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Stoneways Marine 2021 - LEADERBOARD

RoRC report from the Iberian Peninsula

by Rhys Walters 8 Jun 15:19 UTC

Our 2021 season while reasonably short was full of fun and adventure. I touched on our crossing of Biscay in the last newsletter.

While quite an uneventful trip by Biscay standards, it gave us a lot of opportunities to learn our way around the boat and all her new gear. The Bay of Biscay has a fearsome reputation and for good reason, but it was very well behaved for us and we spent most of it either motoring or using the gennaker. Not once did the wind go over 15 knots, while more frequently sitting at under 10. I would have liked to have had more wind but you have to be careful what you wish for at sea.

After a brief encounter with Orcas that left us well alone (maybe they don't like the taste of steel) we made a short stop into La Coruna before leaving for Baiona the following day. Baiona is really when we felt we had finally set off for real, and we spent 2 very nice weeks between the MRCYB Marina and the anchorage at the far end of Ria de Vigo getting to grips with life in a totally new country and lifestyle to us both. The night before we left for Portugal, we were lucky enough to berth in the midst of the Mini Transat fleet that had ducked in to avoid a severe gale warning, some of which had suffered damage due to Orca encounters. I managed to spend some time helping them make repairs and have a look around the boats.

The following day we left for Portugal with hopes of making it to Porto with a nice forecast, but the reality was long 3m swells and absolutely no wind. I got really seasick as the boat was rolling heavily and I had decided to eat Nutella for breakfast, so we diverted to Viana do Castelo which turned out to be a really nice little gem of a town. Making our way up the river to the marina we were concerned that the bridge across the marina entrance would be closed, but thankfully a really friendly staff member called Renato had opened it and took our lines. It was his day off but he was watching us on AIS and came down to greet us. (Good to note that there is a very strong current across the marina entrance that nearly caught us out.)

After several days enjoying Viana do Castelo, we left the marina with help from a friendly police officer and sailed up the river and out to sea. A light northerly breeze gave us great gennaker sailing conditions and it wasn't long before we were in Varzim, then a short hop a few days later to Porto where we wanted to spend at least a week exploring. The pilot books claimed no anchoring in the river, but plenty of us were without any problems, you just have to watch for the current as the tide shifts.

After we had our fill of Porto, we made way to Sao Jacinto which was roughly 40nm further south. This time we had company as a couple we met in Porto was leaving at the same time. And we are very glad they did as we spent the rest of the season sailing in company with them. As we made our way down the coast of Portugal, we made a lot of new friends and on our trip to Nazare, there were 5 of us in total sailing together.

Our season ended in Portimao where as a UK citizen I had to leave for 3 months... but thankfully I am back on board preparing for the 2022 season with some major much needed upgrades to the boat.

This article has been provided by the courtesy of Ocean Cruising Club.

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