We departed to the last leg of the summer cruise 9:30 in the morning. Our aim was to arrive at Marina Sada, Suwena’s next winter home, during the daylight. The planned sailing distance was about 50 nautical miles.
Wind was light and just on our nose as we were driving out from the ría, so we were motorsailing in the beginning. After passing the cape of Capo Ortega, on the western side of it, the wind suddenly picked up to 18 knots and soon we’re broad reaching towards A Coruña.
There were also quite a steep waves on the western side of the cape. Maybe it was due to sea currents. A charmingly named sea area Costa da Morte or Death Coast is thought to start on the southern side of A Coruña but the wind managed to create very steep sea state here on the northern side as well.
In no time there was very anguished Mayday call on VHF. We could really hear from the voice of the crew that the distress was real when they tried to talk to the coastguard despite of the language barrier in a mix of French, English and Spanish. After a while it became clear that the boat had become unsteerable. With every wave the rudder was raised from the water and the sea tried to turn the boat sideways in steep waves. I can only imagine how stressful it must have been with rising seas and uncontrollable yacht. According to coordinates we received, they were five miles north, behind of us. Andrus could see from AIS that about a mile from the boat in distress was another yacht in parallel course with them. We were about to turn around and go helping them when this other yacht turned and let everybody know on VHF that they will go for help. To us it would have been five miles of tacking against both the wind and waves. In addition, the sea rescue vessel departed from nearby village of Cedeira as well. Fortunately, an hour later the distress was resolved when the small yacht had managed to pass the worst location of waves and could continue on their own.
The rest of the passage we were enjoying sailing of the last leg of the summer. When we proudly sailed pass A Coruña we were in high mood thinking about next summer and this is the place we’ll come. To many long-distance cruisers, A Coruña is one of the most important milestones. The Bay of Biscay and Northern Europe are located north from here, while the Southern Europe waters clearly start from the Galicia of Spain. We however continued deeper into the rías. There are three branching rías in front of A Coruña: Ría de Coruña, Ría de Betanzos and Ría de Ferrol. Our destination was at the bottom of the middle bay where Marina Sada was waiting for us.
And I mean it was literally waiting. We had booked a winter berth to Suwena from Marina Sada but we had not notified our exact day of arrival. It was a nice surprise when the harbor master run to catch our lines and handed to us a parcel that had arrived earlier. It was the first time when the parcel was delivered to the yacht and we’ve had a lot of parcels arriving all over Europe in different marinas because of our work.
The harbour master pointed to us our berth and advised about marina services, local shops etc. From this moment forward we quickly started to prepare her for winter storage. Originally, we had booked a berth for Suwena in water for the winter. However, during the summer our plans changed and most probably we do not have time to visit onboard every few months and so we decided to lift her ashore. Even if there were only a few days the harbourmaster managed to arrange the lift out. Last time Suwena have been wintering on hard five years ago. But of course, every spring we have had a week-long haul-out for maintaining the hull. It has been great to see that even she has been in many different countries always the professional team have been handling her and again she was lifted beautifully out of the water and transferred to her stand.
There are two marinas in the harbour basin of Sada: the yacht club and Puerto Deportivo Marina Sada. Suwena is spending the winter in the latter one. The big Carrefour supermarket next to the marina helped everyday living as we had only two days to clean the boat, arrange all stuff, prepare the equipment for winter storage and also pack the luggage. Even better help was the yacht club restaurant next door. We could enjoy the Galician food while the fridge was melting on its own.
There is also a marine service company and chandlery Cadenote that offers services from sail sewing to engine repairs. We took there our bimini that was ripped during the summer and we’ll collect it next spring repaired and ready for reinstallation.
As a town Sada is a small suburb of A Coruña. It is only 18 kilometres from A Coruña and our travel back home started with a taxy trip to the airport of A Coruña. Again one summer cruise was over and we have the whole winter to think back the wonderful memories before new sailing adventures.