Have to agree with SD here. By reputation, Biscay can be a pretty nasty piece of work when it sets its mind to it. Experienced sailors have the greatest respect for the place, its no place for a novice.
While i've never sailed on the Bay of Biscay I have spent plenty of time sitting on the shore being mightily impressed by the power of an Atlantic swell. Even once you have passed the bay the coast of Atlantic Spain and Portugal can be pretty rugged.
Size of boat is of course up to you but if you are single handing and given that you have never sailed before then 40' is probably overkill.
“Give a man a fire and he's warm for a day, but set fire to him and he's warm for the rest of his life.” Terry Pratchett
Last edited by tdw; 11-13-2009 at 06:35 PM.