Snail-free salad and other culinary delights

After a bit of a rolly Biscay crossing (well that is what the Bay of Biscay is famous for) we arrived in Camaret yesterday afternoon. It may have been a short crossing, but the crew sprang off the boat as soon as we touched the dock, excited by ideas of cycling, walking, French cheese, pastries and wine tasting – some have been dreaming of French or British cheese for months after spending so long in South America, where the cheese is rubbery and flavourless . Camaret is a pretty little seaside town across the bay from Brest. A walk through the town shows that tourism and art are the biggest industries in the town. The waterfront is a long street of restaurants and the picturesque narrow streets behind, arched by wisteria branches fully laden with heavily scented lilac flowers, house numerous art galleries full of paintings of seasides, waves and boats.

The crew did not make it too far, and were found in some of the cafes tasting the local treats – unfortunately the local pastry, Breton Far, did not go down so well and was accused of being a damp Yorkshire Pudding filled with custard cream. A few did make it onto one of the beaches and went for a swim, but came back to report that the water is freezing. Even those who swam in Antarctica and South Georgia found it cold. In the evening, we went out for a delicious meal in a lovely local restaurant where scallop terrine, oysters, fish soup, mussels, steak, apple tart and chocolate mousse were all delicious. Nick and Emily were sad that their “Snail Garden” salad turned out to be just the garden without any snails in (I think something was lost in translation), but aside from this disappointment the food was all absolutely delicious.

Today some of the crew have gone to hire bikes while others are off on a coastal walk. I am enjoying some quiet time on the boat, sorting and packing my kit ready for Falmouth. This is perhaps the first time I have spent on my own in 5 months so it’s quite a strange feeling. As much as I love all the company, fun and energy from having all the others around, it’s quite nice to have some time to myself, though I know that soon I’ll be back in the “real world” and very quickly will be craving the chat, support and fellowship of my crewmates again. When I joined Elinca in August last year, I was very worried about how I would cope with so many people in such a cramped space after having lived on my own for 2 years in a flat much bigger than the boat. I can now say that it has been absolutely amazing to sail with every single person on board, and I have not once wanted to get off. Even now, when the long-timers are all exhausted from continuously sailing for so long, there is a wonderful harmony on board. While I look forward to being on Terra Firma, seeing family and friends back home, and eating good British food, I will miss all the people I have sailed with, and the close company of never having to walk further than 20m to talk to a friend. I think Sarah summed it up very well yesterday when she said “we have seen loads of really amazing and beautiful places and sights, but what has been the most remarkable and will stay with me longest is the friendships that I have made”. Hear, hear.  Cliggy.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Cheese and snowglobe quest?

Position: 48.29N 04.59E doing 6.5kn 155 degrees

According to James, Elinca is barrelling in towards Camaret, hoping they’ve space. If not they’ll head for Brest (according to, they have just changed course so it looks as though Brest is winning). They should be in by early afternoon, all going well

And our newest blogger says:

Hello! It’s Niamh here, one of the two newbies on board, along with my dad, Dan. I say newbie: I mean complete, total rookie…

And what a start to any sailing career! Elinca is enchanting, with a crew to match. After an initial bout of seasickness (bleaugh), we’ve settled into as much of a routine as can exist on such a short leg, which from my experience so far consists of eat, watch, sleep, watch, eat, watch, sleep, eat, and variations thereof. The phrase ‘rock-a-bye-baby’ has taken on new meaning as I’m lulled to sleep any time I lie flat, which is basically every time I’m below deck in order to evade the return of the dry heaves (bleaugh!).

Above deck is glorious. Miles of sparkling ocean, blue skies, and the occasional pod of dolphins flirting with the waves. We’re on the 4am to 8am watch as I speak, which began with an almost-full moon over the silver sea, and the sun is about to rise.

We expect to arrive in Brest by lunchtime, which for some people means a quest for all-important cheese. In my case, there begins a hunt for a snowglobe. Yes, a snowglobe; my boyfriend would otherwise refuse to allow me home without a contribution to his collection. I’m sure the fact that it says ‘Brest’ will be an added bonus…

Well, folks, I’m off to watch the moon set and the sun rise over the ocean before having something to eat, finishing my watch, and drifting off to sleep. Ah. life on the ocean wave!

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Alberto Rioja, gnome-extraordinaire

How do, Alberto here.  I’m YET ANOTHER new member of crew onboard Elinca.
I’m about 20 cm tall with a green hat and a great big bushy beard.  I’m a
gnomio (a Spanish gnome), found by Leslie and Raffe in Camarinas, and
thought I’d keep Barney company on the final leg back to the UK.  I’ve
mainly been hanging out in the origami garden, with the flowers, penguins
and the elephant-come-non-descript-upside-down bird where I feel most at
home, and I can watch everything that goes on in the cockpit.  However it is
a bit disorientating watching life go backwards.

Our lovely new crew members seem to have settled in well while the old crew
continue to talk about food, constantly.  There was a lot of consulting
about the quality of the dinner sausages, now that we’re back in Europe.
Barney continues to enjoy his trip and is slowly making more friends.  In
fact he enjoyed a lovely moment in Spain where a departing Raffe gave him a
hug goodbye, an extremely rare sight.  In other entertainment news… we’ve
seen the first vomit for a while AND the ever-popular game of ‘top 5’
continues with recent topics including ‘top 5 best wines to drink outside on
a sunny day’, ‘top 5 malt whiskies’ and to round it off ‘top 5 items you’d
like to eat at a BBQ’.  This caused much controversy as to whether to have
your halloumi alone grilled in slices or on a kebab mixed with onions and
peppers, and a torrent of terrible but amazing cheese jokes.  And arguments
about whether plastic cheese counts as cheese.  And general disapproval at
Rachel’s love of Dairylea Dunkers.  And a further 20 mins discussion about
cheese which I won’t bore you with…

So we continue to storm along towards France and it’s epic culinary delights
at around 8 knots.  Watchleader watch seem to have survived thus far and
Rachel and Sarah’s consortium have put in several slick reefs overnight and
kept us going in vaguely the right direction, vaguely.

Well that’s about all the news for now. Back to work I go. Until next
time… Alberto Rioja, gnome-extraordinaire xx

ps hey-ho to Leslie’s lovely mum
pps hi-di-ho to the 7 dwarfs

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

On Our Way for the Last Time


We’re on our way again. This time it’s leg 12, La Coruna to Falmouth. It’s
amazing how quickly the last eight months have gone. In September it was
quite lumpy crossing the Bay of Biscay and so we stopped briefly in La
Coruna to get a good night’s sleep on our way down to Lisbon. This time it’s
more relaxed and we have six days to get from the north coast of Spain to
the UK. The plan is to sail 300 miles to Brest and stop there for a night or
two and then make the final sail to Falmouth from there, ready to see our
friends and family at the arriving party on Saturday evening. The forecast
is looking ideal with northwesterly winds taking us quickly to Brest and
then a lull followed by easterlies for the leg to Falmouth. After several
legs of light winds and motoring we’re looking forward to a good sail. A low
pressure system passed across Biscay a few days ago and so there was quite a
large swell as we left port this morning. The wind was too calm to sail and
so we had a uncomfortable motor until lunchtime (and being downstairs making
lunch wasn’t pleasant, even after eight months onboard). At three o’clock
the wind had increased enough for us to turn the engine off and sail. The
wind was still quite light and so we put up the Kukri cruising chute,
dropped the jib and we’re now flying along at 7.5 knots in force 3 winds.

To mix things around on this leg, the normal watch leaders (Cliggy, Nick and
myself) are on watch-leader watch with Emily (who often sails as a watch
leader on the Ocean Youth Trust boat John Laing). Alice and Lynda are
looking after one of the watches and Rachel is in charge of the final watch
with help from Sarah. There was an awkward moment after lunch when Nick,
Cliggy and myself had to do the washing-up. We’ve had a watch to do this for
us for the last four months. We eventually worked out where the tea-towels
are kept and I think that we did a reasonable job. We’ll have to see how we
cope together over the rest of a week.

Four crew left in La Coruna and so it’s farewell to Raffe, Benito, Cliff and
Richard. They’ve been keenly replaced by Jim, Dan, Niamh and Emily. We had a
great stay in Spain with lots of tasty food and wine and we’re excited to be
continuing the cheese tour to France and the eleventh country that we’ve
visited on Adventure 2013. It’ll be sad to leave Elinca in two weeks time
but I am looking forward to catching up with friends, a comfortable bed, no
more night watches and being able to cycle and run regularly again.

Looking forward to seeing everyone again soon!


Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Last Change Over

Today we’re chilled out and hanging around in Coruna, giving the boat a clean and doing safety checks and shopping in preparation for heading out across Biscay on our final leg to Falmouth.  We’ve lost 4 crew – Benito, Raffe, Cliff and Richard have left and Emily, Jim Boyce, and Dan and Niamh Condren will join us.

Yesterday the Elinca crew did culture.  We visited Santiago de Compostelo, where St James the Greater is buried, wandered around this huge religious complex of seminaries and cloisters and cathedrals with all the dusty pilgrims and shiny mountain bikes.  We chilled out in museums of Galician life, had wine tastings guided by our very own sommelier, ate dinner down a tiny alley and got the last train back to La Coruna.

Now it’s time for my weekly shower whether I need it or not, and a break from the boat.

James, x

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Photos from Leg 9

Photos from Leg 9 IMG_1245 IMG_1238 IMG_1233 IMG_1218 IMG_1208 IMG_1204 IMG_1194 IMG_1180 IMG_1173 IMG_1170 IMG_1167 IMG_1157 IMG_1154 IMG_1149 IMG_1141 IMG_1119 IMG_1108 IMG_1100 IMG_1097 IMG_1087 IMG_1083 IMG_1082 IMG_1057 IMG_1047 IMG_1031 IMG_1027 IMG_1025 IMG_1022 IMG_1021 IMG_1018 IMG_1017 IMG_1016 IMG_1012 IMG_1010 IMG_0997 IMG_0988 IMG_0985 IMG_0961 Photos from Leg 9

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Leg 10 Video

Hi all,

The second Atlantic crossing was long, windless and definitely a test of everyone’s mental heath as well as their physical strength. After a couple of weeks careful editing here is more or less what happened to us. I hope you enjoy it.

Hello from Elinca to all the Leg 10 crew not still onboard: Andy Taylor, Bob Little, Emma Layfield and Sari Martin.

Clare Xx


Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments