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Bay of Biscay - Cork to La Coruna (Spain)

With the Irish sea under our belt for the second time we had what felt like a few well deserved days in Cork before turning our attention to our first ocean crossing – The Bay of Biscay.

Everything we had read about crossing the Bay of Biscay said – don’t leave UK waters in a South west wind, umm well apart from Thursday 16th August that was all that was forecast for the next two weeks. Thanks to the lovely Royal Cork Yacht club ( one of the oldest yacht clubs in the UK), and some fellow cruisers, we enjoyed five lovely days of Irish hospitality waiting for a Northerly wind.

This included meeting our new friends Donal an Marie at Oliver Plunckets in Cork where we popped in for a quick Murphys ( Irish Stout brewed locally), and rolled home at 3 am!.

Also the local pub in Crosshaven - Cronins became a favourite where the lovely Jolline ( daughter fo the owner) gave us a very upbeat and informative Irish whiskey tasting. Cork also gave me a chance to do my first 200hr service on the engine and sort out a rope clutch that had failed on our way down the Irish sea. Chris also got stuck in helped out with a cleaning duty on our second winch service.

Angus Macloed,( hence forth refered to as the "Master") ,who we had met in Islay had very kindly agreed to join us for our passage across Biscay. As an experienced Master on ocean going ships he was an absolute gem of a friend to have on board, imparting global shipping knowledge and some wise seamanship tips to Chris and I. Along with some good scottish whit to keep us on our toes. I for one was very grateful to have him on board confidently helping us to navigate the shipping lanes, and provide a second pair of eyes over the weather forecast, along with helping me to come to grips with some sun sight calculations.

We agreed that the Thursday 16th was our best departure date to catch a reasonable wind but we knew that we would be in for a bit of a rough ride for the first 24 hours.

Saorsa was a gem – she just ate up the big waves, and with a small main and half jib we whizzed southbound at a good 7 + knts. Chris struggled with the first couple of days but to his credit battled seasickness by trying to eat constantly and did his watch regardless. After the first two days the seas changed to Moderate and then slight – this was heaven, open waters, and time for some sextant practice with the “”Master” . We made such good progress we had to actually slow down over night to ensure we made La Coruna in day light.

After 517miles most, of which were sailing, we hoisted the Spanish flag and entered La Cornuna in great spirits. A hugely varied trip with beats, reaches, runs, rough and slight seas, a waterpump failure – repaired enroute,( (very pleased with myself on this one!) and a small rip in or forsail – repaired today.

Now some Spanish tapas, wine and beach….