We met onboard the boat on Monday 4 September 2006 at 1500 and sorted out
stuff. The crew were kindly assisted in readying the boat by Pete N, Mik and
After much faffing around for the boat insurance
(which still needs to be updated) we departed in glorious sunshine at 1550. 15
minutes later, heading south, the fog came in. On the way along the south coast
of Guernsey we kept our eyes open for the missing diver, but didn’t see
anything other then some gulls, which looked surprisingly like a person’s
head at times (according to Chris). Oh correction, apparently he said look for
the gulls as they’ll be picking at the dead body – nice!
(Ed: diver finally found in a Weymouth hotel!)
A few hours later in a slight swell, we all rushed up
on deck at Pete’s cry of “Do you want to see pilot whales?”
Enthralled, Sandy, Lynne and Pete started staring gleefully, and Lynne got her
camera out to take photos of pilot whales as she’d never seen them
before. Chris had his doubts about these whales as they weren’t spurting,
so we decided to go and have a closer look. Upon further inspection the pilot
whales magically turned into clumps of seaweed and Lynne deleted the photos
that she’d already taken. The downhearted crew returned to their various
duties, heartily wishing that they hadn’t gone to investigate so that
they could have reported sightings of pilot whales.
We thought it would be a good idea to set the watches,
and decided on 4-hour stints starting at 2200, with Chris and Lynne taking the
first watch. Pete was trying to remember his good idea about the watch system
that he had previously written down in the GYC, but couldn’t find it and
certainly couldn’t remember it.
As darkness fell we switched the nav lights on, only
to discover that the port bulb had blown. Knowing that all of the spares were
onboard, we turned the cupboards upside down searching for a spare bulb, but
despite our best efforts we couldn’t find one.
We had been motor sailing since we left due to the
lack of wind and our engines obviously make a nice noise as we managed to
attract some porpoises. They rode our bow waves and squeaked, whistled and
clicked so loudly that we could here it down below.
Sandy decided that he
was hungry so cooked up a smashing spaghetti with chicken in a tomato sauce
– it was delicious, especially when we were all cold from the wet fog.
Sandy and Lynne ate first and then the two golden oldies followed, and everyone
enjoyed their meal.
The watches then started. The moon rose during Chris
and Lynne’s watch, and the phosphoresce was so bright Majic 2 suddenly appeared to be a ghost
ship floating on a luminous wave. Halfway through our watch we could see a huge
fog bank ahead of us that we went straight into, and we became becalmed - the
only thing that we could see was the moon, which set about 15 minutes before
the next watch started. Pete and Sandy bounded out of bed all bright-eyed and
bushy-tailed and took over. We saw one fishing boat with a flashing orange
light and we swear that we saw two big long fins like that of a long mammal,
although Chris and Lynne think that we were making it up to make them jealous.
We had a spot of rain, but nothing too adventurous.
Chris and Lynne then took over at 0600, when we were
just coming around the north-western corner of France, heading towards the notorious Chenal du Four. We piled on our
oilskins, harnessed ourselves in with flares at the ready and fingers on the
EPIRB due to all of the horror stories we’d heard, only to find that it
was like millpond. The only sounds to be heard were the dulcet tones of the
Volvo Penta diesel engine idling along at 5000 revs (just joking!) Having
manfully manoeuvred our way through the passage, and after resetting one of the
pre-installed waypoints that would have taken us straight over some rocks and
reassessing the tidal flow with the correct date and time, we rounded
the corner and headed straight into Camaret, berthing at 0850.
We booked to refuel at 14.15 local time and then all
had mini-moules frites. (they were the smallest mussels that Chris has ever
seen and he’s seen some right weaklings before). Having got an up-to-date
weather forecast we hotfooted it around to the other side of town to buy some
extra diesel cans. After buying four extra 20-litre cans we departed and then
decided that we actually needed another one. Lynne valiantly ran back to the
shop (in flip-flops she might add) and then ran all the way along to catch up
with the others. We just made it to the fuelling pontoon a tad late, but when
the lady called us up she apologised for being late, so we gathered that it
wasn’t an issue. The pumps were then turned on and we managed to get just
over 101 litres into a fuel tank that was only meant to hold 100 litres. Oops.
We also filled up the cans.
After refuelling, Sandy and Lynne headed up to the
communal showers and got slightly concerned when they could hear this banging
noise coming from them. They put the code in and gingerly opened the door, only
to come across a half-hidden naked Christopher, banging insanely and shouting
at the inert token box as it had apparently swallowed his token. Pete had
apparently given Chris 2 more euros which he put into the machine and then got
very confused when it gave him some “change” (being the token that
came out the bottom) This had also been swallowed, so Lynne very kindly handed
him another token which he put in and also jammed. Lynne got him yet another
token and told him to use a different shower, to which Chris replied
“I’m not really in the appropriate attire to change showers!”
so he waited till Lynne and Sandy had gone into their shower before he made his
mad dash. It appears that the first “token” that Chris put in was
the €2 coin that Pete first gave him. You just can’t teach old dogs
That evening we ate out and stumbled back to the boat,
carefully avoiding the 15 foot drop on the way back that would have led to
certain death. The next morning we left at 0850 after buying bottled water from
the shop as all of the coffees that we’d made that morning using the
water out of the tank ended up being flung over the side. When leaving we
gently bumped the mud as we were reversing out, but nothing serious.
Whilst in Camaret Pete had spoken to Peter Howe on the
phone. Pete H had said that he wanted us to use the sat phone every day to call
Nooky. After two insistent phone calls that the spare nav light bulbs were in
the port side locker, Nooky sheepishly admitted that the bulbs had been
discovered in Pete H’s garage. Although not much use to us, at least the
garage could be well lit if the bulb blew!!!
The winds were very light so we motor-sailed and
headed out for the dreaded hell that is the Bay
of Biscay. There’s not a lot to say about this
journey as it was endless water. We saw loads of dolphins and the wind started
to pick up. Chris and Lynne managed to get 10.9 knots out of me.(ed: report appears to have slipped
into 3rd person. i.e. the boat speaking),and then went down below.
When they came back on deck they got told to beat 12.5 knots by Sandy and Pete.
Being faced with this challenge they managed to get 13.9 knots, which remained
to be the record for the rest of the trip.
Then Big Thursday happened. It started off innocently
enough, but Sandy and Lynne decided to swap watches. The day passed by and was
fairly uneventful, other then a bit windy so we turned off the engine and got
the genoa out. At the start of Pete and Lynne’s watch we had to take the genoa
back in and reef the mainsail as, although we were running downwind, we had a
horrible tendency to round up. Pete, Sandy and Lynne managed to put the reef in
and then Chris and Sandy retired. Pete and Lynne managed to get 13.5 knots
alone with just a reefed mainsail.
Fairly early on into their watch, Lynne could hear a
funny noise coming from down below and asked Pete if he knew what it was. He
went to investigate and surmised that Sandy must be having a shower. Lynne doubted this so Pete went to
investigate further. He very gingerly opened the heads’ door and quickly
returned to the cockpit. “Eurgh…We’ve got a problem!”
he uttered. The heads had flooded and the water had started coming over the lip
of the door. Pete turned the bilge pumps on and Lynne turned the shower pump
on. The crisis was quickly averted. The reason that the heads had flooded was
because someone, who shall remain nameless, had left the flush lever on
As if that wasn’t enough, halfway through their
watch, the wind dropped so much that they put the engine back on and decided to
take the reef out of the main. The wind continued to drop off and veered by
about 30 degrees. This meant that we had to gybe, so they rigged the gybe preventer
to the port side of the boat. The gybe preventer wasn’t long enough to
reach any connection points, so they had previously used sail ties to secure
it. They had just managed to connect the preventer to the sail tie, and Pete
was still holding onto it when the wind backed round to its original direction.
The main therefore gybed back and managed to snap the sail tie, which meant
that Pete started to be dragged across the spray hood. Lynne thought that he
was going over the side and Pete thought that Lynne was going over, so they
both grabbed for each other, despite both of them being clipped on anyway.
After this dramatic weather change, they had to sit
through pouring rain and watch a distant thunderstorm with sheet lightning. Due
to the adrenalin rush they hadn’t felt tired on their watch, so they let
Chris and Sandy have a lie-in before waking them.
Things calmed down a lot on Friday and the dolphins
came back. By the end they had seen the dolphins so often that they were no
longer a novelty! The fog started to roll in, and Lynne came up on deck and
said that she could see land. The others all cheered and proclaimed that she
had to buy the first round. They had apparently all seen land about half an
hour ago, but didn’t want to have to buy a round so they all stayed schtum.
The closer we got to land, the thicker the fog rolled
in, until we had about 20 metres visibility. It was now dark as well, so we had
to practically feel our way to Bayona. We came within 100 feet of a north
cardinal mark and never saw its beacon due to the fog. Chris took over the helm
and tried to steer a compass course, but the compass needed swinging and the
instruments over the coach roof were a bit hard to see, so we put the autopilot
back on. Pete’s navigation was superb and we arrived in Bayona late in
the evening. We pottered about looking for a mooring, and then tied up to the
wave breaker in Puerto Deportivo, just across from the Monte Real Club de Yates
that we were meant to be berthing in, but couldn’t due to the regatta on
at the time.
The crew had three days to kill before being able to
move the boat across to the other marina. They worked hard on me, cleaning and
scrubbing. They also played hard in the evenings and enjoyed their time in Bayona.
Lynne decided that she would dive down to check my keel, but unfortunately the
mask had been left in the garage in Guernsey with the spare light bulbs. Pete managed to find his list of
watches that he had devised in the GYC, but it was a bit too late by then.
The first leg of the delivery was complete, and the
Wonderful, Experienced, Reliable, Friendly Delivery Crew started their weary
journey home (and to the Camino Santiago), leaving me all alone in this marina.
The marina itself seems very secure, with people on night duty etc, so I feel
very safe. Thanks for leaving me in such safe hands!
Till next time…..
Ed : Total
miles 653. Farthest point off land 150 miles. Nights at sea 3. Days on
Fuel used 396 ltrs.
May the sea rise up to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
May the rain fall soft upon your field
And until we meet again,
May Neptune hold you in the palm of his hand.
(An adaptation of a Celtic blessing)