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Date: 18 May 2014 20:12:00
Title: Maiden Voyage

49:38.736N 001:37.229W

The Maiden Voyage of Wandering Dream

Photo17th May 2014

Well, I call it the maiden voyage but I have had a few outings in the Solent, mostly out for lunch in Osborne Bay, IOW. More notably an overnight trip to Yarmouth, IOW on 1st & 2nd May with Stuart Crainer and his 18 year old nephew Ross from Brisbane, Australia. This was Ross’ first sail ever! You’d never have guessed, quite competent by the end of the two days.

PhotoThe Maiden Voyage will start tomorrow. I’m sleeping on the boat tonight as Denis and Bryony are arriving here at 0600. Denis has signed up for 6 months from August with the option to extend if we haven’t fallen out by then. Bryony has signed up for the Indonesia to S.Africa leg. I race with both of them on a regular basis on Denis’ yacht Roller Coaster.

We set off after fulfilling customs formalities i.e. filling in a form and posting it to Dover. We were a little late – forty minutes getting away, the spring tide was so far out we grounded as we left the pontoon, but a quick reverse kept us on time and enabled us to work our way out past the dilapidated end pontoon. Jay and Nick on Bonaventure even gave us a wave as we set off. They won’t be there when we get back. As they are departing for good, initially to the Mediterranean Sea for two years.


PhotoThe sun was shining but no wind was to be felt! We motored across a very still and calm Channel to Cherbourg. This at least gave us the opportunity to test the new chart plotter and AIS transponder, which worked but gave an error message. The AIS shows shipping in the vicinity and enables you to see their direction and speed. We tried connecting our tablets to the chart plotter, but with the engine running we were unable to do so – I must find out why. The journey was so peaceful we even managed lunch in the cockpit on the table.


Arrival in Cherbourg after fourteen hours of motor sailing. All seemed easy until a berth was found. We were slowing down to just over one knot and nosing into the berth passed the yacht on the adjacent finger berth, when as I moved from forward engine and paused before engaged reverse the engine cut out. Denis was ready with the spring line, but the finger pontoon was too short and we crunched into the end pontoon with a sickening bang! The poor French chap in his dinghy opposite nearly fainted as several tons on yacht rose up above him, while sliding up on the pontoon. Fortunately we the slid back down with no damage. Why had that happened? Diesel engines don’t cut out!  That wasn’t a good start to our first arrival……..and didn’t auger well for the rest of the trip. Can I trust this engine? It is the only way we can stop on a pontoon.

We checked in with the marina. The restaurant appeared closed and as it was late and we had another early start 0530 tomorrow. I cooked up a quick sausage risotto and opened a bottle of red. Which did the job and all too soon it was time to get up again. Discussion quickly turns to whether the engine would stop again when it is at idle. We agreed to test it prior to stopping in Alderney Harbour. We had already established it would start again when needed.


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