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Old 16 July 2006, 05:55   #1
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A passage to Brittany

Heading off today on the start of our passage down to La Turballe to meet up with the Jackeens’ and their entourage who are crossing the channel on Thursday and then trailing their boats down. Seems like a sensible plan, but I’ve always got to be different…….

It’s an area that I’ve always wanted to explore and my father used to regale me with stories of the Chenal du Four and the Raz du Seine

So the plan is : -

Sunday. Late start as we need to dog sit. Lunchtime launch and then Needles to Casquets and on to St Peter Port. LW at 17.36 means we will need to moor up outside Victoria Marina. We have a hotel booked, so we will enjoy a degree of comfort for the first night. I went out and bought a tent on Friday, in case we are not so fortunate elsewhere.

Monday. Fuel up and head SW towards L’Aber Wrach. Depending on progress and conditions, we may try and press on to Camaret that afternoon.

Tuesday. On to Concarneau, where we will be seeing Florence and Philippe, who some of you may have met at Ribex.

Wednesday. A day of possibilities, perhaps a lazy day in Concarneau, or on towards Ile de Grox or Belle Ile or ….

Thursday. La Turballe and an appointment with a launderette !
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Old 16 July 2006, 06:30   #2
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Good luck with the passage Brian.. Looking forward to seeing you when you make it..
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Old 16 July 2006, 14:53   #3
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Good Luck mate, Its the way I would have done it.
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Old 16 July 2006, 16:50   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiteshoes
Heading off today on the start of our passage down to La Turballe to meet up with the Jackeens’ and their entourage who are crossing the channel on Thursday and then trailing their boats down.
Brian and family were waved off from Drivers' today with the inimitable Stuart (& Jasper) being ever helpful!

They have arrived safely in St. Peter Port and are ensconced in lodgings

K & P
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Old 19 July 2006, 10:55   #5
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Southampton – St Peter Port Sunday 16th July

Log

Fuel Used

Space was always going to be an issue with the limited locker capacity and the amount of stuff that we wanted to take. The kids were under instruction to take the smallest overnight bag that would accommodate their underwear requirements, 3 trousers, 5 tops plus a couple of fleeces and a sponge bag. I knew we were in trouble when Sophie insisted on bringing something that would have raised eyebrows at a longhaul airline check-in desk.

I had been out and purchased a tent and sleeping bags in case we were unable to find hotel accommodation along the way and we wanted to take the kites for recreation and an alternative emergency downwind power source and when I saw all the gear assembled on the driveway in Middlesex before we set off, I was reminded of Chief Brody in Jaws “We’re gonna need a bigger boat”

We had cases and cases of drinks purchased from the cash and carry on Friday that were specifically for the kids; Lucozade sport, 3 cases of water with all kinds of fruit permutations, Coke, Dr Pepper, OK some beer for me, and a blackcurrant and raspberry job that Sophie picked out for herself. Rewarding ourselves with a drink after the hot job of finally stowing all the supplies away on the boat, Sophie announced after just 2 mouthfuls that she didn’t like the blackcurrant and raspberry drink. Great. I’ve got a locker full of the stuff and enough to hydrate half of Hereford.

Everything had to be crammed into the confines of the lockers, which meant that to find anything, you then had the laborious job of taking everything out.

An uneventful crossing apart from an eerie feeling I experienced about the new prop producing too much vibration at certain engine speeds and the GPS wanted us to head East of Tautenhay on arrival, presumably due to the strong tide set and the waypoint that I had entered.

We moored alongside a very muscular 9m+ rib in St Peter Port, thinking that he looked as though he was going to be there for at least a couple of hours, while we waited for the tide to cross the sill into Victoria marina. We then set off in search of our hotel, with only a vague idea of it’s location. Within a couple of minutes Sophie was eager to swap her heavy bag and Michael was eager to hail a taxi. I was eager to find a pub along the route to confirm the hotel’s whereabouts but I was forced to abandon this strategy and ask a stranger for directions, who promptly pointed up the steepest hill he could see. Having ascended this with a load that would have tested Sherpa Tensing, we found the hotel and checked in.

After a swift beer in a local hostelry, we set off happily down the hill, walking 3 abreast in the middle of the road like a low budget remake of the Magnificent Seven. I was stopped in my tracks by a “thwack” noise very close to my right ear. “Keep walking” urged Michael in a low voice. I was confused. “Keep walking” he instructed, more determinedly. I started to move off again and questioned why. “Somebody’s throwing eggs at us” he explained and a closer inspection of the tarmac proved that he was correct. There was evidence of a previous barrage that had come from an open 4th floor window.. The shell that had whizzed past my head had found an alternative target in the windscreen of a parked Fiat.

Approaching the harbour, I was surprised to find that Caprisante was now moored directly alongside the pontoon and puzzled by the appearance of fluorescent yellow behind the consol. As we got closer, we saw that one of the seat lockers was now hanging open and the cause was an inflated lifejacket in a scene reminiscent of the autopilot sketch in Airplane. This must have been set off by somebody standing on our seat, when the rib inside us moved off. I suspect somebody got quite a surprise and subsequently a good laugh.

We moved the boat into Victoria marina and set off in search of an Indian as I suspected we would be deprived in the fortnight ahead. Curry and long passages in a small open boat the following day don’t really go together but it had to be done and we were duly served by a waitress we suspected was a Romanian powerlifter in training for Beijing 2008.

Back at the hotel, I fancied a cup of tea before turning in and although there was a tray with cups and an assortment of sachets, a thorough and exhaustive search of the room failed to reveal a kettle. I wondered if there was somebody else in another room with a kettle, desperately hunting for cups and the accompanying sachets !

I think you can tell a lot about a hotel by the assembled gene pool at breakfast. In this case it was found wanting. Toast at this hotel was a special order and when it arrived, it had only been toasted on one side. We didn’t complain. I had visions of Basil Fawlty saying “Oh I see. When you ordered toast, you meant you wanted it browning on both sides. It’s a local custom here to just toast it on one side, it keeps the freshness in the bread, but no problem…..” and then kicking open the kitchen door and yelling “Terry, table 4, want their toast cooked on both sides, bloody philistines”
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Old 19 July 2006, 11:00   #6
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That's Guernsey for you........
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Old 19 July 2006, 15:15   #7
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Great write up
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Old 19 July 2006, 16:07   #8
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Could've been worse... you could have stopped off in Jersey instead
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Old 19 July 2006, 19:04   #9
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Southampton – St Peter Port Sunday 16th July

Log 105.8

Fuel Used 119.9
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Old 19 July 2006, 19:45   #10
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St Peter Port - Camaret Monday 17th July

Log 134.1 Cumulative 239.9

Fuel Used 167-0 286.9


The lifejacket incident of the previous day was a pain because I wanted to carry a spare with us anyway. Michael had attempted to swap one of the gas cylinders across from one of the older lifejackets while I was paying the harbour dues and set it off as he couldn't get the firing pin to reset properly and we were therefore down to just 2. We tried a chandlers who didn’t have a 38 refill and we were directed to the place that services liferafts, which was closed for an hour as the proprietor was out on a job. We managed to pick up and fit a 33 refill into the older lifejacket as we took on fuel but the upshot was that we had wasted a precious hour.

Fully laden with 280 litres in the tanks and 100 litres on deck, we set off round St Martins. Caprisante resented the burden with which she was encumbered and was sluggish. We were plugging the tide and there was NE F4 over it, which made for an uncomfortable popple.She did not want to go over 22 knots and as soon as we went to 24, she would slam off a wave sending spray everywhere so progress was slow and we had a big day ahead. At some stages we were down to 19 knots.

We stopped for 10 minutes for a comfort break and a very quick lunch and I then urged her forward after lunch. The wind had abated a little and the speeds gradually increased. I used the fuel from the forward tank to stop the bow coming down so hard. We had a brief period running at 32 knots where we felt we were starting to make progress but then the breeze filled in again and we were back at 26. As we got closer to Ushant, so we also started to pick up a bit of swell.

It was then that we had the first “Oh shit” moment. I was stood up driving to read the waves ahead and therefore not looking down at the instruments. For a microsecond there was a massive deceleration and the engine then surged ahead as I applied more power. The engine was running fine and I dismissed it as a driver error and I must have dethrottled too hard as we came off the wave.

But 5 minutes later it happened again and this time everybody noticed. Now it had my undivided attention and although the motor continued to run, I started to go through all the nasty possible causes. Within a couple of minutes the engine was starting to run intermittently.

Time to take stock. We were 12 miles from the rocky coast, in a moderate sea, with 4 hours of daylight left.

Initially I was concerned it was the fuel supply, but we quickly identified it to be an electrical problem and mercifully it turned out to be nothing more than the control cable fracturing at the battery connection. After shorting a battery out mid-channel a couple of years ago, I am assiduous in ensuring that there is nothing stowed on top of the battery, the battery is kept clear and only soft things, in this case sleeping bags, anywhere in it’s vicinity,

Michael with his technical expertise, was soon able to come up with a secure bodge and we were under way again but with all the faffing about in lockers, we had lost almost another hour.

The sensible thing to have done now, would have been to head for L’Aber Wrach but we were all keen to press on to Cameret. The problem now was the tide would be foul in the Chenal du Four, just coming down from Springs and with a wind against tide situation. I explained to Sophie that it would be rough for a bit, we would probably get wet and that if it got too bad we would turn back. She confirmed that she was up for it.

We pased Le Four lighthouse a couple of miles off to port and saw the spray being hurled up into the air. We were getting a bit too close to Les Platresses when Michael performed a mini-stuff in a short breaking sea, which brought me to my senses in time to order a change of course. In total, we had 3 mini-stuffs but nothing seriously green coming over the bow and then the seas flattened out to nothing for the last 2 or 3 miles of the Chenal du Four.

We spanked across the Avant Goulet de Brest at 39 knots with Sophie at the helm and then we were into the beautiful haven of Cameret. There was a delightful girl at the Captainerie who was happy with where we had moored the boat and directed us to some prospective hotels. The first 2 places were full and the third and most expensive, did have rooms available. In truly pathetic French, I somehow managed to inform them that my 14 year old daughter was in fact my wife, and so they showed us to a double room with an additional single bed, without a raised eyebrow. When I explained that I really wanted a room with 3 beds, without attempting to explain away the rest of the misinformation, the patron was equally helpful and showed us to an annex, where we were offered an apartment that would sleep 8 with a view of the bay. When I baulked at the price, he reduced it by 30 Euros and once we had concluded the deal, he even offered to drive me to a garage for petrol. He could not have been more helpful and was the complete antithesis of the surly frog. We were slightly disconcerted when he didn’t know the code to get into his own annex and needed to ask somebody to let him in, but never mind..

We didn’t have time to shower as they stopped serving dinner at 9.30. We needn’t have rushed. We ordered from the 18.50 Euro menu and Sophie was offered a salad and cheese omelette as she is a vegetarian. We waited an hour and 10 minutes before the starter arrived and had 4 baskets of bread and copious amounts of beer while we were waiting. They were extremely apologetic and good natured about it and it wasn’t a problem for us, but every time the kitchen door swung open 3 expectant faces would look over, only to be disappointed as plates of food were taken to other tables. The restaurant didn’t seem that busy either. It was really weird. The main course took another 45 minutes to be served and when it finally came to dessert, we were the only table left in the entire restaurant and they were laying up for the following morning and it still took 25 minutes to show up. Made me wonder what on earth was going on in their kitchen. I blamed the vegetarian !

We were not put out at all, just baffled and we really enjoyed our dinner. Outside we met a couple of English guys sailing here, who had had an even more enjoyable evening than us. They were totally crocked but in a really goodnatured and happy way. This guy asked me the same question 4 times in 20 minutes. Normally you would judge such a person as dull and walk away but I was able to give him a more enthusiastic answer each time. We like Cameret very much.
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