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Cruise 06 The terror of Biscay and the calm of Ireland

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July 12th to 26th 2014

At the beginning of the year I signed up for Brighton Belle’s voyage from Sada in Galicia, northern Spain to Crosshaven, County Cork, in southern Ireland. As part of their own preparation for the voyage Brian and Diana Moore had signed up to a 600 mile sail on Velvet Lady, another Oyster 55, in March. They were confronted by gale force winds for most of their week on board and the experience had told Brian, the Skipper for our trip across the Bay of Biscay, that it could turn out to be very demanding of the crew’s competence and resilience. So on 6th June the whole crew met in Brighton for a pre- voyage briefing (and a tasty meal!). Brian’s and Diana’s stories of the rigours and dangers of their own voyage certainly hit the mark with me and if I hadn’t been apprehensive beforehand I certainly was from then on.

So, with base layers and oilies packed, I travelled to Gatwick airport at 5:30 AM on 12th July to meet up with Brian and Richard, the first mate, and the rest of the crew Diana, Stephen, Joan and Stuart.

We flew into Santiago De Compostela and transferred by minibus to the marina in Sada arriving shortly before midday. After the handover briefing between the skippers was completed, we boarded Brighton Belle to settle into our cabins and organise “the big shop” which could conveniently be done at the local Carrefour. Diana organised her troops and we descended on the supermarket. A few hours later, 7 heavily laden trolleys had been trundled round to the pier nearest Brighton Belle and their contents stored under instruction from our highly effective Quartermaster. Phew!!!

From previous experience aboard Brighton Belle, I know there is a high standard of on-board catering. But with the prospect of the next four days being spent with the boat at 45°, as many meals as possible had to be prepared in advance and by design, easy to eat – possibly from bowls. So each volunteer chef prepared and cooked the meals for which they had purchased the ingredients and the freezer began to fill up. And even breakfasts on board Brighton Belle are an event: a variety of juices, fresh fruit salad, yoghurt, muesli, cereals, croissant, toast and marmalade.



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