The Biscay Red Bull challenge
The alarm was set for 06:00 and the snooze button hit several times between 06:00 and 08:00 when we actually got up, bugger we still had to fill with diesel and escape La Rochelle without incurring more charges - to late - so fleeced for another 48€ off we went.
The routine was decided as 2 hours on watch 2 hours off , enough time to get asleep and rest but not to long at the wheel to fall asleep, we had stocked up on pizza and energy bars, plus some red bull - it gives you wings !
Campignion (mushroom ) pizza and red bull is a trip ! I swear during the night Homer Simpson, in the shape of a cloud actually asked for his bottle of Duff beer back, worrying thing is I answered !
The moon was out, not full, but pretty big and in a real low trajectory and as it sank into the black mirky depths of Biscay I remember thinking it looked like Sydney opera house - more red bull, pass me the pizza !
Sun rise was around 6:30 and the seas were completely flat with little or no swell, the sun was a welcome respite from the inky darkness and mind warping effects of the magic french pizza, so to celebrate i cranked up the stereo and danced the day in, to the sounds of madcon's "beggin" and the shammen singing "Ebenezer good" topped off by the Kooks singing "do you think Im crazy" rather apt ? - it feels great to be alive!
La Rochelle was full of these "living statues, these guys and gals pretend to be a statue then do some mechanicalised dance when some random sucker chucks a coin in the pot - ive sussed it , im going to dress like the ACTUAL statue in the town square and dance when the money goes in , maybe a dance tune like madcon - im gonna be loaded !
We are the only thing for miles, I've seen two ships all night, we have 10hours to run our ETA Santander according to the plotter is 14:00 hours, we had anticipated a night entry into Santander harbour, instead we will be in and tied up at a sensible time - if all goes ok.
During the night we had a steady 12/15 knots on the beam , that left us this morning after sun rise and now we are motoring into what little breeze there is, we anticipate variable winds all morning , so engine on the rest of the way.
The waypoint at the entrance to Santander just doesn't feel like its getting closer, its taunting us, but the sun is shining and the water is flat calm and there is no wind, the surface is being broken in the distance and we see dolphins jumping.
Our paths cross and for a brief while we are joined by a large pod of dolphins that are performing acrobatics for our amusement, this is a great pick me up for a tired crew and we find ourselves running around on deck cameras in hand filming the aquatic version of the red arrows.
Finally we are in the harbour entrance, but calling the marina we get no reply - siesta ! So we decide to anchor off the beach and get some sleep, good choice , no rollers, no wind , just a quiet night and a great view to wake upto.
We have arranged to meet some friends while we are here, so next priority is a shower and electricity to hoover up the dog hair, he is still malting and being ginger, isn't tanning to well, he sits in the deck saloon most days, out of the sun with factor 50 on and a hat - malting.
The sailing bit:
The start was fairly slow with light winds around 8knots which isn't enough to push this old tub along, so on with the engine, once we cleared the islands the wind filled in to the promised 10 knots and actually built to 15knots from the west, a beam reach for the next ten hours seeing actual boat speeds upto 8 knots over ground - no tidal help - we were rolling.
It took us 31 hours to cover 203 miles , our maximum recorded speed on GPS was 10.3 knots for the entire first day and night we were on a beam reach with everything up and just eating the miles, the following day under engine slowed us to 5.5 maximum speed and a head wind.