After the depression had passed, the forecast was for a day of F5 south-westerlies, then two days of moderate north-westerlies. So, we planned to sail down to the north coast of the őle díOlťron, where we could anchor comfortably for the night, and then head south-west for Santander.
The first part of the plan worked fine. Great sail to the anchorage off Boyardville, which proved to be well sheltered from wind and swell. However, next morning, the promised north-westerly died away, and then picked up south-westerly.
We didnít want to go back, and we didnít fancy beating into a head wind for 200 miles, so we lay a course south down the coast in a breeze that picked up to F3 allowing us to make 5 to 6 knots. Overnight the wind veered north-westerly F2, then dropped. Next morning, off Arcachon it came back south-easterly F2, then 3. Maybe this was our chance to head off to Santander, or at least Bilbao. However, we didnít trust the wind to hold, and we didnít really want to spend another night at sea, so we continued down the coast all day, past miles of featureless dunes, past Cap Breton, Bayonne, Biarritz and on towards St Jean de Luz, with the Pyranees now jutting up ahead of us. Two miles from the harbour, we had a sudden squall dead on the nose, and I regret to say we dropped sail and motored rather than reef and beat.
|Looking inland towards La Rhume||From St Jean towards Socoa|