Bayona NW Spain by Lochlann

Bayona Spain September 2014

Our first port of call after crossing the Bay of Biscay was a small Spanish town called Baiona (Bayona). The first thing we saw after we came out of a thick fog was the lighthouse near El Lobo de Silleiro shining like a beacon through the rapidly dwindling mist. We sailed through the large channel made by the mainland on one side and a group of islands on the other. We saw the lights of Baiona from where we were but went to the other side of the bay to Panjon.

We Cross the Dreaded Bay of Biscay by Jojo

Passage Falmouth to Bayona, Spain, September 2014

Our big family adventure started three years ago when the call back to the sea became too strong to deny. My young boys then 12 years and 10 years old, with the help of some old friends taking us sailing, persuaded my husband Simon that we should go on a sailing adventure.  Up until that time, Simon’s only sailing experience had been dinghy sailing in the Thames Estuary at the age of 13.
The plan was to sail down to the south of Spain then across to the Caribbean.  It took us three years to find a suitable boat and prepare her for blue water sailing. I am the skipper, mum and cook, which at times is an interesting mixture. Simon and the boys, Finbar and Lochlann, are new to the sailing life and part of my mission has been to do everything I can to ensure that they enjoy the experience.
I was brought up sailing the oceans with my parents on the standing gaff cutter Mjojo the boat they built in Lamu, Kenya in the 1960s. I am an old fashioned girl when it comes to boats, so I wanted to find a gaff cutter that was suitable and safe for my family. With help from friends we decided on the strong and seaworthy Wylo II (a 35 ft steel gaff cutter designed by Nick Skeates) and found Island Swift on the Isle of Wight and bought her in 2013.  She is a pretty boat that sails beautifully, is very seaworthy and is the perfect size for my family.

Our Big Adventure Begins by Lochlann

Passage Falmouth to Bayona, Spain September 2014

When we finally sailed out of Falmouth with intentions of crossing the Bay of Biscay I was as excited as excitement can be. We sailed past Lizard Point with compass course of 200 degrees. We put our Walkers Log out for the first time to measure how far we had gone and how fast we were going. For the first time Fin and I took some seasickness tablets and they worked! Big surprise, but I still felt queasy. At 8 o’clock I came on watch and for 2 hours sat and made sure the self steering was working and watched for ships on the horizon. I went down below at 10 and had some food before bed at 11.
Lochlann 'on watch'

Crossing Biscay by Finbar

Passage Falmouth to Bayona, Spain September 2014

The dinghy had been winched aboard, the mainsail, both headsails, the topsail with its javelin of a spar, and the jib topsail had all been hoisted up and sheeted in. We were off to Spain, off eventually to the Caribbean, and this was the last sight we would have of England for a year or more. We were about to cross the Bay of Biscay. It would take a week or more and we might see dolphins and maybe even a whale.

Finbar soaking up the sun