DINAN to GUERNSEY Sun 30 Aug 05 (I think but no one was caring to much by now)
The morning dawned early and the bright sunshine lifted our spirits for the long trip back to Guernsey were Martin, Anto and I had booked a B&B. After a hearty full cooked breakfast in the Great Western, and final “Bon Voyages
” over we waved goodbye to P&K and headed north. The trip up the Rance had taken 4 hours at a pleasant walking speed but reading the Shell Channel Guide hinted at a 15 knot speed limit down the wider parts of the lower river. So whilst the other canal users were busy frying up breakfasts we headed off for the first of the locks on our way home. Timing was perfect and bribing the lock keepers on the way up meant we were able to drive straight into the locks without fuss, another useful tip from Charles. Out into the much wider lower river the throttles were eased forward and we slowing increased speed up to the 15 knot limit. However sighting the last lock at St Malo and the red traffic light suddenly turn green meant we had to cover the last 2 miles in quick time, at 28 knots. The lock has a road bridge at the upstream end which yachts can’t pass underneath until the lock has dropped about 8m so this time the ribs were invited to go first easily clearing the road bridge. 20 minutes later we exited the lock back into the sea. A quick refuel in St Malo paid for with cash since the marina is the only place on this planet that only accepts French credit cards (how quaint) and we awere off, well after coffee and pains chocolait
St Malo harbour is very well protected from the elements so we didn’t see the light winds start to build up during the morning. As we left the harbour white waves could be seen out at sea but we carried on hoping the shallow water was the problem and that “it would improve
” (to quote Alan Priddy). It didn’t (never does) and we were now faced with a 52 mile journey with a F5 - 6 on the nose. Remedy tried getting up on top of the waves but gave up after a series of heavy landings so we settled down to 12 knots and the thought of a long hard slog to windward for the next 4 hours. As each wave broke, spray would fly across the ribs finding its way down your neck soaking everything you wore under the foul weather gear. To add to the problems the fuel vent on Remedy was now pumping neat petrol out with every wave as the tank was completely full of fuel. Anto was covered in petrol and the dye in her gloves running across the white deck. However an inspired decision several days previously saw Martin and Anto purchase 2 open faced motorcycle helmets in matching colours which now came into there own. After an hour and a half we cleared the minkies and altered course to Guernsey still hidden in the mist. The tall headlands of Jersey came into view through the drizzle and whilst looking very tempting
would have meant changing hotel bookings and a longer journey the following day, so we pressed on to Guernsey. After 3 hours we started to pick up some protection from the island still only just visible on the horizon. So after a quick coffee, fag and mars bar break we gradually increased the speed up to our normal 24 knots. This difference between travelling at 24 knots rather than 12 was a huge boost to moral as the GPS displayed “distance to go” actually changes every time you look at it rather than just sitting there saying "you have a long way to go
". During the last few miles up to St Peters Port dark grey clouds hung over the island but thankfully the rain stopped.
We met up with Nick from Lymington Sea Start outside the harbour waiting for the RYA annual cruise to form up like a flotilla for there trip home. Nick acting as escort for the trip. His huge yellow Carson 9m rib with twin oil burners looked superb as he sat behind the large cabin console with his mug of tea dressed in jeans and not a sign of water anywhere. Martin and I both made a mental note along the lines of “we are going to need a bigger boat
However what we were not expecting was the queue at the St Peters Port fuel pontoon as 20 white fibreglass gin palaces lined up for diesel
. We watched Mike Belamy (of Lancing Marine) put 2 nozzles into his 55 ft speed boat and walk away for a coffee. 30 minutes later he returned and the boat still wasn’t full. After an hour we finally got to the pumps only to be asked how much do you want. 100 L of petrol and another of diesel was the reply, only to be met with you will be lucky, the alarms are ringing the tanks are nearly empty. We managed to fill both boats just, and on presenting the credit card at the till were asked if we were part of the RYA cruise. We said yes and got another 10% off the already cheap fuel prices. Moving over to the pontoons the Harbourmaster took pity on Anto and after confirming we would be away at 8 am the following morning allowed us to moor up for free on the dinghy pontoon. Top bloke!
A taxi ride to the hotel saw the 3 of us crash out exhausted having completed the hardest leg so far.