Our next port of call was Sitges, a seaside resort John had visited when he worked for Holiday Chemicals nearly thirty years ago. It was a short trip and the wind was forecast to die down around eleven am and then remain none existent, so we planned to set off around eleven thirty and have an easy motor to arrive just after lunch break at four, an easy pootle along the coast.
As we were ready by eleven and the wind was pretty quiet we set off. It was as well we did so. The wind was light and the sea state smooth for about the first hour, then the wind began to build and the sea state followed suite, till by one the wind was blowing force five and the sea state would have been classed as slight. It is important at this point to remember that sea states are classified according to their effect on super tankers. We would not wish to be out in sea state rough, moderate is deeply unpleasant and slight can cover a multitude of sins, depending on which direction you are going and whether or not the wind is going the same way as the waves. Fortunately we were heading the same way as both the wind and sea, a fact I was made particularly aware of on the occasions we had to bear off course to allow another vessel to go by. Everything seemed to want to cross us, fishing boats, motor boats, cargo ships and other yachts. Then outside Sitges appeared an obstacle course of lobster pots. We fought our way through and it became clear there would not be much room for maneuver inside the harbour, so I fastened the stern lines on outside, where I could sit on the deck riding the toss to do so. As John headed into the entrance and smoother water I inched down the deck with fenders and the front line. John called to say set the fenders high as we would go alongside the fuel quay, which was a huge relief, as I was not looking forward to the big jump down to the waiting pontoon. I was too busy to fully appreciate John’s handling through the lively seas of the entrance or to see the other boats tossing about on the very full waiting pontoon. As it was I had no time to set a fender on the front before John ferry glided into the fuel quay. On the second coast in I managed to jump off and secure the middle line on tight, run forward to secure the bow and then leg it to the stern in time for John to throw me that line to pull in to keep the nose well out. We took a breath. Around us the wind was whistling in the rigging and even in the harbour the water was choppy. It was still only three thirty and lunch here runs from two to four. We decide to stay where we were and wait until someone came along to move us on.
There is nothing like being on the fuel quay for service. We had barely made our decision and a chap came out to see what we wanted and then send us off to a berth just behind the entrance. In fairness to all those waiting on the pontoon we had phoned ahead and booked, but I think it was being in front of the fuel pumps, even though we were well along at the far end, that made them sort us out so quickly. I set a fender on the front and some on the starboard side and then we were off, reversing round to the berth at the end of number nine pontoon, opposite the office. Neither of us expected it to go as smoothly as it did and although we were on the end, Lyra was too firmly tethered to sway about. The lines did creak and complain a bit though, so that nigh we decamped to the bows for a more peaceful nights sleep.