15th to 18th April 2018
We had planned this passage to test our sea legs on a longer stretch than we have encountered previously, as you do when one of the two-person ‘crew’ is eight months pregnant…
We saw an appropriate weather window, in which it was possible to leave Rabat and where the weather looked comfortably sailable for a few days. Due to the requirement that the swell is under 2m or so to leave Rabat, we set off in relative calm, which helped everyone settle in. The downside of the calm weather was that the winds were pretty light, and given the weather-window we had come across was not open ended we needed to make progress. So unfortunately, one of the motors was running for much of the first day and a half of the passage. Not ideal, but manageable.
After the first day or so the swells began to build, peaking at 4-6 meters. As the period, the time between each swell’s peak, was relatively long at 15 seconds or so, this was surprisingly comfortable. Theo called them ‘walls of water’, which was pretty apt. A calm start to the passage worked – none of us felt sick on the passage, and by day three we were cooking proper meals for the first time while sailing. Home-made chips were particularly delightful, and a vast improvement on sandwiches, pasta and snacks (our normal on-passage fare).
We should also mention the dolphins, as they were amazing. At one point we had a pod of maybe 30-40 dolphins surfing some waves straight past the boat, which as the kids remarked was like something from Blue Planet. If you ask Theo about the passage, he will also tell you a story about the dolphin that jumped into the cockpit, and Theo stroked it, and then he picked it up, and then he threw it back into the sea. I don’t recall that.
By tradition, as we were anchoring the boat off Playa Francesca, the kids were creating chaos down below – they had tipped out the last of our Corn Flakes and plenty of other cereal and stuff all over the floor and stamped in it. When we were anchored, Theo wanted a bowl of corn flakes. He was disappointed in our response.
And for the non-sailors among you who wonder what kids get upto when you are in gentle, but fairly large, seas. They carry on with life as though the boat wasn’t moving. In this case, playing with some play dough while listening to an audio book. Watch the windows…