Summer 2016 English Channel & beyond

An extendet cruise down to the channel islands and possibly way beyond.
All in chronological order. Latest on top.

Enjoy!!!

 

Cordemais

Thursday 13th October 2016-Open End

 

Following the few miles up the river we turn to port passing a peculiar villa on top of a chimney. One can even rent the place as I find out a little later.

It's Thursday afternoon by now and I'm waiting for Bernard to show up with is hydraulic tractor trailer rig.
Quite a sight to see her behind the tiny tractor and for a moment I wonder if she will not overwhelm it.
No sweat, its a powerful beast and an hour later we are parked with a washed underwatership beside a beautiful Alizee catamaran.

Couple of busy days follow, I'm glueing the second front winter and do general winter preparation work like oiling the engines, stowing the sails and killing tons of mosquitos which like to join me in the warm cabin.
No way my friends!

Now this wonderful summer draws to an end and soon I will return to the roots of my career, got a potential job offer in Southampton.
Good thing there are direct flights from there to Nantes.

So eventually you can follow the next adventures in 2017.
Might stay in French waters for a while or head on south we'll see, time will tell.

 

 

Paimboef

Tuesday 11th-Thursday 13th October 2016


At Paimboef I spent two windy days on a buoy while clearing up and sending the first 3 bags home. I use the SNCF luggage service for this despite taking a flight. Noone asks for a train ticket.

Turns out a little later, that www.eurosender.com is even cheaper, so that is what I will use next time.


Its all come full circle now, as I have been here with Eugen before. While visiting the wonderful castles of the Loire, we took a detour in 2012 so that I could look at a small trimaran which I was considering to purchase at the time.

 

There is also a wild sculptural park on the shore. Great fun for Kids in the summer I guess.

 

 

Pornichet

Sunday 9th-Tuesday 11th October 2016


The following day I raise my sails and sail to Pornichet at the mouth of the river Loire. Lady Rover will get her wintersleep few miles up river with Loire Nautic Services.
I found them via the French association for historic multihulls (www.goldenoldies.biz).

A great way to look after historic multihulls.

Before that, I spent one of the last sunny days with reglueing the starboard front window. That was really needed. Good if she is dry on the inside when in store.

 

 

La Trinite sur Mer

Friday 7th-Sunday 9th October 2016

 

After the usual tearful goodbye (we are not really used to this since 10years now), I set sails to La Trinite, besides les Sables d'Olone perhaps the French city most associated with yacht racing.

Close to port I pick a buoy just starboard of the harbor, much to the disappointment of the harbour launch. It does not belong to the harbor, so they cannot charge either.

The next day I walk the docks with famous raceboats of quite impressive dimensions.
Amongst them, the fastest and largest trimaran to have been circumnavigated singlehanded. It's over 30 m long!
Wonder how one handles this in a blow.


There is a small event going on, quite a contrast, a Lagoon 52 which will set sail in the afternoon to Toronto.

They call it „le trans atlantic en fauteuil“ = armchair transatlantic crossing. While I hope that that's the weather they get (Hurricane season is not over yet) I do not quite grasp why the transatlantic crossing of a big cruising boat needs to be turned into a city event.
But everyone as they please.

 

 

Quiberon

Wednesday 5th-Friday 7th October 2016


Next day we head for Quiberon, good wind from the east and the peninsula offers good wave protection on top.
High tide lets us pass the bar at ease.
Interesting enough, there is still a very considerable long swell from the west which breaks quite impressive on the rocky shores next to us.

Towards the afternoon we need to tack east against the tide. Quite a pain, before we ghost nearly fully becalmed towards the marina port Haliguen marina.
We can tell the season is coming to an end ;-) lots of shops are closed and you definetly want the heater going at night.

As it is already a habit on Lady Rover, our small afternoon walk turns into a hike around half of the peninsula.
Nice because we get to see the place, not so nice because I have no proper jacket with me.

Pretty frozen we have a greak dinner with „fruit de mer“ at the Hotel du Port Haliguen.
A delicious treat to the end of Eugens vacation.

 

Thankfully Eugen is so kind to offer another night in the marina. We have power and its blowing a force 7 out there.

 

Etel

Friday 30th September - Wednesday 5th October 2016

 

The next day sees us sailing towards Etel light winds create a relaxed atmosphere.
When a big black cloud develops in the east, we are happy to have passed the riverbar without problems.
As we learn later, thats not always the case, many vessels did not make it over the centuries and quite a few people drowned.

Well worth visiting is the Musee du Thoniers about the fishermen of the town and "the bar".

Etel is a quiet town with a nice restaurant called "la Chaloupe", very good food, ambience and sympathic owners.


Even though we liked to have moved on the next day we need to stay, because we miss the tide and it turns out that the swell is to high to make it against it.
Good chance to finally move the starboard sheets and winches to port. Now there is no need to cross from port to starboard anymore when taking care of the sails in a tack. MUCH MUCH BETTER!
Next year I will also move the instruments there.

 

 

Ile de Groix

 Thursday 29th-Friday 30th September 2016


As the weather does not comply, we head for the southeast tip of the Ile de Groix the next day.
Towards the evening it clears up and we feel like on holiday, especially as we are the only boat staying over night.

 

 

Lorient

Monday 26th-Thursday 29th September

 

Following these sad days, there is also something positive.
Eugen decided that it might be better for us to get a bit of distraction. He changed his booking and flies to Nantes today as well. How nice!
Great to have few todays together onboard before the trip terminates.


Still not sure, where my trusty boat will take its hard earned winter vacation though.

After a longish trip with bus, plane, train, taxi, ferry and dinghy we arrive safely back in Port Louis. What a relief to find her well behaved waiting at anchor.
Eugen is quite impressed by the dinghies capacity as well, 2People and 3Bags!

The next morning offers some excitement though, the dinghy is gone!
I was so sure to have tied it off properly. What a bummer, especially as I hate buying equipment which I have (HAD?!) already on a short notice.
Usually this means buying at high price something you do not want.
Only after several observations we spot it well adry on a beach downstream, what a relief!
Just leaves me to jump in the cold Atlantic to pick her up.

A little later we move the boat right in front of the old German submarine base and do some shopping.
Before settling the day with some homemade pancakes.

The next day, at last we get to the famous Erik Tabarly sailing museum.
Lots of things to participate including a quite impressive simulation of sailing an Open 60 boat in big seas.
They even sprayed us with water and put a fan on.
The museum is a real highlight.
As the base is only visible on sunday, we visit the Flores submarine instead, part of this is also in the giant bunkers.
Very humbling to be in there and good to see how this place of war and bloodshed has been turned into an icon of peace by creating museums and yachting venues.
We get to see the famous raceboats for free as noone checks tickets.

 

 

Port Louis

Sunday 18th September 2016


The day starts really sad, my boyfriends mother (aged 93) did not make it through the night & passed away this morning.


So my plans change, instead of sailing to Bel Isle I need to find a flight on a short notice.
Turns out Volotea flies tommorow morning to Munich, guess I'm booking that one to pray tribute to the old lady and support Eugen.
 
Right after this, yesterdays fishermen arrive and let me know that they left me something in the dinghy. A little later I check and much to my surprise its not fish getting stinky in the morning sun, its two huge crabs, and they are, still alive.
So there is at least one challenge ahead today.
How do I prepare them and worse, how do I take them out of this world.
I'm hesitant, but if you are not vegetarian, than you have to be able to do this. Otherwise it somehow dishonest.
Well on YouTube I learn that it would be best to put them into winter sleep. Unfortunately that's no option no ice onboard this boat.
Option two is to put a screwdriver into two holes either end of their carcass and turn it to destroy their de-central nervous system.
Good that's done. Actually I did it towards the evening, and yes, I do feel a bit guilty, wonder how I feel eating my next steak.
As there is no wine left on board I boil them 15min in a mixture of water, tomato, garlic, onions, pepper, Tabasco and herbs de Provence.
When I cut them open I find their inside rather empty and uninspiring. What you can eat though are the legs. You just bend over each "hinge" until it snaps. Then the adjacent meat pops right out and you can peel it of with your lips.
Delicious finger food!
 
Still I skipped the work before. At last I glued the leaky side window back in. Looking good & should be watertight.
Horray, that leaves the two front windows to be taken care of upon my return.

I also spent some more time with the dinghy outboard, stuck again & a rusty sparkplug. Not good I'll let the combustion chamber soak with oil for a while. We'll see if I can loosen it then.

In the evening I have a bit of excitement when I realize around 22:00hours that I have no chance to get to the train station in time. Ferryboats and buses start services well past 06:00 in the morning and my train leaves at 6:45... So what now? Row over to Kernevel (about a mile), where do I leave the dinghy then for a week?
Bummer-I need to take a taxi. 50€, as it has to drive a long way around the bay.


So let's quick catch some sleep now.


More to come once I'm back.

 

 

Port Louis

Saturday 17th September 2016


Late morning a quick dash to town. Postoffice and, I hope, bakery.

Still as things happen I bump into a sailing couple from Germany and after a lengthy chat all the shops are closed for their long lunch break.
At least I find a letter box.


The afternoon passes with removing the leaky starboard aft window and cleaning it & the frame meticulously. What a pain...!
It was glued with Sika AND gooey butyl tape. The latter keeps me real busy, I can hardly get it off.
If I'd have a can of ice spray I could freeze it and chisel it off. Still now its only sandpaper, paper towels, Acetone and lots of elbow grease.
At last I get it done and can reseal the  window frame with epoxy. Uff!!


While I'm working , I have the newest toys on foils zipping around me. At first a "Moth" sailboat and then, even more crazy a kite surfer fully airborne on his foil board. No wake & lots of speed combined with a very fine singing sound of the foil slicing through the water. Looks like a lot of fun - he has a bright smile in his face too.
 
Before dinner I rescue a few fishermen adrift without fuel. They are lucky we have petrol and not Diesel engines.
 
Before I head to my bunk I get bad news, my boyfriends mum, fell bad and is in the ER. Not good at age 93. My thoughts are with her and Eugen tonight.

 

 

Port Louis

Friday 16th September 2016


It's Friday again and I am not sure were the time is going to!


I can truly say I was never bored this summer. So many new impressions and experiences.


The day starts with making "Kefir" a fermented milk drink, which can be easily produced on board if you have the the dried and powdered yoghurt bacteria at hand.
Simply mix some sterilized milk (UHT or milk powder work as well)with the powder and let it sit for 24-30hours at room temperature in a dark environment.
The great thing is you can use a bit of the last mixture to start the next one.
Tasty and can be used as drink, for cereals or as salad dressing.


While I'm in the galley I also bake bread. This time its enriched with bacon, onion and pepper.
Unfortunately these extras stop it from fully raising and baking. The result I get an hour later out of the stove top oven is crusty on the outside and a bit to soft in the center. Still jummy though. Before I leave to visit Port Louis citadel half the loaf has been eaten already. Guess by whom? Yours truly of course.


The afternoon passes quickly in the two very well made museums in the Citadel. I learn about the history of the French society for the rescue of ship wrecked people (SNSM), see how Chinese porcelain gets saved by underwater archeologists and hear about Lorient's history as the main seat of the Societe de Compagnie des Indes.


Another really nice day, and even getting drenched while rowing back against a force 5 can not ruin it. Good exercise and I'm actually pleased to be able to sleep onboard tonight.


In the evening I type these lines with the romantic light of the oil lamp in the background.

 

 

Port Louis

Thursday 15th September 2016

 

Not a lot happening today except for various maintenance work and computer stuff as well as emails and job applications.

 

 

Port Louis

Wednesday 14th September 2016


Time to mount the AIS. This time I run it through the Miniplex NMEA Box which has the advantage of separating it via opto electronic interfaces from the remaining electrics.


It turns out a bigger job than planned, I reorganize the electric panels along the way and add a switch to mute the sending function should the need ever arise (Pirates??!!).
After soldering and crimping away for some time in tight spaces it's working wonderfully. Especially nice is that the fixed GPS system is working again too.


A little later I even find a way to convert the apparent wind measurements to true wind measures.
Really helpful because with the wind from behind you sometimes miss the right moment to reef. Apparent wind is low in this situation and you can be surprised if you round up. A true wind alarm backs up the sailors instincts.
www.navmonpc.com is an awesome piece of freeware.

 

 

Lorient

Tuesday 13th September 2016

 

Good morning. Weather is less joyful. So I am happy to start researching jobs and translate my job application documents into French.

I'll try to target some multihull companies this time, but we'll see what the options are. Getting a job here would allow to stay at the boat which would be wonderful. Still I'm flexible, more important is an interesting and exciting job.

 

 

Lorient

Monday 12th September 2016

 

So, this is it, Cressida is leaving again. She has her South-america trip lined up since long and so it's been clear that she would leave around this time.

Difference is though, that also Lady Rover's and Franziska's plans did change.

 

We will have about three more weeks cruising ahead be for this wonderful summer draws to an end.

One can already feel the weather slowly getting a little more unsettled.

Franziska has started to track down a job in Brittany (or abroad) and a nice cosy place for her trusty boat.

We'll see how this turns out. More to follow on this.

 

Back to todays post. Weather still feels summer"ish" and we head towards the Lorient port de plaisance which is the Marina closest to town.

As usual the French are friendly and helpful. No sweat. We are free to stay a couple of hours.

Time we dearly need , Cressida's four bags are huge and she will sent two of them back with "Colissimo".

Speaking of which, I get the replacement AIS by mail at last. Horray!!

After a nice last lunch in town (Ever tried Creme de Lavende? Tasty!) We pick up the remaining bags, enjoy a final ice cream and off she is.

Quite sad, even when I know my boyfriend is heading over in few days.

Cressida was just the perfect crew to have. Many many thanks!

 

On the way home I get a replacement WiFi stick and a relaxed evening follows.

 

 

Petit mer de Gavres

Sunday 11th September 2016

Following the morning coffee we fill up our water tanks before sailing on to the petit mer des Gavres, which is located between Port Louis and the Ocean shore. Quite shallow but also very sheltered.

We headed into here to have a bit of un spoilt nature around us.

It's not quite as un spoilt as we hoped, on shore the is a former, but now deserted military base.

Still its interesting to see how nature gets a grip on this and salty marshes develop all around.

Some areas are to salty though and look more like moonscapes.

 

Our short walk turns once more into a medium sized hike, but we both really enjoy it, as we do equally with the Diabolo Menthe towards the end. A develish green Peppermint Syrup filled ob with sour lemon lemonade.

Very refreshing.

 

 

Port Louis

Saturday 10th September 2016

 

After a quiet night we point our bows across the bay to Lorient.

 

This middle size town sports once more a huge German submarine bunker from World War II which has been converted in a set of museums.

 

Passing it by foot we feel seriously dwarfed.

 

The most famous among is the Cité de la Voile dedicated to Eric Tabarly. This prime sailing port is equally surrounded by a true cluster of marine companies. The announced westerly winds let us choose the beach right in front of Port-Louis Marina as anchorage.

 

Good holding and very well sheltered. Btw. watch the tides, if you are here under a very high tidal coefficient you'll find very little water there. As long you do not manage to have a rock under you that's not an issue though. Cats love to fall a dry on hard sand.

 

When we decide to take the ferry into town, we get soaked on our food shopping spray. Cressida also needs a caddy to get her stuff home Monday. The afternoon passes quickly and Cressida manages once more to work wonders in the galley. Dinner is a fabulous tasty Lasagne (without an onboard oven quite an achievement).

 

In the morning it's time to refill the water tanks, grab some croissants and head to the adjacent Petite Mer de Gavres. It's Cressida's last day, soon she will head for South America. Weather is nice so she decides what to do today besides her packing up. After a late breakfast we head to shore to explore the very long sandy beach stretch.

 

 

Ile de Groix

8-9th September 2016

 

In the morning the wind has decreased and we find ourselves sailing at a force 4 to 5 towards the Ile de Groix. Wonderful sailing with winds from behind and a long two metre swell. Just what we would've asked for. Few hours later we anchor at the island's north eastern tip in front of a huge sand beach. Franziska swims to shore to check out the sand quality and returns with the positive news that the beach is very, very clean and has indeed very, very fine sand.

It's Friday morning, we move to another anchorage a little bit west of that beach and decide to explore the island by foot. A wonderful long walk takes us to town where we admire the church tower with it's tuna wind vane and enjoy the first ice cream since ... Oh, it's been too long to remember!!!

Super charged by the ice cream we feel fit to face the Trou d'Enfer. We do not know what to expect but just follow the road signs which guide us to a set of spectacular crevasses in the rocky shoreline.

Truely a develish crevice!
Once more we feel very small in this overwhelming scenery. The coastal path takes us along rasperry hedges towards Locmaria and on to the boat.

When we reach our dinghy again we're truly stuffed by all the berries we've eaten that day. Yummy. We dare not to say: We finish off the day with a late night onboard raclette.


 

Ile des Glenans

6-7th September 2016

 


A good night's sleep later we sail towards Les Isles des Glenan. Shortly before we arrive there (10nm from shore) dense fog settles in and it is a rather eerie feeling when we home in on the archipelago. The first of the islands is almost purely sand - coral sand as we're soon to find out and it's surrounded by almost South Pacific like turquoise coloured water. On the beach we find corals as well as plenty of very, very pretty sea shells. Our collector's hearts make a big jump. There's blue sky just over the island and we feel like being dropped into the scenery. About two hours later the fog recedes and we sail over to Ile de Penfret and drop the anchor right on the beach. Franziska takes a snorchel trip along shore before while Cressida warms herself up after a long swim and having cleaned the first part of the water line. As the prediction is for a fair bit of easterly winds we move a little further off the island later before falling asleep.

Wednesday morning sees us passing a rock called La Bombe and anchoring at Ile de Loc'h which looks rather attractive on the charts as it seems to have a nice lake. Hopeful we row to shore and even have our swimsuits with us - the water there must be even warmer than the sea. Much to our disappointment we  find that almost the whole island is in private hand and there is no way to access the lake. Still the walk along the perimetre is nice and we enjoy the rocky shoreline.

Back at the boat as it's a hot summer day, we test our survival suits. We manage to put them on in one and a half minutes (just as perscribed!). It's fun to float in the suits but unfortunately Cressida's suit is leaking at the zip. Not nice as she has just bought it from ebay small ads. The coming night winds are supposed to turn to the west with up to force 6 so we move to the leeward side of Penfret island to enjoy a rather bouncy but wind sheltered night.

 

 

Concarneau

5th September 2016

 

Next morning the flood puts us level again and we head towards Concarneau under sail.Not much wind but half way across the bay it breases slighly up and we have a nice sail.

Instead of going into the main port we settle for the anchorage of Cabellou just starboard of the entry buoys. Lots of boats on mooring buoys, but we can actually drop our anchor right in front of a lovely beach.

Once more we have a smile in our faces when we think that the villas on shore are worth in their millions and we have a similar nice waterfront view for free. The water is so shallow that Franziska moves the anchor closer to shore by foot. Still it's enough to rest afloat. While the bottom looks like pure sand it's actually rock with a small layer of sand on top so it's good to put the anchor by hand in the right spot.

A short lunch break follows and we head with the dinghy to shore and try once more our luck with hitchhiking. Fairly quick we get a lift by a guy who was considering us not being serious to hitchhike. We were serious - and very glad to get a lift into town. He drops us off next to the big fishery installations where the fish get sorted and auctioned off. Quite a fitting start to see this old fisheries town. The main road is lined with very colourful and tropical flower displays. At the post office we receive the parcel with our updated electronic charts back, yahoo. Once more post restante is a helpful system.

 

Our feet take us towards the old town of Concarneau which is surrounded by ancient fortress walls a la Vauban. Very pretty from the outside but unfortunately completely taken over by the tourist trades on the inside. A plus to Concarneau is that all these stupid shops are herded together that way and the rest of towns stays pretty nice without them. Still we take a walk along the remparts (city walls) and move on to investigate a strange looking sailing boat in the marina.

It's a superbly built conceptional "monomaran" which is trying to use foils instead of classic keels to stabilise it. Unfortunately we can't find images of the boat sailing on the web. We continue having a look at the big fleet of 6.5m Mini Transatlantic boats before running some errands in town.

 

On the way out we pass the "Admiral" which is the favourite café of Commissaire Dupin in a French-German crime novel.

When hitchhiking back to the boat we strike lucky another time as one of the Mini Transat sailors gives us a lift right back to the beach. He even takes a detour for us. What a nice chap! Congratulations to him for his success in the weekend's double-handed race: he became 5th out of forty boats.

Back on the boat we enjoy a wonderful sunset and celebrate it with Martini with(out) ice :-( Not enough power for the fridge right now.

 

Pont l'Abbe

4th September 2016

 

After a nice evening stroll over the island (more nature than anything else but pretty!), we decided to move on to a new anchorage and ended up in this little town.

The next morning Cressida takes another wrestling session with the mud before doing her usual jogging round.

This time she's very successful.

 

Pont l'Abbe is small, has a medieval church and a small drying harbour with few mooring buoys. The trip up river from Loctudy is worth it.

Alongside old forest trees and an old hauling path.

 

The day passes relaxed, we explore town, it's sunday and everything is closed but we can update the website once more.

In port we have a nice chat with an anglo-french cruising couple on their two 9m boats.

Next we will go for a little hike on the river banks before heading to Concarneau tomorrow with the the first flood.

Plans are good, but sometimes one changes them. In the evening we left Pont l'Abbe to move on to a truly secluded anchorage along the canal. Nothing but trees and water around us. We hope for a nice hike in the morning, but unfortunately dense fog sets in and we stay on board in a quite calm anchorage (despite the little stream exiting the pond beside us and giving us the chance to experience the feeling of a healed over monohull when we settle on the muddy canal banks.

 

Loctudy (Ile Chevalier)

2nd September 2016

 

A slightly overcast morning sees us taking up the anchor under sail and heading toward the estuary of Loctudy.

On the way we realise our faible for word games: How about a "crap crab crepes" or calling a sailing vessel either "foret clair", "fort eclair" or just as we hear it on the radio over and over again: "Fort et clair". That would surely cause some confusion.

By the way we know that fort et clair means strong and clear reception.

 

At the entrance to the estuary we douse our sails and use our trusty engine to bring us all the way to the end of the bay. We anchor in a pretty and quite remote setting. Following our arrival we decide to explore tomorrow and Cressida gets busy in the galley while Fran replaces the coaming of a port light. A little later it feels like autumn has arrived - fog patches drift in and it's wonderful to have dinner inside. Let's hope there will still follow plenty of sunny days.

 

The following morning Cressida has her take on my mud fighting session in Gravelines many weeks ago.
The improved version of the bucket walk system works well!

Two cushion fenders as skis and one as Pulka style sled.

Quite hilarious but also really cool.

 

 

Guilvinec (Le Stir)

1st September 2016

 

Our great spot in the harbour has one draw back - we have to rise very early if we want to head for Penmarc'h today. Otherwise the tide forces us to stay for another 12 hours. Once outside the harbour we take the dinghy to shore and have a lovely walk along the beach and explore once more Audierne before lifting anchor to cross the bay.

 

The exit offers some more sightseeing - we observe the atlantic swell breaking heavily on nearby sand banks. An enjoyable afternoon sail takes us towards Pen Marc'h. Underway we finally meet some of the sea creatures we have been missing so far. At first we witness a very big tuna jumping out of the ocean in his quest to hunt down some smaller fish. What a sight! It takes us two jumps to realise that he's not a dolphin. Them we happen to see just about an hour later. Hooray! They are really pretty animals but unfortunately today too busy to play with us. As everyone in the water seems to hunt we try our fishing line once more but are a lot less successful. Only sea weed and no fish.

 

Few hours before nightfall we anchor on good sandy bottom on the leward shore of Pen Marc'h - Guilvinec.

 

 

Audierne

31th August 2016

 

After a long sleep we take the boat into the town of Audierne. Much to the surprise of the marina manager we do not take a berth but find a shallow but perfect spot to drop the anchor in port. Even though Franziska thinks we need the Fortress anchor to the back as well to stop us from swinging too much.

The first trip to town follows with visits to the post office and a potential winter storage location for our lovely home Lady Rover (a few days ago it's been decided to let the Biskay crossing and Spain wait until next year). Having done our laundry we are hungry and enjoy a courgette stew followed by homemade Zabaione.

Another nice day draws to an end.

 

 

Anse du Loc'h

30th August 2016

 


As the weather is favourable the next day we sail toward the treacherous Raz du Sein. Our passage is rather calm but we can anticipate how hard the seven year built of the lighthouse must have been.

Few hours later we drop our hook a mile west of Audierne.

To celebrate our arrival Cressida generates more wonders in the galley. First we have an improvised Pina Colada with Cointreau, cream and pineapple juice. Santé! Later this is topped by a grape and pineapple cake. Guess we need more adventurous passages if this is the result ;-)

 

 

Camaret-sur-Mer (Anse de Pen Hir)

29th August 2016

 

Monday sees us finally leaving Brest. But not before exploring it some more. The botanic garden close to the marina is well worth a visit. You find banana trees, bamboo, palm trees and more.

 

Meanwhile we have a local electronic specialist checking the broken AIS - you wonder why? Well, we accidentally got the old unfixed AIS back from Germany instead of a replacement. Next delivery try will be to Lorient.

 

Until the tide turns we enjoy some lovely cider sorbet before sailing through the infamous goulet towards the south western shores of Camaret-sur-Mer. The passage is much nicer than upon our arrival and ghosting into Pen Hir bay is truly impressive. Very steep rock walls towering above us and stealing the remainder of the little wind there still was.  The last mile at sunset we are accompanied by a drone. Shame we don't know who owns it - the pictures must be very nice.

 

 

Rade de Brest

18th August 2016 - 28th August 2016

 

The tide has turned, the wind has died and visibility is good. Around noon we head for Marine du Chateau to fill our tanks. In the afternoon we sail to our anchorage close to Roscanvel. The Roscanvel peninsula will give us perfect shelter for the rough weather predicted for the next two days. Having spent the windy night well sheltered we caught a good night's sleep.

 

Coincidence wants it that Cressida has a good friend on a holiday in Camaret-sur-Mer which is just a longish stone throw away from us. So in the afternoon we row to shore and walk along the beach path through dark purple fields of erica to meet her and her family for dinner. Quite a lively event with three kids, moule frites, steak hachée and vanilla icecream with olive oil and salt.

The following day starts with a boat visit of Camilla, her mum and her lovely three kids Nesta, Rafe and Della. While the wind stops us from going sailing with them they have a lot of fun learning to row, swiming and jumping off the boat. To them the water doesn't seem cold. Once the tide is gone we aim to show them how to catch razor clams - unfortunately without success. Once they're headed home we take a deep breath and use the wonderful weather for a long hike around the whole peninsula of Roscanvel including beautiful views, deep bunkers (Franziska even gets inside one) and forceful foamy waves breaking on the north western tip of "La Goulet". Shortly before nightfall we reach the boat again - exhausted but with a lot of wonderful impressions in our head.

Sunday we declare a working day and do a lot of cleaning and painting inside the boat. In exchange our Monday is much more relaxed but has to start with a morning swing for Franziska, because the shower is freshly painted. The afternoon sees us once more trying to find razor clams. A bit more successful but not sufficient for dinner. The calm evening passes with a lot of reading and computer work.

 

As we still need to wait for a couple of parcels which should arrive by Wednesday we decide to explore the lovely waters of the Rade de Brest a bit more. We cross the bay and drop our hook at Anse de L'auberlac'h. Its a perfect summer day which we pass fairly relaxed despite Cressida being very diligent in cleaning the deck. It's a nice rocky cost line. The tranquility of the place is disturbed occasionally by strange noises. Eventually we figure them out: One of them fits perfectly with our conspiracy theories which have become kind of a hobby since Roscanvel where we were anchored next to the French nuclear submarines. Every day we had the same fishermen in boats and cars passing on shore. Probably they were all disguised secret service agents sent to keep track of the strange two German ladies with their catamaran :-) The admiral responsible for our surveillance now seems to fly over us several times a day by chopper. Are we paranoied? NOOOOO ;-) But on to the other strange and exciting noise: The loud moaning sound over the bay. When we finally realise it's source: It's the French America's Cup catamaran training for next year's cup in the Bermudas. What a sight. An AC45 catamaran fully airborne. The complete crew geared up with crash helmets and plenty of fast RIBs around. What was the sound? The crew putting everything they have into the winches.

 


L'Auberlac'h (23.-24. Aug)

As we still need to wait for a couple of parcels which should arrive by Wednesday we decide to explore the lovely waters of the Rade de Brest a bit more. We cross the bay and drop our hook at Anse de L'auberlac'h. Its a perfect summer day which we pass fairly relaxed despite Cressida being very diligent in cleaning the deck. It's a nice rocky cost line. The tranquility of the place is disturbed occasionally by strange noises. Eventually we figure them out: One of them fits perfectly with our conspiracy theories which have become kind of a hobby since Roscanvel where we were anchored next to the French nuclear submarines. Every day we had the same fishermen in boats and cars passing on shore. Probably they were all disguised secret service agents sent to keep track of the strange two German ladies with their catamaran :-) The admiral responsible for our surveillance now seems to fly over us several times a day by chopper. Are we paranoied? NOOOOO ;-) But on to the other strange and exciting noise: The loud moaning sound over the bay. When we finally realise it's source: It's the French America's Cup catamaran training for next year's cup in the Bermudas. What a sight. An AC45 catamaran fully airborne. The complete crew geared up with crash helmets and plenty of fast RIBs around. What was the sound? The crew putting everything they have into the winches.

 


Brest - Marina Moulin (25.-28. Aug)

A very relaxed and rainy day later we head over to Brest where we anchor between shore and Marina Moulin Blanc. A super sheltered location for a multihull which can easily fall a-dry. We fail to comprehend why there are a few cats in the marina. It costs a fortune and our spot is even more convenient to go to town. The afternoon we do some improvements on the engine sleds (take 3!). Already at our arrival we heared music from shore but were divided about it's source. We need to investigate. On shore it turns out to be a free open air short film festival. We pass the time waiting for the sun to disappear with exploring the marina, drinking Pastis and eating Pizza. The short film festival is very nice, all films are shown in their original versions. Good training for our language skills.

Friday the 26th sees us exploring Brest. But first we tackle Franziska's lost glasses. Turns out there is no such thing as prefab long distance glasses. Eventually we find a very nice optician who kits her out with a bunch of daily contact lenses. It's rather interesting, as Fran has never worn lenses before. Surprisingly they work well and there are no real side effects. Still - she will only wear them when really needed and if the challenge of putting them in will be successful. This is a perfect foundation for SIGHTseeing. Off we go to the famous naval museum in Brest's chateau. We learn about figure heads, all kind of submarines, Brest's huge submarine shelter built by the Germans and the destruction of Brest during the Second World War. Resulting from this Brest has very few old buildings. Still there is a remarkable new one: The cathedral. Built in the 1950s it represents the period's style in a very positive way. The interior is very, very spacious but has no columns at all. Quite extraordinary for such a big cathedral. Following our church visit we climb up the main road heading north which leads us through a multicultural environment of shops and bars. We realise that the relocation of large parts of the military to Toulon was not favourable for the prosperity of the city. There are quite a number of empty shops. Or might it be the result of the new tramway moving people to the shops in the Banlieues? Quite exhausted we stock up on food and have an almost scary ride home with a crazy bus driver.

Saturday finally our mail has arrived in Roscanvel so we cross the bay once more and pick up our parcels at the post office. We must be in Brittany - the post man looks like a character out of "Asterix". Next to Lady Rover is a very pretty restored Fountaine Pajot Louisiane. Turns out it belongs to Patrick who just got back from the Scilly Islands. He recommends them highly and gives us great tips for our pending crossing of the Raz du Sein. What a nice chap. Thanks! When we exit the cabin we spot our own boat quite adrift. Always run the anchor properly in, no matter how short your stay is. Lesson learnt! Patrick gives us a fast lift back to the boat and we head to the Marina de Chateau to refill our water tanks. Once more we are accompanied by the amazing America's Cup catamaran. In the afternoon we head for a big DIY store to get some more bits and pieces.

Unfortunately we're greeted by rain and cloudy skies the next morning. Our perfect location even grants us access to the free marina WIFI so we spend most of the day catching up with computer work. The evening is very enjoyable as Cressida successfully bakes the first real apple cake on board of Lady Rover. Delicious! And that despite having an oven. A frying pan with lid works great as an oven if you have a metal grill to keep the gas flame at a certain distance from the pan.

 

 

 

Passage

Correjou-Brest

17th August 2016

 

In preparation for the todays leg to Brest we lift the anchor early to leave the tidal zone. Unfortunately our actual departure gets hampered by our once more not operating generator. Once this is fixed we sail alont the impressive and very rough and rocky coast line towards Brest.

 

Actually there are so many of these reefs that we decide to go far around them rather than right through the optional route proposed by our charts. Towards the end of the day we pass a rather calm Chenal du Four.Usually a rough tidal race.

 

Once past it the wind breases up and we are facing a rather choppy entry to the Rade de Brest. Wind against tide is never helpful. We even pass some largish standing waves. As visibility has reduced a lot due to pending nightfall and rain we decide to anchor on the north shore of le goulet. Next time it would be wiser to leave a little bit more time till sunset. At 3 o'clock in the morning the standing waves seem to have moved closer and we are also close to kiss the boat next to us. A short notice anchor manoeuvre follows. Luckily it's enough to shorten the rope by 5 meters. Still we maintain an anchor watch.

 

The next morning it's all different.

 

 

Passage

Ile de Batz-Correjou

12th August 2016- 22th August 2016

 

Tuesday we're about to leave for Ile de Vierge. Unfortunately our departure gets a bit hairy as the other boats are closer than desirable for leaving under sail.

Once underway we have lovely wind from the back. A gusty force 5 bft north easterly wind calls for a second reef. Close to our destination we decide to shorten today's cruise by a few miles, as we don't want to get into the twilight zone. Cressida does a wonderful job stearing us through the rock strewn entry to Corréjou.

We finish the day off with Pizza and Gallette and wash it down with real French cider (from the traditional bolée). The whole area is beautiful but seems a little deserted. Most of the tourists must be back in Paris.

 

Isle de Batz

14th August 2016- 16th August 2016

 

After a few hours of sleep we row to shore, take an extended stroll over the beautiful island and have wonderful soft icecream next to the harbour. As usual our small walk turns into a little hike of 7 kilometers. Still, the island is really beautiful and rough. When we're back at the boat she's high and dry and quite a pretty site between all the rock columns.

The next morning we jump back into action. This time it's net-working for both of us. Cressida is fixing a storage net for the galley while Franziska creates a slot at our stairways to the sea (swim ladder) in the trampoline. Afternoon and evening pass quickly with reading and enjoying the distant fireworks over Roscoff.

 

 

Passage

Guernsey to Ile de Batz

13th August 2016- 14th August 2016

 

 

After a nice walk through town with beautiful views from the hill tops we head to the Cornish Bakery for a tasting of the famous cornish pasties and, pardon us for the strange combination, for moccachino frappeés. Much to our surprise there is a table for two right in front of the glass window above the harbour. Beautiful site. And a mediocre free Wifi. We spent some time updating the website before Franziska heads in front of the SURE telephone shop which has a really fast Wifi to offer. She still looks decent enough not to be confused with a beggar. No coins rolling in the hat today. On the way home (to the boat!) which is now moored in Havelot Bay again, we get to see the new Rapier 400 catamaran, courtesy of Multihull World. Our short look from the dock gets the attention of the owner and we get invited to take a closer look. Turns out it's the boat of the owner of Multihull World. Very interesting chat about power systems, fishing techniques and sailing in general. Once our trusty dinghy has taken us back to the boat we want to check once more on the rigging tension. Doing this reveals a big surprise: one of the retainer splint for the genoa furling mechanism has gone missing. Good thing to inspect your rigging from time to time! Once the repair is done the wind has died completely and the tide has turned against us. So we decide to stay another night and reconsider whether Britanny isn't a better next destination.


Saturday morning Cressida notices some high-pitch noise from the shore. Sounds like racing motorcycles. As we have missed to pick up our repaired fender we beach the boat at the west end of Havelot Bay and it turns out there is a hill race with go-karts, real racing cars and special hill racing vehicles happening. We take a quick photo session and Cressida fetches our fender before we finally leave the channel islands heading south for Roscoff. Contrary to what the weather forecast promised we have a nice sail in a force 3 to 4 Bft north westerly. Close to the Sept ile we hear a mayday relay. Someone fired a parachute flare but we're too far off to be off any assistance. As we spot some costal fireworks a little later it might've just been a stupid prank by someone. The night passes calmly. The only disruption - we have to produce some more power with the genset. Some coastal fog patches make us a little bit nervous because the AIS is still not working. Still - the sun burns them away quickly and we reach Roscoff in the morning under sail. So finally our Scillies are spelt B-R-I-T-T-A-N-Y. The Ile de Batz opposite of Roscoff is surrounded by impressive rock formations and we're very careful approaching our anchorage south of the island. Warm temperatures and super clean water are the reward for the night sail!

 

 

Guernsey Take 2

8th August 2016- 12th August 2016

 

Hooray - it's a wonderful day. Yesterday's fog has disappeared & it's a lovely force 4 when we leave Dixcart bay anchorage. As we're over canvased we put the first reef into the main and enjoy once more the full genoa. Luckily Cressida distilled some patience in me and I waited three days with rebooting the Nav PC which is working wonderfully again -despite the cup of coffee which it digested three days ago.

For the first time on this trip we feel some long Atlantic swell underneath the waves formed by the wind. Today the boat is a joy to handle. She clearly profits from the new setup with the centerboard and big genoa.

While Cressida takes the helm towards Guernsey, Franziska has a play with the GoPro cam trying to catch some moving images. The results are still shaky, but we're working on it. Talking about catching - we did tow our fishing line but as usual nobody wanted to grab a bite - maybe we were too fast? A little after noon we reach Havelay Bay. After a little rest from those exciting sailing adventures we take a stroll through St. Peter. Our quest for finding an open supermarket lets us enjoy the friendly helpfulness of a nice young man with green hair and a "Knutschfleck" as well as some tough looking men with lots of tatoos. We find the supermarket closed and instead opt for fresh chips with vinegar from a chip shop brimming under the vibes of the David Guetta concert in Belgium. Looks like people had a lot of fun there. The day terminates nicely on the boat. And - at last the mystery of Cressida's we bunk is solved. Turns out it's not a Pokémon but two, purposely by the previous owner drilled, large holes pumping sea water in from the engine bay.

The next day we jump early into action, close the holes and create another building site chaos on the boat. In the afternoon we take the dinghy to the beach & head to B&Q and the Iceland supermarket. Quite a walk. At B&Q we're once more surprised how little people know about the products they sell. To us it's natural to now about different glues, different paints, gas hoses and so on. Maybe we should opened a qualified shopper service for B&Q clients ;-) The first huge bag pack is half filled as we head to Iceland to fill the other one. By the way - this seems to be the cheapest supermarket in the channel islands. Good prices, friendly people and a great choice of goods.

We get quite some looks, when we lift the roughly 20kg each on our backs. We look like we're about to head up Mount Everest but actually we're under quite some time pressure. Will the dinghy still be there? Once more hitchhiking seems to be the way to go. Just when a young man passes and explains "one doesn't do this over here" Tim and Nadine pull up beside us with their souped up limousine. Cheerful and smiling they give us a really fast ride back home. Even the 2.5m long wooden rails don't slow them down: Thanks so much! You saved us this evening!!! We strike lucky, the dinghy is still there and we don't even get wet feet rowing back to the boat. A lovely dinner prepared by Cressida terminates the day.

Wednesday morning we head for the marina. The water tanks need to be filled and a couple of things require fixing. Once more a leaky centerboard case calls for help as well as a plastic fantastic flexible  tank. Much to the dismay of Franziska it turns out that the little pump which is supposed to pump water 7.5 meters up is not self-priming and needs to be mounted below the water source. Quite a pain in the neck if the tank turns out to be a floor tank! We manage. Once the tank is emptied of the awful plastic water we fill it up with a concoction of baking soda, Clorix (bleach) and vinegar. May this get rid of the pollution. While Cressida hunts for spare parts and starts the washing, Franziska runs the long postponed computer backup before diving into the feat of finally fixing the centerboard case leak which turns out to be a rather longish endeavor.

Around 1.30 at night we're too exhausted to fall asleep and pretend to have a party with Campari on the rocks and lots of crisps in the company of Jethro Tull. The next morning it's another sunny day in paradise, the onboard lounge is only missing the beer cans with rotten cigarette stumps and the headaches are not too bad.

The day passes quick with more shopping and preparation for the passage to the Scillies. May the predicted north easterlies arrive in time. So far it looks like Saturday is the way to go...

 

Sark

5th August 2016- 8th August 2016

 

The rooster hasn't even made a slightest sound, when Cressida pulls up the anchor by hand and we ghost out of St. Catherine's bay by sail. Having crossed the overfall just north of St. Catherine's we have a splendid sail towards Sark. Initially our plan is to drop the hook at La Coupée but it turns out that on the east side there is no path up to the island so we settle for Dixcart bay instead. A relaxed afternoon finds a great termination with pasta a la Sark. See you tomorrow.

Here we go. Bright blue skies, sunshine, hills with lush green: We find ourselves like almost in the Carribean. Today's plan is an extended hike over the island. At first we pass the vineyards and Cressida gets to see the very impressive rockwall of La Coupée. Of course a half Swiss can't resist to descend all the way to the beach. Loaded with beach treasures (a fender and a new jerry can) we return uphill. Boy it's breathtaking in every sense of the word. We hide our treasures close to Sock's Hotel and our feet take us past horse driven carriages, tourists and cyclists to the Seigneur Gardens. While the gardens are quite pretty we are a lead to believe that the award winning gardens on the adjacent island of Herm are even more pretty. But make no mistake - Sark has something to offer as well: From the Seigneur gardens we head to the west coast which turns out to be spectacularly rough and wild. Cressida feels at home with the steep rocky cliffs. Franziska is a little more reserved - which could be caused by the missing guard rails. We both are gobsmacked by the views though. Quite awesome.

On the long way back, we pass the very dusty and a bit disappointing village road and get cheered up again by wonderful local ice cream. Talking of ice cream - the next day we feel like being moved in a time warp from the Carribean to Iceland. The lush green hills are still there, but driving rain, strong winds and fog make the rocky cliffs look very much different. We don't feel an urge to go ashore but busy ourselves on the boat instead. While Cressida rejuveniles our old rusty gas stove, Franziska enlarges the capacity of the compost head.

In the afternoon the weather clears up slightly and a rogue small ferry captain provokes a thorough swearing tirade from both of us. What a jerk!! He passes full spead 25 meters from us throwing up a huge wake without a need for it.

 

 

Jersey

21th July 2016- 5th August 2016

 

After a lengthy & noisy passage under one engine back to Jersey (Birgitta needs to catch a flight), we fill up the petrol (only available in the section of the "locals" part of the marina) and head for a mooring buoy just outside the harbour.

As its Birittas last evening we have a delicious Pizza with Italian beer at pizzeria Romana in town.

The next day sees us with a quick breakfast and off we are to town. Birgitta to catch bus and plane, me to see the town.
Pretty, small, but with a lovely indoor market and fishmarket.


In the afternnon I row over to the castle at the harbour entrance and end up paying 10 Pound entry. To bad I did not know about the ramp at the other end (South!) which I could have easily reached by foot.
The castle itself offers primarely good looks, Castle Coronet on Guernsey has a lot more on offer to be honest.

I tried to anchor the dinghy so that it would still be afloat upon my return but no chance this time. All high and dry this time. Anchor retrieval in mountaineering style.

Still this way I had a nice chat with a now local, scotsman recommending the town of Gorey as next stop.
So the evening sees me dropping anchor underneath Goreys castle.

The first night as singlehander sees me sleep in long in the morning before writing these lines.

Later on I clean the waterline with a hard brush and sand once Lady Rover is high and dry.

Some locals teach me to collect Razor Clam Shells and they are an adventurous dinner after frying them in Garlic butter with Basil and Lime juice.
A glass of champagne matches well before I enjoy home made soft butter toffee caramel.
What a great day!

 

The next few days are busy and fully packed with renovation projects & improvements:

  • Toilet rebuilt & capacity increased
  • Lots of paintwork in galley and bathroom
  • Anchorplate reinforcement
  • ...


One major project was not planned though, fixing the Genset.
Amidst the toilet project the batteries needed recharging and the generator did not start despite refuelling.
Nothing, no movement at all.
I try to pull the cord, bad sign, nothing moves.
Next try, how about oil (it has a mechanism to prent running with too little oil). Then desaster strikes, the moment I open the oilplug I have copious amounts of petrol running into the bilge.
Not good! Petrol where there is oil supposed to be? A startercord which cannot be pulled?
I have things like a broken headgasket & stuck cylinder. The horrors of a mechanic amateur.
Yesterday everything was fine and I switched of as normal.

Few phonecalls give not my hope and I start looking into a Honda 10i as replacement. But roughly 800€.....
Then I receive a call frrom my boyfriend, who has a friend called Mike who suggests that the petrol might have gotton into oil circuit and crancase via a stuck carburator valve.
Hmmm, open knee surgery by me as a engine mechanic?

The 800€ have me give it a shot. Nothing to lose.
Several hours later the next day the thing starts up again. Learned something, never give up & get some advice if you have no sure remedy for an issue.
Thanks so much Mike!

The afternoon I get to see the start of the rowing race Jersey-Carteret. They are all around Lady Rover. What a sight. Unfortunately I drop the phone again & of course, despite the robust casing it breaks the screen. Nooooooooo!
Still this time I am lucky enoughto have a spare phone from Cressida onboard and having saved just 800€ I can bear the repair. Eugen paid 90€ for a similar repair and I learn that I was ripped off in the Netherlands.

The next day sees me venture up to Gorey castle. Wonderful views, an a fascinatig exhibition of holograms of the queen. Feels weird to see her face from a couple of centimeters.
I terminate the lovely afternoon with a longish hike to St. Cathrines Bay.
Coincidently I swam there a few days ago in my quest to catch a lobster. Took about 2 hours and there was no Lobster with me this time.
We'll try again.

Monday sees me getting into St Helier for some shopping and fixing the phone. Good thing I moved the boat into St Cathrines Bay in the evening, 6-7Bft from S-SW expected tonight.

It's Tuesday & Cressida will arrive by ferry in the morning. What a horrible weather she brought along though. Plenty o seasick people on the ferry and a very bumpy night for me.
You can see on the picture showing how the boat tracked around its anchor.

Still, its great to have company again & we forget about the weather, drinking hot coffee & tea and unpacking her stuff & spares for me.
The anchor holds very well though, despite the swell reflecting into the bay.


It's great that St. Helier is not too far and our common hitchhiking debut is very successful as a tourbus gives us a free ride into town. Quite bemusing, with a funny Scottish driver, his in depth local knowledge of the island and lots of old ladies. Even a guy from Switzerland cannot stop us from enjoying the ride. He is trying hard!
In St. Helier we even get delivered right to the doorstep of the laundrette. Once more - what a service! Thanks!

Unfortunately our long walk through severely exhaust-poisoned tunnels to the local hardware store 'Norman's" is in vain, as we find it closed. Still, the return is more rewarding - we passed a beautiful park, stocked up on food and have fresh laundry with us. A very friendly Jersey man is kind enough to relief us from carrying all by foot to St. Catherine's bay and gives us a ride to the dinghy. Thanks so much Simon (and we hope you have a lovely holiday!).

Thursday morning we're greeted by perfect hiking weather. As our boots are made for walkin' we want to explore Jersey's north eastern corner by foot. After a hot coffee we row to shore and scale the 8 meter metal stairs to the foot of Archirondel tower. The tides in Jersey fare amongst the biggest tidal ranges in the world. We pass the lovely Driftwood café and walk along the rocky beach path towards the harbour wall. Passing it, we take a little shortcut which ends up in a jungle of stinging nettles and blackberries. Ouch! We find ourselves more than knee-deep entrenched in them and the steep to very steep hill doesn't make our progress easier. On the last stretch of our "shortcut" ("no, we do NOT turn around") we get help from a man, who uses his chainsaw to cut a path towards us. What a nice exit out of the wilderness. Turns out he was actually clearing out a garden when he spotted us further below and thought he would give these silly girls a hand.

Further on it's easier to stick to the roads towards Rozel. This lovely village has a tiny harbour and gives us the impression of an ancient smuggler's cove. Luckily we live in modern times and there is the "Hungry Man" with wonderful ice cream. On our long return to St. Catherine's we find a fabulous Asian cookbook in a charity bookstore, cross fields in fear of gun-wielding farmers and climb over fences with perceived high voltage power (12V). Back in the bay, the dinghy floats right at the top of the wall and it's an easy row back to our lovely Lady Rover. Today dinner is prepared by Franziska: Hummus and Chorizo Turkish style. Quite delicious but unfortunately Cressida's body doesn't favour Chorizo.

 

Sark

20th July 2016 - 21st July 2016

 

"Petole" as the Frenchman say - no wind.


So we lift the anchor in Havelet bay in the morning and head over to Sark under power. One engine is enough, saves fuel and its not worth the extra 2-3knts the other one adds.
My visitor had initially suggested she could take the ferry back to Jersey when we left there, but when I suggest that to be a real option due to the wind situation in the next 2-3 days she doesn't fancy it. We'll guess we burn a lot of fuel tommorow than.

On the south side there is a big anchorage called "La grande Greve". Beautiful site, steep cliffs enwrap a small sandy beach.
Going to shore with the dinghy is the choice of the day, but one better watches the swell carefully...  1, 2, 3, 4... the seems to be a gap in the sets and we row towards the shore.
Suddendly one more rises to break and accidentally we manage to get the dinghy abeam to it, too late and we get pooped nicely ;-) Two drenched women with a waterfilled dinghy.
Little discussion as to where its better to dry stuff, on the beach or boat, sees me waiting half an hour in wet clothes. Great that at least my phone is waterproof.
Back on the boat I put the headphones into the rice box to dry it. Usually works a treat. In Russia you would actually quickly rinse with Vodka before. The alcohol replaces the seawater & salt and evaporates more quickly.
We only have Martini and replacing salt with sugar seems not really an option.

Half an hour later I head for the island on my own and walk up the very very steep footpath leading to "La Coupee". Big surprise at the top, I was expecting a plateau of lush green fields. They are clearly there, but 6m across from where I arrived on top the cliff breaks equally off on the the other side. A stunning footpath caps this natural rock path. Truely amazing and well worth seeing.


The tide grants me 3 hours before I have to be back at the dinghy and I enjoy a long walk on the dusty streets of the island which are lined by flowers and hedges.Ocaccionally I get overtaken by horse drawn carriages, bicycles or tractors, no cars allowed here.
 
Unfortunately Sark seems more and more overwhelmed by the influence money has in our times, much to the disgrace of the locals I heard.
They were always quite seld dependent and now some rich guys from London start to dominate the future of the island.
The Barkley brothers (as of Barkleys Bank I think), built a huge castle from scratch, which looks so new that we actually feel like its out of a Disney movie.
They also introduced vineyards, something also new to the Island.

The next morning sees me snorkeling along the shores, lobsterstick in one hand, Gopro in the other. The lobsters seem to be still asleep though.
Later we will head back to Jersey for Birgittas drop off.

 

Guernsey

19th July 2016 - 20th July 2016

 

The following morning sees me hunting for a new dinghy anchor, saucepan and other spares while Birgitta takes astroll through town.
Short break on the boat and we take a 1.5 hour bus ride over the island. At 1 pound a true bargain. Especially the rough western coastline is impressive.

Later we visit castle cornet which forms part of the breaskwater.

Quite bemusing I meet the castles caretaker for real, bemusing as he was at lenght in a movie I've seen on the channel islands.
He's an interesting guy with wealth of knowledge on the fortifications built by the Germans during the occupation.

In the evening we drop anchor just south of the marina. Very well sheltered from the westerlies.

 

After nightfall we test the TV for the first time, I had promised Birgitta a movie on the Channel Islands.

Courtesy of modern times it comes via streaming over the mobile to the screen.

Works a bliss and she knows now why it was so funny for me to meet that guy for real.

 

 Passage

Jersey - Guernsey

19th July 2016

 

What a windy night.

 

Not to bouncy though as there is little fetch to built waves. West Force 5 gusting to 6 lets us hope to for a fast ride over to Guernsey.
We start with the second reef (Lady Rover is overcanvassed, so we need to reef more early than others) but after 2 hours later there is hardly any wind left.
So we go very slowly towards Guernsey which we reach in the afternoon under scortching summer heat. 32 degrees C, horray, feels like Italy.
Guernsey Marina tells us that they allow the boats over their sills from 17:15 onwards, so we drop anchor two bays to the south and enjoy sunbathing & swimming.

Arriving in St Peter port we get guided to a number of floating visitor pontoons. Our place for tonight. Unfortunately there is no power on these pontoons and you need a very long hose if you want to refill water. Luckily there are some frenchmen which are equally happy to refill by combining there hoses with mine.

Despite that they claim otherwise, turns out the Marina Personnel is much less friendly than in Jersey.

 

 

Jersey

15th July 2016 - 19th July 2016

 

Boat cleaning and a nice sundowner accompanied by Lucio Dalla's "Caruso" to follow my arrival. N8N8. 

Around midday I pick up Birgitta in St. Helier bay, she will join the ride for few days. The afternoon sees us going shopping for provisions before dropping anchor in beau port bay.
As we have very little wind the next day we only sail for a few hours the next day and enjoy the summer weather. In the evening I take the dinghy to shore and hike up the cliffs. The view from up there is truely stunning, especially in the evening light. Looks like beeing in the Caribbean.

Strong easterlies are forecasted so its off to Saint Ouen's bay on Jerseys west coast. Usually a surfers paradise but not so if the wind comes from the east.
Still there is some surf and to get ashore directly by dinghy is not advisable. So, Lady Rover stays half a mile out, we anchor the dinghy just of the surf (the tide is running in for few more hours) and we swim with two watertight bags to shore.
A brief chat with the lifeguard (looks like out of a movie!) and our hiking boots take us on a rocky coastal footpath to the islands western tip. To get to the starting point of the path we catch a ride with two friendly drivers.

What about dinner? Tide is still far to much up for the pending swim to the dinghy.
"El Tico" is the right choice for us and we dive into delicious seafood pasta and lobster salad before diving into the big blue.
Oh and by the way their warm sticky toffee pudding with vailla ice cream is wonderful too!
To fight off the calories lets go for an ocean swim? Brrrr its cold!
20 minutes later I reach the dinghy (don't think about sharks Fran!! I am one of the victims traumatised by the movie "Jaws") and row it very close to shore so that Birgitta can hop on board. What a good workout, the wind picked up considerably ;-)
In retrospective I would not risk that at that daytime again. Had I been cought by a rip current I would have had a hard time reaching shore again. Not a clever thing with strong offshore winds and pending nightfall.

 

 

Solo passage

Ommonville - Jersey

15th July 2016

 

It's another early rise, but Neptune and Aeolus are grateful with me.

Calm weather for passing the infamous "Alderney race". A half moon keeps the current at bay further.
"The Alderney race" or the "Raz Blanchard" as the French call it, is one of the strongest tidal currents and can reach up to 12kn.
Very impressive, especially as its close to a rocky shore and my trusty Lady Rover does 7.5kn max under engine in calm waters.
What is not so nice is that the battery has run flat over night so that I have to use the mobile to navigate through this.
So the engines and genset accompany me on this passage. Engines, as there is very little wind. Still, better calm like this than wind against current in such a location.
9 o'clock I'm well passed the Raz and have only seen very little of its fury.

Early afternoon I pass the old German watchtower on Jerseys north eastern tip and drop the anchor a little later in the "Le Portelet" bay on its southern coast. It's quite small and on its western side where I am a true multihull anchorage. Not enough space and depth for larger monohulls. They'd need to go to the east of the old watchtower. Extremly beautiful rocky coastline, warm weather and sunshine. Smiles on my face!!

 

 

Solo passage

Barfleur - Ommonville

14th July 2016

 

The sail over from Barfleur is longish but far more relaxed than hoped, as the strong westerlies died down considerably during the morning. I hug the shore closely in the vicinity of the lighthouse of the "Phare de Gatteville" lighthouse. Further out there is the overfall called "Raz de Barfleur" which made my life difficult yesterday afternoon.
Inshore you can catch a return eddy of the tide though, which helps moving me towards Cherbourg.


Close to Cherbourg appear about 120 spinaker sails from the North East. Beautiful sight!

It's "Bastille Day" the French national holiday.


A beat up the north western coast of the Cotentin takes us to Ommonville. Perfect spot to take the first ride through the "Raz Blanchard" in the morning.
The bay is quite pretty but at the faint distance (not visually dominant) topped by the nuclear power plant of Cap de la Hague.
Holding is mediocre though as the bottom seems to be rocky with kelp in between.
I'm surprised to be the only cruising boat here, thought it would be a very crowded anchorage.

 

Possibly everyone else heads for Alderney instead?

I would take the same choice would the wind have a northerly component.

 

 

Barfleur

10th July 2016 - 14th July 2016

 

In the evening I watch the final game of the euro soccer championship. Surprisingly the French are not very emotional about it, even as the Portuguese win.
Must be the "northern" French mentality.


Few very windy days let me rewire lots of electronics.

Better now, BUT, I roasted the costly AIS box on the way. Not good at all.


Anyway, Barfleur is a nice calm little village and good stop in between.

 

On the 13th of July I try to sail around the next cape, but the "Raz de Barfleur" kicks up such a nasty short wave that I return for one more night.

 

 

Solo passage

Saint Vaast la Hougue - Barfleur

10th July 2016

 

SW to SWS up to foce 7 tonight. So what do I do?

 

The sail over from St. Vaast is short and the 5-6 blowing from shore help me nicely along. While the wind kicks up some waves in the bay of St. Vaast, there is very little fetch here as I can sail close to shore.
Just to the north of Barfleur's drying harbour I drop the hook in a shallow bay called "La grande greve". Very good holding and only a small sailboat on a mooring.
No need to go into port at all.

 

 

Saint Vaast la Hougue

08th July 2016- 10th July 2016

 

Admittingly I slept in this morning, and, surprise surprise, I got a penalty for that.

After a longish row with the dinghy I found a nice spot on the beach beside a traditional boatyard. Just make sure the drop of the ramp is steep enough there otherwise yiou find yourself dragging the dinghy a long way to the water upon your return.

It did not happen to me (this time!).

 

Still, I mentioned a penalty - the marketin town center must have been pretty, but, I missed it. Shame on me!

Instead I checked the public transport to Bayeux and took a long walk.

I visited the small Seafarers chapel. Quite sobering for a seagoing person. Most of the missed persons or fishermen taken by the sea died in the months November til March.

Good thing its July now. Still, I will be careful.

 

Walking along the shore on the old fortification wall I see people enjoying their summer holiday taking a bath and lounging in the sun. Looks almost like on old pictures, but the bathing costumes are a bit more skimpy these days.

 

When walking around Vauban's tower I learn that it was built to the same time as the one on the Ile Tatihou. The purpose was tp protect the anchorage better from the English fleet. Vauban clearly understood that it is fairly sheltered from the typical westerlies and builtr these two towers so that their canons could control the bay.

 

An ice cream and a "tarte Normanne" later I feel strong enough to brave the waves and winds against me on the way back.

Got quite a few bemused views leaving. Where in earth is this blonde lady with the dinghy heading?

You guessed it, home sweet home.

After a proper sundowner (Martini Spritz) and dinner the waves die down and I decide to tackle the centerboardbox once more.

I know that the turningblock had ripped off because I had it open this morning. When I called the block manufacturer they said its an old block model and not available as three sheave configuration.

So what now? I decided to throw out the tackle system inside the box and to mount a spare winch instead.

The whole operation felt like open heart surgery. The top edge of the box is only 20cm above the waterline. Needless to say I thorougly filled up the bilge which saw me cleaning up until two o'clock in the morning.

By the way there is one thing you do not want to do. Have your finger thoroughly jammed in an open centerboard box and no means to call for help close by.

I got it out under a lot of pain and had to think of the guy who had his arm stuck in the rocks on a wilderness trip. Eventually he cut it off. He survived.

Good thing I did not have to take such drastic measures, still the knives where reachable, the phone not. Guess I learned that lesson.

Luckily the pain ceased after a while. All my accumulated bruises make me a hot candidate for the competition Miss Smurf 2016 come x-mas...

 

A test showed it works in principle, but the winch needs new pawls first. Trying to find those for now, a bit tricky as there are no manufacturer logos on the winch.

 

 

Solo Passage

Le Touquet Paris Plage - Saint Vaast la Hougue

07th-08th July 2016


After some contemplation I decided to sail directly to the Cotentin (Cherbourg Peninsula).
The primary reason was the weather forecast which called for sunshine and light SW wind.
This way I could head directly for Saint Vaast this way while I would have had to tack my way to Dieppe.
I was also told that the way from Dieppe to Cherbourg can turn out to be quite tedious due to the predominant westerlies.
The coast between Le Touquet and Le Havre offers also only limited shelter and is not sooo interesting.

I will visit Bayeux by train than.

The 120miles solo passage was fairly relaxed, left a 2:30am into a moonless night. First third of the passage we had 8-10 knots of wind than next to nothing, followed by a few more of these two variations.
At times I ghosted along, just could not stand the engine anymore.
Late afternoon I was hoping to see neptune or Poseidon around as I was crossing from the eastern toi the western hemisphere. Guess they had more important things to do at the Equators.
Still, the sent some soft candy and you can clearly the dragons have a different color in the west!

We had a moonless night an the starlit sky 40miles out was just spectacular especially as it reflected in a sea looking like molten lead.
Felt a bit like some scenery of the movie "The life of Pi".
There was very little traffic and the Autopilot allowed me a few 20-25minute naps. As power is still a bit of an issue (the main computer still runs from the inverter) I used an Android App called Sailgrib on my phone instead for the offshore part. Worked a charm.

Early mornings have some nice atmosphere to them to, especially if you are quite tired and your senses are hypersensitive. I do enjoy those moment but hate beeing tired to be honest. Normally I am a nightowl though, which helps me to get fairly good to 2-3am in the morning.

I reached Saint Vaast around 9 am dropped my anchor and when I saw all the "peche promenade" boats pooring out of the harbour I knew it was time to head in for me.
Luckily the fuel station has a waterhose too, so I left with 120 liter of fuel and 550liters of water.
Bigger tanks give you more autonomy from ports and marinas.
In my case I dropped the hook about 400m of the harbourwall. Horray, once more escaped marina fees and camping site atmosphere!
Few hours of sleep later I planed to head to town but thew dinghy engine played up again. I could not turn it first. Managed to free it and it ran for 2-3 seconds before dying again.
You guessed it-still working on it.
Must be the real reason why Germany lost against France in the UEFA semi-finals. I was not in town ;-)

 

 

Le Touquet Paris Plage / Take 2
03rd July 2016- 07th July 2016


After few nice days in Nuremberg I reached Etaples at around 16:00 hours, just as planned.
I had just unfolded my hitchhiker sign for Le Touquet and Agnes was the supporter of the day. Got a ride directly to the Centre Nautique.
Low water so I could carefully find my way through the first 3m of soft mud before walking back over a hard sand seabed to Lady Rover.
It must have been windy! One of the mooring lines had broken and I was very happy to have rigged one of my own in anticipation before I left.
Apart from that is fine.

The next day saw me paying mooring fees 160€ for a drying buoy for 10 days where a reduced rate butr still felt a bit like a rip-off. I have to admit though, a big buoy brings some peace of mind if you see the tide rushing in at this place. 5-6kn! Really impressive!!
The afternnon I rebuilt the autopilot traveller. I'm still very greatful to the guy at http://www.pfeiffer-marine.de/ who gave great support and made it possible that the replacement parts reached me in time before departing to Nuremberg.
Turns out their ballbearing X-Type track is only good when used under tension. Do not use it under pressure.
Now I have a Genoa track system with low friction bearing and it works brilliantly.

I also mounted electrical terminals to the mast and stays (not to the shrouds, they are made from Dyneema) so that we can drop some heavy gauge wires into the ocean in a thunderstorm.

Not sure if it will help a lot, but at least it will reduce the risks a bit.

 

 

Le Touquet Paris Plage / Take 1
21st June 2016- 26th June 2016

 

Lovely backdrop. White dunes, large sandbanks and all garnished with lush green hilltops.

 

I consider using my own anchor but get guided to a mooring buoy. When witnessing the tide rushing in again a few hours later, I understand the importance of using them. The water arrives like a river. About 5-7kn tidal stream I guess. No way to outrun that. If you get cought in it you'd have to swim to wherever it takes you.

 

After a day of paintwork (Sybilles aft bunk on port side) Cressida is back. Horray! When I want to pick her up at midnight the next failure haunts me. Dinghy outboard refuses to turn. In Breskens it worked wonderfully.
Before taking it to an engineer I luckily ask at the Centre Nautique and get a very helpful hand from Gaiton. Turns out that the piston is stuck. Possibly be caused by turning off the engine when very hot. Let it idle after hard work to cool it down.
By filling the engine with oil through the spark plug he manages to free it. Always use rather to much than to little oil. He even gifts me with a suitable wrench from his own tool chest. THANK YOU!!!!

 

After a day of organizing the boat  & testing the bread making machine (awesome piece of kit, Cressida!) Sybille arrives from my old hometown of Regensburg.
Crew complete!
The plan is to head south tonight. When in a tidal location It’s usually best to leave a known location at nighttime & arrive at the new spot in daylight hours. Just that much more easy to spot buoys & channel markers.
We spent a great day hiking, reading, swimming and enjoying the lovely weather.

 

Highlight of the day was unwrapping Eugen’s spare part box.
Not only a new phone but also lots of sweets and as a special surprise, a bottle of Aperol.
Really feels like summertime x-mas. Thanks sooo much-you're the best!
Now we also have a metal box to put the electronics in during thunderstorms and some wires as lighting protection. No guarantee it will work, but it puts the mind a bit more at ease.

By nighttime it takes 20 minutes for dense fog moves in.

 

After a wonderful dinner with "Salicorne aux noix de anacardier" we settle for a hunt for salted caramel ice cream instead.
In the 6th bar we succeed few minutes from midnight & just in time to reach the boat a dry feet.
The next day we get to sleep in and enjoy the wonderful seashells and seals on the banks. Le Touquet is really worth a visit after the rather boring coastlines up north.

In the evening, knock knock, the next bottle of champagne arrives ;-)
Andre, a local fisherman with a big power cat, arrives to inspect the boat and its female crew. Of course he gets invited for dinner and we learn a lot about living in Normandy and Brittany.

 

Shortly later we rise at 03:00 to go sailing, luck has it, that our new friend leaves at the same moment with his 12 guests so its much easier to exit the channel.

 

Following the easy passage out into the open, wonderful weather greets us, though the wind is from the west. At lunch time we take a little break, we cannot reenter before high tide. Nice lunch, bobbing up and down like a cork ;-)

 

On return we surf the waves under genoa alone. There’s no point in speeding though, the channel needs to fill up before we are close to shore and I do not like the idea of waiting at a lee shore with winds gusting 5-6Bft.

 

Back home we enjoy a perfect dinner onboard, courtesy of Andre (lieu jaune poisson freshly of the hook!), Cressida (home made Gnocci)  and Sybille (freshly harvested Salicorne).

 

How wonderful to have good friends!

 

Now I’m off for a few days, Sybille offers me a nice ride home to see my boyfriend. Horray!!

 

 

Solo Passage

Boulogne-Le Touquet Paris Plage

20th June 2016

 

Leaving in a bit of a rush! In the morning I realize that the weather is turning a bit foul in the coming days. The industrial harbor, its harbor fees and the outlook to change for the beautiful scenery of the bay of Etaples make it easy though.
Le Touquet is only accessible at high water though.

 

So this time it’s the engines pushing me against the wind and we reach Le Touquet at the last minutes of the high water window.

 

The buoyed channel is currently to the north east of Merida buoy. Something worth mentioning, as the chart shows the entrance to the south. Good thing I did not arrive at night.

 

 

Boulogne

19th June 2016


Late evening arrival in this big industrial harbor. Kindly I’m allowed to stay in the outer yacht basin which is official destined for larger yachts.

23€ a night-not sure if I’ll stay long even though their aquarium is apparently well worth a visit.

 

 

Solo Passage

Gravelines-Boulogne

19th June 2016


Around midday I leave Gravelines with an onshore force 5. As usual nicely reefed. Why that, you might ask?
Well, Lady Rover is over canvassed to move also in a small breeze. I am happy with it, but the result is that one needs to reef earlier than most boats. Not a big deal & tacking gets easier under the runners. No need to remove them then.
Close to Calais the wind starts to reduce and when we pass the main ferry port I even need to call a ferry via the VHF to see where they will pass me.
No problem he replies, we will pass way ahead. Few more ferries make sure I am a tad nervous ;-)
Cap Gris Nez lives up to its name, drizzle and fog. Passed the cape, I finally put an engine in motion to get me to Boulogne before the tide turns again.

 

 

Gravelines18th June 2016

 

Rob recommended Gravelines as a first nice port in France. To me it feels like coming home. Having lived in Juan les Pins for a number of years, I do speak the language and love the French way of life as well as their mentality.

I am aware that my mooring spot falls dry but the urge for fresh croissants & café au lait is bigger. And after all one can walk to the boat later, no ;-) ?

I find the town nice with a small market and take my coffee at the Café Centrale.

Rain hampers further ventures but I take a look at the Fort Vauban and walk up to a small marina to get a thinner spectra line for the self steering system. They send me on to www.bcm-catamaran.com. Where I find the right line as well as very friendly people. They even have some old forestays for free so that I can lock the dinghy in the future.

Upon returning by hitchhiking I find the boat high and dry, roll up my jeans and five steps later find myself more than knee deep in the finest high quality harbour mud. Jikes!

While some people smile at my mishap others warn me from shore. No need, I turn back. 8 hours of waiting follow, at first in a café and later at the sea wall.

Turns out its not boring at all. The café offers web access, the sea wall a lot of curious people talking with me.

The pinnacle is 77 year old Leon returning later with a bottle of Champagne and a bag full of best wishes. MERCI BEAUCOUP!!!

 

Solo Passage
Blankenberge-Gravelines

17th June 2016


Weather is perfect and so I leave at an hour past midnight, direction Calais. From an englishman I understood that Calais is closed for yachts, due to some construction works so I aim for Gravelines, a drying tidal harbor.
Wind from behind, moonlight, small waves and starlight make this well worth. Just magic to be pushed along gently under stars. Could be a bit warmer though.

 

Only issue in the morning is, that I try to adjust the position of the starboard engine on its sled. Suddently I have 40kg of engine in my hand and the sled 30cm below. So glad the waves are small, after a few exciting minutes I can resettle it properly.

 

About midday I get to swap the Belgian for the French flag. Quel Bonheur! Having lived in France for a couple of years it feels like coming home.
Looking forward to lovely towns, friendly people and delicious food.
Still, some mean black cloud is hovering between Dunkerque and Gravelines. While a few fully crewed sailboats pass me joyfully I put in a double reef and feel a bit over careful - noooot right!!

 

The moment I pass the breakwater I have over 30knts of wind, all exactly from the other side as before. This is typical for thunderstorms and squalls. They tend to suck in energy at their front before smacking you.
The reef is perfectly right and I get to sail fast with almost no waves. I am spared the thunderbolt and lighting too, before dropping anchor in front of Gravelines after the show.

Couples of hours sleep and I can move into port.

At 22 hours I drop anchor on the port side of the channel right in front  of the small marina Port Grand Fort Philippe.
Perfect spot for a catamaran, and, free of charge.

 

Blankenberge & Brugge

 

Blankenberge has an easy accessible well sheltered harbour.

Looking forward to Begian food: Waffles, chocolate, French (Belgian!)-fries, beer..).
The close by city of Brugge is also well worth a visit.
Blankenberge is in parts a bit run down, but a lot of closed clubs feed the impression, that there is a lot of party life going on when the Belgians are at holiday.
It’s the European soccer championship and while the crowd enjoys public viewing, I enjoy their noise allowing me to modify the engine sleds and mount exterior VHF speakers until late at night.
Soccer is not really my cup of tea, still I might watch the finals, who knows.

Talking of the engine sleds, they caused a bit of excitement today. When turning in the narrow harbour basin with wind from behind one engine raised and I found myself alongside a yacht. Luck had it my big fenders where still out. Turns out the sled had bent.

The next day I have the local yard weld some reinforcement struts onto them before spending the night finishing their repair. A small bathroom is a plus if you need a temper oven for the epoxy to cure fast.
All good now, works a charm.

A short train ride took me to the wonderful city of Bruges or Brugge as it’s called in Belgium. A bit touristy, but very pretty with lots of historic houses and churches. Most of the churches are catholic as Belgium was the catholic part of the Netherlands when the Spanish had invaded the Netherlands in the 17th century.

There is even a famous relic in town. A glass vial with blood of the Lord. Catholics flock up some stairs take a glance and are expected to give a decent donation for their enlightment.

Must be the power of religion once more.

Still, each one as they please, as long they do not impose their will on others.

 

Solo Passage
Breskens-Blankenberge

 

Sailing to Blankenberge is only a short sail with proper wind and current. A few beach cats circle around me. Very nice! I remember that being lots of fun too.
How different the Belgian coastline is though. No nature, but only apartment blocks. Not really what I am after.

 

 

Breskens

 

In Breskens I drop my hook at the old spot, but a Rijkswaterstaat vessel asks me very polite (We are in the Netherlands after all!) to move 2.5Nm further to the east as to not to interfere with the dredgers.
No sweat.
Lovely new setting close to some nature protected sand banks.
I anchor just west of two yellow buoys on 2-3m water at low tide.

The next day passes with marking the anchorropes (Nail polish is the cheapest paint you can get in several colours!) and fixing the engines.

Kosten Marine really knows what they are doing. Turns out that one engine inhaled a fair sip of seawater while the others control cable issue can only be adjusted via a set screw half way down the leg. Both issues where nothing I could have fixed easily.
Now I know.

Before leaving the harbour again, I have a long talk with Rob from the US and an hour later he stops at the boat and gifts me with a cruising guide for the French coast. Bit dated but the harbours are still there.
Thanks so much! What a nice example of cruiser community spirit.

 

 

Solo Passage

Breskens-Zeebrugge-Breskens


I leave Breskens for the short sail to Zeebrugge but cannot leave early enough to catch the tide, so I have to sail against it. Not much fun especially as it breezes up towards the evening.

In Zeebrugge I find the Port Control not very friendly and helpful.
They know that I have an issue with one of the engines (won’t start despite ignition working & fuel available), but still let me wait over 30minutes outside until one big ferry leaves.
I saw the ferry on the AIS and letting me enter the outer harbor would have not been an issue at all.
Then I inquire which of the locks I should use to enter the canal (my guidebook & charts are not precise on this) and the port control guy is less than friendly again. Man, go home, your shift must have been way to long.

Due to the engine, I decide to pull into the marina after all. Despite the helpful hand of Benoit, the harbourmaster, none of the Belgian engine mechanics is willing to fix the engine on a short notice.

The next day I head back to Breskens. Perfect sailing conditions with the current in my direction are the reward.

 

 

Breskens

 

Stupid enough it’s Saturday and I will have to wait to Monday at least.
Sunday I take a relaxed day reading and integrating computer fans in the old solar vents.

 

I also smoke under heavy coughing the last joint. Perfectly legal here, but the Belgian and French authorities are not keen on any imports.
As a non-smoker I smoked a total of 3 ;-) during my 2 year stay in the Netherlands.


Turns out the mobile shops in Vlissingen are closed on Monday. Horray 30km bus ride to Terneuzen ahead.
Turns out to be rather amusing. I'm the only passenger in the minibus, the driver goes fast and I should probably not talk to him as he turns around 180 degrees when replying while I face the narrow streets.
Still when I exit he refuses me paying and hands me his number instead ;-)
Again friendly Dutch people around. An elderly couple shows me the way from the bus station to the computer store.
One feels quite naked without Google Maps these days. Pretty bad, but that’s the way things are.
After few hours my phone feels healthy again and the telephone man seems really diligent and focused.
Unfortunately it plays up again a day later. Only works when charged on the mains. 160€ for a new touchscreen and still a broken phone. Damn' it. Will have to sent him the phone as I do not want to loose another day.
Now I have to wait for the new one, which will arrive on the 23rd with Sibylle. At least I am lucky, Eugen still has a spare.

 

 

Solo Passage

Scheveningen-Breskens


Leaving Schevening in fog around 7 in the morning feels good. The high winds receeded and I have some other yachts as company.
As its foggy, I am so happy to have an active AIS system and working VHF on board when passing the busy Maas entry area. This is the approach area to the huge Rotterdam Europort & not to be messed with.
In one of the waves stirred up by the big ships the primary phone drops and stops working. Damn it!!!
It’s my main system to communicate with home and to receive weather info.
I will push on to Scheveningen to get it fixed.

For now I have a working GSM usb stick left though. So I can sent email and look up the weather. What a strange world. Voice communication seems so much simpler, no?
Close to nightfall I pass Vlissingen and drop anchor just east of Breskens marina.

 

 

Scheveningen / Den Haag


Nightowls like us (Yes we keep on chatting ‘til daybreak!) have breakfast when others have lunch. Ours is at the south beach. Nachos & Co. Guess we both need a partner in crime to enjoy junk food.
A little later we meet a good friend of Cressida, Boris, Surfer at heart, be it winter or summer brrrr-tooo coooold!
Boris helps us to the shops with his van and helps to try to fix the outboard bowden cable adjustment (a final solution will not kick in before Breskens though)!

Nicky a former collegue of mine from my time with www.newcruise.de has now a superb restaurant called Lieverd in Den Haag (http://www.restaurant-lieverd.nl) and was kind enough to support me with receiving my chart package from Germany. Big thank you Nicky!


We spent a nice evening with Boris and his wife and homemade cashew pesto and pasta. Thanks!
I’m quite sad the next morning, when Cressida leaves again. Its always difficult to migrate from multitude to solitude. Loneliness is usually in between. Still, Den Haag is nice and the Mauritshaus well worth a visit.
A long walk takes me back to the beach (Fog!).


Following another day of fixing and mounting equipment its time to head south.

 

 

Crewed Passage

North Sea Canal-Ijmuiden-Scheveningen

 

Running up the north sea canal was not really exciting apart from Amsterdam city center. We even resisted the temptation to put the autopilot in operation and play Russian roulette with the electric cables below (they sometimes induce failures by modifying the magnetic field as I learned in Kiel canal.).

Still we had a good time & lots of opportunity to talk and fix things on the boat. As it turns out, we are both not afraid of a torque wrench or epoxy.  What a great base for discussing long term projects.
So we both shun the idea to enter Ijmuiden Marina and rather raft up alongside on a barge.

 

What a match in colours (my “deformation professionelle” as the French would say) the barge is grey and orange as well ;-)

The next morning the friendly Dutch captain digs around us until we rise and then kindly asks us to move a few meters.

No question we do follow his request immediately. Especially as he understands that we have no urge to go into the Marina. The afternoon we mount the new system to control the autopilot remotely.

Looks like it’s working. Great!

To improve our spirits the dense sea fog and boisterous winds are to disappear by the next day.

At last we pass the locks, pull into the Marina for few hours and buy a new bottle of gas for the cooker.

First test for the aluminum carriage frame, called a “Kraxe” in Germany.

Looks lovely, no?

On to our first day of sailing. Some remaining swell puts the stomachs to a test. The afternoon we enjoy a nice ride though 5-7knts speed over ground & happy faces make the fly invasion (literally thousands!) disappear.

The last daylight and we enter port. Luckily there are some floating docks at a construction site & we can avoid the unnecessary marina. 20-30€ per night for power, water and sanitary utilities not what we need. We have 550L of freshwater, solar panels and a shower onboard.

Wish marinas would offer some docking space for people like us. Just dockspace without services at a reduced rate. Sometimes I’m inclined to wish the good ‘ol times back.

 

Durgerdam/Amsterdam

 

200m Opposite from me is a very nice looking bar called Pier 73 and I call Cressida to let her know that we should meet there.
Shortly before the sun gets down she arrives and we can enjoy a first sundowner together.
Strange we do not know each other but it feels like we know each other for years. Great! Welcome on board!
Few drinks and “Bitterballen” later, everyone retires to their bunks.

In the morning we get impressed by some Dutch crews wearing shorts, enjoying a swim.  Brrrrrr- toooo – coooold!
A short walk to stretch our legs and we put the engines in motion towards Amsterdam city center. Another big European capital I get to see this way. So far it’s been Hamburg as well as Istanbul at day and night.
We even get the
company of the latest huge cruiseliner, Koningsdam (296m length) for some time.

At times about 200m from us - tranquilo, as the Spaniards would say.

Quite bemusing if one considers the amount of fuss some ports put on small boats when such a vessel is under way.

 

Solo Passage

Hoorn-Durgerdam


Once more I pull up the anchor around midday. The sailing sees me cleaning the boat intensely.  Tonight my possible long term crew Cressida will join us.
Surely we need to make a great first time impression!
I wash all the carpets and hope for enough sunshine to get them dry until we reach Amsterdam/Durgerdam.


Lovely sailing despite this and we even dodge the thunderstorm lurking south east of us.
The Markermeer lighthouse must be one of the most pretty around.


3 Hours from sunset I pull into the wonderful anchorage just north of the entry to Amsterdam.
Pretty shallow here, but great for multis and traditional Dutch flat bottom boats.

 

 

Hoorn

 

I anchor just south of Hoorn Marina. Good holding and well protected from waves, but with a strong offshore breeze this evening.

 

A Martini sundowner supports my quest to fabricate some blocking diode for the Genset battery.

Unfortunately its way undersized and melts almost despite the homemade copperwire heatsink.

Proper blocking diodes cost money which is a little dire onboard. Will have to find another solution.

It’s important to be able to use the battery to start the engines or genset when the housebank is empty.

Guess a separate starter battery is what is called for.

The next morning sees me exploring Hoorn. This is the very place from which Cape Hoorn has its name!

There is a lot of maritime history attached to the city and you can clearly see its prosperity leading back to the famous times of the East India Trading Company.

Very pretty town – even though it seems a little strange to use churches for restaurants and art exhibitions.

It does not offend me to much though, I am not very religious.

 

Solo Passage

Harlingen-Stavoren-Hoorn


Few days later I leave Harlingen, pass the Tsjaerke Hidde Sluis a last time and point the bow into sunshine and towards the south.

Takes me 1-2 hours though, to get into the solo habit again.

The Harlingen police RIB accompanies and we have a nice chat before I reach the Ijsselmeer bridge & lock.

Once more I am very impressed by the Afsluitdijk. A 32km long dam separating the tidal waters of the North Sea from the tidal free Ijsselmeer.

The Ijsselmeer greets me with 4Bft from behind and the new genoa turns out to be wonderful for the boats helm balance. Good job Sebastian. Pretty happy with Sailselect Germany & Rolly Tasker Sails.

Towards sunset I drop the hook just south of Stavoren.

The next day sees another great sail to Hoorn, including the passage of the locks at Enkhuizen.

Finally we can outpace similar sized monohulls with the help of the new foresail.

 

Harlingen

 

Lots of work ahead!


New compost toilet, NMEA interface, wind instrument, genoa rigging….. Thankfully I have my most helpful and reliable supporter, Eugen, with me.
It is truly wonderful to have a boyfriend on my side which supports me in any situation and venture to the max.
To bad he cannot join the ride this time due to pending knee surgery.

We are lucky the weather is kind enough when I have to go up the mast a number of times & when Eugen changes the oil on the outboards lower leg.
Sonja supports with new wave deflector skirts, Bram with some last minute welds and the yard next door is so kind to keep grinding to a minimum. All helpful and very friendly.  I really learned to love the Dutch people.
They are always a cheerful, friendly and happy bunch.

 

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