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Passage Making

Mo often asserts that she is new to sailing, and she does not (yet) fancy making long passages. We chose to follow around the Biscay coast partly for this reason, partly because we didn't want to miss anything! Mo had not seen the Brittany coast, and John was determined to visit the beautiful Rias of Galicia, in NW Spain, having missed out on them on 'delivery' trips. We were not in any case in any hurry, having decided on the Algarve coast of Portugal as our objective for the year. In consequence, in our first summer away (2004) we made very few night passages. The night passages we did make were often forced by the absence of attractive ports along the way! Cruising in Portugal has been different. The west coast has relatively few ports spaced well apart, and some of them are restricted for entry by weather or tide. We had expected to have to use marinas, but in practice managed to find anchorages at several of our stops.

As the rather drunken crow would have flown, it is about 1500 miles, but we had logged 2300 (and the log was not working for a while) upon arrival. We had clocked up a rather high 318 engine hours, reflecting the few really good sails we have enjoyed. That does not include battery charging: the generator was showing 333 hours. The journey from the UK took 141 days, and we spent just 35 nights in marinas at a cost of 652 (sterling).

If, however, you want to make progress, then there is nothing better than a continuous period of steady sailing. You start to get into a routine after a night or two at sea, with an effective watch system running. It may be a year or two before I have the opportunity to convince Mo of that hypothesis!

We loved having visitors, but there is no doubt that making a committment to be in a place at a particular time leads to pressures that one can do without, and often leads to questionable decisions in consequence. Some of our fellow sailors even assert that they will simply say, "We are here, come and see us if you want... but don't expect us to commit ourselves in advance!". That of course does not allow the best use of booking flights in advance.

In between our day-sails, we might stay in one place for a night, or might hang around in one area for nearly a week. We did not always go ashore! We were quite happy reading, sunbathing, swimming, simply surviving! In general, we would now say that we went too fast, and that we would have liked longer at many places that we visited. We had set for ourselves the objective of over-wintering in the Algarve, and so our plans and those for our visitors were made accordingly.