Well there is never a dull moment onboard Raya, our new life just keeps tumbling out oposing experiences some good, some not so good. One day we are fighting through a large swell and 50kt gusts, the next we are sitting listening to a mellow guitarist serenading our restaurant with the sun setting spectacularly in the back ground. One night we are woken in our anchorage by a swell so violent we have to jump from our beds to stop everything falling from the work surfaces, while tonight we are tied to the dock watching the world go by.
We left Sant Carles on Sunday afternoon for the twenty hour sail back to Mallorca, where Jonathan, Sheridan, Charlie and Daisy are joining us for a few days. All the forecasts promised us SW winds F4-5, easing to F3 as the night wore on, sea state slight to moderate.
For the first two hours we found ourselves motor sailing, yet again, we had light winds not from the SW but from the SE – right on our nose, where was our wind we complained. Gradually the wind veered and grew, all was well, except for an increasing swell on our beam making the ride a little uncomfortable. We had become complacent with the easy sailing we have had for the past month or so. The contents of the galley lockers began to rattle, unstowed objects fell from shelves and both of us, not having taken seasick pills and having spent a week and a half land bound, began to feel queasy.
Within an hour we were in rough seas, the wind was blowing a steady 30-40kts, that’s F7-8, with a couple of 50knt gusts thrown in for good measure. We had both the Genoa and Main sails deeply reefed as we sped along at around eight knots. A mayday rang out over the radio, two men overboard near Barcelona, we were glad of our centre cockpit and strong tethers. Raya as always just powered on through as if it was all in a day’s work. I on the other hand, of course, quickly became sick, the pills I took were too late to save me. But with only two of us onboard I was denied the luxury of crawling away to my bed and I stood my watches, holding on to the promise of decreasing winds later through the night. Well that turned out to be wrong too, the winds hardly dropped below 30kts all the way to Soller our landfall on Mallorca. Under calmer circumstances it would have been a nice passage, we had frequent visits from dolphins both in the evening and early morning, on one occasion a feeding pod, a couple of hundred meters away, were leaping high above the breaking waves in seeming delight. The moon shone bright until it set at two thirty and then the stars filled the sky, however, we were just pleased to see the sunrise and the sight of land on the horizon.
We anchored in our normal spot just clear of the main anchorage area in the Port of Soller and collapsed into our beds. With all the weather outside of the bay we were rolling a little, however it seemed calm after our previous few hours but somehow it didn’t help clear my queasiness. So we took the dingy into town for supper and to be on land for a while. Despite not feeling particularly hungry we managed a salad and some vital carbohydrate in the form of a plate of chips and we sat in the pleasant surroundings listening to a busker singing the familiar tones of old Eagles hits. We like Soller, it’s a pretty seaside town, with its hundreds of little boats and back drop of steep mountains, this was our third visit and we’ve enjoyed it more each time.
We had tucked the boat as far under the cliffs as we dared to escape the swell, but as the night wore on it built and its direction changed, at five in the morning I was woken as my water bottle next to my bed fell on my head, last nights dishes rattled in the drainer and objects crashed about on the table. Time to move on and by six thirty we were back out in a choppy sea heading to our rendezvous with the Mckays.
Finally, we are still. We are tied up in Club Velo Marina in Puerto Adratx, the boat has been washed of the corrosive salt from its stormy night, my stomach is almost back to normal and we have had some well earned rest. Lessons have been learnt, but our faith in the weather forecasts has yet again been severely dented.