The Great Escape: The Crossing
23 May 2016 | L'Aber Wrach
Rose at stupid o'clock in the morning as I wanted to make sure we made landfall in Brittany in daylight.
Pretty benign conditions: virtually no wind and a smooth sea. Motoring to start with, then motoring with rags up.
Just as we cleared Falmouth Anchorage we were joined by some travelling companions: porpoises riding our bow wave. Always a sight for sore eyes. They didn't stay with us for long, I guess the nearby trawler taking in its nets was more interesting.
Just as I was starting to feel chilled Yanni reported that the phantom battery charging problem was back. Quickly solved by my old navy fault finding approach: if something is giving you problems - hit it. Two possible outcomes: either it's fixed or you are certain it's broken.
Luckily for us, hitting the engine instrument panel seems to have done the trick. I suspect a loose connection somewhere. Will investigate in depth once we're in Sainte Marine.
Once clear of Lizard Point there was enough wind to switch off the engine. As predicted a F4-5 from WNW. What followed was 6 hours of the most pleasant sailing I've done in a long time. Sit back, relax and feel the stress ooze away.
As always, good things never last. The nearer we got to Ushant the worse the sea state became. One second the horizon was miles away, then you blink and the horizon was only a cable away. Huge swell (3m+) and we were now climbing up and surfing down waves (often sideways). Had to turn the engine on to make any decent headway.
Gone were the blue skies - it became all grey and overcast. Cold and chilly - summer seemed months away. And as final cherry on the cake: I felt seasick. The aft head is out of order, so when there was a call from nature I could no longer ignore I had to use the forward head. Or as we call it: The Vomit Commeth. And it did certainly live up to its reputation.
Fast-forward the last third of the trip. Landfall - as scheduled just before 21H00 local. All secured alongside by 21H20. On the outside of the L'Aber Wrach visitor pontoon. It was a bumpy night, hardly slept a wink. Rose way too early. Just in time to spot a vacant space on the inside - shook Yanni and we moved Guapa all of 10 meters. She's much more comfortable for it.
The weather's everything right now, but so is crew fatigue. The plan was to sail for Audierne today. However, according to Meteo France, there's currently a 3 meter swell off Pointe de Bretagne and a F5 onshore wind. No thank you, the place scares the bejeezus out of me as it is.
A less the ideal weather forecast and a tired crew: I don't think so. In the past, I've made some bad judgment calls when I'm tired. So, we're spending another day sampling the delights of L'Aber Wrach - and catching up on some much needed zzz's. But that's all our time margin used up now. We have to head back to the real world - and all the bollocks that comes with it - on Thursday.
So, what's the plan for tomorrow? I'll tell you. As some may know, I do most of my worrying before I have to do something. Avoids Italian style panic attacks later on.
Plan A had been Chenal Du Four and Raz de Sein and then catch a mooring overnight off Audierne. However, I have since learned that these moorings are unlikely to be able to take of vessel of Guapa's size and displacement.
If we should not make the speed over the ground I hope, Plan B and C are to divert either to Camaret or Douarnez. However, this would leave another far bit of distance to cover on Wednesday and first forecast for Wednesday don't look that good (SW wind - on the noze).
So, Plan D is the current favourite, L'Aber Wrach to Loctudy in one trip. we will be fighting the tide towards the end but conditions should otherwise be benign.
I'll busy myself the rest of the afternoon doing the nav for Plan B, C and D and afterwards I think I'll have a nap.