Spain - Gijon - pronounced He Hon - Clearly twinned with Fowey pronounced Foy
The sailing bit:
Sailing to windward is four times the effort and half the result, for those that don't sail , sail boats cant go directly into wind , it simply wont work , side on to wind yes, wind astern yes, head on - NO - NO - NO
So generally I pick the destination and wait for the wind to be in the correct direction before deciding to move on , or I change the destination to suit the wind , occasionally the plan will go wrong !
We left Santander in bit of a rush as the wind was in the correct direction but quite strong, it was forecast to lose its intensity over night and then go into the west or south west 5-10 knots around 16:00 the next day - which is exactly where we wanted to go.
Santander being 60€ a night was a drain and I wanted to get going , so I made the decision to catch the last of the Easterly wind and then the following morning we would motor the rest of the way into the forecast light winds - WRONG !
So we left just as the sun was setting and we made good speed, Gijon was seventy miles away so around 14/16 hours at the speeds we were making, we settled in to our two hours on and two hours off watch keeping system.
Late into the night while I was off watch the motion of the boat changed, it woke me , the wind had droped , the head sail flogged and then filled from the opposite side of the boat essentially tacking it self , the main sail was sheeted in hard and simply filled without crashing the boom across the boat - we involuntarily stopped.
Over the next four hours under engine with it revving just short of maximum we covered a measly 8 miles, the seas had built up from flat calm to over two meters , short and steep each wave would stop the boats forward momentum and send a foot of solid water down the length of the deck, the spray from the bow would go skyward and rained down on the person at the helm, sleeping below was impossible, the wind instrument was showing a steady 25/30 knots and gusting to 35 - right on the nose - it was still dark !
The head sail was down, the mizzen lashed to the boom , but the main still up, oh how i kicked myself for not reefing when I had the chance ! We plodded on in the hope the wind would drop to its forecast strength, having covered 50 miles already turning back was an option I seriously considered but loathed.
It took us over 24 hours to cover seventy miles , the last 20miles accounted for 10 of those hours , we shredded an alternator belt and I topped up the fuel tanks from jerry cans all in the last ten hours, Gijon was a happy sight - finally !
He couldn't sleep, couldn't pee , couldn't do anything either on deck or down below, he just curled up at our feet in the cockpit and rested his head in our laps in a vain attempt for attention
Once tied up , he slept for the next 24 hours , I've never seen him so tired, the following day we walked up into town via the local park and he had a good blow out , hes still quiet and I wonder if he was feeling sea sick , I know I was, god bless Stugeron !
Gijon is an attractive place , the harbour is well run, good facilities and €35 per night , showers and electric is inclusive, the staff helpful and courteous , they speak embarrassingly good English, whilst I still break out into French, often saying bonjour instead of Ola ETC - wish I was smarter, languages just escape me !
The night life here is epic, the entertainment on the streets is sublime, singing , dancing, displays etc , we like it here and will stay a little longer to explore and rest for a while, we have no schedule, no itinerary, no pressure.
Lifes good here, plenty to do, attractive city , lots of shopping , good food , not expensive, there was a cider festival here so they made a tower of empty cider bottles sat in a frame and lit from behind which looks like a xmas tree from where we are.