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Old 13 November 2005, 04:38   #31
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Excellent posts and pics as ever. Sorry we have'nt contributed more but I have recently started a new job and it is rather taking over whilst 'I get me feet under the desk'.

M & A
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Old 13 November 2005, 07:27   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by codprawn
Love the parachute!!!
took it along to keep the sun off, turned out that it rains every day in France during the month of August , you would have thought that all those ex pats who now live there for 6 months of the year to avoid tax would have told us this.

More of the saga to follow this week

Pete
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Old 20 November 2005, 03:34   #33
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Never on a Sunday
There is an argument for doing nothing in France on a Sunday- if you're in a good place (fed and watered also ). We should know that by now!
But the lure of the snaking river was strong and we gathered our goods and chattels aboard Merlin leaving hospitable Dinan behind. Stowing away was a much more casual affair, as, travelling at 5 knots one can even read the Sunday papers and make coffee (if one happens to be navigator at the time! )

Civilisation gave way to lush green verges once again and the river cut through a deep gorge before the landscape opened out to the tranquil sylvan setting of our third lock : Léhon.

Locks were still a novelty to us and we admired the lock-keeper's cottage and surrounding garden before tying up next to a SIB on the little pontoon. The couple on board nodded politely before attending once again to organising their picnic lunch on the grassy bank.

Even that didn't remind us.

We walked on cheerily to the cottage and knocked whereupon the surprised lock-keeper rose from his table where he was feasting 'en famille' to grin and say 'but we are closed until after lunch!'

Lunchtime is still very important in France though the multinationals (and consumer demand) are eating away at it in the big towns. Not a snowball's chance in a fiery place of this lock opening in the next hour , so off we went to the village for a quick coffee. It was a rewarding walk past a 14th century Abbey which graced the water's edge. In the little restaurant Madame was appalled that we were not having a three course meal (futile to explain that we'd recently had a 'Great Western All You Can Keep Down and Still Walk'- type breakfast an hour or two before) and banished us to the outside chairs and tables where she grudgingly got us a couple of coffees.

Back we sloped to be greeted by the Lock-keeper wiping bits of wild boar from his cheerful countenance and the SIB couple having a post-picnic read in the sun.

Léhon Lock

photo : Paul


We got it at last. We weren't going to be able to charge through this bit of the journey (in the way that we imagined Pete, Martin and Anto were charging at that very moment towards Fareham). Distance means nothing on the river. And pace is calculated taking account of a range of variables including the day of the week, the time of the day (locks shut for lunch and by 7.00 ish in the evening), the things to see and do on the riverbank and whether the helmsman is in need of a sudden snooze in a watery lay-by. Our usual success criteria as ribsters needed to be chucked overboard as we settled into an entirely different boating experience.

Over the next few days, we were to gain enormous respect and liking for the friendly and helpful Lock-keepers and the wonderfully maintained cottages which were to be our new waypoints on this stage of the journey.

Onwards to Pont Perrin.
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Old 21 November 2005, 06:27   #34
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Sunday 10 August 2005 - Guensey

Whilst Paul and Kathleen ventured deeper into the dark everglades of the River Rance on there journey south through the un-mapped and un-charted wilds of Brittany Anto, Martin and I relaxed in a B&B in Guernsey. After an afternoon snooze the 3 explorers now famished set about trying to find a restaurant in St Peters Port that would keep us in the style we had become accustomed too.
Martin had the inspired idea of seeking advice from the Royal Yacht Club and we finally tracked down a local cellar restaurant in a hotel, clearly known only to the locals for a slap up roast dinner A quick check on the boats and then off for an early night. We would sleep well after the voyage from St Malo
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Old 21 November 2005, 06:29   #35
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Monday 8 August 2005 - Guernsey to Alderney

The final leg. With the previous days wind and rain gone, Monday dawned with clear skies and flat calm seas. Yippie A quick tour of St Peters Port for duty free proved fruitless as no one seemed to open much before 9am and concerned we might outstay our welcome and free moorings curtsey of the Harbour master we charged out of St Peters Port at 8.30 am. With a clam sea we quickly settled down to our cruising speed of 23 – 24 knots. The Alderney race was uneventful as ever and 90 minutes later we rounded Alderney and entered Bray Harbour mooring up against the ferry jetty. As we basked in sunshine enjoying our ice creams and coffee, duty frees ordered at short notice from the shop of the Quay arrived as promised. However as Alderney is outside the EEC we were restricted to 200 fags and a litre of spirits each.

With a prompt from the harbour master that they ferry was due shortly we departed Bray and set course for the Noodles 58 miles to the North. The channel was calm and empty and the trip across uneventful making for relaxed cruising compared to the previous days epic slog. Stopping for coffee mid channel the boats gently drifted together in the crystal clear water reminiscent of a scene from Jaws The only other vessels out there were the occasional ship going up and down the channel and a couple of yachts making a slow passage at 4 knots. Back on the move we found southern England covered in an autumn haze and the white cliffs of the Noodles didn’t appear until we were within 8 miles. Navigation was obviously GPS but cross checked with a fixed compass just to be sure.
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Old 21 November 2005, 06:31   #36
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Rounding the Needles we called into Yarmouth to top up with cheap fuel only to find the RNLI filling up a 52 foot Arun class lifeboat, another wait for an hour. Both Remedy and Old Spice burning about 1.5 lpm for the trip across the channel. Strangely for a Monday lunchtime Yarmouth town quay was packed with ribs so we pushed on to Cowes only to find the Town Quay even worse, then the penny dropped, it was Cowes week and dozens of ribs acting as support boats had tied up at the Town. It was also interesting to see the 28 ft MCA Halmatic cabin ribs busy checking which vessels were coded for charter work, some which clearly were not. Giving up on Cowes which resembled the M25 in a rush hour we finally headed for home.

The GPS gave some interesting details of the trip. Total mileage for the 10 days (5 of cruising and 5 days sight seeing) was 380 miles and Old Spice’s top speed 28.1 knots. There were no significant problems with any of the ribs just a good clean required. A great holiday which I am sure all those involved will remember for a long time to come and a desire to do it all again next year.

By taking tents and a small amount of cooking and camping equipment meant that we had the flexibility to choose our next destination as we went along and when rather than having to rely on B&Bs were you have to travel to a fixed itinerary. We were unlucky with the weather catching a series of low pressure systems making for some memorable nights listening to the fog horn of Alderney every 30 seconds from 2am onwards, the Peacocks in Guernsey @ 4.30 am and the thunderstorms in St Malo. But sun during the day time soon dried us out and spirits quickly lifted.

Highlights of the trip? well pink champagne in Alderney to celebrate a few first times across, meeting up with Charles in a hot and sunny Jersey for coffee as he dashed between meetings. The superb friendly marina in St Malo and the steep climb up to the camp sight with grand views over the harbour, river Rance and outer islands. The superb sight of a modern Great Western hotel at Dinard just as the rain started to fall and we contemplated another session of putting up wet tents. The rough and long slog back to Guernsey from St Malo and then the bright sunshine the following day for the channel crossing and finally arriving home from the adventure.

Peter
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Old 21 November 2005, 06:44   #37
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Cool.
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Old 21 November 2005, 07:11   #38
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Great write up - will have to do another one before too long!!!!
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Old 21 November 2005, 07:43   #39
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Yes, i really enjoyed reading these, thanks for spending the time and doing this
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Old 21 November 2005, 08:39   #40
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Thanx
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