We had so much fun sailing off and onto anchor yesterday we thought we’d try to do the same today. On a quiet morning when there is nobody else around and no noises of traffic or voices, it is very relaxing to leave and slip away quietly without turning the engine on.
Admittedly we went at a snail’s pace for the first hour or so, but after a while the wind woke up for the day and we got a steady breeze on the beam as we came through the channel between the Islas Cies and the mainland, and bore away into the Ria de Pontevedra. There were a couple of other boats around, and one yacht was gaining on us.
Now, back in March when we were in Menorca, you may remember that we met a very nice man called Dennis. Dennis turned out to be the local representative of the Cruising Association, which is, as its name suggests, an association for people who cruise. No, not in that way. In fact it is a brilliant organisation, and we decided to join. The CA produces an excellent magazine, up to date pilotage information, has a large library available to members as well as a large membership of very interesting people. We’ve already met several of them on our travels. They are invariably kind, friendly and helpful, have nice boats, interesting information and make for excellent company.
We joined, paid our membership and were accepted. This was the first surprise. We are not members of any yacht clubs, partly because we’ve never needed to be, and partly because we’ve never wanted to be, and we’ve so far been adopting a (hypocritical and ethically unsound) approach of inventing yacht clubs or the initials thereof whenever it has been necessary to write one on a form. I bet lots of yacht clubs are great. But I have a sneaking feeling that some are a little bit scary, with people in blazers and dresses and make-up, who are capable of holding a drink in a breakable glass, a canapé and a bigoted conversation all in one go after racing. Those kinds of places give me verbal diarrhoea and chronic clumsiness and I would rather go and sit barefoot outside the pub with my friends and a large comforting pint after a day on the water. However, the Cruising Association is categorically not yacht clubby in our experience, but I was still a) a little undecided about whether I wanted to join and b) a little dubious that anyone would want us to join. As it turned out, my fears were both unfounded. Or at least, up until the point when I let Simon fill in the membership application form. It is unclear quite how it happened, but somehow our application welcome pack was sent to Sir Simon and Lady Holman. Oh god.
Simon thinks it’s hilarious. I am slightly concerned that the only other Sir I have so far come across in the members list is a real one; Sir Robin Knox-Johnston. Some of you may have heard of him too. One of the other good things about the CA is that if you see a boat with a CA flag up, you can look up the name of the boat on the register and find out who they are. This is presumably great if you have met them before and can’t remember their name. Unfortunately, if anyone does that with us, they will find us under Holman, Simon (Sir) and Catherine (Lady). As we’ve been moving around quite a bit we haven’t been able to order a CA flag, so instead Si made ours, between Portugal and Spain. He just finished it today.
To return to our nice reach down the Ria de Pontevedra, we soon saw that the yacht gaining on us had a CA flag up, so we took the opportunity to raise our flag for the first time. As they got closer, the indignity of being overtaken was outweighed by the delight in recognising the yacht as belonging to Frank Singleton, whose weather website I have been following and using since we first set off on our trip. You can find it here and we cannot recommend it highly enough.
We took pictures of each others’ boats sailing, and when we caught up with each other this evening in Combarro, where we are now, we were able to exchange photos. It is always hard to get hold of pictures of your boat under sail, so we are delighted. Thank you!
Combarro is an old fishing village towards the head of the Ria de Pontevedra. Although the harbour is now filled with a marina, the old quays and houses by the water have been largely preserved as they were, so we’re looking forward to exploring them tomorrow.