Moving Backwards to Move Forwards

12th September 2020

So here I am sitting aboard Moon Shadow wondering what on earth I should do next. I have two options:

  1. Carry on south and try to make the Guadiana river (the river that seperates Portugal And Spain) for the winter. That would be a two week trip if I didn’t stop to sight-see on the way, so I still had plenty of time. There is a good week of weather ahead for crossing the Bay of Biscay with moderate northerly or north westerly winds all week.
  2. Return to the UK for the winter and set off again in the spring of 2021 when, hopefully, the problems caused by Covid-19 will be behind us.

If I decide to return to the UK it has to be done in the next couple of days as there is a big storm with gale force winds in the English Channel for the second half of the week.

Whichever option I choose, as Pavel returned home at the end of July, it will be my first single handed passage so that’s got to be taken into account.

14th September

So I’ve made the decision to opt for returning to the UK. It seems a bit retrograde and I always hate “going backwards” but, the decision was made for two reasons. Primarily, because this would be my first single handed passage I figured that as I’d already made this passage on the way out I kind of “knew the ropes” so to speak. Secondly, with Covid-19 still about there was no guarantee that by the time I got to southern Portugal I’d be able to get in or stay.

The plan – because of the predicted gales later in the week I’ve resolved to get going first thing Tuesday morning. I’ll have the tide against me for a bit but at the northern end of the Chenal du Fort it isn’t particularly strong. I know the passage will be around 24 hours so, allowing for a bit of contingency, I’d like to get to Plymouth mid morning on Wednesday – certainly before midday. I need to head out of the channel here – taking care not to revisit my friend (that I have since found out is called Toad Rock!) then head north for about eight or nine miles before turning onto 015 degrees which is, near as dammit, a straight line to Plymouth breakwater. I’ll be going through four tide cycles so I’m not concerned about that as they’ll pretty much cancel each other out. Wind is predicted to be North West but veering in the early hours of Wednesday so holding 015 degrees should be ok to start with but could become trickier as the voyage progresses.

See you on the other side!

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