Chipiona > La Linea

It's happening! Everybody stay calm.

Can someone please pinch us? Is it really true that after 9 months we can finally set sail? Or are we dreaming? Regardless of what it is, please don't wake us up.


June 30th 23

After months of refit, the day after tomorrow, we'll finally embark on our joint sailing adventure. Over the past half-year, alongside our full-time jobs, we've dedicated almost all our time to the boat. Especially during Raphi's visits on-site, a lot of progress was made. The last few weeks, however, were particularly intense as we prepared everything for departure. Fortunately, my mom was on-site during the last week before departure and once again spent her vacation helping us. We wouldn't know what we would have done without her assistance. So, we even had some time to catch our breath and bid farewell to Andalusia - the home of our hearts.


July 1st 23

The crew is finally reunited. This Saturday, it finally happened, and Raphi flew from Austria to Andalusia. Oh, how long have we longed for this moment. Over the next few weeks, we'll spend time together on board and sail towards the Mediterranean. Our goal? As far east as possible. Upon arrival, we got Raphi up to speed, and despite a long travel day, he immediately started working. The shared dinner was particularly enjoyable, where we bid farewell not only to our mom but also to Chipiona. Traditionally, Raphi and Lukas had steak, while the rest of us savored the best vegetarian tapas - always an absolute delight.


July 2nd 23: Chipiona > Cádiz

Since we didn't have time the day before, we used the morning to finalize preparations for departure and bid farewell to our dear marina neighbors. By noon, it was finally time and we left the port of Chipiona. With 10 knots of wind and waves at 0.3 meters, we had ideal conditions to embark on our sailing adventure. For the first day, we deliberately chose a short distance and sailed to Cádiz. Firstly, we wanted to start calmly, and secondly, we wanted to make a stop before the Orca hotspot. After only 21 NM, we arrived at Marina Alcaidesa. We ended the evening with spaghetti on board while enjoying the view of Cádiz.


July 3rd 23: Cádiz > Barbate

Into the Orca hotspot. In principle, the area from Barbate to the Strait of Gibraltar is considered the Orca hotspot. After recent attacks east of Cádiz in the past weeks and the general uncertainty about where they might hunt next, we started the second day of sailing very cautiously. Apparently, the tension was greater than expected, as we even forgot the shore power cable and the starboard line. Fortunately, this oversight had no consequences (except for a damaged shore power cable — what did the next crew probably think when they saw our torn cable in the power box?).


We decided to sail close to the coast with a maximum depth of 15 meters until La Línea to be as protected as possible from the Orcas. This also meant that we had to sail all the tuna nets from the inside, near the buoys that delineate the swimming area on the beach. Orcas like to hunt there, so the risk of being attacked by Orcas is particularly high if they are approached from the outside. There were differing opinions about whether and how the first net at Conil could be approached from the inside. We tried it near the coast and were able to maneuver safely. For such sections, we prudently chose to sail under engine, even though the engine quickly reached a high operating temperature after a short use. In the afternoon, we reached Cabo Trafalgar, known for its funky waves. They accompanied us for a distance of about 100 meters. A new and interesting experience. We also passed the net at Barbate, located right at the harbor entrance, from the inside. After 49.4 NM, we were relieved to have safely completed the day.



July 4th 23: Barbate > La Línea

Shortly after leaving the harbor basin at 08:15, we were already able to set sail and turn off the engine. In great conditions, we were able to sail to just before Punta de la Peña in less than 15 meters of water. There, the last tuna net before the Strait of Gibraltar, where Orcas like to hang out, was located. Unfortunately, the net was connected to the land, so we had to go around it in water deeper than 30 meters; there was no other option. In principle, we had decided to pass through this passage without sails and under engine to be able to react quickly in case of an attack. However, due to the excellent conditions, we opted for a compromise and sailed under engine, ready to drop the sails and go full throttle at any moment.

At 14:30, we finally reached the Tarifa lighthouse. It was time to register under VHF10 with Tarifa Traffic to get the permission to enter the Strait of Gibraltar. Again we sailed as close to the Spanish coast as possible but turned off the engine. We hadn't expected such ideal conditions. However, halfway through, the wind picked up, and despite a second reef, we were sometimes making progress at 7 knots, which is our maximum hull speed. To make matters worse, Lukas - fortunately, only after reefing - saw a fin. We furled the sails and went full throttle toward the coast. After a debrief, we received confirmation: it definitely wasn't Orcas. We continued under engine, passing many tanker ships, into the Bay of Gibraltar.

We were just about to enter the marina in La Línea when the engine oil pressure warning suddenly started beeping loudly, first slowly and then faster. So, we quickly entered and moored at a dock, not at the waiting pontoon. After consulting with the marina, we were allowed to stay there, as they couldn't tow us. At this location, we met the German Steffen and his wife, who immediately helped us with the engine - what luck.


In the end, we spent a week in La Línea. While our boat had to be in dry dock for several days, Baghira was missing for three days — an absolutely tough time for us — but that's another story.