4 hours awake - 4 hours of sleep - 4 days strait

in #sailing5 years ago (edited)

Crossing the Biscay in January

A few days back I traveled by bus and train to Cherbourg - Normandy in France in order to attempt to sail from France to Spain via the Bay of Biscay. I have to admit that I have an utterly big respect for this passage. In this region, a lot of well prepared ships sank due to unforeseen circumstances, mistakes or just bad luck - especially in the winter season since one storm front is usually by the next one.

We are a crew of 3 - Pieter, the owner, Vera, who is fairly new to sailing world, and yours truly. The boat we are sailing is a Beneteau Oceanis 43 build in 2008, complete with a generator, water maker, solar panels and electric winches.



Ric (Cellphone photo)

The boat:

And so this adventure begins with a Swede, an Austrian and a German. We left Cherbourg with quite a lot of wind. After tacking ouf of the harbour, we were presented with waves as high as I never saw in 4 years, that followed one another in a high frequency. You measure the height of waves from the middle of the wave so if you are in the depth after the wave, the wave will look 8 meters high while it is actually "just" 4 meters. I think the waves were hitting the 4 meter mark with a frequency of just a few seconds. We were in a washing machine for quite some time. But do not worry: this was forecasted so we were aware of the situation and prepared. Life lines, proper offshore sailing gear and life jackets were on.

After this washing machine situation the wind calmed down - the waves got smaller and we started with our watch schedule. The "normal behavior" on these sort of deliveries / trips is that each crew member would hold a 4 hour long watch and uses the rest of the time for sleeping and cooking but since Vera had zero experience with watches like this, she basically was not able to do watches alone. This situation meant that Pieter and I had to do 4 hour watches and then 4 hours of sleep continuously (we did switch it up here and there, so sometimes 6 hours of watch, etc...). As the days went, Vera was able to do shorter watches on her own since the wind died down and there was not so much traffic. She did a great job learning what needs to be known.

(After seeing this photo we were realizing that Vera can't wear her harness this way - this is too unsecure! This has changed.)

We sailed for 3.5 days strait from France to La Coruña - Spain and especially the 2nd night is mighty noteworthy! The wind was blowing with a wind force 6 the whole night and we rushed along with up to 11 knots. The feeling that you get traveling with this speed while seeing absolutely crazy, is something from another world and only for the adventurous type of person. Of course we needed to take a lot of care with the waves and other ships. If another ship is in our vicinity, I tend to sail the boat myself, rather than let the auto pilot do its thing. An absolut thrill!

As you can see, the weather gets finally improves.

After this stormy night, the wind died down and we went with 5 to 7 knots over the Biscaye. A day later the wind was totally gone and we had to motor the last leg! A pity BUT we needed to hurry since there was a storm approaching. It actually chased us quite hard but in the end it slowed down, so we arrived in La Coruña on Saturday safe and alive.

This is the storm that chased us for over a day:

Now it is sunday and as we stepped out of the boat, we were greeted by Kraken - a french 3 mast. Waking up with this sort of view just make my senses tickle :)

The final route:

We are planing to head out again on Monday the 28.01 and to sail further down south along the coast of Spain.


What an adventure! 4 m waves that look like 8 m? I would pee in my pants.. or wait.. I would get a heart attack! :) Sailing really isn't for me as it sounds so dangerous but I admire seeing people who do it and of course checking our their photos. Yours are amazing! The one with calm see and beautiful soft clouds makes me feel so relaxed and happy. When you have such weather it must be a pleasure to sail. But otherwise.. scary, scary and again scary :)

Very is a brave girl for trying it out! Did she like it? Will she join you again?

Thank you for sharing!

The clouds photos are awesome !!... the blue sky and endless clouds

cool that you liked it!

@mrprofessor this is a post you would love to read!

Ontopic: What a great sailtrip. How is Vera doing with learning the sailing tricks? What did you guys do to fix the harness?

Absolutely epic! Thanks for tagging me.

the main point is that the life vest should not be blocked by the hares - so she needs to wear that the other way around! its a small but importent detail :)

So she's wearing the life vest different if I read it correct? Because the harness would be difficult to wear that different than by design?

Hey guchtere, the main point is that a harness should be worn under the life west :)

Thanks for stopping bye!

What an amazing journey, I can't imagine how it feels to surf down an 8m wall. I've been obsessed about living aboard sailing around for quite some time now; reading Amyr Klink triggered that spirit on me.

Hopefully I'll get the chance to learn one of these days!

hey prof! I am pretty obsessed with it too and enjoy when I am on board of a vessel - its a decent challenge!

The question is... can you get me into a vessel? hHAHAHAHAH I'm willing to do 24 hour watches no problem

This is really awesome and real adventure, I love it so much. The longest time to be on the sea was 8 days crossing with the navigation vessel, but we were 30 crews on the vessel. And you did it only 3 of you man, that is really fantastic

thanks for that lovely comment! glad you did enjoy :))

What an adventure. Such a historical route! What a blessing!
You stay safe.
Wish you a successful journey.
Those images are just amazing. I specially liked # 8 and 9.

thank you very much! all the best!

This post is sponsored and featured by @Appreciator in collaboration with @c-squared. Just keep up the good work.

Love the stormy water photos and hearing the story of your journey. Thanks for taking us along for the ride.

you are very welcome!

Unforgetable experience!

that's more than true :) - especially in January - thanks for stopping by :)

My grandpa ended up in the navy, under very strange circumstances. He went to the capital, to play football as a pro, but was not accepted in the "sports high school". He didn't want to quit his football dreams and he joined the "Danube naval high school". When he was old enough to be recruited to the army - he needed to become a sailor. So he travelled, from India to Spain :D

The best time of his life. He says so...

Hi ricpicks,

This post has been upvoted by the Curie community curation project and associated vote trail as exceptional content (human curated and reviewed). Have a great day :)

Visit curiesteem.com or join the Curie Discord community to learn more.

thank you once more! its really appreciated!!!

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