ouessant, just before I got to Brest, but there are some very heavy bits still to come. Straights of Gibralter are super busy, but as we can be a little offshore, I think we can mitigate it a little. Still, constant vigilance is required.

Here is the Bay of Biscay.

 

…and the coast of Spain and Portugal, Straights of Gibraltar, and Morocco:

…and the transatlantic

 

I know the distances are large, but that is a bloody lot of traffic!

2018 November 4, Lords of the Ocean!

Next to Goldilocks in Marina du Chateau, Brest, there is a boat a little bigger than Goldilocks with a banner on the bow “Lords of the Ocean”. Three men and one woman appear on the graphics and they are planning to follow me to the Caribbean in January with the intent to dive with sharks, and make serious videos of the whole thing, and a movie later. I spoke with Jerome, the Captain. They seem a nice crew. This will be their first transatlantic crossing, but having a definite goal gives a purpose to the preparation. They seem to be getting it all together. I hope I get to see them over in the Caribbean, but their plan is to go nearly straight to Mexico.  I’ll be in the Virgin Islands by then. They intend to dive in the Bahamas, then at some point, Panama Canal and diving in the Pacific.

Later I got a ride to get groceries from Manu (Emanuel) who was very friendly and helpful. Great guys.

Hoy-Bob says, check it out!

Facebook Lords.of.the.Ocean

www.lordsoftheocean.com

2018 Nov 1, Brest, France, Waiting for winds to Canaries

I’m sitting under my sheep fleece and a microfiber throw, but as it’s a Mac, my hands are freezing as the aluminum sucks the heat from my hands. It’s warmer than Scotland, but not by much. I am bound for Canary Islands, then Caribbean, but storm after storm after storm has been sweeping through. I need a little over three days to make it to A Coruna, Spain, at the very least, but so far have only had windows of about two days.

It is cold, and seems to rain in the afternoon, but there is beautiful sun from just before noon to a few hours after.

There is a huge classic French fortress just above the marina. I can’t see the tricolor from here, but when driving by it’s apparent. I always think of the movie “Captain Horatio Hornblower” or put myself in some Patrick O’brian novel when I see that. The most glorious days of sail power.

The marina is full of boats. One thing I like about France is the variety of boats. They seem to experiment with more combinations of boat design than anyone. Lots of aluminum and composites, various bowsprits, jibbooms, spibooms, lots of synthetic rigging, and odd hull shapes. I see more variety in French marinas than anyplace else I’ve seen.

They also have a gorgeous schooner, La Recouvrance, tied up near here. They took out the mast for the winter last week, but it’s a great looking boat with severely raked masts. A bit larger than the Hawaiian Chieftain,  similar to the Californian, but beamier and fatter. looks like a good sailer.

2018 Oct 17, Cork, Ireland to Brest, France

Hoy, solo. It’s a good weather window to leave Cork Harbour, Ireland, so off we go. Not too early a start as the ebb isn’t until about 10:00. Motor out through the many boats in the river. Sailing is popular here if the density of the moorings is any indication. It is a pretty prime spot for keeping a boat and the Royal Cork Yacht Club is a nice place to start from. Huge harbour, so plenty of protected waters, and the ocean close by for offshore endeavors. I filled up diesel at the Yacht Club. About 90eurocents/Liter. Quite good. Turned out about 1.45/L in Brest.

I had to motor to get out of the ship traffic area first, and there was hardly any wind to start, but not long after leaving the harbour my sails were set and drawing. SE toward Isles of Scilly, about 135nm.

Sky is clear with some clouds. Cool, about 10C and light winds. Occasionally wing and wing, but sometimes motorsailing. Dolphins came to play!! In fact they came several times. They are smaller than I see in the western Atlantic, and grey with white underside. Nicer looking than the “Brownfish” of the North Sea, as the Dutch call them. Some of these were very playful and were slapping the water and sometimes each other with their tails. They don’t seem as organized at sharing my bow-wake as some I’ve seen, and I couldn’t detect a pattern to their movement, but it’s always good to see them. Sometimes 7 or 8, and sometimes pods of about 20. One pod plays, then another pod joins and the first fades away.

Winds increased to nearly 20 kts, after dark of course. Full mainsail (which is small for this boat), staysail and 70% or less of genoa. Near midnight wind veered NNE to NE and increased to over 20. The waves were big enough to kick off the autopilot so I had to roll up the genoa completely.

Around the Scillys are two TSS, Traffic Separation Schemes, one to south and one on the E. I elected to pass N of the island and pass down on the east side betwixt Isles and TSS. I called Coast Guard to confirm this and they simply acknowledged it was legal according to COLREGS (Collision Regulations). Surprisingly terse. I guess they were busy with the big ships. Luckily there was not much traffic, as it was pitch dark, but at least clear with good visibility.

After the Scillys I turned a little more south toward Ouessant (called Ushant by the Brits), a set of islands just West of Pointe du Kermorvan and Pointe du St Mathieu, on mainland France. Before Ouessant is a huge TSS with busy traffic. It is about 30nm wide so takes roughly 6 hours to cross. There are three major lanes so there is an opportunity to nap in between. Very short naps. My alarm was set anywhere between 4 minutes and 10 minutes. I slept down below to try to avoid hypothermia. It’s chilly out there. It has me dreaming of a pilothouse.

After the TSS it’s best to enter the channel between Ouessant and the mainland from the NW and pass SE from there. Many small islands and shoals, so keeping to the twisting channel is paramount. All this was also in complete darkness, but soon the sun began to rise and I could better appreciate the scene. I couldn’t find a way to contact Douane (Customs) so decided to simply go into the marina in Brest where I could clear in. I was tied up by 0930 and got my Schengen Visa just before lunchtime. She didn’t speak much English so I didn’t get many questions answered, but she was very friendly and it all went smoothly.

260nm Cork to Brest in 48 hrs.