November 10
40 25’ N, 0 56’ E

A Perfect Day at Sea


During my 0500 to 0800 watch, I sat at the helm of Pacific Bliss, the stars twinkling over the charcoal waters below, the engine pushing us on steadily, dependably, rounding Punta de la Bana, and the on through Golfo de Valencia.   I became fixated on the 3-plus-1 rotating lights emanating from 280-foot-high Benecason lighthouse atop Islas Columbretes, directly ahead, but thirteen miles away, on our compass course of 200 degrees. The moonset tonight was the most dramatic I’ve ever seen, the moon golden in the early morning sky, then turning into a Halloween-orange ball as it dipped over the night lights of the Spanish coastline.  This drama was followed by a slender sliver of sunrise, from the northwest horizon, orange as well, turning to gold as the eastern sky lightened.  Now the rocky island came into clear view, three ships tucked in for the night in her lee. I changed the autopilot to +10, then +10 again to deviate off course to the seaward side, leaving the islands between us and the shore.

Sunrise at sea off the coast of Spain.

A 16-knot wind came up from behind-enough to sail on a reach.  While the rest of the crew were still sleeping, Gottfried and I hoisted the main and then the genoa. But our huge main was blocking the wind for the genoa. We proceeded to take it down and to hoist the spinnaker.

Fortunately, Jana was up, beginning to prepare breakfast.  “Can we do it without the guys (Chris and Gunter),” I asked Gottfried.

“Of course.  We can do it ourselves,” Gottfried answered.

We managed it, but Jana and I were flying-and very proud of ourselves afterwards, I might add.   Our rainbow-hued spinnaker snapped as Pacific Bliss surged forward.  Pacific Bliss became a thoroughbred horse given a little rein, straining to race even faster.  We were sailing at 7.7 knots SOG with a wind speed of only 17 knots.

The sun rose gloriously, a half-ball on the eastern horizon that exploded to a full golden globe, a halo for Pacific Bliss and its colorful spinnaker.

The spinnaker greeted the sun by surging to 13 knots, with gusts to 16, as the wind increased.

Spinnaker Pulls PB 13-16 knots.




he islands with their string of dangerous rocks, spread over an area of five square miles, were behind us.  We could now make out the faint glimmer of Mallorca far to the east. The towns along the Spanish coast to our west began to wake up and begin their day. “This is cruising,” I thought. “And this is truly a morning of bliss.”

Charming Village Perched on the Cliffs


But the day was just beginning. 

After breakfast, I took a wonderfully peaceful nap.  Absent was the constant hum of the engine that had been interrupting my sleep. Pacific Bliss rocked me to sleep gently, with only an occasional surge as the wind filled the spinnaker and tugged her forward.

We gathered around the salon table for lunch, spreading out jamon (Spanish ham), baguettes, and pate from France.  It was the first time on Voyage 1 that Gunter repeated one of his favorite sayings, “This is as good as it gets.”

Gone were the memories of the short, vicious sea that had made life uncomfortable. We now had a taste of better times to come.

We spent much of the afternoon reading (without the constant rolls, jerks and yaws that had been our fate).

Jana Enjoys Sunning on the Net.

At dusk, we could see the signs of a perfect sunset coming up. And perfect it was, with the sun sinking into the horizon as perfectly as it had risen.

Chris, During Sunset off the coast of Calbe, Spain

A Perfect Day ends with a Perfect Sunset

The End





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