I must have upset the wind gods because instead of veering to give me a nice beam reach into Spain as forecast the wind stayed hard on the nose for the last 36 hours. The theme of the last 7 days. After crossing the shipping lanes on Friday afternoon the wind increased to 25 knots again from the SW preventing me from setting course for shore. So I hove to for the night and got some sleep whilst minimising ground lost to the east. In the morning the wind was still blowing hard preventing me from getting west enough to reach La Coruna but after consulting the almanac decided to go for Ria de Cedeira 30 miles to the east which was described as having a good sheltered anchorage and approachable in all weathers.
Beating into incessantly strong headwinds was getting fairly tiresome by this point and I was counting down the hours until landfall. Eventually at 19.00 yesterday I motored in to Ria de Cedeira and dropped anchor in the driving rain and wind. The glass of birthday whiskey tasted oh so good.
Today was spent drying gear and sorting and tidying the boat and the sun even decided to come out and say hello. Tomorrow I’ll head along the coast to La Coruna where I can have a decent shower (its been a week since my last!).
On reflection it is disappointing I didn’t make the Azores however in view of the worsening weather and oncoming low pressure system I definitely made the right call to divert. So far I know of 11 retirements out of the 22 starters in the Jester challenge several of whom had technical issues due to the conditions encountered and the rest in view of the forecast. I can’t help be concerned for those who set off with no way of contacting land and no way of checking the weather. Hope to hear good news soon. I ended up completing a crossing of Biscay single handed which was unplanned a week ago and did it without a suitable weather window so I feel chuffed with that. Fathom and I came through some pretty touch conditions well and I have so much confidence in her ability to look after me. What a boat she is. I’m now really excited about the prospect of cruising south and exploring interesting places on the Spanish and Portuguese coasts. An opportunity I wouldn’t have had if I had reached the Azores.