Voyage across the Bay of Biscay

Our journey to Spain included a 235 nautical mile passage from St. Denis-d’Oléron to Gijon in Spain (just over half way along the northern coastline). We left at 8am and sailed right through the night arriving the next day at 10pm, practically 40 hours. We did the crossing with Oyster Moon, another family boat we met in La Rochelle. The boys had made instant friends with Charlie and Jess, and merrily learnt how to use the vhf radio so they could chat to each other on the journey. They even wrote boat quizzes, which were great fun and must have amused any fisherman listening in!

With a good NE breeze behind us we even got the gennaker (a cross between a genoa and a spinnaker sail) out. Russell had spent the previous week building a bowsprit for it to attach too from a discarded windsurf mast from the sailing school. Cutting it into three he inserted them in each other and drilled and spliced ropes for it painstakingly. Unfortunately we went from this… this. 😫

Luckily we were soon joined by a pod of dolphins which kept us company jumping around the boat and playing in the bow wave. Photos never do it justice, but they were amazing, and rather large! We saw dolphins at various times during the passage.

With a long journey there are plenty of hours to fill. Russell made bread and the boys did Lego. I’ve never seen bread kneaded on a deck before! A new recipe, Biscay bread!

Russell and I did shifts, and my night ones were 7pm-midnight and 4am to 7am which at least meant I got sunset and sunrise.

They were both stunning and with a waxing moon the stars were amazing. This was my first solo watch sailing at night, and whilst admiring the Milky Way and stars galore it’s a bit of a shock when the moon sets, and then it really is sailing into pitch darkness. I’m proud to state that we managed 8kts under my watch (great wind), so we covered some distance and made great time. However it was a welcome sight to finally see land and raise our Spanish curtesy flag. We were all tired and slept soundly once safely moored in the marina.

Oyster Moon safely made it too, arriving at 2am. We invited Charlie and Jess aboard for breakfast at ours leaving their exhausted parents to sleep. The children were delighted to see each other again after the trip.

The crazy gang back together after the voyage

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