Decision Made

Well, after running through all the various options for getting the boat back home to Scotland, we have decided that we will instead keep the boat down here over the winter.

This has been based on how much we have loved being able to sail in lovely warm weather. I think it’s also fair to say that the various reports we have had on the poor summer weather back home have also contributed to our decision. Our other consideration was the need for direct flights from Edinburgh and short distance from the airport to the marina. This left us with two options, one being Barcelona and the other being Nice.

We couldn’t source a winter berth in and around Nice, and couldn’t get a winter berth in Port Vell (Barcelona) due to planned construction work within the marina. This will mean the removal of pontoons A, B & C and all the boats on these pontoons will either need to be reallocated to another berth or have to leave.

There are other marina’s where we could get a berth that are not that far away from Barcelona itself, but we both really wanted to stay in Port Vell as it is right in the city centre, and in truth – “Sun Dog” would make a great weekend apartment.

After much thought and discussion with the marina they will still not give us a six month contract, but have agreed to us being on a rolling monthly contract, with the agreement being that if the construction work has a firm date to start, the marina will phone us and we will duly fly out and move the boat to one of the other marina’s………………….result!!!!!

The other good thing is that I have arranged with Raymarine to have one of their dealers come to the boat mid September and replace the faulty wind instrument and cable under warranty…….another result!!
It’s funny how things work out sometimes.

Mataro to Barcelona

This morning we set off for our short day down to Barcelona with a bit of slop left over from yesterdays weather. It was simply a case of slipping along the shore line and on the approach to the harbour we had a good view of the world famous Sagrada Familia.

There was a fair amount of commercial traffic around with some seriously large cruise ships in port…….like this one!


Now if I had to say we had a little frisson of excitement at entering the harbour, I would be lying, it was a fantastic sensation/experience.



Before going into Port Vell Marina I circled the boat around at the statue of Christopher Columbus while Sara took the photographs including one of this bridge into the private marinas, and on which we stood seven years ago and said “ ….one day we will sail a boat in here”……..and today was that day – tremendous – it will be a long time before we forget the feelings we experienced at this moment. My endorphins were really charging about my bloodstream.



We then went over to refuel and called the marina office who confirmed they had received our request from yesterday and had a 10m berth available for us on pontoon B, which is about as close as you can get to the city centre… a nice wee bonus!!

Palamos to Mataro

This morning we set off in lovely weather along a beautiful coastline with Sun Dog making really good speed – almost perfection. The forecast was for the wind to reduce to almost nothing as the day wore on, and we were quite happy if this was the case to trundle along and simply enjoy our run down to our planned stop over in Barcelona.

Here is a shot of the coastline.


Further down the coast we passed Fenals beach where we had so much fun on our recent break ashore with Keira Brett and Aaliyah. The wind was, as forecast, next to nothing (F1/F2) and it was baking hot.


Our route to Barcelona from Palamos was about 52 NM but with about 18NM to go, the wind swung round to the east and got stronger and the sea state increased rather quickly. We kept going but with about 12NM to Barcelona the sea state continued to increase quite markedly. At this point I had to consider what it would be like after another couple of hours had passed.

After pondering this I decided prudence was key, and as we were just short of Mataro marina, I got on the radio and was pleased to find out they had a berth available. Quick change of course and in we headed with the wind and waves directly behind us. It was a bit rolly turning into the marina entrance, but once in Sara quickly got the fenders and lines ready (despite her sore rib cage) and with the marina staff already waiting for us on the pontoon to assist it was all pretty straighforward.

Next major action was getting the kettle on for a well earned cuppa, and as we sat enjoying our coffee the wind continued to climb, and a few boats had decided on the same course of action as ourselves and came into Mataro for shelter. One Spanish boat that came in and parked alongside us, had left from Barcelona and was saying he was taken aback at the speed the sea state had changed, and in his opinion looking at weather forecasts is a bit of a waste of time as it’s never what’s predicted……………………now how many times has that been said/heard?

With only a couple of hours left to reach Barcelona I was still questioning myself on our decision to abort but it was the right decision and let’s face it – there’s always tomorrow.

I’ve e-mailed the Raymarine agent in Barcelona, so hopefully when we get there he can sort out our wind instument issue once and for all, as it’s now stopped working completely. Not essential you might think but being a motorsailer it’s handier when steering from inside the wheelhouse to know the direction and strength of the wind. This problem has plagued us for some time and I really do hope we find the root cause.

So that’s about it for today, next stop Barcelona.

Love to all.

Off the boat for a couple of weeks……

Keira Brett and Aaliyah arrived safely in Fenals for a couple of weeks and we were all booked into the same hotel. With Nana & Papa being available throughout this time for baby sitting duties, and sharing the overall enjoyment.

What a lovely family they make…


We found out that there were tickets available for the Spanish Supercup final between Barcelona and Real Madrid – so Brett and I had a special dispensation to go along for a fantastic football match. What an atmosphere within the Nou Camp stadium during game, with no signs of drunkeness and violence either before, during or after the match. Indeed there is no separation of fans within the stadium……..try doing that at certain UK football games!!

We all had a super time both at the beach and at the poolside with Aailyah increasing in confidence in the water every day, in fact if we had been there much longer I’m sure she would have started developing gills.




Our services as baby sitters were called upon when Keira and Brett spent a day in Barcelona which they really enjoyed – but not as much as we did having the little one to ourselves for a full day. This is one of my favourite pictures as she has just finished some chocolate milk in our hotel room, and despite my best endeavour at hiding this fact her wee chocolate chops give the game away 🙂


One day at the beach Keira wanted her mum to go out with her and Brett on a type of banana boat, but this one was a bit different in that it had a sort of aerofoil on the front so when the boat accelerated hard the front end went up in the air with the passengers all hanging on for dear life. Unfortunately Sara was catapulted and hit the water pretty hard, and gave herself a really sore rib cage. There is not much give in water when you hit it at around 20 knots.

Aaliyah and I were sensible and sat on the loungers, under the parasols eating ice cream while all this was going on………we weren’t really, the little one was asleep 🙂

They all left today and whilst Sara and I are extremely sad to see them go, we were pleased that the holiday was a success. Only other really sad part is that we will miss Aaliya’s 3rd birthday celebrations this week-end.

Palamos Marina

We are now parked up in Palamos Marina for a couple of weeks as Keira, Brett and Aaliyah are flying out and we are all booked into a hotel in Fenals (Lloret de Mar)

The marina office have some great shots of the marina taken last winter, and I thought these would be worth sharing to show that the Med is not a “boating pond”.

Aerial shot of the marina.


The sea wall these waves are coming over is at least 7 or 8 metres high!


More evidence the climate is changing – apparently no one could remember conditions like these, and sadly a couple of boats sunk with the weight of the snow and ice.


Rosas to Palamos

We have spent a couple of days in Rosas (expensive berthing) sheltering from the strong winds that have been blowing through, but the forecast for today was fine with only 8/9 kts of wind from the north, then decreasing and veering round to the east…..looked like being another motorsailing day down to Palamos.

When we left Rosas we were sailing along with maybe a bit more wind than the forecast – can’t be sure of exactly what the wind speed was as the bloody wind instrument has now given up the ghost completely – but still it was lovely to be gently moving again under sail.

This didn’t last too long, as the wind just kept increasing and the sea just kept rising, in one of the gusts coupled with a largish wave Sun Dog tried to slip her lead, and just as I headed out to reduce the headsail we were registering 8kts+ (speed through the water), when we were hit by this sizeable wave (sic) Sara who had been lying down below feeling a bit poorly, shot horizontally off the settee, with her progress across the boat being stopped only by the saloon table.

On Sun Dog 8kts speed through the water, (and in these conditions) is a wee bit beyond the boats hull speed and indeed as it takes a fair blow before she will do this kind of speed – so it was a bit of a relief to get the sails shortened, and also a relief when Sara picked herself up off the floor… James Bond would say “shaken but not stirred”, and a real shame especially with her feeling so poorly.

The strong winds stayed with us all the way down, and I was so pleased that they were constantly from the North because I would not have enjoyed hours of bashing into these waves………..

On the way down the coast we passed LlaFranc where Sara and I stayed around 20 years ago when going around Europe on the motorbike, and I was taken aback at the sheer volume of boats on swinging moorings within the bay.

It was also around here that the waves started to subside and the winds eased off a fair amount to around F6, then decreasing again to F4/5 as we were getting more shelter from the land.

All we had left to do was go between a rocky group of islands called Islas Hormigas and the mainland

Islas Hormigas 001

and then a straightforward run down and into the marina.

We called them on the way down and were told to go to the fuel pontoon and we would then be told which berth would be allocated. We reiterated that we had pre-booked by e-mail some time ago hoping they would just allocate a berth number over the phone – but fuel berth it had to be!

We were duly met and told to go into D14 and this was down a really narrow alley, when I say narrow I mean narrow, Sun Dog would be too long to fit across between the parked boats. I got the boat parked and started breathing again, and with her all nicely secured I went down to the Office to do all the paperwork. During our conversation in the office, it transpired that we had been allocated the wrong berth and they asked us to move to A14 – hard to believe but things happen!

Back onboard I explained this to Sara, who unfortunately has been feeling pretty grim this afternoon and had been a bit ickky…..I said we could just leave things till later, but o’ no, she wanted to help get us to the correct berth, so that we could get totally settled.

Now all those that have manoeuvred boats, will understand that sometimes it’s easier getting into a berth, and quite another getting back out especially in strongish winds. This coupled with the narrowness of the alley, and Sun Dog being a long keeler, had me a wee bit thoughtful about getting out. The only way it could be done was to reverse out the berth, and reverse back down the alley (absolutely no room to turn) this coupled with the wind, was doing it’s best to help get the insurance documents ready for a claim ! 🙂

We made it safely back out into the main body of the marina, at which point I started breathing again, and parked up easily in A14 as there was more room. When I say more room it’s all relative because back home if boats were parked this close there would be a hue and cry. However we were happy to finally tie the boat up, especially with Sara feeling so miserable – so we are not going anywhere today.