Brexit Schmexit

Biscay had not been without incident, but we’d made it across and enjoyed our first good night’s kip in A Coruna. The huge firework display had looked spectacular as we’d arrived, it was just a shame that nobody could see me expressing my gratitude. We mentioned it when booking in the next day. The mariniero insisted it had been in honour of St John the Baptist, which he must have made up to save any embarrassment on my part!

The first thing we needed to do was book in, due to arriving from outside the European Union. We’d travelled extensively throughout Europe over time and never had to do this before as we’d always been part of the EU. Until we shot ourselves in the foot and left. Quite selfishly, we weren’t overlyconcerned, we were plastic paddies and had the golden tickets to prove it!

We made our way to the Police Station, but the main entrance door was locked and we couldn’t fathom how they’d worked out we were British and locked it so quickly. We then discovered that it really was a national holiday (there are lots of these in Spain (and Portugal)) so maybe the previous night’s firework display really hadn’t been exclusively to welcome us.

We paced the perimeter of the building and spotted someone about to enter a side door and pounced on them to explain our dilemma. Next thing we were in the Police station waiting room, patiently awaiting the arrival of the responsible Police officer, who, was at home due to the holiday. Twenty minuteslater he appeared with a smile on his face and looking very chilled.

We explained the situation and handed over our Passports, the Irish ones, and after a quick scan, he welcomed us to Spainand said “you can stay a day, a week, a month, a year, you can stay as long as you’d like.” We responded with “but we’ve sailed from the UK, so need to book in.” His response was “you are European citizens and we’re not interested in where you’ve come from, so just enjoy your stay.” Result!!

Being a national holiday meant that our best course of action was to clean Elice, make any repairs we could and wait until the next day to source batteries and some expertise to check out the boat charging systems after our Prop shaft alternator incident.

Bright and early the following day we set of to find somewhere to purchase a couple of replacement starter batteries. The existing ones were s#@!!ed. We were amazed when we stumbled on Bill, a fellow cruiser, who we’re met while wintering in Sicily a couple of years earlier. We chatted and walked together until we reached the infamous A Coruna chandler (Captains Blog 11) where we parted with an arrangement to meet up later.

We eventually sorted the batteries and swapped the old ones out. The relief when the engine burst into life warranted another firework display, but a couple of expletives from me had to do. The prop shaft alternator was disconnected and instrument panel monitored to see if and systems started losing power. Everything looked good.

I made the decision to simply monitor the batteries after consulting a few sailing friends and a few days later we were off. We spent one pleasant night anchored in Ria de Ferrol, before heading off along the infamous Costa da Morte, for Camarinas.

The swell was around 3 metres, as predicted, making an uncomfortable, frustrating start motoring into a head wind. I knew we’d be able to use the wind and start sailing as we moved around the coast. My plan came good and we were sailing effortlessly with all 3 sails up in no time watching land disappear then re-appear as we rode over the swell. Any reservations about the big swell had dissipated long ago and we were enjoying some of the best sailing since first leaving Falmouth.

Camarinas is a great stop off with great protection and good anchoring. A couple of days here was just the ticket and set us up nicely for the next leg around Cabo Fisterra.

The sail round was a mixed bag, with a fantastic close reach on the last bit up to the anchorage. As we arrived, we had the most welcoming wave from a fella on a very shiny catamaran. My initial thought was that he’d probably chartered it a few days earlier, as he seemed busy fettling about and familiarising himself with stuff around the mast. I thought nothing more of it and settled in for the evening.

Early next morning we lifted anchor, gave a cheery wave to the cat crew and unfurled the headsail. The sail rapidly filled and we flew along on a course for Ria Muros. A glance behind revealed the cat had also lifted anchor and was on the same course. 

We’d made good progress until near the entrance to Ria Muros, when the wind dropped significantly. The Cat was gaining and, to make matters worse, they’d unfurled a code zero light wind sail. We were sitting there like a pair of tubby Britts about to have our asses kicked.

As luck would have it the wind picked up again significantly,so we stopped motoring and redeployed our sails. Well Mr Cat, best get your fancy code O stowed quick sharpish! No sooner had the thought entered my head, the Code O was furled and the genoa deployed. 

We waited until the last minute to tack and put ourselves on a direct course for Muros. I watched the Cat do exactly the same. There was no chance we’d shake them off and to make matters worse, they’d sailed the whole journey, while we had not. 

Our persistent attempts to contact Muros Marina eventually paid off and we tried to let the Cat know the instructions we’d been given. We couldn’t get a response on the VHF so gave up trying to relay the message. 

We headed into the marina just after 4. The wind had built to a really strong cross wind but the Mariniero gave us some great instruction and before we knew it, we were safely moored.

The Cat came in almost immediately after us and I thought it might struggle with the strong cross wind so went over armed with a spare fender just in case. On their first approach they were getting blown onto the corner of the finger pontoon andabandoned the attempt. The skipper repositioned and brought her in fast on the second attempt. He was so quick that I thought he’s going to crunch the bow into the pontoon, then he thrust the engines astern and stopped dead in a perfect position. It was an impressive piece of manoeuvring that anyone would’ve been proud of. Bloody show-off.

Right, I’m off to read up on how to sail. Properly.


Captain Mac

3 Replies to “Brexit Schmexit”

  1. As always, loved your blog – always fun for a few chuckles – you have such a great way of sharing your wonderful adventures – we left our marina July 2 and are just back from our 54th sailing summer on beautiful Georgian Bay – very fun once again – continue having a ball and keep in touch

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh you are toooooo kind – yea we were 20&24 – hard to believe – it’s been an amazing run⛵️

        Liked by 1 person

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