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Old 04 May 2011, 04:25   #31
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quite comforting to see all the bits and bobs are still there
Not now her whereabouts has been posted all over the net
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Old 04 May 2011, 07:59   #32
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Not now her whereabouts has been posted all over the net
Thanks for your words of comfort

In case your sleeping ok at night...that was my friends 16 footer that broke her mooring at the weekend and got smashed up against the sea wall. Brand new 10mm chain had just been fitted, broke a link clean in half

Is there an easterly forecast in the next few days??
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Old 04 May 2011, 10:11   #33
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If it's going to happen it's going to happen. Must've been an E6 down at my mooring yesterday. Not much I can do about it except make sure the insurance is paid up. Maybe I'll replace that second chain on mine after all though, even then, it's only as good as the bit of rope at the top.

In all honesty, I reckon the little marina Martini is holidaying in is sufficiently off the beaten track to be pretty safe. I didn't see any signs of vandalism anywhere and they obviously didn't feel the need for any security so I would assume it's not a problem. Barbed wire and 8' wire fencing would have made me worry!
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Old 04 May 2011, 11:14   #34
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they obviously didn't feel the need for any security
You didn't meet Alphonse then...
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Old 04 May 2011, 17:35   #35
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Couple of clips from the cruise
"SuperErin100"
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Old 09 May 2011, 05:18   #36
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At the risk of going all Gotchi on you all, I've written a bit of a summary of our trip. Think I may have got a little bit carried away, but here goes with the first installment

Day 1 – Friday 22 April 2011

This was to be a very gentle break in to our 8 day cruise for Martini and myself, as all we had to do was get from Jersey to Alderney in time for dinner at Maison Channel Ribs. The weather forecast had been particularly pessimistic at the start of the week, with F4-5 winds predicted, and until Thursday it was still looking doubtful as to whether it would be calm enough. However, in the nick of time JerseyMet decided to moderate their prediction to a F2-4 (they still obviously didn’t really know what was happening but at least it was a bit more like our kind of weather). We had both been busy during the week getting everything prepared and making sure we’d got all the necessary paperwork (with my CEVNI certificate arriving late Thursday), and made our final preparations and brimmed the tanks before leaving La Collette yacht basin at 1300.

The sun was out and the sea was somewhere between smooth and slight for our 45nm leg, which passed quite quickly. Upon arrival in Alderney we rafted up alongside Grimalkin which Avocet and Mrs A had driven over from Poole some hours earlier, and booked in with Alderney Port Control.

After a couple of socials in the Diver’s and then the Moorings we made our tracks for dinner. As ever, Duck Witch and Channel Ribs provided a first class meal of local steak and fresh produce straight from the garden, complimented by some well travelled wine from Avocet and all was quaffed in a convivial way. In a brief moment of lucidness I suddenly remembered we were going to get our VNF river licence on-line for which the Witch kindly fired up her pooter and laminator. Considering the notorious bureaucracy of the French, it was a remarkably simple affair, although I did somehow manage to underestimate the size of my boat which coincidentally kept me in the lowest cost bracket .
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Old 09 May 2011, 05:25   #37
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Day 2 – Saturday

A moderately early start saw La Frette ready and waiting for Martini and Grimalkin on what was a glorious morning. The wind had died completely, and although a little hazy, the sea was a millpond. We motored out of Braye somewhere around 9am and set our waypoints for Le Havre. We could not have asked for better conditions for our open 90 mile jaunt. The Suzuki’s on La Frette and Grimalkin purred with satisfaction, and Martini’s girls made their usual vocal burble. We had contemplated breaking the journey into two legs and stopping off at Cherbourg, but there was no need as the going was so good. As we approached Le Havre the AIS sprang into life plonking little green triangles all over the screen and we sighted our first of many large ships. For a busy port, entry was very straightforward with a pair of immensely powerful leading lights on the main transit. Once into the port de plaisance, we fuelled up at 1.52 euros per litre from the automated pumps. This was no mean task, especially for Martini (who should really be classed as a fuel tanker on his AIS) as the fuel pumps would only deliver 100 litres at a go and spat his debit card out after the third cycle leaving him still not quite full. It was now time for a quick blast out and around the corner to Honfleur for our first night’s stop. Or at least that was the plan. Fortunately Avocet is pretty fluent in Francais and after bobbing around outside the Honfleur lock waiting for it to open, decided to call up the lock keeper. The first of a catalogue of setbacks then unfolded. The lock was closed.....until June. Oh well, we thought, just have to go back to Le Havre. Lucky we hadn’t pre-booked any accommodation! Back in the port de plaisance, we casually strolled up to the Capitainerie to book a berth for the night only to be greeted by a posse of Gendarmes who were showing a rather alarming interest in Martini. It transpires that they had been tracking him on AIS and had identified the boat as ex military. After a few checks and questions and some inter-continental gesticulating, they were satisfied that we weren’t about to start expanding the empire again and kindly posed for a photo. Meantime Mrs A found her way to the ferry terminal for her trip back to Blighty. Now all we had to do was find a hotel. As it soon became clear every man and his poodle had decided to spend the weekend at the coast, and after the kind girl in the tourist office had phoned every hotel in her book for us, we eventually found a family room at the Manoir du Vache some 40 minute taxi ride away. It turned out to be an excellent hotel, if not a little weird with their predilection for everything cow related. Two of the party got a good night’s sleep. But those that didn’t snore didn’t . The following morning saw us getting the train back to Le Havre and the first of our 6 days on the river.

1 - Millpond sea
2 - Approahcing Le Havre
3 - Le Havre p de p
4 - Gendarmes visit
5 - Bizarre hotel pillow
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Old 09 May 2011, 05:29   #38
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Day 3 - Sunday

The first section of the estuary was surprisingly choppy with a fair bit of air being had by La Frette and Grimalkin. However, after a few miles everything became much more placid and really quite enjoyable. We had 106km ahead of us at 28kph (15kts) max, but the sun was out and the t-shirts were off. This leg of the river took us up to our first stop at Rouen through some quite scenic areas although the most striking aspect was the olfactory senses which ranged from hydrocarbons and oils in Le Havre through to cement and finally coco pops near Rouen. There was very little traffic on the river, possibly due to it being Easter weekend and I don’t think we passed a single vessel. There are few pleasure boats stops along this stretch, though we managed to find a very amenable village at Duclair for a lunchtime pression and quiche. As we closed in on Rouen, everything became somewhat industrial and grey with a predominance of cement works. The port de plaisance was a friendly but basic setup only 2 years old. Jean-Marie and Eric gave us a warm welcome and laboriously went through the booking in procedure in a way only a Frenchman can. We overnighted in the Hotel Ibis some 10 mins away ‘a pied’ and had what was perhaps the worst meal of the trip there.

1 - A bit of rough water in the estuary
2 - Feeling a bit small under the Tancarville bridge
3 - Moored up for lunch in Duclair
4 - Some big vessels make it to Rouen
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Old 09 May 2011, 05:31   #39
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1 - Industrial scenery
2 - Typical river side village
3 - More scenery
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Old 09 May 2011, 06:17   #40
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Day 4 – Tuesday - Where the fun began.

The toll of late nights and early starts was being to show and we were a little bleary eyed as we set off from Port de L’Ilon. The weather was still good and we made good headway up the river past a mixture of rural and built up areas and a few more locks. Paris was tonight’s destination with 120kms to go. We pulled up in Conflans for lunch with the usual small audience on the quayside again. La Frette and Grimalkin pulled away and Martini followed for a moment before those immortal words ‘Houston we have a problem’. His starboard engine was making some very unhealthy chugging noises for which no amount of fiddling with wires or checking of spark plugs would resolve. There was then a good deal of pondering and the dilemma of do we go on or turn back to Port de L’Ilon. Paris was still 71kms away and we momentarily contemplated failing in our quest. As luck would have it, there was a small marina on the south bank of the river and we made arrangements to leave Martini there until our return, in the hope that a Mercury engineer might be found. Matt waved goodbye to his pride and joy with a tear in his eye and jumped onto La Frette for the final stretch to Paris. This was fairly uneventful but for the huge log I managed to clout square on some way further up river. Neither of us saw it in the water, but there is now a 4 foot long 6” diameter piece of driftwood with a perfect groove around its middle that matches the profile of my hull and skeg . Luckily no damage was sustained to La Frette – testament I think to the keel guard.

All tribulations were forgotten once we got to Paris, and the requisite souvenir photographs were taken of the Eiffel tower and various grand buildings and bridges. After another minor altercation with the Gendarmes Maritimes for bobbing around for too long outside the lock into the Arsenal Marina, we finally made our berth. Channel ribs had managed to remotely select a good hotel for us under strict time limits, and we settled down to another brief eat-sleep-eat-leave routine.

Day 5 - Wednesday

Unfortunately we couldn’t stay the extra night in Paris we had originally intended as the river was being closed at Rouen for speed boat racing, and if we weren’t downstream by Friday we’d be stuck for 3 days. With Matt still pining for his boat, we made our way downstream. By this time we were getting a bit blasé about lock operation and our speeds may have crept up over the limit a bit . Although the weather had turned a bit windier, cooler and damp, the trip back retracing our steps went quite quickly though there was more traffic on the river and we had to share our first lock. We stopped to check on Martini, but it was pretty obvious nothing was going to happen quickly so she was made secure and left behind again. Port de L’Ilon was our destination to re-fuel and overnight. La Frette took on 160 litres which meant only 60 had lain in reserve in case of problems. We had known that this was going to be our longest leg between fuel stops, and the 18kph speed was especially inefficient.

1 - La Tour Eiffel
2 - View up the Seine
3 - Bridges everwhere
4 - Arsenal marina
5 - Sharing a lock
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