Back in the depth of winter my wife Lara announces that she is taking part with my eldest daughter in the annual diving club trip in ¨Rosas¨ Spain . My thoughts jumped to the possibility of taking advantage of the situation and suggesting we all stay on Solone . The logistics of five staying onboard had not been considered at this point but to my surprise was take as a good idea.
The final months of the winter gave me just enough time to make up all the new bedding and new cushions to allow us all to live aboard. fast forward and the departure is upon us , Lara my wife and the three children are to drive the 3 hour journey and I am to sail Solone down and meet them all at Rosas on the Friday night. From my home port of Valras my trusty navionics plotter reconed on about 80 miles.
¨La Cote de Leon¨ as it it is known here is very unpredictable weather wise, however the month of May is a time of change for the better. I checked on passage weather & wind guru for the predicted winds etc . NWesterly 10 -15 knots for thursday and friday with winds sweeping round 180° for my return on the Monday and Tuesday. It could not be better. Boat ready and dog dropped off at the kennels I begin my trip. Being my first sorti of any distance on Solone since buying her I was of course quite nervous , I was told the old perkins was reliable, & it has been on the short excursions I had made from my home port , but setting off to Spain was another step into the unknown. The 1st days sailing was a mixed bag of motor and sail , nothing to write home about but for me just perfect , allowing me to feel at ease with Solone. I saw dolphin , shark and more moon fish than you can wage a stick at.
The port of ¨ Canet -en -Rousillon¨ is a well positioned port en route to Spain ,40 miles from my home port of Valras , and this was my first port of call. The town itself is basically the French Blackpool on a sunny day , but the port and its facilities are to die for . There are in total 1300 residents boats with about 80 or so visiting yacht births. The harbour toilet and shower block is of the highest standard, and the staff very helpful.
After a great nights sleep I awoke to continue my journey south at 0900 hrs . Spain was no more than 2 hours due south . The weather fine with a breeze which picked up later on in the day. On leaving Canet one has to remember to collect passport from port security . The sail south wasn`t speedy but very enjoyable . I took a coarse direct to ¨Cap de Creus¨ and the run between the main land and the island . This took me some 7 miles off shore .
Having rounded the Cap the wind picked up something fine & for the first time on Solone I was able to hoist up the ¨parachute ¨ . to be honest I`ve never used one before and had studied a few vids on youtube in anticipation before leaving . To my amazement all went perfectly ? no twisted lines or flagging sails ? it just went up, and what a difference. How exciting to finally arrive into Rosas with the spinnaker pushing along at 6 knots .
After comms with the capitanery at 1700 hrs I was met by two cheery chaps on a small port tug and shown my birth. I was left with just 2 hours to sort the boat before my family arrived en mass in the car .
In all the weekend in Rosas was superb , and whats more my wife Lara & our three children loved the whole experience of staying on board, and whats more its not just me proposing the next trip . Yipee