Our original plan had been to stop off in Javea, a mere 20 or so miles from Calpe, but we decided to skip that and get back to Valencia early so we could meet with the company doing the work I want to be done on the boat and have time to discuss it.
So, we set off from Calpe on Sunday morning, bound for Gandia, under almost cloudless skies and were immediately under sail, south around Ifach and then north east towards Cabo de la Nao. As soon as we cleared Ifach we had 20 to 25 knot northerly winds which had us sailing as close to the wind as we could at a quite impressive 6 knots with one reef in the main sail.
As the morning progressed the wind shifted clockwise, known as veering, to the north east. This was exactly where we wanted to go and so as the wind was still strong enough to sail I practiced tacking back and forth in an attempt to make Cabo de la Nao. The wind helped a little as it continued to veer which allowed us to sail more towards the ‘Cabo’. Unfortunately, just as it got to a nice easterly direction and we could turn to head north west, the wind dropped away so we had to use the engines to help keep our speed up.
But the weather was still fine, cloudless blue skies and almost perfect visibility. We could see the top of Ibiza as we passed Cabo de la Nao some 50 miles away to the east.
As the afternoon progressed the wind continued to veer and slowly increase to a healthy 15 knots, unfortunately from dead astern of us. By this time we were looking at getting into Gandia at about 7 pm and although from a purists point of view we should have had the main sail and cruising chute up and been running down wind on a series of broad reaches this would have delayed our arrival, and Valeria was making more Bacalhao …… the sails remained down and the engine remained on and we arrived by 6.30 and were all tied up and cooking by 7!
The forecast for Monday was good for us. The wind started from north of east in the morning before becoming easterly and then more south easterly and building to 15 knots. We left Gandia mid morning in gentle 9 or 10 knot winds from the east but in a very lumpy, confused sea left over from the winds of the day before. With the winds being relatively light every time we slid off a wave the sails would bang, we were literally having the wind knocked out of them, and so we made a rather less than comfortable 2 or 3 knots towards Valencia; but with all day to cover 30 miles we were going to sail.
As forecast the wind veered towards the south east and increased and as they became established the seas followed suit and by mid afternoon we were doing 5 or 6 knots in a 12 to 14 knot wind from just behind us. This gave me a chance to ‘test’ the cruising chute on this point of sail; unsuccessfully as the wind was not far enough behind us. The chute worked but it didn’t give us any more speed than the plain sails alone, so we dropped it again. Good to know though. With the sea a little less lumpy Valeria did some preparation for tonight’s dinner and we had sandwiches for lunch.
The weather for the whole day was fine and sunny, although a little cold in the wind. Visibility was excellent again but the coast line north of Cabo de la Nao is rather flat and featureless as opposed to the magnificent cliffs to the south, in fact the entire coast seems to be one long line of buildings from the Cabo de la Nao to Valencia and beyond! But as we got closer to Valencia we could see the familiar building in the City of the Arts as soon as they peered over the horizon.
We arrived back in Valencia a 6.30, checked in and were put back on the same berth we left a couple of weeks back. We then went through our, now well established end of day routines as I tidied up the sails and ropes and put away binoculars and radios and life jackets while Valeria made dinner.
And so we are now back in Valencia and plan to leave the boat here until the end of July while we return to the UK. While here we intend to have some more adaptations done to the boat, primarily opening up the deck in the starboard fore peak (old floor in the sharp end on the right hand side) so it can be used as a sail and rope locker and we are going to invest in a gangway; it was either that or crampons! By July we should then be fully equipped to tackle our exploration of the Med …… apart from the extra sail I want ……