Sunday, July 30, 2017

Sailing the Rias Baixas in Galicia Spain

Galician Celtic musicians

Over the past month, we sailed down from Ireland along the wild west coast, then crossed to Spain via the Bay of Biscay to sail the Rias of Galicia with 60 boats from the Irish Cruising Club. To say that it has been an absolute delight would be an understatement. I will tell each of the stories individually, but this is the introductory opening. 

We started in the Ria de Muros where we all gradually converged on the fabulous facility at the Real Club de Portosin and marina. From Portosin we had the chance to visit Noia and Santiago de Compostella by bus. Amazing. Then we sailed into the Ria Arousa where we stayed in Caraminal and visited a fabulous monastery on the way to one of largest Spanish vineyards. Next we put into the marina at Cambarro and visited the Naval College. We had plenty of time in between events and organized an Ocean Cruising Club raft-up en route to Baiona. We finished off the cruise with a magnificent cocktail party at the yacht club and dinner at the Parador in Baiona or Bayona. 

It's been a magnificent experience. We are now on our own for a month, left to explore the Rias at length and leisure. Things have changed since we were here last in 2009. Many more facilities available to cruising sailors. And the weather is fine, too. More to come!

The fabulous fort above the Monte Real Club de Yates Baiona

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Day of departure

I'm a fan of moving aboard several days before departure. You find out what you forgot to bring, you find out what you forgot to remove, and you find out what's not working so you can fix it.

This time, we had multiple SNAFU syndrome. Alex went aboard to bring a load of stuff while I stayed behind packing more stuff. He was to run the generator and chill the fridge freezer. Problem #1, the fridge didn't cool. Problem #2, the exhaust pipe was leaking into the boat. Problem #3, the generator was charging too high and kept creeping up and spiking. Our hearts sank. It didn't help that it was a beautiful day.

He tried to find the spare pump but couldn't. He tried to fix the leaky exhaust and was partially successful. But the generator was no good. So Alex got on the phone and called chandleries to source the pump. Called Moonies to get aluminium tape for the exhaust. Called Westerbeke, thankfully in the US and still open on a long 4th of July holiday weekend, and received instructions bout how to turn down the engine speed.

Meanwhile, I called Sam our house sitter to call off our handoff, and went work in the garage searching for a spare refrigeration pump. Not only did I find the spare pump, there were two along with a treasure trove of spare parts. Alex forgot that he had taken everything off the boat several years ago when we had repairs done. I spent the rest of the day sorting through boxes of stuff, cleaning them up, and repacking them to take to the boat. We hadn't taken any really long trips since then when we would be away from marinas and chandleries. So we forgot about the spares. Now we are back in business. Because now when something breaks, we can repair it, replace it, or do without it. My mantra!

So with new pump, aluminium tape, and generator fixed (by the way, it was the wiring done by the electrician in the yard that was screwed up), we are ready to rock and roll. Alex is the real MacGyver.

Bon voyage!