We left Torrevieja just before 9 with 55 miles to cover to reach Calpe, which doesn’t sound a lot but when your speed is only 5 knots that is 11 hours, not taking into account the time taken to get out of one port and into another which can add an hour to your day. We set off in a moderate westerly breeze on our port beam (left hand side) reaching 15 knots, which gave us 5.5, sometimes 6 knots over the ground, so with sails set and engines off we glided north east along the coast.
Navigation is now all electronic, paper charts, pencils and parallel rules are just so last century! I do have them but they are in a glass fronted case labelled ‘In case of emergency break glass’. This is a screen shot from the Helm Station display. The chart is the easy bit to identify, the triangles are other ships with AIS transponders. Top right is the ‘Sail Steer’ display, it is cut down to fit on this screen but shows basic wind information and the bottom right section is the Auto pilot display. The right hand ‘margin’ remains present on all displays and shows Auto pilot details, SOG and COG details; that is Speed over the Ground and Course over the Ground, the boat’s sat-nav position, depth and time, the bottom grey section is of vital importance as it displays the input for the ‘car radio’.
Our route took us north passed Santa Pola and the island of Tabarca, although by this point the wind had dropped off to a mere 5 knots and so to keep up the speed we were running one engine as well as the main sail and jib.
But ….. once clear of Tabarca with the wind building slowly to 14 knots from behind us it was time to swop the engine for the cruising chute and do some proper down wind sailing.
The wind continued to build and within the hour we dropped the chute and continued under main sail and jib and were reaching speeds of over 7.5 knots in 22 knot winds as we passed Cap de l’Horta.
This is the full Sail Steer screen, True and Apparent Wind speeds and angles to the left, Waypoint information to the right and the green and red sectors show where we can and cannot sail, the green spot is Calpe and just inside our no go down wind area. That was fine as I wanted to ensure we had plenty of sea room as we went passed the cliffs north of Benidorm.
Within 2 hours we were ‘screaming’ up towards Benidorm touching 8.5 knots in 25 knots of wind from astern.
As we passed the Isla de Benidorm we took one reef in the main sail which only slowed us down to 6.5 to 7 knots. As we progressed north the wind kept moving around to the south, meaning that as we got closer to Calpe the wind was almost dead astern, a point we can’t sail. Ordinarily we could have ‘gybed’ or changed course to put the wind on the other side and sailed a northerly course into the bay before changing course again to put the wind back where it was to approach Calpe, this would have added time to our day and we wanted to get there before dark, and, so we dropped the sails and motored directly for the last few miles, which as it turned out was the only actual way of getting there as the wind suddenly died away again and we arrived off the entrance to Calpe at 7, after only a 10 hour passage.
Calpe is a small marina run by another Royal Yacht Club. As in Altea they don’t use floating pontoons but jetties on concrete posts and again getting on and off the boat a real mountaineering exercise, with a water obstacle. We have decided that we need a gangway.
Once secure on our berth I went and ‘booked in’, Registration, Insurance and Passports, and then came back and tidied up the deck, covering the sail, coiling lines, stowing the cruising chute and packing away life jackets and safety lines, while Valeria made dinner – Bacalhau com Natas – Salt Cod and potatoes in a cream sauce. Boca Nervosa de novo. I say made, but that doesn’t take into account the preparation, all of which Valeria did while we were approaching Calpe as I was just sitting up on deck with the wind in my hair, through the vents in my Tarp Hat, obviously. We ended our evening watching the rest of a film we’d started in Torrevieja and then turned in, quite tired in fact.