Friday 10 July 2015

L'Ametlla. The afternoon.

The breezed had stiffen to a point where it actually cooled rather than just shifting heat around as it had during the morning. Much revived by coffee and on a wave of post prandial optimism I raised the sails thinking that I could sail off the quay and down the narrow avenue between moored craft without being backwinded or becoming fouled on stern lines. Due to a judicious and rapid raising of the centre board OB just weathered the final Beneteau, avoiding submerged lines—a favourable presence was looking out for me.

Again the flock of white sails drifted out of port as onlookers, surprised by the spectacle, waved. The breeze was still coming from the east and the return would be all upwind. Many boats fired up their engines and tighten their sheets to motor-sail home. I refused a tow—Onawind Blue behaves badly on a lead—and set off close hauled for the lighthouse on El Fangar. I remembered that OB makes better progress upwind if I take short tacks. On long boards the inevitable lapses of concentration combine to produce a loss of ground to windward.

With 12 knots of breeze OB sailed smartly at 4 knots. I tacked up to Cape Roig, from there I could cover the remaining 4 miles on one easy board. It was a beautiful sail. White caps rushed by and spray flew over OB's bow keeping me deliciously cool. Terns dived sharply into the water raising white plumes, miraclously taking flight almost from underwater with small fry glinting silver in their beaks. Everything felt right with the world, OB flowing over the sea and the sea, in its way, flowing through me.

L'Ametlla appeared as a cement wart on a rusty rock and pine green coast against a backdrop of misty mountains, underlined with broad brush strokes of Mediterranean blues. When enough sea has flowed in you start to see the world as if it were a watercolour.

The wind failed quite abrubtly, suddenly choked by the intense afternoon heat. I took up the oars and rowed the final half mile, tieing up alongside the other boats with my palms nicely burning. I stepped onto the quay and a round of applause went up from the other sailors as they honoured Onawind Blue and her fine abilities, she was, after all, the only boat to arrive without engine power.  


Anonymous said...


What a beautifully evocative post! Well done for sailing OB so capably and thanks for sharing the experience.


Michael H.

Ben said...

Thank you Michael H.