Gales, squalls and overfalls

Tom Fenton and Faith Ressmeyer
Thu 7 Jun 2012 18:07
49 35.200N 001 15.749W.

Three days of challenging and exhausting sailing. Yesterday we were caught in a vicious squall with pounding rain and 0 visibility. Spectacles just won't do in a storm. When we came out the other side we were in sun but Force 7+ for 3 hours. We were well reefed but Beowulf was really thumping and pitching and we got dozens of spray soakings. We decided to turn the engine on for entry to St Vaast our destination at last. It spluttered and died. Either water in it or stirred up sediment. Tacked and tacked, wind having changed direction and then it died too. Good reefing practice day for Tom.

This was our third day of sailing into night time. Knew we wouldn't make it to harbour. But because so long a trip, 'adverse' tides which were now favourable kicked in and I steered a course to miss shallows while Tom took sails out again. We contacted the French coast guard to see if it was safe to anchor outside St Vaast but in view of more gale force winds on the way they sent the lifeboat to tow us in. 7 of them. They were nice. We were relieved.

Sitting tight in more gale force winds today and probably tomorrow trying to dry out, rest, play scrabble, eat properly and get the engine sorted here in the Marina. It's St Vaast la Hougue. East and south of Cherbourg. Whew.