single handed



I plan to sail to Lisbon single handed, sometime next season. I have a well found stag 28 cruiser and several seasons experience of single handed sailing.
Has anyone made this passage, single handed? My particular concern is the bay, I am considering a coastal hop down the Brittany coast and then along the coast of Spain, but this is so time consuming. I have thought about taking the Raz as a departure point and crossing the bay to La Coruna, heaving too to sleep during the daytime. Has anyone done this?
Any advice will be well recieved.


Well-known member
7 Jun 2001
I've not single-handed this passage but done it several times, including two up. Sleeping in the English Channel is a no-no, but out in the Bay of Biscay itself is reasonably free of shipping except on the direct line between Ushant and Finesterre. You would be fairly safe not keeping constant watch. But there are other problems.

1. The crossing - Plymouth/Falmouth to Brest/Camaret. The chenal du Four and the approach to Brest are tricky, and need real concentration. But by then you will have been awake nearly 24 hours. Not good.

2. Coast hopping around the French/Spanish coast is slow. Both wind and current will be firmly against you all the way along the Spanish north coast.

3. Biscay itself is prone to sudden unpredictable bouts of rough weather. You can get some idea of weather windows from the 3 day forecast at Brest/Camaret, but if you do hit one it will put paid to your plans for getting reasonable rest.

4. The north Spanish coast is solid with fishing boats up to 50 miles out. They will NOT give way, indeed if they are not busy they tend to 'play' with yachts. At night, the pattern of lights outside Corunna is a real maze, even if you are fully alert. But after a couple of days crossing, you won't be. I'd aim to do the last 60 or so miles as far as possible in daylight.

5. There are one or two dangerous shallow patches outside Corunna. No problem if you are fully alert, but ...

There's something to be said for making a wide sweep out into the Atlantic and not coming back in until Lisbon.