Trish and Bob go boating. 10th to 25 July 2009
It is good to report that the sailing virgins, Bob & Tricia, survived two weeks on Tobin Bronze in Galicia. Trish was not sea-sick. Well maybe. Just a little bit. For a little while. Even Bob was forced to retire to his bunk one afternoon, 'for a siesta'. The fact that it was damn cold and lashing down with rain might have contributed to his decision to seek a horizontal position down below.
Judy and I flew down from London to be met at La Coruna airport by Tricia and Bob. We all jumped in a taxi for the 90 minute drive up to Viveiro through the beautiful, mountainous Galician scenery. We arrived at the boat at around 22:30hrs and went off to find a restaurant. This might have appeared late to us but it was pretty much the normal time for locals to be going out.
Saturday was spent organising the boat and stocking up on provisions (and booze!). Bob's snoring ensured that he was banished to the forecastle on his own. There are no secrets on a 35ft boat!
We left the marina at mid-day Sunday and motored north down the Ria. The wind was southerly in the marina but once we got clear of the land towards the entrance of the Ria the wind was 10 - 12 kts south westerly, from dead ahead of our course.
Both Tricia and Bob were new to this sailing lark so we just motored a few miles around Pta Socastro and anchored up outside the harbour in Carino. This is a quiet little town off the beaten track but a secure refuge in west to southerly winds.
We weighed anchor at 09:30hrs next morning and motored the 5 or so miles up to Cape Ortegal in bright sunshine. But once around the Cape it was a choppy sea south west towards Cedeira. Bob caught 6 nice mackerel with our paravane. Very tasty they were!
At 13:30hrs, we anchored off the beautiful long beach on the south side of the Ria de Cedeira in 8 metres of water. There was too much of a 'surf' running to go ashore; so we just lazed around the boat enjoying the sunshine. Later on I did row ashore on my own and had a walk up the beach but got swamped and soaked while getting back to TB. Around 17:30hrs we moved the mile or so into Cedeira harbour where there were 8 or 9 cruising boats at anchor.
The harbour is very much a working fishing environment but after a 15 minute walk into the town, Cedeira is a pretty place with a square that comes alive with the locals and their families in the evening. Like most of the Galician towns, it has a lovely, happy atmosphere.
The weather continued very unsettled with strong gales in North Biscay and the Western Approaches to the English Channel. We caught the southern edge of the associated fronts and copped some squally winds.
Wed 15th July. Left Cedeira at 10:15hrs and motor sailed to La Coruna in more fresh westerly winds. It was also pretty choppy which wasn't much fun. When we arrived, a Kiwi lady who was having lunch on a Spanish boat, took our lines and chatted with us for a while. She soon returned with a bottle of wine and some tins of sardines as a welcoming gift. The boat belonged to the President of the Real Club Nautico (Yacht Club). They were having an extended celebratory lunch as the President and his wife had just returned from a six months cruise to the Caribbean.
Recently returned from the Caribbean.
Next day we had a pleasant walk around the seafront to Tower of Hercules, the oldest working lighthouse in the world; the Romans built the first one. While we were climbing up inside the Tower, the weather changed from bright sunshine to pishing down with rain. Which rather spoilt the view! Have a look in the Picture Gallery for our photos.
As Bob & Trish were representing the Mt Isa Sailing and Surfing Club, we flew Bob's boardies (freshly washed of course!) as a courtesy flag on our port crosstree.
Friday, 17 July. After topping up with diesel fuel at the Marina A Coruna, which is just inside the breakwater, we left for Camarinas. The first half of the trip was unpleasant, motor-sailing into a stiff WNW Force 5. But once around the Islas Sisargas, we were able to turn away from directly into the wind, shut down the engine and sail for the first time in a week. It was a nice broad reach to Cabo Villano and then south into the Ria de Camarinas.
We were allocated a berth on arrival by the Marina Manager on arrival. A curious thing happened as we were approaching our berth. The propeller fell off! Fortunately we were making a gentle approach and Judy and Ramon from the Marina stopped the boat without crashing into the pontoons. They didn't even notice that nothing happened when I tried to go astern. Probably attributed the uncontrolled approach to the helmsman's incompetence.
Next morning I confirmed that the prop was missing but couldn't find it by snorkelling. The visibility was poor from an overcast sky, the water was pretty murky and my snorkelling skills are sadly diminished from what they were in my youth. That's my excuse! We consulted the marina grapevine and arranged for a local diver to come and search for the prop. I knew roughly where it had come off as I heard a very unhealthy 'clunk' from under the boat when I engaged reverse. It still took the diver over 30 minutes snorkelling to find the prop; so I didn't feel too bad about my pathetic attempt earlier in the day.
With lots of help and no shortage of advice from the other yotties in the marina, we towed TB around to the slip, dried the boat out alongside the wall at low tide and Bob re-placed the prop. As Trish said, "If Bob puts it on, it will stay on." Then everyone settled down to a monumental piss-up, led from the front like a true champion, by Bob. See the photos in the Photo Gallery.
There was Tony and Chris off a Sadler. Tony has completed one eight year circumnavigation and was off 'back to the Pacific to visit some of the places I missed last time'. Chris was crewing for him to 'go cruising before I get too old.' Andy, whose wife Pam was out on their boat in the anchorage, was 'just going south for 12 months'. Adam, physically handicapped, but heading for the Caribbean. Look up his blog www.pullonwhat.com. Colin off a big motor sailor had over wintered in Camarinsa. What a bunch!
There was also a very noisy Festival going on in the town, which went on till nearly 6 am Sat morning and Sun morning. Sunday was a very welcome lay day for us after all the excitement of the previous day. However, the session on the dodgem cars at the carnival was a tad stressful.
Monday we had a very boring day motoring in flat sea around Cape Finisterre on the Costa da Morte to Portosin in the Ria de Muros. The modern marina there had excellent facilities. We sheltered in Portosin for a couple of nights as yet another front deposited buckets of water on us.
The next leg of the journey was another slog to windward with the last couple of hours being very cold and wet! But we found a snug anchorage at the bottom of the Ria de Alban. Once again it blew up in the early hours of the morning with 25 - 30kt winds.
"Bring on Cape Horn"
But by breakfast time, the front had passed through and it was bright and sunny. From Ria de Alban to Cangas was only 3km as the crow flies but 12 or so nautical miles by sea. Judy and Tricia jumped ship and walked to Cangas while Bob and I sailed the boat around. Bit of a shame really as they missed the nicest sail of the trip as we enjoyed the sunshine. The mackerel weren't biting which was a bit of a shame.
We stayed in Cangas one night before sailing the 3 or so miles around to Moana where we acquired a berth for a couple of months