Blast Across Biscay
So I’ve completed my first crossing of the Bay of Biscay!
Initially it let us think we were going to have a smooth ride and we
completed most of it under spinnaker in fairly benign conditions; until the
end. Almost out the bay approaching Finisteire and the wind quickly built
and just as the the drop was being prepared the halyard snapped, like a
shotgun going off! The whole kite dropping into the water. Inevitably it
was a “All Hands” call at 5:30 to drag the kite back into the boat.
Other boats within the fleet did not get off so lightly; other snapped
halyards, shredded kites and pole tracks torn off the mast. The halyards
are an issue in my opinion, being under specified for the job (14mm instead
The next 3 hours was spent clearing up the associated mess before hoisting
the Yankee and getting the boat sailing at some sort of speed again. To
increase speed further and in lieu of the spinnaker the head sail was poled
out and speed increased further. At one point 25 knots was achieved surfing
down the 3m swells in what was taxing helming conditions, particularly
when darkness fell. When off watch, and down below the noise of the surf
against the hull meant little sleep was obtained, that plus the whooping
and hollering of the on watch crew as they caught yet another wave!
The Biscay also had other things to offer; several pods of dolphins chased
to boat, one watch caught a glimpse of a whale, and there were spectacular
sunsets and clear nights.
The aim now is to keep in the stronger wind band off the back of a TRS
(tropical revolving storm = hurricane) that has formed off the Cap Verde
islands to maintain our good progress; still some 1500 miles distant.