Biscay Challenge 2004

After several trips northward up to cooler climes (Iceland, Faeroes, Shetlands, Norway), the next challenge will involve heading southward. Between Friday evening 18th June and Sunday 18th July, the plan is to sail Balstara direct from Douglas (Isle Of Man) to the north coast of Spain.

The strategy will be to make westing once clear of St George's Channel - which will provide plenty of sea room if heavy weather materialises during the passage. Land fall planned for Gijon, Santander or San Sebastian. The Bay of Biscay is a cetacean hotspot, so large schools of dolphins will be encountered and there is every chance of sighting a whale or two with a length longer than that of the boat ! The outward passage provides a good opportunity to get the sextant out and refresh astronavigation skills.

A great day to be afloat



Outward leg shown in red







Return leg shown in blue


Tracing an electrical fault during a cruise

The return will consist of shorter legs, and depending on the time available may include any of the following Belle Ile, Isle de Glenans, Ouessant and the Isles of Scilly.

Crew places are available. There will be training weekends during the period leading up to the challenge (e.g. heavy weather preparation).  Crew places are available. To read about one challenge volunteers' thoughts after their first training trip more...

Could you spend 4 weeks sailing - logging 1,500+ miles ? With an outward leg of about 7 days at sea ? Could you handle a 4 hrs on, 4 hrs off watch-keeping system ? Do you enjoy seascapes, landscapes and cetacean spotting ?

If this appeals send an email to  or use the site's feedback form.

Here's one of the challenge crew's thoughts from weekend sailing in preparation for The Biscay Challenge More ...

The challenge will be used as the basis of a fund raising event by the Friends of Chernobyl's Children IOM.

Note: If the forecast at the start of the Biscay Challenge is for several days of southerly winds of sufficient force to prevent reasonable progress southward - the challenge destination will be altered to take advantage of conditions with the alternate destinations being Iceland (Seydisfjordur) or Norway (Stavanger).