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The Adventures of Distant Drummer & Flirtie
the best laid plans ...
Bruce & Caroline
17/04/2012, Treguier (position 48 47.186'N 03 13.104'W)

Sometimes the best laid plans just don't fall into place do they! We like to be as organised as we can so we decided that Monday would be the day to catch the local bus to Lezardrieux. We visited the bus stand on Sunday afternoon to take note of the time table so all we had to do was to turn up on time - easy .... wrong.

We turned up in plenty of time and waited for the bus to turn up, and one did, showing Bus number 7 to Lannion. We both confidently noted that this was the bus that we would need for the return journey back to Treguier so we smugly continued to wait the remaining 3 minutes that was the difference between the bus going to Paimpol and the bus returning back from Lannion. What we didn't appreciate that the waiting bus (that waited the 3 minutes difference) then turned around and started to head down the road that went to Paimpol. This number 7 bus to Lannion was in fact the bus we needed to catch :-(. By the time it had occurred to us, the bus was well gone. We checked to see what time the next bus would be, however it wasn't until early afternoon. Still convinced that we hadn't missed it we waited for another 15 minutes in the cold (3 deg c) just in case the bus was running late as they sometimes do back home, however no other buses appeared. As the excitement of going to Lezardrieux slowly dissipated and with neither of us saying anything to one another we walked back slowly to the boat, still occasionally looking behind at the road to see if by magic our bus would arrive.

Once back on the boat we shrugged off our disappointment and warmed up with a coffee saying that we will try again tomorrow but know exactly what to do now.

Decided to visit the local supermarket to get fresh milk, bread, cheese and pate which we sat and ate at lunchtime. The milk in fact was thin buttermilk which I can categorically report does not work well in tea or coffee but great for cereal - ops.

welcome to France - Treguier (Cotes d'Armor)
Bruce & Caroline
17/04/2012, Treguier (position 48 47.186'N 03 13.104'W)

Arrived safely at "Port de Plaisance" (aka Treguier Marina) at 10.45 GMT Friday 13th April 2012 absolutely cream crackered so spent the remainder of the day relaxing and getting into the French way of life - actually it took us two days to fully recover and before we felt the urge to do some sightseeing around the town (during the trip we had obviously found our sea legs which was great until we ventured back onto land feeling pretty wobbly - just like being drunk, but without the alcohol).

Treguier is an ancient market town located between two peaceful rivers - the Guindy and the Jaudy. The old town comprises of medieval timbered buildings, which lean together overhead as you wander the cobbled streets and alleys.

St Tugdual cathedral dominates the main square, it is an impressive gothic cathedral constructed from pink granite and the ringing of the bells from the cathedral drift across the river throughout the day otherwise it's a really peaceful unspoilt area.

Photos can be found in the photo gallery 'Treguier'.

Channel Crossing Log - video clip
Bruce & Caroline
17/04/2012

A short video clip....


Ships Logs
Channel Crossing Log
Bruce & Caroline
17/04/2012, Treguier (position 48 47.186'N 03 13.104'W)

Having finally left the marina we quickly settled down to the voyage ahead. Our passage plan estimated that it would take us between 18-22 hours to reach Treguier, depending on speed so leaving the marina was timed to allow us to cross the channel in darkness but arrive in Treguier in daylight hours to make navigation easier.

The winds predicted to be North West or West, force 3-4 occasionally 2 later with slight to moderate waves. However once we were in Start Bay we encountered no wind accompanied by torrential rain that looked set for the rest of the day. We did review our situation as neither of us wanted to run the engine for 18-22 hours and we certainly didn't want to be subjected to cold rain throughout the trip. However, within an hour the weather changed in our favour, the wind got up, the clouds disappeared and so we continued our voyage with the sails up sailing at approximately 5.5knts. Unfortunately the wind only lasted for a few hours and then we put the engine on after all.

The evening sky was crystal clear with hundreds of stars shining above, the sea gracefully moving underneath us and for several hours we were accompanied by a pod of dolphins glowing in the water as they disturbed the phosphorescence by coming up for air before diving under the sides of the boat. A really magical experience, certainly one that won't be forgotten.

As we crossed the shipping lanes, it was apparent that there was a significant amount of traffic (ships) but there were only a few that we needed to watch out for. These large cargo ships travel at around 15kts so it's really important that you keep an eye all around your vessel whilst navigating through this area as they can surprise you if your not keeping a good look out. For you land lubbers out there, think of the shipping lanes as a dual carriage way, traffic coming from one side, then the central reservation (the safe area) and then traffic coming from the other side and then imagine a human trying to cross this dual carriageway negotiating the speeding cars and you will kind of get what the shipping lanes are about.

Land was sighted in the early hours of Friday 13th April and as we approached the coast we were both on lookout for the relevant navigational markers that took us very close to numerous rocky outcrops and down the river to Treguier town 5 miles away. This was made pretty easy thanks to GPS technology and a chart plotter - but even then we still got the binoculars out to confirm the location of marks at times.

Overall, we could not have asked for a better crossing.

Photos can be found in the photo gallery 'Channel Crossing'.

Total distance this season: 96.5 nautical miles

Ships Logs
pause for thought ....
Bruce & Caroline
17/04/2012, Treguier (position 48 47.186'N 03 13.104'W)

Just for a moment we thought that we had succumbed to 'Port Rot' or 'Harbour Rot'. Apparently this term is used for liveaboards who no longer feel the need to move on to a new location. Just staying put wherever they may be, with all the comforts that they have become accustomed to is satisfying enough.

Thankfully, we can confirm that we don't have this but we did find it really hard to leave what effectively was our last tie to familiarity - Darthaven Marina, the wonderful staff and all our friends there.

So on Thursday 12th April 2012, having checked the weather forecast we decided to cast off our lines once and for all and leave the marina to head straight for Treguier, France rather than the Channel Isles. The reason for the change - because we felt like it.

Our friends, Dave and Gill who happened to be down in Darthaven working on their Heavenly Twins walked down and waved us goodbye.

aboard with 'NetABord' WIFI
Caroline
17/04/2012, Treguier (position 48 47.186'N 03 13.104'W)

We have now subscribed to a network called 'NetABord' which allows us internet access in various ports along the French coastline. Three packages of cumulative time are offered; 4 euro for 2 hours, 6 euro for 4 hours and 14 euro for 24 hours. The NetABord Pass is valid for 60 days and usable in all ports in the network. Connection time is deducted by the second so it does emphasise that you must disconnect properly.

We can't find any other WIFI networks available so we've decided to give this a try and see how we get on. So no excuses ... on with the blogging.

update from FRANCE
Bruce & Caroline
13/04/2012, Treguier Marina

Just to let you know, we've arrived in Treguier, France. The full story is to follow once we've sorted out a cost effective Wi-Fi connecton. This update comes to you from our Kindle3G (free!).

strong spring tide!
Bruce
07/04/2012

Whilst we had considered leaving for Guernsey tonight, now that we've done our passage planning we've decided to delay our departure by a few days when the tide is running not quite so strongly.

Coming in from the north of Guernsey, down the Little Russel it is imperative with a boat like ours that the tide is running in your favour...ie with you. Timing is essential and the window relatively small so getting this right can be rather challenging particularly when you've the channel to cross first and the tide is running hard.

Whilst our aim is to be at the top of the Little Russel 1 Hr before HW Dover when the current is running down the Little Russel at 1.3 Knots....if we're ahead of shedule by just a couple of hours it could be on our nose running at 3.3 Knots or worse still at three hours 4.9 Knots. Putting this into perspective 'Drummer' only averages 5 knots.

Just a few days delay see's the tide running less strongly which makes for a happy Captain and Crew :-) so all we need now is another weather window.


good to go!
Bruce & Caroline
02/04/2012, Darthaven Marina (position 50 20.993'N 03 34.286'W)

Today we were joined by an RYA examiner to assess our competence for what is known as the "International Certificate of Competence" - ICC for short.

Whist in the UK it is not necessary to hold any form of qualification to skipper a small boat, as a general rule the further inland and further south you go the more likely it is that you need to carry a certificate of competence.

Like most UK applicants we have taken the view that even though we may not strictly have to have one, it is easier to take the test in English than to waste time in a multi-lingual argument with a harbour master or immigration official who is insisting that a certificate must be produced before the entry or exit formalities can be completed.

God was on our side with near perfect conditions; hardly any wind, clear skys, sunny and little current when we were undertaking our practical test. We're pleased to say that we passed!

Last week we also passed the "Code Europeen des Voies de la Navigation Interieure" - CEVNI for short which allows us to navigate the European Inland Waterways if we wish to (otherwise you cannot go any further than the first obstruction ie. bridge or lock).

Now all that remains is for the certificate to be issued, which hopefully we will collect somewhere in the Channel Isles fairly shortly.

good day to have a sail (or so we thought)
Caroline
18/03/2012

Woke to a beautiful spring morning so decided to have a sail out in Start Bay to check that everything is working properly since putting the sails back onto Drummer.

Didn't quite get the great sail that we were expecting as the heavens opened, not with rain but with torrential hail and within minutes the decks were covered and really slippy indeed.

That's a new experience for us and not one we want to repeat in a hurry as it was pretty cold afterwards.

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