Basecamp Muxia

Submitted by jono on 13 Apr 2018.

Safe run to Muxia yesterday - 20nm, wind direction very good and in that context swell perfectly deal-able with.

Today back to service as normal: chunky swell. In the context of a very flaky wind forecast, and angle that will require gybing downwind to Cabo Finisterre, however much I want today to be suitable - and getting round the Cape, and as a result past the Costa de Muerte, is a big prize - I can't persuade myself that it is.

I suspect even most seasoned windsurfers wouldn't really appreciate the difficulty of coastal raceboard 'cruising' in these conditions, so I'll try to explain the sea out there:

A sea that might look smooth from a distance is in fact a rutted, undulating, expanse of change. The swells that roll through heave the surface in one direction, then switch, before heaving it back in the other.

The air of a gentle breeze does not reach the pit of the troughs. So the sail provides no drive or stabilty, but instead is pushed around in all directions. Despite 30 years experience sailing raceboard, in the trough I am a novice. Staying upright is a huge effort, requiring such exaggerated corrections that the equipment shakes as if in seizure.

At the peak there may be a few moments caress of breeze. A second or so of stability. Hope.

The view from the peaks is of a sea with wind, but of course it is only the peaks that are seen - inside the folds of sea is the desperate reality.

And should the wind truly fail. Well then you're cooked. Stuffed; roasted; digested. Forget paddling in a sea like that. Further out to sea - and we're talking miles - might be better than close in, but then what? Closer in you've got the shallows to contend with - navigating them by memory of course - because there's no consulting maps whilst straining every sinew to stay upright.

Explaining this - is simply to explain. I have no complaint that it is difficult, and that patience is required.

My position here I liken to being at basecamp before a final ascent on the Cabo, and I hope I'm old and wise enough to wait the right day.

  • Le Labo departing from Muxia this morning
    Le Labo departing from Muxia this morning
  • Not great, even on a 50ft ketch, and that's before needing to head off properly downwind...
    Not great, even on a 50ft ketch, and that's before needing to head off properly downwind...
  • With crew of Le Labo, who kindly put me up last night
    With crew of Le Labo, who kindly put me up last night

Sea Plastics research project

Upon arrival at Muxia, Florian from yacht Le Labo of research expedition "Sea Plastics" came to say hello, and soon after had offered food and a bunk. Thanks skipper, and crew, and safe journey south. More information about the research and education project "Sea Plastics" here, on their website.

In French, but they also speak excellent English, for presentations etc:
 

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