Things are always changing, not the least of which are the winds and the weather!! One of the most dynamic parts of sailing is having to carefully and efficiently weave your way through ever-shifting weather, winds and tides.
As of the end of last week, we were looking at a rather open opportunity to leave La Rochelle and head southwest to the Azores, before continuing south to pick up the trade winds and sail for the East Coast of North America. Since then however, two developing low-pressure systems have positioned themselves directly in the route, and have left no other alternative passage around or through them. Well, there IS a route open over the top of them, going up to 50ËšN. This more northern route however is not typically considered safe this time of year, because of the rugged weather systems that march across, but it looked like a possibility for a time. Overall, this route comes with greater risk, as you can only see predictable weather for seven days – and at seven days, I’d be smack in the middle of the route, and any change in direction of one of the low-pressure systems, would have a significant impact on the navigable weather.
Below is what the weather forecast looks like in the mid-Atlantic for next Tuesday. Bodacious Dream would have been at about the eastern edge of the eastern stormfront. The brighter the color, the more intense the low pressure and winds. The site this is taken from – www.passageweather.com – is an interesting site to view, if you’re at all geeky about sailing and weather.
So, we have gone to another plan, and that is to sail south to Lisbon, Portugal and store the boat there until December 1st, and then look for a good weather window to leave from there. Why go to Lisbon? Well, La Rochelle is located on the infamous Bay of Biscay, a place where bad weather gets progressively worse this time of year. Right now, we still have a good weather window to leave La Rochelle that will last for only another 4 to 5 days, and that’s enough time for Bodacious Dream to sail south from La Rochelle and get to Lisbon on the edge of the trade winds. It will be easier and much more likely for us to find a weather window from Lisbon in December than it will be from La Rochelle. So, while it isn’t a significant or even desirable move forward, it clearly is in terms of meeting up with favorable weather, which is something we must always try to do.
So, this will be about a four-day trip south to Portugal. I’ll see what I can do to keep you informed with short updates. It will be an interesting trip in that it traverses the Bay of Biscay, and then around Cape Finisterre, two of the more famous sailing regions to add to the list of notable areas we’ve sailed past this season.
So, by the time you receive this, Bodacious Dream will have slipped her mooring lines, and headed off once again. We will miss France and all the good people we’ve had the pleasure to meet and to exchange laughter with … over mispronounced words. Many thanks to all of you here in France who have made my and the BD crew’s visit so special. I’ve enjoyed our times on the boat, sharing stories and dreams, and I look forward to returning and sailing with you all again in the future.
And now onto Portugal … hmmm, wonder what chocolate-flavored breakfast treats they have there?!!
- From Bodacious Dream & “Single-Handed” Dave