Just 5 miles west of Barbate I found myself sailing around the many shoals off Cape Trafalgar. Yes, this is the site of the famous, or infamous, (presumably depending on your nationality), 1805 naval battle between Villeneuve and Nelson.
I’d checked my almanac and Imray pilot to time the departure for a complementary tidal stream, but after an hour of speeding west at 7.5kts I realized my northerly stream was not altogether northerly! If only the disclaimer printed beneath the tidal stream extract was given more prominence, I might not have taken it as gospel. Lesson learnt.
The wind was now gusting to twice that predicted in the “windguru.com” and “windfinder.com” web site forecasts and the direction was anything but favourable. I was obviously in for another rough trip. A brief glance at the brevity of my ships log (one entry 6hrs after departure) is testament to this.
So why was I stubbornly heading North toward the bay of Cadiz instead of just heading out to sea on a direct route to Portugal?
For several reasons:
- Firstly, I found it was difficult to trust the weather forecasts for one day, let alone the two to three that I’d need for a longer leg;
- I also wanted to take advantage of the promise of smoother seas further north (clearly shown in my weather forecasts an example of which is posted above).
- A degree of wanting to play tourist also had to be taken into consideration.
By sunset I was bouncing my way into the bay of Cadiz. No torn mainsail this time, but the bronze rail at the end of my boom (tensioning the mainsail), was dramatically ripped from its fastenings. For now, I have decided to do without it, and have come up with this (see photo) elegant solution. OK, I’ll admit it isn’t pretty, but it does work!
Of Rota, I saw nothing but the refueling pontoon by night. Fascinating. So much for the argument of heading north to play tourist. 🙂