Mile Building Sail across the Bay of Biscay to Spain and France

Sail from Portsmouth along the South Coast of the UK to Falmouth before sailing across the Bay of Biscay to La Coruna in Galicia on the North West Coast of Spain. From there head up to La Rochelle, then to Les Sables d'Olonne in the Vendee region of France before returning to Portsmouth. A two week mile building trip with some interesting ports along the way.

Join us on a two week mile building trip to La Coruna in Northern Spain - well known for its delicious sea food – think Octopus, razor clams, and prawns; then on to the ancient port of La Rochelle and if time allows Les Sables d’Olonne home to the Vendee Globe single handed non stop around the world epic yacht race.

The dates are 2nd to 15th May.

Miles in your log book

The trip should see you about 1400nm.

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Starting from Portsmouth the plan will be to sail along the South Coast of the UK to Falmouth in Cornwall. After a short stop over in Falmouth you will sail south (SSW to be more exact), across the Bay of Biscay, to La Coruna on the North West Coast of Spain.

La Coruna is a wonderful city. Full of history (the Tower of Hercules Lighthouse is the only remaining Roman lighthouse which since its origins has been performing its original function), interesting buildings, friendly people and exceptional sea food.

After a day or so in La Coruna you will sail North East into the Bay to La Rochelle in France.La Rochelle is the Capital of the Charente-Maritime department and has played a key role in fishing and trade since the 12th century.It’s strong and old maritime tradition is clear to see around the port and medieval houses.

After a short stay in La Rochelle you will sail up the coast for 30nm or so to Les Sables d’Olonne in the Vendee Region of France.This charming sea side resort with a beautiful 3km long sandy beach is where the single handed around the world Vendee Globe race starts and finishes. The race happens ever 4 years.The next one starts on 8th November 2020.

After Les Sables d’Olonne the plan will be to head back up around the north west corner of France and on to the English seaside town of Weymouth before heading back to Portsmouth.

The itinerary may change due to the weather but you will be covering a large area so there is a good degree of flexibility in where the boat can go.

The yacht is a Challenger 72.

She was built to race the wrong way round the world, a feat she accomplished twice. So she is sturdy and sails brilliantly. However, she is far from a stripped out racing yacht. She has a spacious galley and saloon area, two heads with showers, and everyone gets there own bunk.

She is the same yacht that we use to take part in the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC). We also sail her back across the Atlantic in January and February and we sail her down to the Canaries in November. We have also taken her to Norway and back a few times and have entered her into the Rolex Fastnet Race for the last 4 or 5 races.

To sail her involves lots of hands on team work so you will have opportunities to get stuck in in all of the sailing and jobs on board.


Down below is a big light saloon and galley, navigation station, two heads with showers.

The accommodation is arranged towards the stern of the boat in areas of 2 and 5 comfy bunks.

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Lots of sailing! This is a mile building trip but with some interesting and fun stopovers.

You will get to take part in all aspects of sailing and looking after the boat. You will be in a watch system and there will be plenty of night sailing.

We will pass over the continental shelf. Where relatively shallow water drops steeply to over 4000 meters. It is this steep shelf that, coupled with bad weather, can cause such bad seas that the Bay of Biscay is infamous for. We will not go looking for these nasty seas and if the weather is unpleasant we may head further west before heading south thereby giving the area that can get particualrly bad a wide berth. Or we may wait in port for example Falmouth or Brest to wait for kinder conditions.

This continental shelf also provides a rich feeding ground and over a third of the world’s whale and olphin species can be found in the Bay of Biscay as well as many sea birds.

You may see fin whales – the second largest animal on the planet after the blue whale, sperm whales, pilot whales and dolphins.

Stage payments are an option call 0203 006 3717 or email the office for details.
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The price of the trip is £1247 and includes insurance, fuel/gas, oilskins, berthing fees and all food on board.

Getting to and From Portsmouth

Portsmouth is well connected. There is a mainline train station and Portsmouth is about an hour and a half from London.

If coming from abroard or flying from within the UK the nearest airports are Southampton and Gatwick.

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La Coruna, Spain
2-15 May
14 days
Contact us
0203 006 3717
Our Locations

Shamrock Quay

William Street



SO14 5QL


c/o Cruising Association

CA House

1 Northey Street


E14 8BT

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