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Posted by on June 30, 2012

After thinking i had posted a long account of the Biscay crossing to Spain i finished to find i was no longer connected to the internet and lost all i had written….. ARGH!

I had better write them in ‘pages’ on my laptop then transfer across to the blog. So here i am for a 2nd time……..

Somoya sits in Cameret

The crew on Somoya had an extended stay in Cameret France due to poor weather AGAIN, which did give us more time to practise our French on the locals! Never before have i heard so many languages mixed into one sentence!

We had a lovely meal in a harbour front restaurant which all the clientele  went eerily silent as we took our places at the table near the window… no idea why. Of course this made us silly and giggly to the extreme! However we were not kicked out and the room seemed to relax by the time we got to our puddings!

By now we were having to comprehend the possibility that we may not be able to sail all the way to Bilbao in time for Howard and Chris to catch a flight to get home on the 26th June. We decided that we would get as far as possible then Howard and Chris would have to catch public transport to Bilbao from somewhere in France. We were in the hands of the gods now and hoped for decent weather.

canna see them pirates you talked about!

At last we decided to set off on the 22nd June and go towards LaRochelle in France giving us the opportunity to stop over for rest or use as a bolt hole should the weather deteriorate  en route to Bilbao.

Leaving Cameret

At 15.00hrs we slipped another tricky pontoon without scraping any other boats or walls at Cameret. (High five Chris) and with a south westerly (15 knots) wind. moderate sea and swell set sail.

Everyone talks about the unsettled seas around the Raz De Seine. Which was to be a challenge for us , but Chris M and Chris meticulously planned our departure  to enable us to pass through at it’s most benign..We met the disturbed seas at around 17.30hrs and chris handled the boat without any difficulty. ( incidentally the waters in the Ramsay Sound between Fishguard and MIlford Haven seemed much more intense)

High Swell in the RAZ

For the next 22hrs we settled into our watch pattern . this time 3hrs on and 3 hrs off. ( which proved to be the best arrangement .We agreed that 2 hrs gave too little sleep and 4 hrs on watch would be too much)

One can not disagree that this was quite boring at times, hour after hour with not much to see or do. We were amazed there was so very little commercial traffic on this supposedly busy thoroughfare. Trying to stop your eyes from glazing over was a task in it’s self.  The wallowing nature of the sea tempted you to sleep. I was lucky that my night duties over the years stood me in good stead for such times! Howard and I kept a look out for any ships in the horizon and the ‘Chris’s kept us on course. :)

On the 8th hour of sailing having heard the latest weather forecast and knowing that we all felt well we made the decision to crack on and change course straight for bilbao. So with a deep breath in preparation for an extended time on board and chance of a day to relax before going home in Bilbao we turned from a south easterly direction to a course southerly/southwesterly.

DOC Martland having his break

(Somoya managed to sail for about 14hrs without engine on which had not been the case for anywhere so far)

We plotted our position on the charts every hour even though we had the chart plotter and all its gizmos!  It gave a small pleasure as if ticking off another few miles! and also, from a safety point of view, knew where we were if all the electronic gadgets packed in !The phosphorescence gave a shimmering display every now and then which perked up whoever was on duty at the time and Howard and Chris M had a show of Dolphin, porpoise and Minke whale all at the same time. Chris and i kept an eye on a collared dove taking shelter for a few miles. How lucky we are :)

Numerous Dolphin dancing in the seas of Biscay

Consensus of opinion during out adventures together was that we have never eaten so many sweets, biscuits and snacks.. and that coming from a sweet-toothed Brook is something!  :)  We did eat some good food too but snacked mainly on the overnight stints and when it was difficult to accomplish anything down below in the sea swell.

Dining in the Biscay.







By now the facial hair on the men was beginning to take shape and i will not mention the state of my own hair … Note to one-self

“need a serious haircut for this type of past time”



If you are happy and you know it clap your hands ….










We were greeted with sight of land at 20.00hrs on the 24th June and after a whopping 57.5 hours at sea and 344 miles under Somoya’s hull  navigated our way into the huge harbour at night and docked in the Getxo Marina in Bilbao on the 25th June at 00.30hours

Congratulations to the Crew … we did it !

Now to bed…. sleep, and sleep some more before hitting the town in celebration later…



  1. Christine

    Well done!!! You must be absolutely thrilled. Hope you slept well. Enjoy your celebrations in town. HAPPY BIRTHDAY LORRAINE xx

  2. Walter Burrow

    Well done all of you. Are you getting better weather now? It must be better than we are getting

    • somoya

      HI .The weather is improving yet slowly . Light winds but cloud cover mostly. think the rain is to stay away now. Just stopped in Santander outside the Yacht club. will be going ashore soon. Hope the repairs are going ok. we will catch up with you when we get home in the autumn. Lorraine

  3. Kathleen

    Great to read your updates and see the photos Lorraine. It all sounds wonderful and you seem so content which is lovely! Missing you here just now. All your blogs and pics would Make a great book like the one u did of our treks. What great memories you are making. Take care xxx

    • somoya

      Thanks Kathleen. The blog will certainly be our record for many years to come. when we are feeble and wondering what we had for breakfast!! Just hope it doesn’t get boring for everyone else. But you dont have to read it all i suppose!
      Hope you are ok . i think about you all so much and wish i was there to support you.. i am in spirit anyway… keep smiling … and hope that laughter of yours finds its way into a days work now and then :) x

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