Yacht Fathom - Setting off from England in May 2016 on a single-handed voyage somewhere a bit warmer


Just before I was due to leave Cangas I received an email from Peter Orban to say he had abandoned his attempt to reach the Azores and was headed for Cangas. Peter had entered the Jester Challenge with his bilge keeled Kingfisher 22 Tisza’ and had spent 29 days at sea fighting gales and constant headwinds but in the end after getting to within 330 miles of the Azores decided enough was enough. It was great to catch up with him and hear the stories from his trip. For those interested of the 24 sailors that started the Jester Challenge everyone has now arrived safely at their destination of choice. 10 reached the Azores and 14 retired.

On Thursday last week I left Cangas much to the disappointment of a small bird that had tried to make a home for itself under the cover of the self steering gear. We had a nice sail out of the Ria de Vigo towards Islas Cies. The wind was from the NW so decided to anchor off the Playa de S.Martin beach on the small southern island of San Martin. As the island is a bird sanctuary the pilot book mentioned that going ashore is forbidden but it was enjoyable sitting in the cockpit with a glass of wine doing some bird spotting!

The forecast for the following 24 hours showed some strong NE winds building in excess of 30 knots. The anchorages
at Islas Cies have no protection from NE to SE so I made the call to spend the weekend in Baiona a few miles to the south and return to Cies next week when the winds calm and go back to N or NW. Baiona is renowned as being an attractive town and well worth a visit. It was the first European harbour to hear that Colombus had discovered America in 1493. It is also renowned for having expensive marinas so I am at anchor just outside which is a little bumpy but bearable. Yesterday I took a walk around the medieval fort on the northern headland of the harbour which gives a great panoramic view.

Baiona - Fathom at anchor back of shot

Another visitor to Baiona has been Chris and Kath on ‘Harlekin’ who I know from the Island. They set off from Island Harbour at the beginning of May and despite several technical issues on the way are in good spirits and planning to head south to Portugal in the next few days. They are anchored nearby and invited me aboard for dinner yesterday evening. I also spotted at the other side of the anchorage a Dutch single hander who I had last seen in Yarmouth Harbour in May. Small world.

I have really enjoyed chatting with the locals wherever I have been. Despite not speaking Spanish it is always possible to find someone that speaks english and everyone I have met has been incredibly friendly. The Spanish certainly like their late nights and most bars and pubs don’t start getting busy until after 11pm and stay open until at least 3am. On Friday a quiet beer turned into a longer night than planned. I bumped into the crew of an english yacht called ‘Kitiwake’ who had just arrived after their Biscay crossing and several hours later I suddenly realised I had forgotten to put the anchor light on before going ashore. At this point though it was 04.30 and the sun was coming up so I figured it wasn’t worth it!

Next week I hope to spend some days chilling at the Cies Islands and then I will temporarily go back to Cangas where a sailmaker will come and check my mainsail repair before I head on south to Portugal next month.

Posted on 26 Jun in: Jester Azores Challenge 2016, Logs 2016, Spain (No Comments)

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