Villefranche, France to Barcelona, Spain
July 27-30, 2018
Day 1 – Friday, July 27, 2018
I have been enjoying the 10 days I have spent in Nice, France. As I look toward my next port-of-call, Barcelona, I’ve been watching the weather to hopefully find a good window for my departure. For the past several days, there have been no favorable forecasts and the forecast looks to be poor for more than a week ahead. The problem is not storms, it’s lack of wind and light wind that is blowing in the wrong direction.
Last night, I made the decision to depart for Barcelona in the morning. At about 6:25 AM, I raised the anchor, set my sails and headed out of the harbor at a leisurely 3 knots SOG. The sun was just coming up over the mountains. I am ready to be back at sea.
By about 8:30 PM, I was about 50 nm southeast of Marseille. While the wind had been blowing from the east-southeast when I left Nice, it was now blowing from the southwest. I was able to sail along the French coast until just about sunset when I had to turn south on the starboard tack. I’ll stay on this heading for several hours until I get some distance from the mainland before changing to the port tack. The wind is blowing about 7 knots, so it should be a calm evening.
Day 2 – Saturday, July 28, 2018
I got up at about 2:15 AM to check my progress. The wind was continuing to shift from southwest to west-southwest. I decided to turn back toward Barcelona and I felt that course would be good until I got up in the morning. Once the helm was set, I headed back below for more sleep.
07/28/2018 0529 UTC – 42º 24.2′ N 5º 56.48′ E
At about 7:30 AM, I was approaching my original course line, but the wind was still causing me to sail too far to starboard. I turned south again for another few hours of sailing on the starboard tack. At least the wind is a bit stronger this morning. It’s blowing 10-15 knots and I have a SOG of about 6.5 knots. The sea isn’t too rough considering the wind speed. Time for a cup of tea.
Day 3 – Sunday, July 29, 2018
I was up a bit earlier this morning. It was about 6:00 AM and I still wasn’t sailing directly toward Barcelona. During the past 12 hours, the winds had shifted to the west-northwest, which has not been good for making good distance to Barcelona. I have been continuing to sail in a southern arc from Nice to Barcelona because of the wind direction. This was not unexpected. The weather has been very nice, so the added time getting to my next port hasn’t been a problem.
07/29/2018 0420 UTC – 41º 14.09′ N 5º 15.7′ E
Mid-morning, the wind shifted to the south and I was able to point the bow directly at Barcelona for the first time in several days. There isn’t a cloud in the sky, the wind is blowing about 8 knots, boat speed is 6.5 knots, and it’s a very comfortable 79ºF. What a beautiful day for sailing in the Mediterranean Sea. If the wind holds, I should arrive at Barcelona tomorrow morning.
Day 4 – Monday, July 30, 2018
Shortly after midnight, the wind died off and, what little wind was left, turned to the west-southwest. That meant I had to take the bow off of Barcelona and turn north a bit. I guess I won’t be getting to Barcelona in the morning after all. Hopefully, I should make it there sometime today.
07/30/2018 0549 UTC – 41º 20.6′ N 3º 10.15′ E
Once the sun was up, the wind had shifted again and was blowing from the northeast. This was almost a 180º shift, but it allowed me to be more on course for Barcelona. The wind speed was down to 3-4 knots, so the last part of this voyage would be slow-going.
At around mid-day, the wind shifted around again and, once again, was coming from the south-southwest. By 5:00 PM, I was only a few nm from the harbor entrance at the Barcelona International Sailing Center. At about 5:30 PM, I was secured at the dock and ready for my stay in Barcelona.
07/30/2018 1530 UTC – 41º 24.81′ N 2º 13.66′ E