North Britany to La Coruña. Crossing our first sea.

Updated: Dec 10, 2020

Quite a lot has happened since I wrote last. We traveled more than 400 miles. That’s almost the same distance as before this post in total.

In France Roscoff Britany we enjoyed a wonderful time. Picked mussels, enjoyed breakfast at local boulangers, biked around.

At first we stayed in roscoff marina. This cost about 32 euro per night. We decided to move to a mooring. 5 nm away on the river. Our neighbor a Bulgarian guy, whom bought his van der stad pandorra minimini cruiser in the Netherlands, asked us if we can tow him to the Anchorage because he had no engine. So we did.

We spend about a week on the river and decided it’s time to move on. We gave our outboard to the Bulgarian guy and on low throttle we sailed away with high speed. Two not current and 25 knot wind from behind. Looking backward it appeared the Bulgarian guy forgot to put the outboard in forward and got stuck on a mooring. Somebodies dingy on one side mooring buy on the other and between the Rutter and keel.

The river is narrow rocks and shallow grounds everywhere. For a while I keep turning and going back to see how he is managing. At some point I decide to pick up the mooring again because going round in this strong weather is a struggle. We threw in the rubber boat and rowed to him. I shout to him please do not sail to Spain and sell your boat. I fixed the issue by making new rope behind his boat and cutting the old one under water. His boat and my rubber boat blown away down river quickly. I remain in the dingy way got stuck on. My rubberboat tied to his boat. What the ...Throw the anchor throw the anchor! I shouted. He did. He rowed back to me in my rubber boat against the wind and current. Back to his boat to drop him off and I went back to my ship. Rubberboat on deck and off we go. We motor away to go to the marina about 5nm. After one minute beeeeeeeep. Engine Over heating. I turn of the engine. Look around. Shit. Can’t anchor I know it’s rocks there. In al directions there are rocky dangers and shoals. This is bad. Very bad. All the way to the marina. Quickly I roll of the light weather genua a little bit. We are going 4,5 knots on 3 m3 of sail. The marina is on our 10 o clock. We have to go 12 o’clock for a while with the wind slightly from behind and then more and more up wind. I don’t think we can sail that far upwind with the genua. We call the coastguard. After 45 minutes of arguing they finally decided to come. Because it takes so long I have to start the upwind part, this is very narrow between two large rocks. We arrived at the marina already. They towed us for 100 meter after which the harbour master took over.

Maina, a French sailing girl was coming on board. We allowed two nights in the marina to prepare the boat for crossing of Biscaje (no stop). We left two days later. Akane cooked 5 liter of stew fried rice etc etc so we wouldn’t go hungry. Leaving Roscoff we saw a group of sailboats motoring against the 20 kn wind between the mainland and Ille de Batz. (Wind against tide with) we figured if they can do it, we can. So we followed into the narrow channel rocks everywhere. Waves built towards the other ends making Kairos bounce hard like a rodeo bull. At sea we meet the Bulgarian guy. His little vessel dancing on the waves. May god protect him. Akane and I were getting seasick. We sailed upwind beaten by waves and strong wind. The freeboard was submerged. The freeboard is more than 1,25 meter so this is unusual and not very safe. After 40 nm I decide to make land in laber wrache. Akane and I remain unwell until the next day. The French girl had not any issue at all. Remarkable.

We took the bike to Brest and back for 60 kilometer to visit the botanical garden. An amazing place. Four days later we had a good weather window and decided to leave for a Coruña on Friday morning Friday 10th of July. Upwind for 10 hours and that south for 3 days . If we arrive to soon a gale awaits.

After a long upwind beating which was supposed to be half wind we finally can make south. Ushant gives us high cross waves which are impressive. Wondering how the Bulgarian guy is doing. An open 650 takes us over with speed of 15 knots. The night passed by we rotate 2 hours. The next day we see a floating object 3 nm away. Is it a capsized sailboat? We tack starboard. It is a dead whale. I thank god it’s not the Bulgarian guy. The seastate and wind remain rough 20- 25 knots wild steep and breaking waves but not very tall. Several times waves break into the cockpit. This makes you feel very small and vulnerable.

The day passed. Next day. I decide to reduce sail to avoid gale conditions and rough seas as predicted by finistere coasguard which we can receive about 200 nm away. We also get some help by sat phone. 24 hours we sail slowly with 3-4 kn on a fully reefed main alone. After that. Full sail. 6-8 knots blasting to our goal.

New day. In the rising of the day the mountains appear from the fog. It’s still 50 miles away. We almost made it. Goosebumps. I understand a little bit now why Columbus kissed the ground after he put foot on ground. We increase sail to maintain speed. The last 15 miles. No gale so far. Suddenly it seems someone turned on a ventilator. Boat speed pics up to 8-9 knots immediately surfing a wave. The autopilot is not strong enough. Quickly I grab the helm and understand why the autopilot is not strong enough. I can just hold the helm. I shout to the girls take in the jib sail quickly quickly! After that we struggle to take in the main sail by pulling it down with the reef lines. Going in on the motor the last 10 miles the waves build quickly into the bay. We take a route over shallow grounds. Not recommended. We surf some more waves on the motor and say several times: That’s a big one!

On the jetty a group of friends await to celebrate with hard liquor.

We look everywhere for the Bulgarian boat. He is not here. I fear the worst. He must have had gale or worse condition sailing 4 days ahead. We don’t have his contact details. He as no ais Facebook etc.

The next day we receive an email of him! He is okay. In his email he said he arrived. But will never sail again. We go to see him. He explains ho he had 40 knots of wind. His boom broke. Water til his knees. Autopilot was not strong enough. Mostly he had to do hand steering. It took him 6 days. Couldn’t leave the helm a long time, so no water and food for a couple of days. But he stood tall and made it. I quietly thanked god. Trough the eye of the needle he went.

Time for a well deserved holiday.

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