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Travel with Taransay Mhor
Following the wind to Northern France in 2014. In 2013 we took Taransay Mhor to her namesake in the Outer Hebrides and cruised in The Orkney Islands.
14/07/2014, Guernsey, Channel Islands

The entrance to Beaucette Marina at low water

We knew Beaucette would be a little quieter and moved North on the tide achieving 9 knots SOG at one point. This was the first harbour we ever visited in the Channel Islands 15 years ago when we came here in Gliding Kestrel our first yacht. (a GK29)

Beaucette still has a calm atmosphere. The modern shower facilities were new, the restaurant by the marina has an enviable reputation and is good for a coffee and reliable wifi.

An easy 10 mins walk to get to the bus stop and at £1 a ride is economical too. We have enjoyed some good walking in lovely sunny weather.

We hope to get back to Sark and visit Herm in the next few days before moving onto Jersey.

St Peter Port
10/07/2014, Guernsey

The marina was very busy while we were on the waiting pontoon 'waiting' for the tide to come up over the sill at the entrance to Victoria Marina around 20 other boats joined us. The marina staff in their dorys worked hard to fit everyone in.

Rush hour at Victoria Marina, boats entering and leaving all wanting to move at the same time gave us some entertainment.

Dixcart Bay
09/07/2014, Sark

Taransay Mhor anchored off the South side of Sark

The wind was due to change around and blow from the North West, we expected that to send swell into our protected moorings, so next day we moved round to this bay at the south side of the island.

It was reassuring to see another boat in the anchorage we planned to use and at first all was ideal. The blue sky and sandy beach formed the perfect view and later in the afternoon we went for a walk ashore. When we returned two hours later we were surprised to see quite a swell had started to work its way up from the South in to the anchorage. That new Spade anchor was working well at holding Taransay in place but we had an uncomfortable night.

First light and we moved over to St Peter Port on Guernsey, the tide was against us but gave little trouble and by 10am we were on the waiting pontoon in the calm waters of the harbour.

08/07/2014, The Channel Islands

The High Street on Sark

Our passage down the Alderney Race early this morning was uneventful. Just a few slight overfalls were all we saw. 'The Race' as it is also known has a well-earned reputation for rough water that we were careful to avoid. Arriving on the east side of Sark at La Greve de la Ville we picked up one of the free visitor moorings and rowed ashore to explore.

A steep climb up the cliff path took us on to a track that joined other tracks that criss cross the island, a map would have been useful even though Sark is so small. Soon we came to the village which was bustling, a bakers, grocery stores and café/restaurants lined the high street. Lots of visitors come to the island on holiday or as a day tripper from nearby Guernsey. There are no cars on Sark just bicycles, horse and carts and the odd tractor. The atmosphere is tranquil and timeless.

Tourist Information gave us a map so we could find our way back to the boat.

03/07/2014, The Channel Islands

St Annes on Alderney located on top of a very steep hill

This is our first visit to Alderney, the most northern of the Channel Islands. Every time we passed this way before there has been a reason not to stop, usually the wind was in the north or other destinations were on our agenda.

Today we made it.

Ashore there was a pub, sailing club, hot showers and water and, up a very steep hill, every where is uphill from the sea isn't it, the small town of St Annes where we found English newspapers at English prices. Down by the quayside we enjoyed tea at the welcoming Alderney Sailing Club and supported the RNLI at a table top sale.

Cherbourg and la Figaro
30/06/2014, Normandy, France

Taransay enjoys pole position with the race fleet, she is tucked behind the Credit Mutual boat

Arriving from St Vaast in Cherbourg we were told that the marina was expecting the Singlehanded Figaro Race any day and that the mid-water waiting pontoon was all they had for our first night. This was a chance to try our dinghy and outboard for the first time this year. All well with them and a good thing too as we are off to Alderney next, which is all anchoring or buoys and I don't fancy swimming ashore!

Grandcamp Maisey, Cycling Around
20/06/2014, Normandy, France

The entrance to Grancamp Maisey at low water

On the way to Grandcamp from Ouistreham the light winds became zero wind, a pain having to motor but it did give us the opportunity to anchor inside the Mulberry Harbour at Arromanche for lunch. On such a quiet day it was hard to imagine the scene of 70 years ago, when it was the landing point for men & supplies in the days after D-Day.

With no more wind in sight we motored on to the small fishing harbour & marina of Grandcamp Maisey. Colin was interested visiting a Calvados farm and conveniently we could cycle to one nearby for a tour & tasting. Our friends Hilary & Mike who had arrived four days after us came too. Our tour was conducted in three languages English for us, our guide thought we were from Ireland, French, and German for the 10 soldiers who pitched up in full uniform. The generous sampling included several ciders, liqueurs and types of Calvados. Les Vergers de Romilly can be recommended. Cycling back in a fairly orderly manner, our bikes piled high with bottles of cider, we all returned safely to the boats.

Another interesting day out was a visit to the underground Battery de Maisey, the German Regional HQ for Normandy on D-Day. All of which is gradually being unearthed by an enthusiastic British family.

The wind stayed light and sunny days were the norm, we used our week here to fix a fuel leak and enjoy walking around this attractive town. Next destination is St Vaast, looks like the wind will stay light for the 15 miles let's hope we can sail some of this long voyage!

Batterie de Maisey
19/06/2014, Grandcamp Maisey, Normandy, France

Not always easy to find your way around the underground Batterie de Maisey

The existence of this Regional HQ for the Germans was buried under the official secrets act and tons of earth for more than 50 years. A British family have been searching the records in America, Britain and Germany discovering fascinating facts about the Batterie. Take a tour if you can.

Cider and Calvados
18/06/2014, Les vergers de romilly, St Germain de Pret

Calvados ageing in oak casks in an old cow shed

We enjoyed a charming tour of the orchards at this farm that had been making Cider for century's.

Marche at Dives-sur-Mer
Sandi & Colin
15/06/2014, Normandy, France

Colin felt an irresistible urge to take a swim as we moored in the marina, he blames those wobbly French style pontoons.

The Saturday morning market is one of the reasons we came to Dives-sur-Mer, arranged throughout attractive cobbled streets and in the 14th century timbered Les Halles market building.

The Bourgat restaurant, full of French style and character, was the other. I put The Bourgat on my to do list five years ago during our last visit and am happy to report it lived up to expectations.

Now we are waiting in Ouistreham for a break in the brisk North Easterly winds before heading further west.

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Taransay Mhor Sailing off Cowes
Who: Sandi and Colin
Port: Portsmouth, England
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