Saturday 14 September 2013

Reflections and final Tally re Summer Cruise 2013

Arctic Smoke's 2013 Cruise

Not sure how typical the weather was but we did have 4 weeks and therefore it seems reasonable to conclude that overall we experienced average conditions. The cruise demonstrated how difficult it is to keep up a decent speed and to sail more than motor if there's a timetable to keep. This cruise hinged around the objective of making Plymouth at the end of the first week. We had arranged to meet friends/family and had a bed and breakfast booked. During that part of the cruise (during which we had very little wind and covered one third of our total mileage) we had to use the engine if we were to keep to plan.

Left Hoo 1215 on 21/7/13
Total Nautical Miles = 897
Total Passage hours = 192
Total Engine hours = 101
Total Sailing hours = 91
Average speed = 4.5
Arrived Chatham 2000 on 16/8/13
Total days = 26

Margate Hook - 21/7/13
Portsmouth - 23/7/13
Newtown Creek - 23/7/13
Plymouth (Mayflower Marina and Weir Quay) - 25/7/13
St Peter Port - Guernsey - 31/7/13
Braye - Alderney -  3/8/13
Lezardrieux - 5/8/13
Treguier - 8/8/13
Roscoff - 10/8/13
St Peter Port - Guernsey - 12/8/13
Cherbourg - 13/8/13
Dover - 15/8/13
Chatham - 16/8/13

We also got held up in Plymouth for an extra 2 days whilst waiting for spare parts, making our stay there one of 6 days rather than the 4 planned. However, some sort of delay like that is probably almost inevitable over a 4 week coastal cruise. Had we not been delayed, we might have made our planned destination of SW Ireland and/or the Ilses of Scilly and had we done that we would probably have covered more miles and improved our average speed. Nevertheless, it looks like one would have to be pretty fortunate to achieve an average speed in excess of 5 knots and to sail more than motor.

Brittany was a delight and despite not making Ireland we could have no complaints about our eventual cruising ground. The food was excellent. Alderney also lived up to expectations and memories of past adventures a long time ago. Guernsey was a disappointment - the pubs around the harbour area were quite simply awful. The town further up was still pretty but that was little compensation. It was a good job we spent a day on Herm which was still a jewel.

The return trip was more about getting from A to B so we did not really do Cherbourg or Dover justice but we did have our best sailing during this period and it was good to end the cruise in that way.

Arctic Smoke:
Elizabethan 33 built by Peter Webster in 1974 - Hull number 3:
Length = 33 feet
Draught = 4' 8''
Long keel
Heavy displacement

Rig and main equipment:

Sloop now with roller reefing Genoa and slap reefing main
Autohelm self steering - not 100% reliable but useful when it did work
VHF/AIS (very useful)
Hand held GPS (2)
Laptop with GPS, OpenCPN, ZyGrib - both very useful. Laptop needs more memory as had a tendency to freeze when most needed
Usual paper charts and pilots
Life jackets - worn by all when underway
Life Harnesses - occasionally used
Bhuk 10 hp engine driving a 2 bladed prop
Electric cool box wired in place of fridge that's packed up
1 x 50 watt solar panel
1 x 120 Amp hour service battery (we occasionally had to use the engine to specifically charge the battery - but note how may engine hours we used anyway)
1 x standard starter battery
Crew of 4 (5 to Plymouth) - 5 was crowded, 4 was fine (Mick and Bernie shared the Forecastle)

The final leg - Dover to Chatham 16/8/13

There had been much discussion the previous evening (which I should have included in the previous post) about timing our departure to ensure we worked the tides in our favour as much as possible. Whilst the last leg was to be a relatively short one we would leave the English Channel and enter the Thames Estuary when we rounded North Foreland . That meant we would move from one body of water moving in one direction to another moving in a different direction. I'll draw a veil over my attempts to get my head around the permutations and simply say that it was largely the Mate's analysis that prevailed.

Once account was also taken of the possibility of being held up in the harbour by Ferry traffic we decided on a departure time of 0700, this it was calculated should see us carry a fair tide up to the Foreland before bucking the second half of the ebb leaving the Thames and then carry the flood up the Medway. The mate was still sceptical about whether we had allowed sufficient time to get out of Dover and therefore round the Foreland in time to make maximum use of the flood to Chatham but I was confident that we had.

We actually exited the marina at 0745 and contacted Dover Port Control for permission to leave by the Eastern entrance. We were told to proceed towards the entrance and stay well to the south and to then wait for further instruction. In the event, we had to wait for three ferries to leave first and therefore we didn't leave the harbour until 0830. The mate was overheard to mutter "told you so" type comments as a consequence.

The first part of the leg to the Foreland would give us a following wind once again and I looked forward to flying the spinnaker. For some reason the rest of the crew were not so enthusiastic and they dawdled over breakfast as I fidgeted impatiently. Anyway after some debate over which side of the boat to fly the chute during which the mate had to remind me of the geography of the land mass we were passing and the angle it presented to the wind, we finally got it up and proceeded at a reasonable pace in very pleasant conditions along the coast towards Ramsgate.

As we draw closer it became increasingly evident that there was at least one yacht race underway and that our course, if unaltered, would take us right through the middle of the fleet. We soon concluded that Ramsgate Week was in full swing. To make matters worse the blighters were sailing a triangular course and we would clearly plough through the middle of the fleet twice! The fleet would consist of stand-on vessels as we crossed the first leg and we would therefore have no choice but to give way. Technically, we would have right of way as we crossed them on the next leg, but that would have been very churlish and anyway I might want to visit Ramsgate one day. I therefore decided we'd get the spinnaker in before we got to them and get under power so that we were both as manoeuvrable as possible and would give them right of way the whole time. We picked our way through both legs of the course without incident but were considerable delayed in the process. Of course, once we were through the wind died too and we were now in danger of missing the tidal gate at the Foreland. The mate was looking particularly smug at this point!

After twenty minutes or so I swallowed my pride and started the engine and we motored for the next hour or so. By 1200 we were rounding the Foreland and the wind had also returned and so despite having to buck a foul tide for the next hour or so, off went the engine. Of course our angle to the wind changed significantly and we were soon close hauled  across 'the flats'. The wind also freshened to 20+ knots of wind and in smooth water and were going like a train. If this keeps up I thought at the time, we should have no problem holding the tide to Chatham. I'd previously declared an ETA of between 2000 and 2100 and had to postpone plans to meet up with Howard and others for dinner at Chatham thinking we would be in too late. I now wondered whether I should have left those plans in place. The Mate soon announced his prediction that we'd be in Chatham lock by 2000. Cocky bugger I thought.

Close hauled across the Kent Flats.

The good sailing continued. As we closed Margate Hook (our first anchorage on the outward passage) we had to put in our first tack and then a few more to get through the Eastern end of the Gore Channel.

Whilst we still had a way to go before Spile Bank, Mick and I both recalled some very similar sailing in 2009 in Zoetje - my old Folkboat. We'd moored up at the head of Oar Creek having times our arrival perfectly for lunch at the Shipwright Arms at the top of the tide. On our return to the boat the engine refused to start and Mick eventually diagnosed a knackered starter motor. After some debate we decided to beat out of the creek but were undone by the poor directions in the Pilot that said keep close to the red buoys. We did but went aground on the deep water side. An uncomfortable night aground in a succession of thunder showers was followed by us paddling Zoetje with the dinghy oars into deeper water at about 4 in the morning. Later we set out round the outside of the Isle of Sheppy in a stiff breeze.

We were beating round the outside of Sheppy in a Force 6 when in the midst of a tack the jib sheets tangled up and instead of tacking anyway I tried to untangle them first. As a result we ran out of water and hit Spile head-on at six knots! For a minute, as her keel pounded on the hard sand below I was convinced Zoete was going to break up but fortunately we were able to wear round and get off. Poor Zoetje, she never had the tightest of hulls but she was even more sieve like after that experience!

Anyway I didn't need any reminding not to make the same mistake again as we beat through the Gore Channel. Fortunately the Genoa sheets didn't get tangled up either.

As the wind increased still more to around 25 knots (27k was the highest reading I noticed) we were enjoying the best sailing of the whole trip. On our passage from Aldernery to Lezardrieux we had two reefs in the same wind, but in the flat water here I held on to all sail. AS was in her element (a truism I know) and I wanted to enjoy this last leg as much as possible. True she probably was slightly over canvassed but she could clearly hold on to full sail for 'longer' than I had previously realised. In 25 knots of wind she took an odd splash of water on the side decks but her rail never went under and we were completely dry in the cockpit. To cap it all we were lucky with the rest of the weather too. We'd had the odd light shower and there was clearly rain about - indeed we could see it falling both behind us and in front but for the most part AS stayed in the dry and sunny patches.

As we closed with the Medway we listened to a drama developing over the VHF. A MAYDAY came over the radio. A 23 foot Yacht was aground in heavy seas near  a wind farm and taking in water. The poor chap clearly wasn't entirely certain where he was and the Coastguard had to go to considerable lengths to establish his whereabouts. The proximity to a wind farm was not immediately established and when it was he (the yacht) was unable to confirm which wind far it was. There are two in the area. We had left the Kent Flats one behind us but 30 or so miles up the coast was the Gabbard wind farm to the east of Brightlingsea. It was not clear to us (nor I think the coastguard) which wind farm he was near. When he announced he was going to let off a flare I had the crew keep an eye on the Kent wind farm just in case he was over there. Meanwhile the coastguard had mobilised the Gabbard wind farm boat to look out for the yacht. We saw no sign of a flare around the Kent wind farm nor it seemed did the Gabbard boat. There followed a series of communications between the stranded yacht and the Coastguard with the skipper sounding understandably anxious. He confirmed that he and his crew were pumping and bailing hard but were only just able to keep abreast of the incoming water. Occasionally his crew would come on the radio - probably the skipper's wife - and when she did the situation didn't sound quite as desperate. Eventually the Gabbard boat did locate the yacht and got alongside. Soon after that the lifeboat also arrived with a portable pump and they were able to tow the yacht into Brightlingsea. The skipper was understandably grateful to the Coastguard and clearly mortified that he had to call on them (as I suspect I would be in similar circumstances); in response the woman who had been coordinating the coastguard operation simply responded with the words "that's all right sir, it's what we do".

By the time the drama had concluded we were approaching the Richard Montgomery. It was about 1830 or so and we still had plenty of light and tide so elected to keep beating up the river. We made such good progress that we wouldn't have done much better under power. Abreast of Kingsnorth Power Station the webbing strop in the clue of the Genoa parted (there because the sheets were too tick to both go through the clue). It turned out that my reef knot was not secure! Just to be on the safe side I decided to start the engine while we sorted things out but for the first time on the whole cruise the engine refused to start. Eventually it spluttered into life but did not sound too happy. I sorted out the strop and we were sailing again in ten minutes.

By this time we were approaching Darnett Ness and debated whether we had sufficient water to take the short cut around the back of Hoo Island. I checked the chart and concluded that the shallowest bits we were likely to cross had drying heights of 2 meters. I then checked the height of tide (with the Navionics App on my phone - a very useful tool) which was 2 meters. I then added 2 and 2 together and got 4 and merrily declared we had plenty of water - a minimum of 4 meters. So we turned right and commenced our beat around the back of the Island. We had to make much shorter tacks than I expected though and I couldn't work out why there was so much mud around. Finally it dawned on me that that a drying height of 2 meters plus a height of tide of 2 meters equalled zero meters not 4! Still the tide was still rising I reasoned and so things would only improve and if the worst came to the worst we would float off before long. We did though have to do a lot of tacking. We had a few close calls but we got through without mishap.

As we approached Chatham I attempted to start the engine again but encountered the same reluctance as before. Eventually it spluttered into life again but this time it sounded even more unhappy than before. The same thing occurred in the lock - which we got to at 2000 much to the mate's delight - but thankfully we were able to get to our berth without incident. A couple of weeks later I bled the fuel lines and all was well after that.

Rough key stats:

Departed Dover 0830 on 16/8/13
Distance over the ground = 62 nautical miles
Average Speed - 5.4 knots
Engine hours = 2
Sailing hours = 9.5
Total passage hours = 11.5
Arrived Chatham 2000 on 16/8/13

We were moored up by 2030 and I made arrangements to berth AS in Chatham permanently.

Bernie cooked up another great meal and the next day we made our way home. It had been a great end to an enjoyable cruise.

Tuesday 10 September 2013

Cherbourg to Dover 14/8 - 15/8 2013

So we had a quick breakfast and then went ashore to shop for provisions. We were back by 0930, fuelled up by 1000 and out of the marina by 1030.

By 1100 we had exited the Harbour - the eastern entrance/exit being considerable nearer than the western one which we had entered through. The weather charts had shown that the wind from the South West should strengthen the further north we got (another reason for not continuing East along the French coast). Within 20 minutes we had a fair breeze and the engine went off at 1200. For the rest of the day the wind returned and departed in fits and starts. One minute we'd be sailing well and I was convinced we'd found the proper wind; the next it had died away completely and we'd be motoring once again.

Finally by late in the evening we did find the proper wind and were quite bowling along. Mick and Bernie had gone off watch for a kip leaving Ian and I to enjoy some exhilarating down-hill sailing.

Mick and Bernie got up about 2000 and Bernie aided by Mick once more set too in the Galley to produce our evening meal. Ian and I were still enjoying the ride in the cockpit, but no sooner had Mick got into the galley than he was complaining about the boat rolling too much. Bernie just on with the job at hand . Mick's complaints continued however and soon I was persuaded to alter course for a while to put us on a reach rather than a dead run in order to reduce the rolling. Of course that required taking the Genoa off the pole, which I did.

By the time we had finished our meal it was getting dark and I was feeling tired after  a lot of sailing and now a full tummy. Tiredness of course often encourages bad decision making and I now made a bad decision - or more accurately I failed to make a decision which amounted to the same thing.

So Ian and I took our turn off watch and I left Mick with instructions to get us back on a run. I really didn't give it any thought which is why it wasn't really a decision. I should have considered whether to help the other two get the boat back on a run first, but I didn't, I just went to bed. For the next hour or so I tried to sleep but for some reason Mick was clearly having problems getting the boat set back on a run. Over what seemed like quite an extended period the boat rolled horribly first on one gybe and then another. My tiredness got the better of me though and rather than get up to help, I sulked (to myself) - those two had had 3 hours of blissful kip and they couldn't sail the boat well enough for me to get mine. I therefore persevered (unsuccessfully) with my quest for sleep. After a couple of what felt like very uncontrolled gybes - the second of which ended with a resounding crash - I gave up on sleep and got up to find out what all the bloody commotion was about. Mick if I remember correctly was at the helm whilst Bernie was at the VHF/AIS.

It transpired that there was a lot of traffic about as we crossed to the west of the traffic separation zone and the combination of avoiding action and the increased swell had proved a bit of a challenge and there had indeed been two uncontrolled gybes. The conditions and the need for course changes and the preventer on the main not being secured had led to the first bad gybe. Realising their mistake Mick then rigged the preventer on the other side of the boat but he had used an old furling line block fixed to a stanchion base that I should have removed ages ago but never got round to - rather than the proper block. The crash at the end of the second bad gybe was the sound of the stanchion base ripping apart as it was subjected to forces for which it was not designed.

My lack of sleep (partly) contributed to my very grumpy response to this discovery. Mick's reaction to my grumpiness was to point out that thankfully no one had got hurt. Of course that was good but I was still pretty hacked off by what I saw as a needless breakage. It transpired that he'd made at least one attempt on the foredeck to re-rig the Genoa on the pole but that he'd nearly lost his footing in the process. At the time I took his response to the breakage as being a little off-hand and I continued to be rather grumpy. Looking back at it now I think it more likely that he was rather shaken by the whole experience - probably as much because of his concerns about Bernie (who was still very new to all this sort of thing) as his realisation that he had come close to going overboard. At the time though I was oblivious to all that and was much more concerned about my broken stanchion base!

We were still having to keep a sharp lookout for shipping and to make course adjustments where necessary. Even though we were sailing and were not actually crossing the formal separation zone but were to the west of it, we were not inclined to push our luck with lumps of steel that were considerably bigger than us.

Any way we still needed to get back on to a run with the Genoa boomed out so at around 0530 whilst Mick helmed and Bernie kept an eye on the VHF/AIS for more shipping, I went up on the foredeck and sorted out the Genoa. Whilst doing so we left the shipping behind but were soon amongst a fishing fleet and that was even more un-nerving due to the sudden changes in direction the fishing boats were inclined to make in the dark. The three of us stayed on watch while we got through the fishing fleet by which time it was daylight and Mick and Bernie looked pretty knackered. Strangely enough despite not having slept I felt OK and so we got Ian up and I suggested that Mick and Bernie got some sleep for as long as I continued to feel OK.

The downhill sailing continued and given we were making good progress, I decided we'd press on to Dover rather than go into Eastbourne and I took the opportunity to take some video footage.

We were off Dungeness by 1600 and approaching the west entrance of Dover by 1840. Having cleared our approach with Dover Port control we got the sails down a mile or so before the entrance. There was as is often the case here, a nasty confused sea in the entrance and the tide was running strongly across it eastwards. We crabbed in through the heavy chop with the Bhuk providing just enough power to get us through although at one point the harbour wall looked very close! By 1920 we were moored up in the marina - and pretty glad to be so.

Rough key stats:

Departed Cherbourg 1130 on 14/8/13
Total distance over the ground = 160 nautical miles
Total passage hours = 31
Average speed over the ground 5 knots
Engine hours = 8
Sailing hours = 23
Arrived Dover 1840 on 15/8/13

Sunday 8 September 2013

St Peter Port to Cherbourg 13/8/13

We were getting quite good at getting out of bed by now and 0700 was civilised compared with the 0400 of the previous morning. The Frenchie had said he was off at 0800 and we were determined not to give succour to his rather sniffy welcome of the previous evening and so with only a cup of tea in our bellies we were casting off at 0750 while he and our immediate neighbours on the classy wooden Brit yacht against which we were alongside were still having their breakfast. This was the first time we'd seen them since Tregieur where they had been far from sociable. Perhaps they were relieved to see us depart or perhaps they had simply been knackered in Tregieur, but suddenly they were quite jolly and chatted amicably to us as we prepared to leave - they even helped us with our lines. The Frenchie was though still as laconic as ever - perhaps the Guernsey food had not agreed with them. Thankfully we had not had cause to sample it ourselves on this occasion.

Anyway we were off and the sun and gentle breeze beckoned as we sailed up the Little Russel in the direction of Cherbourg. The wind was though - of course - a confidence trick and within 30 minutes had died to almost nothing dead on the nose and we realised that if we were to make the gate through the Alderney Race and carry a fair tide to Cherbourg the engine would have to be pressed into life. Once again it was and I marvelled, not for the first or the last time, at the Bhuk's reliability. In my experience prior to Arctic Smoke, the principal characteristics of boat engine's was for them to fail at the most inconvenient times and to very occasionally save one's bacon. One such occasion came vividly to mind.

It was 1980 something and in my Dad's converted ship's life boat - a standing gaff cutter - we'd been over to France from Portchester. I think we'd done Cherbourg, Le Havre and St Valery en Caux - the latter being a most beautiful spot. We'd arrived there late one evening at dusk near the top of the tide and had gone straight into the inner drying harbour. We rigged the legs had a meal and went to bed and woke up the next morning high and dry in the middle of the most picturesque drying harbour. I can't quite remember the crew except that my then current girl friend Maggie and my ex (Helen) and her pal 'Coz' were amongst them. My brother Sebastian must have been the other bloke come to think of it.

On the leg back to Portsmouth we encountered calms, fog and head winds and the engine failed. Not the sort of conditions in which a heavy standing gaff cutter with flax sails exceled in. 24 hours after leaving St Valery we were at anchor in the Looe Channel waiting for the tide to wash us up to Pompey. The tide did its job which was just as well because there was only occasionally enough wind to give us steerage way. We got a little more wind as we entered Portsmouth harbour and we ghosted past the Navy destroyers in the early dawn light. A few minutes later I was very glad that even most of the Navy was still in bed. The wind died as we crawled up the harbour and Chlamys got caught in an eddy and we were suddenly spiralling towards the bows of a Destroyer and were most definitely 'not under command' or at least, not under mine! On most other previous occasions when I pretended to guide Chlamys through crowded and restricted waters the crew of other craft - on seeing her twelve foot bowsprit point in their direction - wisely ensured they got out of the way. This destroyer was however not moving anywhere and it seemed unlikely that splintering Chlamys's bowsprit on her hull would even scratch her paintwork.

During the frantic scramble for fenders I wondered if anyone would notice if I just jumped over the side. As this increasingly attractive thought was taking shape in my mind I became aware of a terrified face being pressed against mine in an effort to communicate. With an effort I realised that Maggie was suggesting we try the engine again. "There's no point"  I said glumly "we've tried it so many times and it has refused to work it wont work now - in any case the battery must be flat." My chance of escape had now completely disappeared and I began to wonder if the Navy could court martial a civilian for driving without due care and attention. Maggie then said "well I'm going to try it anyway" and pushed the start button. The engine turned, coughed and spluttered and then miraculously staggered into life. Not for long but long enough to avoid the Destroyer.

We finally got back to our mooring in Portchester some 36 hours after leaving St Valery. I vowed I'd never put Maggie through that experience again. I needn't have worried she never got back on the boat!

Arctic Smoke's Bhuk was her original engine, all of 10  horse power but was still going strong and was not reluctant to start and so we were soon motoring towards the Alderney race. The fishing lines came out and we soon had a haul of 12 Mackerel enough for three each. We caught the race at just the right time and for a while were making 11 knots over the ground in almost a flat calm. We had grilled Mackerel for lunch, cooked by Mick as we motor sailed to Cherbourg. I had forgotten how huge the harbour was, it seemed to take almost as long to travel from the western entrance to the marina as it did from Cap De La Hague to the western entrance. Eventually we moored up in the marina at 1645.

Rough key stats:

Departed St Peter Port 0815 on 13/8/13
Distance over the ground = 46 miles
Arrived Cherbourg marina 1645
Total passage hours = 8.5
Average speed = 5.5 knots
Engine hours = 8
Sailing hours 0.5

Apart from the excessive use we'd had to make of the engine on this trip, the other disappointment was the lack of interesting characters we'd met. My memory of sailing in the 70s and 80s was that we always bumped (sometimes literally) into people with whom to pass the time. This time, apart from Nick we had up until now met no one else of note. That changed at Cherbourg but unfortunately we were pressed for time and therefore I was only able to make a passing acquaintance with the couples on the Elizabethan 31 just down the pontoon, and the early Nicholson 32.

After we sorted ourselves out and I had quickly introduced my self to the above, we went ashore in search of a good Norman meal. Our gluttony remember needed indulging. After traipsing the streets for almost an hour we finally found a little cluster of Restaurants mentioned in the Pilot and went into the most promising looking one. It was without doubt the worst meal of the trip so far. Perhaps we were just unlucky but it felt like Brittany was another country completely. The food was indifferent - not out of place in any chain restaurant in the UK (which thankfully were completely absent in Brittany) and the service was terrible. Pleasant enough youngsters running the place but they clearly didn't have a clue about the job.

On our way back to the boat we went in search of Supermarket for the morning's shop. We found it but it was a long hike and decided that we'd make do with the smaller grocery we had noticed whilst looking for the restaurant.

The next day we had to leave around 1030 to make the best of the tides, so it would be a quick breakfast and shop before departing once again. Destination, Eastbourne.

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.