Magnetic Attraction
Roger and Margaret Pratt
Sat 31 Jul 2010 18:38




30-31 July 2010

Buoy 39, Camaret


Officially on holiday!  Arrived here after a passage of 52 hours – with 6 of them spent off L’Aberwrach under mainsail alone waiting for the tide to turn in our favour down the Chenal du Four.  (ie, marking time!)


We set off as planned at 11am from Gosport.  True to form the wind was a SW so we beat out of the Solent.  As the ebb tide strengthened, so did the Solent chop.  The wind got up to 30knots and we reefed – however, once out of the Solent and into the North Channel  (the Needles Channel over the Bridge would not have been safe) the sea flattened out and the wind dropped.


The bad news is that the Scopoderm patch which prevents me feeling sea sick dropped off at some point going down the Solent.  I realised after the first napette as we tacked round Hengistbury Head… put on another patch but continued to feel queasy for the rest of the passage.  We stuck firmly to the watch system of 3 hours on, 3 hours off, and, also as usual, the first 36 hours were the most difficult.  Roger cooked sweetcorn on passage for night 1; and I managed tortellini and ratatouille on the second night.  Given the quantity of stores aboard, starvation was not imminent!


From Anvil Point the wind gradually veered NW, and we stayed high for the expected spell of westerlies – which in the event did not materialise until we reached the Chenal du Four.  Apart from Thursday night, when there was no wind in the channel, we had good winds, and have averaged over 6kn most of the way.


At the Chenal du Four the wind was c 10 knots and again on the nose, so we motored down – and took the opportunity to have a shower whilst the going is good.  Arrived Camaret just after 3pm.  I cooked a pizza from the fixings that we have aboard – the mushrooms were starting to go mouldy and needed to be eaten up.  The bases were vacuum sealed, and with the addition of tomato paste, onions, mushrooms and the remains of our UK emmenthal cheese went down a treat, followed by cheese and biscuits. 


Last year we benefitted from a cheap Vodafone deal, and were able to camp on to free wifi.  Neither is  available this year.  Call will cost 75p a call +tariff, and 11p for texts, plus £1 per megabyte data on the mobile phone, £10 a day on the dongle.  Roger has been using the iridium phone for weather downloads.  Let’s hope we have better success with free wifi later on.  Part of us laughs at our dependence on digital media, but recognise the truth – especially as we can’t get radio 4 even on long wave.  Will hope to get a weekend FT in the village tomorrow, but do feel very cut off.

Today the generator performed as required (although Roger still thinks that there’s something not quite right) and it was the turn of the outboard motor to play up.  It would NOT start!  In the end Roger had to strip it down and found the carburettor jets clogged.  In the meantime I went to the Super U in town to get the first fix of the food we can only get here – the croissants; croques messieurs; iles flottantes.  Reviewing the price of seafood I think it unlikely we will be eating lobster at 25 euros a kilo – I like lobster a lot but not 4 time more than crab at 6 euros.  So tomorrow I may buy and cook a tourteau –more meat than the araignee spider crab.    For the second year running no-one has come to take the fee for the buoy – the capitanerie charged 14.6 euros for two nights, including 20 cents taxe de sejour per person.


The plan had  been to