Sailing Poerava, Bordeaux 60 No 31: the Bay of Biscay is true to its reputation!
After the delivery trials and familiarisation training by the CNB crews, Poerava headed for the Mediterranean via Gibraltar.
Eric Dumont, the skipper (Vendée Globe, Route du Rhum, Transat Jacques Vabre, to name but a few of his exploits) talks about his crossing of the Bay of Biscay:
"We were 20 miles out of Port Médoc, with winds NNW, strengthening from Force 5 to 6, then F7, then F8 ... setting in to 45 knots ... which is 54 knots of apparent wind, with 6 metre seas on the beam, increasing to 8 metres! I had to keep reducing sail: 2 reefs and a small staysail, then 3 reefs and staysail, then finally we were down to staysail alone. At an average speed of 9-10 knots the waves were coming on deck and going over the cockpit hood, but everything worked very well: the auto pilot, reefing, furling the mainsail ... the Bordeaux 60 behaves perfectly. She takes the seas wonderfully well. We rounded Cape Finisterre after a passage of 36 hours (an average speed of 10 knots) and made landfall in Vigo 8 hours later, having covered 430 nautical miles in 44 hours. In all, I had barely 3 hours´ sleep, in my foul weather gear. My crew was suffering from seasickness and so was unable to help with manoeuvres, except of course with keeping watch. Nothing budged below decks, just the microwave oven, which kept opening and closing with the constant lurching (up to 45° of heel!)".
"I have complete confidence in the boat: her high free-board and bows are perfect for cutting through heavy seas, her well-placed centre of gravity gives her incredible stability, the weight is very well balanced, and we never dug our bows in. The mast held up well, with the running backstays made fast and the backstay heaved taut. There were no breakages."