03 August 2022

It Will Come

And then it was time to leave! We had the whole month of July in the Azores and enjoyed it a lot, but now it was time to move along. We had crossed over 2000 mile of the Atlantic, but we weren't done with it yet. We still had to cross to mainland Europe, the only question was, to where?

We had a plan, which I believe I've mentioned, which was to stop in Galicia, the part of Spain just north of Portugal, on the northwest corner of the Iberian peninsula. Galicia is reportedly a terrific cruising ground, with many rivers to explore. But in the last few weeks, I've been watching the weather around Galicia carefully — as you would if you were planning to sail there. Getting there seemed straight forward, and the weather in Galicia itself seemed great — good sailing winds, and not too hot. Europe, like the rest of the northern hemisphere, has been having a hot summer.

No, the problem was leaving Galicia! Day after day, the weather forecast showed strong winds from the north or northeast — directly on the nose if you wanted to round the point and head for La Rochelle, in France. In addition, there was the Portuguese Current, which was a part of the giant river of current that flows clockwise around the north Atlantic basin. So not only would we have to buck the northerly winds, but a strong current as well. We wouldn't make much headway against the combination, and I knew we might have to sail far offshore to get around it.

I started talking to other people about this problem and quickly discovered that these northerly winds were common and even had a name: Nords. Cruisers just waited them out, but would we have time to wait for the right weather window in late August or early September. We had to get to La Rochelle by the beginning of September. After watching the northerlies blow around Galicia for two and a half weeks without a break, I realized we couldn't take the chance of getting stuck there.

So, we are on our way to Brittany, on the northern side of the Bay of Biscay. This will allow us to go around the bottleneck off Galicia and leave us in yet another beautiful cruising ground, with an easy sail to La Rochelle.

So at the moment, we are sailing gently north, still very much under the influence of the Azores high. We've had 5-10 knots of wind on the port beam, and we've been making 3-6 knots. Eventually, we should be able to turn east and make for Brest, our first port of entry into France.

Meanwhile, we are trying to get our sea legs back, and trying to get back into the grove of blue water cruising. You would think that this would come right back after a month at sea, but no, it looks like it will take the usual 3 days. At least for me. Helena seems right at home, but I have a harder time regaining especially the required patience. I need to let go of the go-go urge and just enjoy the ride… it will come…

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