Sailing Logic Blog

Bay of Biscay conditions turning nasty

Lancelot 2  set off on Monday lunchtime in blue skies and sunshine, and caught the tide out of the Solent, past the Needles and into the Channel. They have been sailing non-stop since then - passing the Channel Islands, around the NW tip of France and around the edge of the Bay of Biscay. The crew enjoyed Allie's homecooked meals for the first few nights and have been kept entertained by schools of dolphins most of the way!

Last night they had planned to stop in La Coruna but after a call into the office for an update on the weather forecast from various sites (see image below), Jacko decided to push on further South, so are due to arrive into Bajona tonight (which on the very bottom edge of this chartlet). They should then be able to relax there for a day or two, replensish supplies of fresh food, offload their rubbish and grab a shower ashore (one of the most wonderful feelings - that first shower after a few days at sea!) before pressing on to Gibraltar. 


This should see the crew avoid the worst of the weather and avoid sailing into a headwind! 


Monday was a hive of activity in Hamble River as other yachts also due to compete in the Middle Sea Race were also getting underway. Anyone who hasn't left yet, or hasn't yet reached the Bay of Biscay, is going to face terrible conditions so will almost certainly have to seek shelter and wait for the wind to pass, putting their delivery timescales under considerable pressure.


The Bay of Biscay is always notorious for its treacherous conditions, and deliveries always face the challenge of allowing enough of a window for the delivery and to include a few extra days in case a bolt hole is required. This requires careful attention to weather forecasts, an understanding of weather systems and a knowledge of which ports are suitable in which conditions is also useful!


As the weather systems evolve they can change direction or intensity, so the life of a delivery skipper is one of constant checking and rechecking! Many crews are understandably frustrated by the lack of a route itinerary when they set off, but that is just one of the challenges of sailing and a readiness to alter plans is essential.


Lancelot 2 , our First 40 is skippered by Jacko, a very experienced delivery and racing skipper, co-skippered by Mick Watts, an RYA Yachmaster examiner and crewed by 3 crew on this leg; Brian, John and Tiina. Places are still available on later legs, please contact us for more details or if you would like to join us. 

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