Month: June 2017
OK, so it’s a stupid title meant to be a play on the placename of Vigo (pron more like Vee-ho) but it’s a sort of celebratory reflection of all the planning that went on making last winter’s dream of “we are hoping to go to Spain in 2017, maybe as far down as Vigo, near the Portuguese border”.
And there was a lot of planning. And buying: charts, pilot books, new liferaft, ferry bookings, flight bookings, hotel bookings, getting a crew together, a week of boat prep, crossing the Bay of Biscay – which port to arrive at, which port as a backup, getting crew home, getting crew on board when arrivals plans changed dramatically…..and so on.
Besides the obvious facilities it has it’s own bar, restaurant, social & functions rooms and large swimming pool.
Sadly not party of the Passeport Escales scheme means we have to shell out at the rate of €35 per night to park. Not too bad considering Vigo was the objective and we stayed 2 nights.
More of Vigo in a mo, but first some notes from Muros to here.
If you like old fishing ports with good facilities, you will like Muros. If you like winding old streets with interesting back allies, you will like Muros.If you like Galician seafood you will like Muros. If you like more remote towns that still hark back to the past, you will like Muros.
We liked Muros.
The port has been organized to facilitate the large (huge) sea going fishing vessels away from pleasure craft. The harbour side has had some money spent on it and it shows.
Transport links by modern bus to Santiago are good.
Our plans include leaving Filibuster there for July.
How to broach a boat in no wind
The forecast was typical – no wind and it was on the nose. A light drizzle was falling. We left Muros expecting to motor all the way to Caraminal, but set up the main & genoa as a stabiliser against the swell.
Heading dead south, the rain stopped, the wind started to build. We were perplexed: looking up high on the mountain to the East the wind direction showed a NE, but we had West winds.
And they kept building. First reef then second reef. Winds topped 35kn…eek, or even double eek. Boat speed topped 8kn and with the 3m swell that became, shall we say, of concern.
Then we broached. (that’s a sailing term describing an over powered yacht becoming dangerously out of control ). We haven’t broached Filibuster since Bantry Bay in 2008 – it really can be dangerous to boat and crew.
What’s going on? A yacht passing on a reciprocal course only a few hundred yards away had no sails up due to lack of wind….
Wind off the mountains – to our left peaks of 600m steep down to the sea. That’s what was going on. A gentle wind on the top can create a massive eddy at the bottom and that’s what happened. A mile or so later we were clear of the mountains and the effect had passed – back to no wind…
Pueblo do Caraminal
Not much to report. Functional, marina, town, port. Seems to be favoured by Irish yachts for some reason.
And so to Vigo.
One stop further on is the Ria de Vigo, the last of the Spanish rias.
And we actually sailed the whole 30 miles! Wow, more than the rest of the trip so far.
And what a stop.
Vigo is a large port city and not somewhere we would normally go to, but it was the destination of this trip.
The Real Club Nautico de Vigo is close to the the old town: an easy walk away. In the old town centre there is a plaza given over to eating – and it is very very popular.
If you order a drink you get a little tapas to go with it…
And the loudness of all the chattering is almost deafening. We ate at the restaurant roughly in the middle of the shot. Michele had Octopus, you can have Octopus, you can have it many different ways. It’s texture is a bit like chicken, but the flavour is generally created by the cooking method.
I had delicious mussels.
Along with the earlier tapas the whole evening’s food & drink came to about €25.
We came the following evening and eat on the quieter periphery for even less.
A few other shots from very interesting Vigo:
We loved Vigo. If you can get a cheap flight it would make a fascinating weekend break.
We loved it so much that we stayed an extra night. The next morning we went to the office to pay. It was closed. it remained closed until well after it was open. What can you do when they won’t take your money and have to go? Answer: Leg it.
Pron San-shen-sho. The pilot guide says it is a large marina with full facilities.
They omit to mention the beach next door:
Or the lack of olde worlde Spanish style nooks and crannies….
Or the total sun block caused by the BFOB that parks next to us:
Or indeed the fact that in this part of the world the like to use explosives to ward off evil spirits. The explosives are religous, rocket propelled and in come in 2 types:
- The Trinity rocket: 3 smaller bangs
- The God Grenade: with 1 humongous bang, guaranteed to scare the wits out of any spirits, evil or otherwise
Sanxenxo clearly has more donations to spend and it’s artillery demo certainly scared more spirits than any other.
Listen here for a small portion that exquisitely includes the echoes rolling around the bay. Stay with it, it’s good at the end.
Or indeed about the fact that there are 2 marinas in the same space. Curious? It goes like this:
- We turn up early afternoon on Saturday, assisted by a marina man. We’ll call him Pedro. Pedro helps us tie up onto the long pontoon with other visitors.
- Pedro tells us the office is open at 4pm.
- We head officeward after 4pm. The office, in the very first building reached after stepping off the pontoon, is closed. It remains closed until Monday.
- We go back on Monday. They say they cannot accept our Passeport Escales (magic card offering free stopovers), but the “other office” at the other end of the marina does.
- We toddle across to the “other office”. They don’t speak English or French, we don’t do Spanish. A passer by is accosted to assist.
- Allegedly, because we didn’t register on the day of arrival at the “right” other office we can’t use the card for free stays.
- Then we are asked where we moored – pointed out the other side of aforementioned BFOB.
- Ah, that’s not our part of the marina – you need to go to the “other, other office”
So we schlep back across. The people in the “other office” have seen that we have gone back to the “other other office” to pay.The people in the “other other office” have seen that we went to the “other office” to pay.
Confused? we were.Quickly to get back on board and do the yachty equivalent of “legging it”. Again.
We don’t make a habit of, in fact have never done it before, but it does seem that in some of the bigger marinas here in Spain the park and place staff and the office staff are not in tune.
Enough for now…these posts are getting a bit lengthy and I haven’t quite caught up with the travels: National Park Islas de Cies and Porto Novo still await.
But still no wind to sail with since Vigo and the temperature as I write in Porto Novo is 34 deg C…
The wind, if we have any, is in the wrong direction tour 2017.
Quite simply it means we haven’t done a lot of sailing and we have done a lot of motoring.
Filibuster’s engine is, unlike road vehicles, monitored by number of hours. Since leaving Arzal we have done 82 hours of motoring. At an average say of 5.7kn that means 467nm (nautical miles). Our log says we have covered 477nm. Leaving just 10 under sails… 🙁 It’s not quite as bad as that…we might have done 20.
Motor or sail, we have visited some fascinating places and I write this post in Muros.
A gem of a place enclosed in an huge mountainous amphitheater, up market and livelier than any previous with the exception of A Coruna. It is so enclosed that there is no chance of any waves, any swell, any disturbance getting in. The town itself can be overly warm due to it’s sheltered location.
The marina at this off peak period is full, of empty berths. All is peaceful following last night’s Muros Music & Punk night, which allegedly finished at 3am. zzz, we finished earlier
Top Tips for Spanish Marinas
Should you be coming down this way you will need 2 items not normally used in UK and French ports:
A few words on the places visited since Viviero
Bustling city. Marina Coruna in the heart of it with nearby shops, bars and restaurants. Plenty to do and see and eat.
Handy little anchorage. Watch out for the flat bits in the water: they are weeds growing on rocks that appear at low tide!
We had high hopes for this small and sheltered marina with town. In the end it didn’t really live up to it. Although the pontoon for larger cruisers was well occupied I suspect the attraction was diesel available on the pontoon. Everyone had left before we got up the following morning.
A few boats anchored just off the marina.
Just across the ria is Muxia. A completely different kettle of fish. Larger, but not large, with bars, restaurants and interest. Billed in the guide (Passeport Escales) with top attractions of:
- “le monument du Prestige Oil Spill”
- The English cemetery
- The rock shaped like a boat (sinking, upside down)
How could we not go the 2.7nm across the bay?
And it was a delight – we didn’t find any of the attractions above. But did find plenty more. Muxia is on the Santiago-Finisterre Pilgrimage route and has plenty to offer the weary.
Finisterre – the end of the world
Allegedly, but incorrectly, the most westerly point of mainland Europe. The end of the known world in Roman times. The end of the Pilgrimage.
Anchorage only, protected from the unseasonable Southerlies and seasonal Northerlies. Back of beyond regional port mainly given to fishing and pilgrims.
The gem is the 3km walk to the Cabo de Finisterre with rewarding views of sea and pooped pilgrims.
In times gone by the aforementioned pilgrims used to burn their clothes at the end, however the absence of naked bodies and subsequent clothes shops suggests the warning as per right is nowadays taken seriously.
….And finally…the Gin test
Both are made from grain alcohol (in the case of Bombay Sapphire it is French) flavoured with “botanicals”.
In the Filibuster blind taste test each member of crew sampled both. No ice, no tonic, just neat gin.
And the result? Consistent to say the least. Click here to see.
And on that bombshell I’ll leave you to it and write about Muros another day.
You will of course be pleased to hear we sort of made it across. “sort of”? Well we didn’t quite make it to A Coruna, more of which later.
The 5-6-7-8.30 plan
A plan that runs thus:
- 0530 alarm
- 0630 depart home
- 0730 pick up Gav at Poole railway station
- 0830 depart on Ferry
And it all went to plan: arriving on the boat at 1800, unpack, eating, sleeping, or not as the case may be.
Or not? = When I set the time on my trusty new SuperDry wristwatch it decided unilaterally to continue advancing Japanward a further 1 1/2 hours. Midnight became 0130. etc
How many F in Frenchmen?
To the residents of Arzal berth S111 the answer to that question is 4. There were 4 F in Frenchmen 2 berths down who decided that night was the perfect night to a) get drunk b) play music c) natter away to 4a.m. (Sorry I mean 2.30am due to incorrect setting of watch).
Your truly not happy at 4am/230am. 🙁
And so the night progressed, sleep came, sleep went, the watch said 730am… PANIC. We want to be in the 8 oclock lock….Wake the crew. Notice the time zone in the saloon is 1 1/2 hours behind Superdry.
At that moment it dawns. Superdry is wrong. Dawn is upon us. Literally. See photo
Panic over. We go to the shop, get some fresh food, out through the lock and off. Next stop A Coruna 360nm away.
The Brutal Bay of Biscay…
….was on holiday when we crossed. There was no wind to sail by and we motored pretty much the whole way across. Boo.
And following the sunset the night watches were rewarded by a view of the Milky Way undiminished by other lights for as far as could be seen.
Fuel Burn rate
Indeed so flat, so calm for so long we became concerned about the fuel burn rate. I thought we had enough (we did) but Prudence popped up half way across and said thus:
- If the burn rate was 3.0l/hr and that gave 5kn and the distance was 360nm then we have just enough fuel to get across
- If the burn rate was 3.5l/hr and that gave 5kn and the distance was 360nm then we run out of fuel on arrival
Optimism says we do 3l/h, Prudence says 3.5l. Our fuel burn records have never covered running the tank dry and we are not about to risk it.
Change course to the next nearest port of Viveiro, which is 40nm nearer. Arriving around 4pm on 1st June.
And what a result. How to describe Viveiro:
- very helpful staff
- fantastic tapas / restaurant.
We ate the seafood of the gods ashore, had a night cap on board, and after 3 broken nights slept the sleep of the gods. In heaven.
The next morning we fueled up, left the marina and spent the day at anchor in a nearby bay. Still no wind.
The final problem
Viveiro is in mountainous lands – getting crew to Santiago and back is not so easy with no simple public transport – it has to be a rather expensive taxi. Ah well.
And the fuel rate?
For anyone interested we took 135l of diesel so the figures work out thus:
- 56 hours motored, 308nm covered
- 2.4l/hr or 5.5nm/hr or about 2.3nm/l
We had over 100l left in the tank before filling and would have easily made it to A Coruna. The difference is probably mostly accounted by the fact we had the mainsail up all the time and that gave us a small, but useful lift.