Wind gusts reach 40kts on route to Ribadeo

No I'm not sinking

It should have been an easy 40 miles to Ribadeo from Cudillero. It certainly started out as an effortless motor-sail, but I should have known better than to completely trust weather forecasts.

With just 9 miles to go the wind made a surprise shift to the southwest and brought gusts averaging between 30 and 40 knots!

Luckily I had just finished tying a third reef in the mainsail to facilitate hauling in my catch of the day (a rather large bonito).

My friends in Avel Vat (which I’m told means fair winds in the Breton language) had motored ahead while I was busy playing psychotic killer with my fish.

Fish soup anyone?

Seeing that I was no longer making significant headway, they turned back to check if I was in some kind of trouble. Admittedly I was up to my elbows in blood and intestines at the time but other than that I was doing just fine. So long as none of the blood is mine I’m happy enough.

I feel much obliged by Frederic’s obvious concern, but he needn’t have been worried. I was having the time of my life! I held up my trophy to show why I’d fallen behind before plowing dutifully onward through an increasingly agitated sea.

Frederic took the following video of Eileen (or Eilen as he calls her) as we motored on into the wind at a pitiful 2 knots.

Eileen of Avoca in Biscay

Bedraggled and cold, we finally reached our destination. It certainly wasn’t easy. Who would have thought it could take nearly 5 hours to travel just 9 miles.

Safely moored, I quickly set about cooking my prize catch and before long an impromptu ‘bonito’ feast was prepared to celebrate our arrival.

Real sailors sew!

In port it was time to relax and catch up on some odd jobs. Frederic and I set about playing harbour haberdasher, while Vivien busied himself with conquering the world on his Nintendo DS.

Vivien is in there somewhere

There wasn’t much time to play tourist, but I did manage to take a few photos of my stay in Ribadeo. Enjoy!

Ribadeo marina

The marina is not as sheltered as it looks. Eileen has been violently tugging at her warps for days as the surge works its way around the breakwater.

The eyesore of Ribadeo

Not only is it ugly but it smells too! I’d have expected to see dozens of would be rock climbers doing their thing all over this elevator. Instead it seems to be used by local drunks emptying their thing all over it. phew!

Ribadeo town center

But it’s pretty enough in town though surprisingly uninhabited. Only one in three houses seems to have anyone living in it. See for yourself!

Empty houses in Ribadeo

I should have sailed to La Coruna when I had the chance!

Leaving Gijon and following Avel Vat

After a one night stopover in Gijon, refueled and resupplied, Eileen and Avel Vat were getting along so well that we decided to tackle the next westward leg together and set our sights on reaching Ribadeo.

Unfortunately we didn’t make it.

By 2am the wind made a 180 degree about face and forced us into the small fishing village of Cudillero. With the weather deteriorating rapidly it now looks as though we will be taking up permanent residency status here.

The main square in Cudillero

On the plus side, it’s a free port! Stay as long as you like, no mooring fees in this picturesque and perfectly sheltered fishing village. Sailors heaven!

Mind you, there was some initial confusion when a port official came to chase us off the private pontoons. Apparently we were supposed to use the visitors buoys.

How you distinguish between a private or visitors buoy still remains a closely guarded local secret, but once we had moved to our designated moorings the officials demeanor markedly improved. Without an exaggerated stretch of the imagination, he might even qualify as friendly.

We are now off to savor the towns delights…