Data at 8 AM…Engine hours: 4352.5
Fuel consumed yesterday: 158 gal., total leg fuel consumed: 780 gal.
Miles traveled yesterday: 183 nm, total leg miles traveled: 1053 nm
Weather: E wind 20 – 25 kts., clear, temp ~76 F degrees
Seas: Combined wind wave & swell 4 – 6 ft.
Barometer: 995 mb, falling
Water temperature: 71.6 F
When we passed Cape Vincente yesterday afternoon there was a discussion about how to proceed: a straight line directly towards the Strait or a curving route that more-or-less follows the contour of the bay. Winds were forecast to blow 20 – 30 knots from the east, out the mouth of the strait, but less so towards the north side of the bay. Picture an animation of sound waves traveling out of the bell of a trumpet, with the main flow at the center but diminishing intensity and spreading out beyond the rim. Better yet, check out this graphic, lest my sketchy anology break your brain.
So anyway, the choice was between the short route (170 miles) and the more-likely-comfortable route.
Since there was no wind at the cape, we made a provisional decision to try the short route, which would help ensure an arrival in Gibraltar before dark, about 32 hrs. hence. Just before midnight there was still no wind, but with increasing wave action it was becoming clear that it was blowing lustily ahead. Reconsideration did not result in consensus. Moxie and Angela turned to the north route, while Relish proceeded directly southeast towards the trumpet.
We had an easy night with light winds and low chop. The position, above, was at daybreak. By early afternoon, we were near Barbate (and very close to shore), having maintained a respectable 8 kts. for the past 15 hours. The wind freshened to about 30 knots and our progress began to slow. About that time, Relish showed up on radar and AIS…behind us. They’d spent the night bucking wind and wave, and going slow.
The next three hours were the roughest of the trip. Waves were big and close together. Our speed slowed to 4 – 5 knots. The wholeboat shuddered whenever the bow plunged into a wave, when the stern was high up on a previous one. Items not secured lost their place, but there were no flying mirrors. Water came over the boat in sheets, blankets and tarps. Crew attitude took a dive, too. Bernie even mentioned the dreaded T-word: turn back, but we soldiered on, continually reducing speed.
Estimated time for arrival in Gibraltar got later and later; midnight, 0200, 0300. Then someone said, “Let’s try an in-shore route.” 15 minutes later, we were still in heavy winds, but no big waves! RPMs went back up, and up and voila…we were in G before sunset (they’re really pushing the DST here, 2230 hours!).
It was dusk-plus by the time the first two boats, Angela and Moxie, got side-tied. It was Monday before Relish, with copious assistance from all of us, got med-moored in her spot. Joke: how many captains does it take to tie up a yacht? It even drew a crowd of bystanders. Actually, credit the marina for having lousy ‘slime lines’ that are used to retrieve the bow line that are secured to the bottom of the bay.