Rota to Gibraltar

5 am is bloody chilly in Rota in January.  Full waterproof, wooly hats and scarves were rig of the day.   And lo and behold, we had radar again!  Excellent.   We slipped the moorings at 5.45 and 10 minutes later were outside the harbour hoisting our sails.  

Although we started off with radar it died again before the sun got up, but at least this time Mauro caught sight of a fault message before it died.  

There was a 10 knot northerly breeze which would be on our port quarter the whole way down to Trafalgar; although not strong enough to make the speed we required it would certainly help us out.  For most of the way we were using 2200 rpm which is good for 5.5 to 6 knots but for most of the way would have wind and tide with us giving us over a knot of extra speed.  May not sound much but 1 knot over a 12 hour passage is 12 miles, or at a planned speed of 6 knots, 2 hours saved.

The Morning Watch off Rota
The Morning Watch off Rota

 

John on Watch
John on Watch
Mauro off watch
Mauro off watch

Within 2 hours of departing the radar stopped working again but with a good forecast I decided to continue as planned.   The sun rose at 8.30 and the temperature rose fractionally but it was a lovely sunny day and we had breakfast of bread, salami and cheese and cereal as we sailed south passed Cabo Roche on our way towards Trafalgar.   We divided the day into 3 hour watches starting at 9 with John taking the first one till midday, Mauro doing the second until 3 and me the third until our arrival.

As the day progressed it got warmer and sunnier and the layers of clothing came off.  We were motor sailing the whole way, passing Cape Trafalgar just after lunch and as we rounded Tarifa we were doing almost 8 knots, with a current behind us and soon came in sight of Gibraltar.

'The Rock' with Gibraltar in back ground
‘The Rock’ with Gibraltar in back ground

As we approached Gib the wind was blowing at about 8 knots from behind us and so the apparent wind speed was zero, so I decided to drop the main sail without turning into the wind, only to find it had jammed.   This time the halyard had twisted around itself; something which should be prevented by a swivel on the sail head block.   So unable to lower the main sail we had to find a relatively sheltered bit of water where I could get myself hoisted up the mast, to the very top to untwist the halyard.  I took the GoPro but only got footage of the mast and my arms!  Anyway, 20 minutes later the problem was solved and the sail lowered, followed more slowly by me.  

And so into Queensway Quay Marina for tea and medals …. and as we were tidying up the ropes and sails I found that one of the reefing lines is virtually chaffed through and will need to be replaced. Not happy as it has hardly seen any use but I need to find out what caused the damage as it is not immediately obvious.

We went ashore and found the Gibraltar was mostly closed; 8pm on Friday and the place was deserted!    We did find a Moroccan Restaurant called Marrakesh, it is in a small square behind the Cathedral, turning between the Cathedral and M&S and on up hill for a 100 metres or so.   Very nice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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