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A unique experience

A day aboard

What's it like to sail on Brighton Belle? This crew diary entry will give you a taste of what to expect.

Last night the skipper briefed us. 

"Tomorrow, we sail for Muros, about 40 miles south from here. High water tomorrow morning is at 6.30. I want to be past Finisterre before the current turns at midday. So let's slip at 8. With the tide running our way and the offshore wind that's forecast, we will have a fast, smooth sail down the coast and should easily be there by mid afternoon. That will give us time for a wander and beer on the town quay in the late afternoon sunshine."

Sounds like a plan.

Breakfast was on the saloon table at 7, courtesy of the crew early riser. The skipper and mate had risen half an hour earlier to do a routine engine check before the galley was in demand. Breakfast was simple and healthy - fruit juice, tea or coffee and muesli - with a promise of bacon rolls once we were under way.

The wind was delivered as promised: warm, moderate and off the land. Within half an hour we had set full sail and we were leaving the bay, carving a sumptuous bow wave to an aroma of frying bacon and fresh coffee. 

Shortly before we reached the Finisterre headland, we were joined by a pod of dolphins; frolicking and criss-crossing each other in our bow wave as if sleek, joyful motion was the true and only object of their existence. And their joy was contagious. Someone shouted "dolphins!", and in seconds the entire crew bar the helmsman was huddled in the bow, jostling for the best view of the show.

As we rounded Finisterre, we hauled in the sails; the boat lurched contentedly and leaned away from the breeze, which seemed to have become stronger (though the skipper assured us that it hadn't). Work in the galley was now not quite so easy; nevertheless, before long we were gathered in the cockpit enjoying an alfresco lunch of homemade soup and cheese and ham salad rolls.

An hour later we tacked and headed into the river estuary which shelters Muros, the fishing village which was to be home for the night. Though small, the port had a pontoon for visiting yachts with plenty of depth for us at all states of the tide. Convenient. We arranged our warps and fenders and glided alongside. Once she was safely moored, there was indeed time to take a stroll around this charming Galician town. We went our separate ways in small groups for an hour according to interest before meeting for a beer on a sunny terrace overlooking the harbour.

Though Muros boasted a couple of good fish restaurants, we chose to eat dinner aboard that evening. In the planning for the week, various members of the crew had volunteered to make a dinner aboard. Tonight was the skipper's turn. While ashore he had found the town market and had returned with the wherewithal to turn out "an old favourite": mushroom risotto with a copious fresh green salad, washed down with a couple of bottles of the local Albariño wine. Over dinner, conversation turned to the day's sailing, discoveries in the town and the notable architecture of the local church.

After dinner, two of us cleaned the galley. The skipper checked the weather forecast after noting a drop in the barometer. "We can expect stronger winds tomorrow", he reported. "But still favourable for our next leg".

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