Sunday 8 September 2013

Roscoff to St Peter Port 12/8/13

So the alarm went off at 0500 and as quietly as possible we headed for the fuel dock and filled the tank. We were out of the marina by 0600 and on our way.

As was all too usual on this trip there was very little wind and so we were once again reduced to motoring. An hour or so later however, our spirits were raised in what was a rather grey overcast dawn, by a large pod of common dolphins.

This time as you can see I was able to get some photos. They are not great but are the only half decent shots I have out of about 50 snaps. Most were either of bits of sea where a dolphin had been a second before or were so blurred as to be useless. I'm talking myself into buying a decent camera for future trips. Neither my phone or my 'proper' digital camera are fast enough for photographing swiftly moving objects of any description. This time the dolphins stayed with us for almost half an hour as they played 'chicken' under the bow of the boat.

By 1100 there was sufficient wind to go off and the spinnaker to go up and the sun came out too! The wind gradually increased so that by the time Guernsey was in sight we were sailing well. However, it became clear that our hopes of making Sark were to be thwarted by lack of light. The coast of Sark with few lit navigation aids but many outlying rocks, was no place to be in the dark. St Peter Port which was both nearer and had good lights was therefore to be the only Port we were to visit twice on the cruise. A little ironic given that it was probably the biggest disappointment of the whole trip too. However, the last few hours of the passage provided very enjoyable sailing - the best of the trip so far - which somewhat made up for the disappointment of missing Sark.

We entered St Peter Port at 2115 as dusk fell. Our stay was only going to be a short one - we would be off again early the next morning - and therefore decided (particularly given the lack of attractions ashore) to moor in the outer harbour rather than go into the marina. After searching for a suitable spot we moored up alongside an attractive wooded yacht which we later realised was the same one we had been next to in Treguier.

At the time we thought there was no one aboard but they were probably all asleep below. We were the third boat on a raft of three and the inside boat a - Frenchman - lost no time at all in telling us they would be leaving at 0800 the next morning. I got the distinct impression that he rather hoped we would move off after hearing that but in fact that suited us fine and we therefore stayed put.

Rough key stats:

Departed Roscoff 0600 12/8/13
Arrived St Peter Port 2115 12/8/13
Total distance over ground = 75
Total passage hours = 15
Average speed over ground = 5 knots
Engine hours = 7.5
Sailing hours = 7.5

Once we were moored up Bernie got cooking and the product this time was a fine sausage hot-pot made with fresh produce bought in the only food shop we had been able to find in Roscoff. The supermarket that had been there was no longer.

Despite strong lobbying from certain members of the crew, Cherbourg was to be our next and final Port on the French coast. The alternative route proposed by some, was to continue our eastward trajectory along the French coast and leave the crossing back to England until the Dover Straights or even the Thames Estuary. This proposal was though the product of glutinous anticipation rather than from any sort of pilotage forethought. I was forced to rule out the gastronomic plan due to lack of time. We had a maximum of 3 nights left if we were to be back on the Medway by Saturday and all our legs now would have to be fairly long with quick over night stops with no time for culinary  delights (except that is those produced by Bernie). The remaining passage plan was instead, Cherbourg, Eastbourne, Dover and The Medway. After a few scowls and protestations a mutiny was avoided and the crew accepted their fate. Gluttony would have to be fully sated at Cherbourg.

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