Arrived in Almerimar

The first part of the season ended today with one of the greatest sailing days we’ve had in the last few years. But even on Kincsem with all its push button systems, Eberhard and I were working hard for that great sailing day. No sooner had we left the harbor of Garrucha did the Parasailor go up in 9 knots from the Northwest, a perfect direction. As we had seen many times before, the Parasailor stabilizes the boat very nicely. Under engine, we were rolling quite a bit in the 1.5 m Easterly swell, but that stopped once the Parasailor and mizzen went up. The wind increased and kept clocking to the Northeast, as forecast. So soon it was time to jibe the Parasailor but now the wind was up to 18-20kn so we decided instead to set the main and pole out the genoa to port. That’s always a lot of work and add to that all the lines from the Parasailor on deck, we were now making nice spaghetti! Kincsem sails great with the poled-out genoa, albeit rolling a bit in the swell.

By early afternoon, we were getting close to Cabo del Gata, the Southeast corner of this coast and it was time for a jibe. We were going 9.3-9.5 knots in 20-22 knots of wind so we furled the genoa to move the pole to the other side. No sooner was the sail furled, did the wind increase to over 30 knots and we kept plowing along at 9-9.5 knots under main alone! So we took our time to pole out the genoa on the other side ….

When I had looked at the GFS and Icon grib files five or six days ago, it was clear that we would have 4 days of excellent breeze from the North or Northeast but that this would end today in the early afternoon with a Westerly pattern setting in. And it did, indeed. We were just rehoisting the Parasailor in the early afternoon when the wind shifted dramatically - so Parasailor down, upwind sails up! Amazing how good these grib files are these days! Icon, the German model, is currently my favorite here in the Med, together with the American GFS model.

Eberhard taking in a little rest from cleaning up the Parasailor

Today was not the only great sailing day, though. Ever since Valencia, Eberhard and I had a sailor’s trip! After a heavy run of provisioning, we left for Denia, a nice town with a very nice marina with reasonable prices.

Two bikes can carry a lot of stuff!

We were going upwind most of the way and by late afternoon, the wind was up to the mid-twenties with a short, steep sea that every few minutes stopped the boat and had the bow fall off by 20 degrees - not the way to make good progress to windward. So it was a good time to be experimenting with our sail plan. We ended up with the staysail, full main, and a reefed mizzen rather than a reefed genoa and reefed main. With that combination Kincsem was making 6-6.5 knots at 30 degrees apparent consistently and things were reasonably comfortable on board. But after that experience and after review of the grib files for the coming week, we decided to stay in Denia for a day to wait for the Northerly breeze to set in. Gentlemen don’t go to weather as they say ….

View of the Montgo Massif from the Denia harbor

Denia by nightfall

View from the Denia Castello

Alicante was next, where Kincsem had stayed in 2017 for a couple of months. Again I didn’t make it up to the castle - just like 2017! I still have the pictures Benno shot then so we didn’t see the attraction of hiking uphill in the 90 degree heat!

On the board walk in Alicante

On our way to Alicante we overtook a French boat while running under Parasailor. A VHF conversation with the French single-hander ensued and both owners now have nice pictures of their boats sailing with the spinnaker up!

On our way to Alicante. Notice the new way of running the Parasailor - the windward clew is attached to the forestay by means of an “ATN Tacker” - very stable

Next stop was Torrevieja, where we anchored in the outer harbor. Nothing scenic but at the current temperatures, it’s great to be able to go swimming from the boat! The next day we had a fast ride to the Bay of Mazzaron, where we anchored off the beach at La Azohia.

At anchor at La Azohia

This was a bit of an adventure because the winds were whistling around the coastal mountains and gusts would hit us from everywhere around the compass rose all night long. Some of those had the water flying on the surface - possibly 50 knots or so. But we were protected from the Northeasterly swells and enjoyed crystal clear waters for swimming.

It is difficult to find good anchorages on this generally East facing coast if the swells are from the East. There are very few protected bays and one has to find shelter behind headlands that strut out in a Southeasterly direction but the swells tend to wrap around those almost 90 degrees! In fact, the next day we had planned to sail to Cala de San Pedro, a scenic bay just a bit North of the Town of Las Negras. But the Cala is open to the South and I was concerned that the substantial swells that had been developing over the last 2 days from almost due East and forecast to come even a bit from the South-Southeast during the night would bend enough around the headland to stand into the bay. So we decided to divert to La Garrucha, an industrial town, which seems to be devoted to gypsum production and loading. It was a good call not to anchor in the outer harbor where we would have been directly downwind from the gypsum loading docks with two large freighters being loaded ….. There was plenty of room in the new marina where there were only some lonely boats tied up alongside - Spanish tax dollars at work. But the town was otherwise impressive, with a very clean public beach with volley ball nets, fresh water showers and little cafes and restaurants everywhere. No tourists in sight!

Kincsem is now safely tied up in Almerimar and I’m off to Germany and home in California. I’ll be back in August and adventures will resume then. We still have roughly 1,000 miles to go to Kincsem’s winter berth in Vigo, Spain. Gibraltar, Cadiz, Sevilla (we’re going 70 miles up the river), Lisbon, Porto and the Spanish Rias are all beckoning!


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