Talk about shiny new. (It’s a camera defect, actually, that makes the boat sparkle so.) This is us on Lunacy crossing the Bay of Biscay, en route from Treguier, France, to La Coruña, Spain, late last month. (I would have posted something about this earlier, but finding a reliable Wifi signal in La Coruña proved challenging.) This passage, a distance of 400-plus miles, took three days. Highlights included the comfortable deep broad reach you see here (a wing-on-wing-on-wing configuration, as I call it, with the staysail splayed out opposite the poled-out jib), some vivid phosphorescent water filled with spiraling dolphins one very magical night, and one very sporty night with wind howling straight on to our beam at 27-33 knots true for hours on end. The boat, flying a double-reefed main and the staysail, was much more comfortable doing this than we were.
La Coruña was a revelation. What a fantastic city. Great sights, great food, great people, all within easy walking distance of a very tidy downtown marina run by the local yacht club. More than enough to help us forgive the poor Wifi transmissions.
Surprise, surprise. This is the Celtic part of Spain, Galicia, and thus has ties to Brittany, in France, from whence we came, and also Ireland, of course, from whence my wife came. Here we see some traditional Galician dancing, complete with a bagpipe player (right in the middle of the band on the left there, between the tambourines and the drums)
La Coruña is called the City of Glass, because of all its elaborate window-fronted buildings. (That’s Celtic wife Clare there in the foreground, back to camera, just to the right of the guy who looks like a jacklit deer)
It’s also a great town for graffiti! This is just one example of many interesting ad hoc displays I photographed while walking around
At the end of the harbor’s main breakwater, with waves, you’ll note, breaking over it. We waited a couple of days for this nonsense to stop before continuing on our way
Decal seen on a local police cruiser. The black skull-and-crossbones is a dramatic touch, I guess, but it does make you wonder
A word or two about the crew.
The aforementioned wife, my first volunteer. She’s always wanted to do this!
Michael Csenger, pro boat skipper and deadly fisherman from the west coast of Florida. Many many moons ago he and I were the entire editorial staff of a boat magazine called New England Offshore. Twenty years ago he sailed across the Atlantic with me from the Cape Verdes to Antigua on my old Alberg 35 yawl Crazy Horse. The cockpit of the new Lunacy, he has pointed out, has more living space in it than the whole of Crazy Horse put together
David Hills, a New Hampshire friend and good fellow, come to us fresh off an intensive six-week RYA training course in the south of England. Seen here maintaining a vigilant watch in the doghouse
I had hoped Phase 2 of this operation would take us to the Azores and from there onward west to North America, but the Azores so far this spring have been a magnet for large, deep depressions (including one that escalated into Arlene, a very early-season named tropical system). So instead we aimed for Madeira. We had some fast sailing as we cleared the northwest corner of Iberia, then a day filled with a weak frontal passage, the backside of which was studded with a couple of very strong squalls, one of which pelted us briefly with hail and a 50-knot breeze (we turned and ran off for that), with many flashes of angry lightning seen in the distance.
After that came southwesterly headwinds.
For days on end.
I keep telling the crew: this isn’t a cruise, this is a delivery. So we mostly just motorsailed into it rather than go slewing off on to time-consuming tangents. Lunacy was great, slicing into the 20-plus apparent breeze on a tight 20 degree AWA with little slamming and as smooth a motion as you could hope for. But still this was a tedious process.
A respite in the tedium. To propitiate Michael we diverted a few miles from our path to cross over the top of this sea mount, the Unicorn Bank, in hopes of snagging a fish. The result, unfortunately, was negative
In all we were six days and change covering the 800-some miles from La Coruña to Porto Santo (smaller sister island to Madeira), and of that we spent about 100 hours with the engine running.
Look closely and you can see the Horus eye on the bow of Lunacy peeking out of the marina here in Porto Santo. I last stopped here 21 years ago on Crazy Horse, while sailing south to West Africa, and I have to say: it has not changed much
Now we’re waiting for an opportunity to make the big jump, Phase 3, west to Bermuda, about 2,000 miles from here.
IN OTHER NEWS: That Atlantic 47 catamaran I wrote about earlier, Leopard, which was flipped in a sudden vortex of wind, has been recovered and was recently towed into Beaufort, North Carolina.
Photos here courtesy of John Stone:
Except for the fact she was upside down with her rig gone, she looks like she’s in pretty good shape. Hopefully someone will get her sailing again.