Kincsem is now safely put away for the winter and I’m leaving tomorrow. Christoph and I had a nice few weeks of cruising the Galician rias (rivers) and getting Kincsem ready for the winter, although the weather has been mostly miserable. Our first stop after Porto was Bayona, where we docked at the local yacht club, Monte Real Club de Yates. The club has a great location, right below the medieval fortress and has had 2 America’s Cup campaigns - astonishing for a local club like this.

At the bar of the MRCYB - excellent Spanish brandy; the shorts have been stowed away

View from the fortress of Bayona over the Cie Islands

Bayona and MRCYB from the fortress on our only sunny day in Bayona

After Bayona we sailed North and explored the Cie islands but it is tricky here with the swell so we did not stay overnight. The islands are a National park and one needs to get a permit to visit the islands and an additional daily anchoring permit. None of that is a problem - easily done online and in English! The price is right, too: zero.

Anchorage under Isla San Martino, Cie Islands

The handbook recommended that we stop at the little town of Combarro at the base of the next ria North, the Ria de Pontevedra. The town is attractive and interesting because it has a number of the traditional Gallicean storage huts built on stilts - the horreos. They were used to store grain or potatoes or even fish and meat.


Combarro waterfront

We also stopped at Isla Ons at the entrance of the Ria de Pontevedra. The anchorage, which was open to the South and East, was a bit iffy given the forecast by some of the grib files of Southerlies starting in the early morning but we were rewarded with a great hike over the island.

Anchorage at the North end of Isla Ons

Isla Ons

The rattling of the anchor chain over rocks at 4 am, however, chased us away to seek shelter from the fresh Southerly that had developed. Luckily it was not far to an anchorage on the mainland protected from the Southerlies, but getting there in the pouring rain and dark was not very relaxing ….

The last sail of the season, however, was great. It was upwind at first, through the islands and against the current and Atlantic swells, 15-25 knots with the sun sometimes showing - a lot of fun. The rain held off until after we had docked in Vigo and then proceeded to wash off all the salt from the decks in convincing fashion! Perfect!

We were very lucky to be able to take down the sails in dry weather the next day given a forecast of rainy days without end in sight. We even managed to explore Vigo and Santiago de Compostella (by rental car) although umbrella always at hand.

Our dock in Bouzas on the outskirts of Vigo. Islas Cies in the background.

Impressions of Vigo. Everything in Vigo is about ships: building, repairing, loading, unloading them

Santiago de Compostella is known as the culmination of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route, and is the alleged burial site of the Biblical apostle St. James. It is only about one hour by car from Vigo and most impressive, even in the rain!

Cathedral of Santiago de Compostella.

Hauling Kincsem out of the water was a bit of an adventure this year. The boat yard, Astilleros Lagos, was founded in 1915 and still has two traditional slipways, rather than a crane or travel lift.

Kincsem is now on the white slip cart on the left.

In the slip cart, ready to haul!

The pads will be screwed in to support the hull in the center of the slip cart. 4 man on deck, this guy in his row boat and a guy ashore directing the winch is what it took!

They used to haul fish trawlers up to 160 tons on the slipways but this winter, Kincsem is the biggest boat on them. All went according to plan and Kincsem is now safely tucked away in the lee of some big buildings, awaiting new adventures next year.

Another great season is now over. We sailed about 3000 miles with over 22 crew and “other” guests. Several people came twice, one came for more than 6 weeks this year. It was a lot of fun. Thanks to all who participated in the program this year!


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