Biscay and beyond, 18 June - 10 July 2016 - 931 nautical miles

Saturday 18 June 2016 - John, Rob and Lloyd delivery crew for the trip to Ile de Re

So off at 0900 in nice sunny weather – all in good spirits and drank lots of sloe gin. went through into the dark and then left Lloyd and Rob to fight against the tide.

Sunday 19 June 2016

When I came on at 0500 they seem to have gone south a bit, and as the day wore on we had more and more headwind and less progress against the tide. As we got towards dark, we made it through the Chanel du four but were going to miss the Raz and the weather was not kind – wind and sea getting up. Last forecast was 5/6. We decided to go outside the Raz to carry on and after an appalling time in the Chanel overfalls and just avoiding a huge racing fleet, I went to bed.

Monday 20 June 2016

Woke up to the boat being sailed hard on its ear - perhaps not best in my opinion. Lloyd and Rob went to bed, and I sailed on and the wind was touching 33 knots – it wasn’t nice and a very big sea - the boat was being rolled big time, but was generally moving through steadily. During the day we had dolphins which Lloyd filmed. Late afternoon, we lost the engine and couldn’t fix it – Rob having been sick all night and not well – Lloyd tired, so I called pan pan and we got towed into Port Haliguen. 1800 euro bill. Which eventually the insurance paid less my 500 pounds excess. Had a meal and a beer, and bed.

Tuesday 21 June 2016

In the morning got towed to the fuel berth to rule out running out of fuel. Confused by only 114 going into the port tank. Anyway filling up didn’t fix it, and after Lloyd was able to get at the copper pipes it turned out to be what I thought – the switch over valve between tanks was gunged so we couldn’t get the starboard tank going. Also we had taken a lot of water and shit into the system. Lloyd cleaned it all and we set off at 1700 into a nice sunny evening. I joked about all we needed was thick fog and a thunderstorm, so….. After I went to bed, the boys had thick fog.

Wednesday 22 June 2016

When I took watch at 0500, it was a nice sunrise with fog lifted – sailed for a bit. Lloyd went to sleep and then I got the mother of all thunderstorms around me. There’s a picture of it on the radar.

Anyway, later it got warm and sunny. Wind little but unbelievably still on the nose all the way – now from the south.

Finally anchored off Ile de Re and radioed in asking for pontoon side. waited ages and went in and got a good spot. Really hot – 30+ degrees – I thought this might be good. 340 miles into Port Haliguen, 109 miles to Ile de Re = 449 miles and 75 hours at sea 57 & 18.

Settled into Le Skipper and got to know the landlady Mayliss – French but spoke good English with an irish accent ! Had a meal there – I had moules frites of course although in blue cheese Roquefort.

Thursday 23 June 2016

Still warm but cooled during the day. Tidied the boat up and explored a bit – Lloyd and I went up the tower. Rob slept a lot. Patrick arrived so we arranged to have a meal with him after drinks on his motor boat Carpe Diem which was fantastic. The meal was at La Baleine and was expensive but nice.

Friday 24 June 2016

Rob about a bit more today but weather going off and very windy. Shopped for BBQ in the evening and gave drinks to Patrick and briefly Blandine when she arrived

Saturday 25 June 2016

The boys got packed up and Patrick and Blandine took us all to the airport where we waved them goodbye and went to La Rochelle for lunch. Warm and sunny again today although not as hot. Went back to the airport and met Julia and then back into La Rochelle for seafood at the best place in town - Andre. Really nice meal and evening.

Sunday 26 June 2016

Lie in. Then went for croissants, coffee, fresh OJ at Le Skipper. St Martin has a lovely harbour (gated) and great choice of restaurants and shops. Fairly up-market. John took Julia up the church tower (his 2nd visit) which had superb views and a perilous staircase. Visited the indoor Le Marché and bought lunch for al fresco dining on the boat. Chilled on the boat in the sunshine. P & B came for champagne on our boat before we all went for dinner at Baleine Bleu restaurant (John and Patrick’s 2nd visit). Superb cuisine and lovely view across the marina.

Monday 27 June 2016

Patrick and Blandine took us around the island in the car and we had lunch out – nice day. Looking at the weather, and the miles to go, which I had clearly underestimated, we decided to go next day. Did some shopping – I bought Julia a dress.

Tuesday 28 June 2016

Wasted a lot of time at the fuel berth without getting fuel, then up to Ile d’Yeu. Started ok, but quite a lot of swell which floored Julia. Got better and we got into Port Joinville where Martin and Michele of Filibuster greeted us. I had to do some smart reversing to get in. We had drinks with Martin and Michele and then I did another BBQ – for Julia this time. Just finished that when Richard and Helen Harden came round and had drinks with them.

Wednesday 29 June 2016 – Ed is 26 !

Late morning planned but we had to move. But we got a finger and Martin and Michele came over next to us too. Then went exploring as the shops shut ! Had lunch at pink place and back to the shops again. Had M&M round for drinks then Julia cooked pizza and burgers. Then nightcaps on Filibuster.

Thursday 30 June 2016

Up at first light and got fuel on a tricky fuel berth. Pretty sure we got some dodgy fuel there. Then off to Lorient – a long day with a big swell and wind on the nose or none at all. Quite rough coming out. didn’t have time to stop at Belle Isle and getting into Lorient was tricky being rolled in on a big sea against the outgoing tide. Got in at 8pm local and could only get on a hammerhead at Port Louis. tired but determined, we went into town and had a great pizza and a walk about. Back on the boat enjoyed a music party for just the two of us.

Friday 1 July 2016

Up really early again, so never paid ! and a nasty sea getting out and all the way to Loctudy where we planned to spend Saturday. Not a great trip but not bad. Let Julia go back to bed until 0900 having left at 0500. Had trouble with money limits on the fuel berth on arrival as having to use the small port tank as starboard seems to be buggered. Managed to get in in very tricky conditions with swirling currents and a lot of wind. Quite a few Brits there and a few helped us in. Big community of Brits including Ian and Meg on Spring Tide (friends of the Hardens). After the Capitainerie, walked into town past a visiting circus. Curious array of animals tethered near the marina, inc camel, buffalo, etc. Enjoyed a drink in the main town bar but too windy to sit outside. On way back, looked at the seafood shops at the water front – large fishing industry in Loctudy. Enjoyed magret de canard back on the boat.

Saturday 2 July

Spent the day in Loctudy. Rented free bikes from the Marina to visit Carrefour and fishmongers, where we purchased mackerel. Chilled on boat and then walked in to town and had lunch at Oceane which was disappointing. Julia had seafood salad and John very disappointing moules. Enjoyed some late afternoon sunshine on the boat but too windy to eat barbecued mackerel, so ate down below. Wind dropped later and chilled in the cockpit.

Sunday 3 July

Up at 3 am to make the Raz. Horrendous sea state/dark and not all guiding lights in place. To top it all, it then rained. Sea so huge, slowed the boat down so not able to make the Raz in time. Went in to Saint Evette, Audienne and moored on a buoy. Chilled for couple of hours and John slept as knackered from the awful trip. Water taxi took us ashore at 5 pm. Lovely location with a beautiful sandy beach. Walked to the far end and dined at La Grande Large, enjoying Entrecote steaks overlooking the sea. Walked back along the beach and water taxi back to boat. Wrote up blog.

Good stopping place if not able to make the Raz.

Monday 4 July

Up and away at 8 am. Headed to the Raz in cloud and then fog descended after 40 minutes – less than quarter of a mile viz accordingly radar. Several boats close by but only saw on the radar. Arrived Raz 30 minutes early. Calm seas finally so easy and flat to traverse the Raz. Fog lifted enough to see the lighthouse and towards the Chanel du Four but came back as we entered the chanel. Motored through with a large French racing boat which overtook us when the wind was right to sail and we overtook it when motoring and the wind died. Picked up east going tide as we round Le Four – did 9/10 knots all the way to Roscoff. Approach Roscoff though a channel with Ile de Batz on the other side. Enjoyed sunshine and view of old harbour and bridge finishing in the sea. Very modern marina and nice young marina lady to assist. Went to the fuel pontoon first (credit card issues again ) and then moored on A30 starboard side too with lots of current swirling round. Ate chilli con carne and left over magret de canard on board.

Tuesday 5 July

Cloudy start for the day. Walked into Roscoff through lovely streets to the old harbour. Hurrah – sun came out. Stumbled upon a brocante and we finally bought some cut glass wine glasses for the boat. Superb brocante. Then walked round old Roscoff which is lovely – beautiful medieval buildings. Bought faux fillet for bbq dinner on the boat. Left at 13.00 bst. Reached out under sail to sea and then the wind behind us so motor sailed. Sunshine and arrived at Treguier. First day we left and arrived in sunshine! Beautiful river up to Treguier. Saw 2 large dolphins that played for quite a while. Mooring tricky with swirling currents and spring tide. Lined up but pushed off the pontoon. All OK. John barbecued the faux filets and nice evening.

Wednesday 6 July

Lie in until 8.30 BST. John slow out of bed after 2 days of hard work boating. Into Treguier as market day. Bought loads of stuff and enjoyed more medieval buildings and lovely town square. Back on the boat, lazed in the sunshine. Lunch alfresco in the cock pit. Dinner at restaurant in town. Not very busy (3 sailing Brits together and 2 single Frenchmen) but good food. Pregnant waitress. Drunk French chef who came out to talk to everyone and was great fun. Free Armagnac.

Thursday 7 July

Departed first light up the river. Beautiful watching the sun rise. At the sea entrance the 2 same dolphins came to play. Made their entrance known by bumping the underneath of the boat which was a bit nerve wracking. Came as far as the last marker buoy and then went back up river. Seem to treat as their boundary. Motor sailed in sunshine to St Peter Port. Arrived midday getting cheap fuel first and saying hello to Richard and Helen from Petersfield on the fuel pontoon. Moored on the outer pontoon as departing early next day. Ended up 3 deep. Lunch on board and then went in to town – M&S, bank and book table for dinner at Dix Neuf. Visited a really friendly jewellers. Then met up with R & H in a pub and good catch up. Back to boat to shower and change and then dinner at Dix Neuf with R & H. Late port back on our boat.

Friday 8 July

Up at 6.30. Boats moving and departed at 7.30 am. Sunshine again and had hoped to sail but no wind so again motored. Arrived 11.15 but sun then disappeared and windy in Braye Harbour. Went ashore on the water taxi and walked up to St Annes. Drinks out at the Georgian but drizzled. High Street improved and new restaurants. Water taxi back. Snoozed and showered. Watched Wimbledon with Roger Federer being beaten. Drinks at the Sailing Club and chatted to the locals. Dinner at Braye Beach Hotel – prosecco in the sunshine outside. Lobster and crab salads which were lovely.

Saturday 9 July

Depart at 3 am which John did on his own. Foggy and rolling sea all the way back. No sunshine. John snoozed after Julia got up at 9.00. Came in via the Needles and Hurst narrows was exciting. Arrived Lymington at 2.15 pm. Went in to town to shop and met up with the Wheelhouses and friend Danielle and son for dinner at the Mayflower. John lost a filling – yuk.

Sunday 10 July

Left at 10.30 am and were able to sail all the way to Cowes and then motor sailed. Starboard engine OK until Gilkicker when fuel problems again, so quickly switched to port fuel tank and all ok.