46.55.60N 06.59.95W Depeche-toi Etienne Thursday 18th June 2015

Sat 20 Jun 2015 17:40
The position is where we are now, nearly half way to La Corunna, but let’s go back briefly to Plymouth.
There were thirteen elements to our refit and some significant discoveries. The new standing rigging we had requested including removing the tensioner from the split back stay as it didn’t work. The plate at the end of the boom that takes the mainsheet had pulled out of the groove and on closer inspection revealed the cause as corrosion. A long split revealed that the end of boom fitting was all ready to spring off in the next blow, which could have been a problem. So Zoonie now sports a new boom. Another discovery was the bar around the front of the mast that supports the spinnaker pole when housed was set too far back on the mast making stowage difficult. It has the foresail flying on it now and was so much easier to set.
So with that all sorted and having said farewell to our Devon family we were all ready to set sail. A kind French couple came to assist with our lines and as the lady and I prepared the bow line and chatted away Rob was talking with her husband. We waited for them to finish, unbeknown to us the boys were waiting for us. At last my companion called “Depeche-toi Etienne” and the impasse was broken. We set off into the blue in a 10kn NW wind and our spirits were high.
But as might be expected by the late afternoon we were feeling the enormity of not seeing family and friends and dog for a year. The wisdom that comes with age consoled us that this was all part of the equation and we could deal with it.
We had a fine sail right across the Channel and only fired up the motor to push us through the inner passage off Ile d’Ouessant (island of birdsong) with the favourable ebbing spring tide the next morning.
Thirty odd years ago I came past here for the first time under sail with hubby number two, Peter, in our 12 ton wooden double ender (pointy at both ends) Hillyard, Autumn of Arun bound for Corunna. So young and excited was I, without thinking I said “Isn’t this just the biggest adventure of your life?” To which he replied rather sombrely,
“No you are!”
This time the winds were favourable to fly our blue cruising chute and we were making around 6 knots buck shee, nice. On this second day we were feeling much better. It takes 24hrs plus to get into the swing of on-board life again. The prospect of a few days at sea, night watches, lack of sleep, settling tummies, emotions etc all make the first day the hardest. By the second day the lack of sleep hits and sheer tiredness means we drop off to sleep without a problem. We also take day time naps as and when we please and I was in the middle of a lovely dream yesterday afternoon when a euro jet flew over a few metres above the mast, that was the end of that!
Later in the afternoon a racing pigeon joined us and rested on the side-deck next to its tubs of water and oats. We both wondered if it would survive the night. We watched the sunset together, I think it was soaking up the last warmth from the sun, or maybe it was pagan.
It is now day three and we are crossing , albeit slowly, the Biscay Abyssal Plain, where the flat seabed is a mix of sand and silt over 4000 mtres down. We have just sailed through a frenzy of dolphins fishing, some taking time out to investigate Zoonie’s hull.