Ep2 – Running from a Force 10 Storm in Biscay

Ep2 – Running from a Force 10 Storm in Biscay

In this episode we set off on a five day sail across the bay of Biscay with ARC Portugal. Three days in we get news of a force 10 storm crossing our path. The fleet of yachts have to run for cover, some head into open water and have to sit out the storm at sea. Two of them with no engine. We try and outrun the storm and make port Northern Spain. There’s lots of information in this episode on sailing as part of a rally and what it’s like to attempt the Bay of Biscay.
There are good timers too. We play with dolphins, experience lovely sunrises and sunsets, rainbows as well as the steep swells and angry seas Biscay in notorious for.
Some boats have to heave to for 48 hours as the storm passes, heading for the safety of deeper water. We manage to dash for land in Northern Spain and have to ride the swell into Bayona at first light before the full force of the storm hits.

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We are sailing slowly around the world in our classic cutter rigged sailboat ‘Fair Isle’. With the children leaving home we decided to sell our house in the UK and buy a boat in Holland. After two years refitting our Hans Christian 48T we have now set off a world voyage.

We are retiring early because we want to attempt this voyage in good health and while we’re fit and strong enough to really enjoy it. We will have to work a bit as we go until we can draw our pensions and we honestly don’t know how well that will work. In our real lives we are journalists and filmmakers so it was only natural for use to document our travels by filming the journey. We aim to produce a professional standard vlog of the whole trip and try to give the viewer a real insight into what it’s like to live and travel on a 48 foot sailboat.

Our first aim is to sail South. After a winter getting iced in on the Markermeer in the Netherlands Judy insisted on warmer weather! So if you start from Episode 1 you will see us setting off from Eastbourne in the UK and travelling along the South Coast to Plymouth to enter a rally called ARC Portugal.

Our first goal is to reach the Mediterranean and that means sailing across the infamous Bay of Biscay. This was a very good test for our boat as the bay lived up to it’s fearsome reputation and split the whole fleet with a force 10 storm. Storm Miguel cut through our path and meant we had to run to mainland Spain to escape the massive seas and fearsome winds. Six boats couldn’t make it in time and spent several very uncomfortable days at sea. The fleet had several broken boats, but thankfully no injured people. And this was just Episode 2!

The excitement continued for the rest of our trip to the Med. Dolphins played in our bow wave, we sampled fantastic local foods and wines, great port in Porto! We found some beautiful anchorages and visit some wonderful historic places like Lisbon in Portugal, Cadiz in Spain and the fascinating port of Gibraltar.

We will show you what it’s like to winter in the Mediterranean, how much it all costs and give hints and tips on where to go how to save money with your boat and the places you stay. We are also talking to other sailors. After years of broadcasting journalism we know how to get peoples stories and we regularly film other sailors to show their boats and lifestyle as well as ours. We can always learn from others.

Our long term plan is to spend a few years in the Mediterranean, on our list of place we want to visit are; Mallorca, Malta, Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, Greece, Turkey, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Italy, Tunisia, to name but a few!
When we feel we’ve seen the best of what the Med has to offer we will cross the Atlantic to the Caribbean, we are hoping we can fit in a trip to the Azores on the way.

We have no idea how long we might want to stay in the Caribbean but we do intend to have at least one excursion up the Eastern seaboard of the United States to visit the wonderful sailing areas of Florida, Virginia, sailing Meccas such as Chesapeake bay and hopefully get all the way up to New York.

Of course the South Pacific is somewhere every sailor wants to go and will be a real draw for us. So going through the Panama canal will be a real milestone and we really look forward to having the big doors shut behind us and sailing into the biggest sailing playground of all!