Finally, we are about to leave the UK and head for Spain. The Biscay crossing should take between 3 and 5 days depending on wind speed, which might not be strong enough for us to sail the whole way, but the forecast looks good with hardly any swell!
The last few weeks have been frantic trying to get all the last bits we need, and work done on the boat. We had my sisters wedding to help with, I was trying to finish and submit my last piece of work for my Nutrition course, and working part time. Ben was trying to fit in last jobs at work along with the endless list the boat needed, and in the forefront of our minds was the need to leave no later than early August, after which the chance of a good weather window to cross Biscay gets less likely.
We didn’t fit as much sailing in as we’d liked, which was important to test run all the new equipment, and we had to stretch the rigging before getingt it re tensioned, but managed to get to Dartmouth a couple of times, Brixham, Torquay, Salcombe and Falmouth over the last few months.
It seemed every time a job got ticked off, something else would get added. In the space of a week the generator, radar and VHF radio all had to be fixed, and the batteries weren’t charging properly, but thankfully fixed themselves somehow?! Also the genoa had to be re cut at the sailmakers as it had been cut too tall and in tensioning it the furling track had pulled apart.
In all honesty the last year in particular has felt like a whirlwind. We moved on and off the boat four times, for a couple of months over winter into a house we’d bought to rent out, and when Bora Bora was in the boatyard we moved back into what was now a shell full of rubble, we had no kitchen except a borrowed portable stove, or furniture, and just a bag of clothes each. Getting to the stage of being able to buy a boat and afford to travel, means we have done this a lot over the last 10 years! We’ve moved our possessions around so many times in this last year we barely knew where anything was with our stuff being split between boat, building site, both parents and our friends barn. Both the van and my car were used as mobile skips/micellaneous storage… at most times I had a selection of saucepans, knives, a sky box, bag of fancy dress, coathangers, wetsuit, recycling, dog bed, shoes, coats, pictures etc in my car. There was one morning we had to laugh as we sat on the floor amongst the rubble eating toast we made in a frying pan, buttered with a pen knife, drinking coffee from thermos mugs. We’d work late into the evenings trying to get the house done and rented quickly as we needed the money to finish fitting out the boat. At the same time Bora Bora was in the boatyard with nothing happening! It was the only slot available to haul out. Ben really felt the stress and we ended up doing all the work needed in just over two weeks, opposed to the six weeks we’d planned for (and paid for!). It was a testing time, but through the chaos I remember thinking it was the universe’s way of breaking down our routine and fragmenting our lives into so many pieces, that we were entirely unstructured, and a necessary transition from regular lifestyle to finally breaking free.
We said our goodbyes to friends and family this week and we’re in Falmouth waiting for two of our friends to arrive who’ll crew for us across to Spain. We’ve spent the last couple of days getting the last jobs done and provisioning for the crossing.
It’s all suddenly quite real but the anxiety I’d been feeling about Biscay has miraculously disappeared now our weather window is good and we feel prepared…excitement has taken over and we’re ready to leave!