Tuesday, 20 August 2013

La Coruna to Portosin

The Tower of Hercules, the guiding light at La Coruna

La Coruna is a wonderful place. The marina staff were unfailingly helpful and courteous and the place was full of boats on passage chilling out after surviving Biscay. There were a number of boats doing the ARC and an old oyster, whose skipper George and family hailed from Aachen, who will be with us on the ARC plus to the Cape Verdes.

The observation tower at Coruna Marina.
Note the photographers nifty bike in the foreground!

Evenings in the old town were a lovely experience. Everyone goes out at about 9 pm and the old town was full of families with children and old people promenading and greeting each other. There is a street full of restaurants where a three course meal including wine could be purchased for the princely sum of 12 Euros. After dinner we proceeded to the square where on both Thursday and Friday nights there were magnificent concerts of Galacian dancing which has pace and vibrancy, and music which is Celtic and very similar to Irish reels and jigs. The Galacian pipes are very powerful and are bought in at the end of a tune to get everyone dancing and clapping. The square and  overhanging balconies were full of an appreciative and involved crowd.

Cass, don't let James tell you its all hard work!
On Friday James and I helped Clive drain his diesel tank and clean it. This involved a trip to the chandlers in town where our very limited Spanish was deployed. They were charming, took a lot of trouble to find the right containers and the boss's Dad gave us a lift back to the marina for free, refusing any offer of payment. Galicians are a proud and kindly people, however the economy is suffering with no trams because the city is unable to pay. Youth unemployment is high but there was no sign of drunken and disaffected youngsters so common in Britain.
There was a lot of fibre glass swarf and black sludge at the bottom of Clive's tank. The generator fitting had been a poor one with the fuel pipe extending only half way to the bottom of the tank. Clive and James cleaned the tank until you could eat your dinner from it and I carted off fuel which we re filtered into  Kika and a dis-masted wooden cutter called Winnifreda from Belfast. Its owner Gary is a poet and musician who was taking the boat to Haifa as part of a Bahai pilgrimage . Sadly he lost his mast in Biscay as he had the wrong bolts on his stays. In fact the whole boat needs some serious work before it is safe for sea so she will be laid up at La Coruna for the winter. Winnifreda was commissioned by the Royal Navy in 1892 as a gunpowder tender for ships of the line at Cork. As a result she started life with lead decks. When she was decommissioned she was sold to republican sympathisers, who used her as the coast guard look out ship for Sir Roger Casement's ill fated attempt to land munitions from a German U Boat on Banna Strand beach. Winnifreda failed to spot the British who were lying in wait The landing party were rounded up and Sir Roger Casement was sent to the Tower of London and hanged as a traitor. Winnifreda was subsequently bought by Gary's grandfather and has remained in his family since. On our way out of La Coruna we rafted up to Winnifreda and motored her round to the marina where her new mast is to be fitted. We wished Gary luck and a safe onward passage.

                  Towing Winnifreda across the harbour, La Coruna

We also met another Rival 38, " Haji", skippered by David Nixon whose father, a retired jet pilot, self built the interior. The joinery is first class with a really comfortable pilot berth amidships and some original Mike Peyton cartoons of David's mother spotting a whale, which turned out to be a submarine, decorating the saloon. Haji is going back to Plymouth.

layers of low lying cloud over the rocks on the journey to Cape Finisterre

The sun rises in the Ria de Muros
On Sunday afternoon we left Clive and Judith chilling out in Corunya and set sail on an overnight passage for Porto Sin in the Ria de Muros. The tide took us round Cape Finnistaire and after some initial mist and fog the night cleared, the wind went North and increased to give us a magnificent run into the Ria. On James' watch some dolphins started nudging the paddle of the Aries wind vane to set us off course - cheeky buggers. The sun has come out, the boat is 6 miles off Porto Sin, we are surrounded by magnificent scenery and Colin is singing so all is well on Kika.
The Marina Portosin


  1. that sun rise looks beautiful - wish i could be there. keep on singing dad! xxx

  2. Really enjoying following yours and Clive's blogs. You continue to inspire us!