For this third leg of the voyage, Ines takes us from Lisbon to Toulon! A passage that was quite lively, thanks to the inclement weather. Our skipper describes the first part of the sail from Portugal to Valencia. See her story below.
Stay tuned for the forthcoming stops on this Excess Tour!
Thursday, February 2nd, Port of Cascais
Raphaële Quemar, crew member and long-time friend, is my sidekick for this part of the trip, and it looks like it’s going to be a race against the clock. 800 NM to cover to Valencia, with not so favorable weather. The wind is expected to be on the nose the whole way and to increase in the later part of the week. We have to clear Gibraltar before Sunday, then look for the less windy areas on the coast to pass the East Andalusian Cape as soon as possible. A strong gale expected early next week will probably mean we’ll have to put in along the coast.
4pm, And we’re off! Delighted to be sharing time at sea again, 6 years after doing a transatlantic together!
Saturday February 4th, 7pm. Passing the lighthouse at Tarifa
We begin our way into the Mediterranean Sea, with the weather window closing as expected. Sailing hard on the wind is never a pleasure, so the following hours are an exercise in patience for us and for our Excess. At 3am, our mission is accomplished: we passed Gibraltar, against both wind and tide!
The next day offers us a little rest. Close to the coast, sheltered by the Andalusian mountains, we make due east. This place, full of exchanges and stories, always has an effect on me: between two continents, sea and ocean, ship traffic is swarming, the VHF is saturated, there’s agitation, everything is alive! Cabo de la Gata passed in the night in a beautiful calm.
Monday February 6th
The headwind strengthens as expected slowing our speed down to 4 knots. At 2pm, struggling with short seas and headwinds that were soon at a steady 25 knots, we decided to head for the nearest port and take shelter for the night. The next day we manage to gain a few miles north. A stopover of least 48 hours is required and our new departure is planned for Friday morning, “just in time” to ensure the customer can get out for a sail the following day.
Friday 11th February
We left with calm weather but the sea was still pretty rough. We were alongside in Valencia by around 10 pm, well rinsed! Fortunately for Raphaële, the day with clients the next day, saw good weather, allowing her to discover the sailing performance of the Excess, because this kind of delivery, battling the elements is never much fun. Can’t wait for the next one!