DAY 21 – A little Dire Straits
LOCATION – GIBRALTAR
CREW – ME, STEVE, AHMET
WIND – W FORCE 6
SEA STATE – MODERATE
WEATHER – CLEAR
We made it to Gibraltar, the last tidal port before the Mediterranean. I’ve also racked up 1500 nautical miles on the trip so far and despite everything I still have some anti-depressants left 😉 Ahmet has topped 1000 nm with us too, a big achievement.
SS Bootcamp Nemesis sailed at stupid o’clock from Cadiz (seriously, there should only be one 2 o’clock in a day) are arriving back from meals at around 12 we had 2 hours to catch sleep, I couldn’t sleep a wink so knew it would be a long day.
The weather wasn’t bad leaving Cadiz, bit of a swell but a good wind and got the sails working, we were careful to not put any strain on or near the torn part of the sail and kept it reefed above the tear till it could be seen to.
The journey was a little more interesting as we were close to the shoreline nearly all the way so had some scenery to look at for the 12 hour journey down.
After some time the wind direction shifted to directly behind us on our final bearing so we had to motor sail to make sure we caught the tide and got through the straits of Gibraltar before the weather turned.
And boy what a tide and boy did it turn! It was weird to see Africa so close to Spain, this is my first time through the straits and although you see it on a map it’s odd to see how close the two continents really are at that point and why the tides and weather are so important in a very narrow channel like that.
In the closing stages of the straits towards Gibraltar the wind really started to pick up, pushing us with the tide, on just a reefed mainsail we were topping 12 knots at times but it wasn’t abating and the wind was off our stern, how to get the main down? Steve did an abrupt into wind turn, risky as even with a fully loose main there was plenty of wind to catch it and potentially knock the boat flat in the water. Fortunately after a nail biting few seconds we get her around after a terrifying lean and gathered in the mainsail as the wind started to hit a high Force 6.
I was really waning by this time, having not been able to sleep at all the night before and not been able to sleep on the journey down either I was so tired but we got into harbour and managed to clean up and settle in. The sail maker will come tomorrow to examine the torn sail and let us know if there’s anything he can do.
Had a quick wander around the marina complex and it’s a weird place, feels like a slightly swankier Ibiza resort for the middle aged and wealthy, plenty of multi million pound yachts, cars and egos on the streets, not my tastes at all , floating casino hotels, loud bars lining the marina full of “yah daaling”, ab-fab (but unfunny) types, will explore more tomorrow, there must be more to this rock than aging, tax dodging yacht owners with popped collars trying to pull young girls.