Arriving at the marina, the 38ft Sailing Yacht boat looked great, just by looking at the construction and the rigging it was clear to me that the boat was built for endurance and survivability. Spare sails, equipment, repair kits, just about every navigation and safety gismo available. It was most definitely a reassuring site!
Pre delivery checks done, The owner and I were good to go. It was a fantastic feeling leaving the safe haven of the marina and making our way into the vast emptiness of the ocean. I can’t get enough of that feeling whether it’s sailing 5 miles down the coast to the next marina or crossing the channel you really do feel like a famous explorer venturing into the unknown.
With all the sails hoisted we moved onto trimming, altering every adjustable to an inch to harness every ounce of power we could grab. Content that we were pushing the boat to its absolute top speed we took a seat and sat in silence taking in the sights with a fresh breeze of the sea blowing in our faces and the sunrays warming our skin. It truly doesn’t get much better. It was pretty alarming how quickly that we lost vision of the land and how it really felt like I could be in the middle of the Atlantic with no land to reference.
Waking up on the third day for my night shift things were finally starting to become routine, waking up at 12pm to work till 6am. The days before were definitely a bit of a shock to the system with strange sleeping hours and the drowsing effect the motion of the sea gives you. Putting on just about every bit of clothing I could fit underneath my life jacket, i ventured into the blackness.
Sitting at the helm at night is such a unique experience that is quite difficult to explain. After about 10 minutes you acclimatise and your night vision does start to kick in and suddenly it’s an entirely different experience. Everything comes into sight but you see everything in a different light. Your boat is no longer traversing waves, but instead cutting and riding crystals glistening in the moonlight with tiny flashing fragments flying as the bow of the boat cuts its path. The emptiness of the night sky slowly but surely gets painted with individual white stars, more white diamonds than you will ever see with not a hint of light pollution.
Crossing the Bay of Biscay, the beautiful contrast in the colour of water from a greyish blue suddenly to a deep electric blue colour. Dolphins accompanied us, manoeuvring around the underside of our boat using the wake to even jump out of the water at times. It was noticeably warmer and the night shifts weren’t quite such an endeavour. It was definitely one of the highlights of the passage.
I had the pleasure of seeing land first and I couldn’t resist the urge to shout ‘land-hoooo’! at the top of my voice. I felt overwhelmed, I felt so warm and excited like waking up on Christmas day as a child or meeting an old friend. I regained all the opportunities of the land, walking more than 10 meters was definitely at the top of my bucket list! This will definitely be a boat passage I will remember for a long time.
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