Monday, 9 May 2011

A Spot of Bother in the Bay of Biscay

Yesterday afternoon disaster struck out in a very, very rough and windy Bay of Biscay. The new rigging of the main sail became loose and then, in the strong winds, the back sail broke away from the boom, swirling and hitting us from all directions.

It was all hands on deck (never thought I’d use that term properly!) and we pulled in the main sail and secured the back sail. A quick decision was made to stop overnight for repairs in the nearby island Belle Isle. It took 3 hours to reach sight of the island and waters only finally started to calm down when we reached the harbour.

It was like a different world, the sun was shining, wind had dropped and the sea was calm and blue! After making contact with the harbour master we were guided slowly to a bouy to wait for a slot in the lock. We had to be quick due to big tides and it was quite some manoeuvre to reverse the boat in through the narrow lock during which the captain shouted "get fenders!" I need to get the hang of this boat language … I was looking for guitars!

We safely docked in the beautiful village port of Le Palais and Sacha, Miles and Jamie immediately began sawing, banging and tightening the rigging. I saw the opportunity for a shower and headed to the harbour master’s office to get a key. Claire cooked up a well needed cassoulet for dinner, accompanied with the bread from our Castillon baker and a couple of bottles of Un Vent de Folie and Le Voyage.

Follow the journey online at

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