Bay of Biscay – an overnight to remember.

Before this journey to Australia, my overnighting experience had been very slim but that would all change overnight.  What I have done so far in my life before the Bay of Biscay was participate in the sail from Boston to Maine. On the past Maine trips, I would be on deck most of the time helping out or playing with the Tomas the train computer.  Then I would go to sleep and wake up in Maine. Now this overnight was quite different.  

It all started when we were “Borkumed” in Roscoff, France (Our family has invented a phrase of of being Borkumed with many meanings, one of those is being trapped in a marina and not out on the sea due to weather.  The name originates from the place Borkum). Though Borkumed, we enjoyed Roscoff but we were wanted to be on the water. In other words the Jacobsons were ready to go Vroom Vroom.  

Where we were going was Spain and how we were getting there was sailing through the Bay of Biscay.  For people who do not know, the Bay of Biscay is the water between France to Spain. There is a little 350 mile wide divot and that is why it is a bay.  We just went straight across and avoided the inner bay.

Our route across the Bay of Biscay

 Upon entering the Bay, we saw a whale get what looked like 10 feet from the boat then dive down.  This was quite the scare that a massive whale would hit us. Mom was so scared she braced for impact.  That same day we saw a big pod of dolphins dive under the boat and swim off in the distance. The sailing that day was pretty good with wind around 15 knots on a solid broad reach (a knot is a bit more than a mile).  Later through the day, the wind started to die and turned into a rough close hauled sail. This caused us to start motor sailing with the jib and main. At about 8 pm we rolled up the jib. This is when the night started. 

I was on the 4 am to 6 am watch with my dad and I didn’t know what to think about my first overnight.  After dinner I stayed up pretty late on deck chillaxing then went to bed at around 10 pm. I was awoken by a tired dad who I believe to have recently woken up.  At the time my bed was looking pretty good and outside wasn’t. Somehow I got out of bed and put on my overnight gear; – socks, sailing shoes (crocs), pants, water pants, T-shirt, long sleeve shirt, sweatshirt, jacket, and racing gloves on (to get in the spirit). 

Next I heard Vera, who was either happy her night watch with mom was over or was just feeling jittery. She went over to my room to tell me there were hot dogs on deck and a boat not too far to starboard. When I went on deck, I was excited for hot dogs but it turned out there were only the cookies Hobnobs!  This was kind of a downer though Hobnobs are still very good.

When I got on deck, I clipped my harness in which connects me to the boat by clipping to my life jacket. Next I recorded this special night was by taking a video and I wrote the highlights. I will also include clips of the video in the blog.

The first video started with a: “Okay folks we are on Benny first overnight and the first overnight on Verbena.”  During the video I had an interrogation of dad where he was questioned and we discussed our foul weather gear.

Life on Verbena 4am, middle of Bay of Biscay.

The second video, shown here, is a good example of our watch. It started with me going: “We are back folks more with Benny’s first overnight.  We have a sail which is doing just fine, we have Dad over here.” The main thing that happened during Monday, October 7 from 4-6 was the wind went more in front of us and we had to tack over and go off course a little.  Because of this we had to pull in the traveler. There was also one boat in the distance that was not in our way but we saw a little light. The overnight was claimed uneventful yet exciting.

P.S. Vera and I did some school work while motor sailing our way through the Bay the next day. Though I was mostly asleep we came into a marina in Spain the next night, it was very stressful because we had a water leak and thought it was a diesel leak late at night.

Quick dolphin jumping clip!
Doing schoolwork while crossing Bay of Biscay
Vera doing Algebra 2 on Bay of Biscay, 2nd day
Land ho! Made it to the other side
Time to raise the Spanish flag

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