Around The World Slowly

Just one more day here please!!!


Who: Jenny and Dave
Port: Sydney
13 July 2010 | Dartmouth
11 July 2010 | Weymouth
05 July 2010 | In the Hamble
28 June 2010 | Brighton
23 June 2010 | Zeebrugger Harbour
15 May 2010 | Zeebrugge (Belgium)
12 May 2010
28 April 2010
27 April 2010
21 April 2010 | Dunkerque
18 April 2010 | 50.57.782n 001.50.742e
17 April 2010 | 51.24.96n 000.44.07e
16 April 2010 | 51.30.45N 00.04.21W

Bound for La Rochelle, France

20 August 2010
Jenny & David Spencer
Heading down to La Rochelle we had another great sail, but only for the first four hours then the wind swung round and was on the nose . After that it seemed like a very long day. We were stopped again by French customs just doing their job. They checked us out on their computers and then were satisfied and let us go on our merry way, not before informing us that the marina was closed after the storm they had earlier in the year. We decided to see for ourselves as the marina wasn't responding to their VHF radio. It didn't look closed as a race was happening just inside the entrance to the harbour. A one night stay saw us staying for four more nights as it was such a lovely old town with lots of restaurants and plenty of atmosphere. There was a water bus leaving from the marina directly to the town centre every half hour during summertime. The marina was massive with 3000 berths. We were using a local person's berth while they were away, which causes a few problems when they return earlier than expected. We had taken the ferry into town one night and on our return our boat was gone. Surprise! The owner wanted his berth back so the marina staff promptly towed Alexes around the corner. They did try to contact us, but the mobile was left on the boat. The following afternoon they informed us they needed to move us again, this time four berths down. Our intentions were to leave the following morning anyway but this pushed us into fuelling up first then moving .As it turned out, we left at 6pm that night to get a head start. Two rough nights across the Biscay (not much wind but a big cross swell and lumpy seas) saw us head into the Port of Santander very early in the morning. We had to hard steer as the fluxgate compass was behaving very erratically with the heading data going crazy every ten minutes or so.
We dropped the anchor in the bay and went to sleep peacefully for the next four hours. On waking we saw every possible water craft go by. What a beautiful spot, and the sun the beautiful warm Spanish sun after 12 months in Northern Europe. Shit it's hot.

Arriving in Camaret, France

30 July 2010
Jenny & David Spencer
After a lovely sail from England (apart from crossing the shipping lanes) , we entered Camaret harbour to a beautiful morning of sunshine. Falmouth had rained a great deal before we left and we were beginning to wonder whether we would see the sun again. The whole harbour was full of little racing dinghies darting everywhere. As it was early morning there were plenty of visitor's moorings to be had. After a few days we headed down to the scenic town of Benoit stayed on visitor's buoys which include free dinghy service to the shore.
Most of these days we tend to do short hops of no more than 50 nm, so that we can enjoy these lovely towns. Port Lorient was to be our next stop, but realised we wouldn't get in due to our length. However we compromised with staying at Kernival which was to be a ferry ride away. My birthday was to be on the Sunday so we stayed a few days and did a few lunches instead. There was a Celtic music festival on and the town was teaming with tourists.
We left at first light, to a light breeze but enough to put the sails up and see how far it takes us. The town of Le Herbaudiere was only 40 odd nm away but the only berth available for us was with the fisherman. No problem as we were looking to move on early the next day. The harbour master was very hospitable and gave us a really good discount. Moving on down the coast we motored most of day down to Les Sables D' Olonne which is where the Vendee Globe Races start. Our berth was alongside previous racing boats. Some are now used to take tourists out and about.

Sailing the West Country.

20 July 2010
Jenny & David Spencer
Sailing the West Country.

After leaving Dartmouth Harbour midday, we had a great sail down to the lovely harbour of Salcombe. As we were a little early to be crossing the bar, we, along with a few other boats bobbed around outside of the harbour waiting to enter. Although it was extremely crowded, we were lucky enough to get a visitors' buoy in The Bag, which was a long way from the action. The weather was lovely so we stayed and enjoyed the town for the next few days.
Plymouth was our next port of call, we need some rigging sorted out and plenty of other repairs. Another good sail down the coast, we made it into the harbour late afternoon only to find the marinas were full with no visitor's berths. We were able to anchor of Cremyll , although everyone else was on a mooring buoy. We stayed a week without anybody bothering us. The riggers came out to us with no problem. Taking the dinghy ashore anywhere was a huge problem marinas wanted to charge and public jetties were non- existent. Looks like Plymouth doesn't want cruisers although by the look of the place they certainly need them.
The naval base was adjacent to our anchorage with war ships going out on exercises most days. The old stores department has been developed into quite a trendy area with restaurants, cafes & bars. Also a small ferry service operates from the quay into the Barbican, which is only a short ride away.
We would have loved to see the Gin Distillery but unfortunately, we missed that due to a tour group of pensioners out for the day. I hope the old dears got sloshed!
Next on the agenda was the pretty harbour town of Fowey, which we had another great sail to. However, once the engine was turned on, we had problems . There was a lot of surging going on which was a little nerve-racking. Why do these things happen just as you're entering an unfamiliar harbour? Calling the harbour master, we explained what was happening so he escorted us to a mooring buoy which had already been allocated to someone else. Although we got to the buoy first we were still rafted up together, with another boat joining us a few hours later. It took a few hours of clearing fuel lines before the matter was sorted out, just in time for the relatives to arrive the next day. The weather was quite bleak last night, so hopefully it will improve in the next few days.
Family on board.
Picking up Aunty & Uncle the following day, we realised parking was going to be a problem. By the time they'd arrived though, being a Sunday was helpful as a lot of people had come down for the weekend and were leaving. The car was ok till the next morning, but as we were sailing down to Falmouth, we needed to drop them at the wharf so they could motor down.
Touch wood, we left the harbour with a nicer sounding engine and with a slight wind we were on our way. Full sails and a little competition (amazing how many sailors like to race), we were flying along. On entering Falmouth harbour, skipper noticed bilge filling up rapidly, all floor boards up, check every outlet, nothing making sense. Alas, the coastguard was informed we need assistance and quick. A customs dinghy which was close by came to our rescue and came on board. No marinas had any space for a boat our size but these guys allowed us to tie up to their main boat to sort out our problem. We found out that the bilge pump was pumping out but also letting water back in as the anti siphon valve had gummed up. In the mean time, a space was found by moving the rescue boat to raft up with another boat. This allowed at least one night in a marina. The relatives were wondering where we'd gotten to, haven driven from Fowey.
Having fastened ourselves to the Visitor buoy we spent the next four days exploring Falmouth. Went for a nice day out to St Ives and the following day had a lovely lunch at Rick Stein's Seafood Restaurant in Padstow. After farewelling the relatives we were finally able to get a marina berth on Falmouth marina which was only accessible after high tide. Some welding on the 24v alternator bracket and new batteries later we were able to finally leave for France.

Dartmouth Bound

13 July 2010 | Dartmouth
Jenny & David Spencer
Dartmouth Bound
Having left Weymouth on a very grey rainy day we had our doubts whether we would have much of a sail for the forty six miles we needed to cover. The weather eventually brightened up after we got past the Shambles (aptly named) and had good wind with us. With a few other yachts heading our way we found ourselves in an unofficial race. At this time of the year you can guarantee there's a little bit of competition to get the best berths. As it turns out, the wind was howling as we entered the harbour and didn't abate till well into the evening. We were not able to secure a pontoon berth as the spring tide was pushing us off and the bow-thruster was working overtime. The harbour master assisted us onto the town quay but not before a small greedy yacht was persuaded to move up. You could only use this berth after hours from the ferry and you must be off by 8.45am the next morning. Further down the river Dart , there are more visitors moorings which will suit us as the weather is due to turn a little nasty. We leave the town quay and make our way down to the mooring buoy in the rain, to find the only large buoy has just been vacated by a large catamaran and is perfect. The harbour master is already assisting another boat and comes over to thread our ropes through the buoy and secure the boat for the next three days. It's a lovely spot and opposite Agatha Christie's holiday home which has been handed over to the National Trust and attracts many visitors. The dinghy ride into Dartmouth centre takes roughly 15 minutes where we have been told off twice by the maritime police for going a little over the 6knot limit. Third time won't be so lucky. As the weather has changed into a gloomy looking day we decide to cross over to the other side and see Greenway House which was Agatha Christies holiday home which dates from around 1792. The house was then passed onto her daughter who lived there fulltime for many years. The grounds are lush and the house is very homely which overlooks the river Dart. We had such a great day out, we'll have to find a few more of these interesting places.

Spirit of the Sea Festival

11 July 2010 | Weymouth
Jenny & David Spencer
Spirit of the Sea Festival in Weymouth
After having a wonderful sail down to Weymouth, with only two tacks, we ventured into the harbour unaware there was a festival happening along the town quay. The harbour master came out to reassure us we would be able to tie up on the quay for a few days. Unfortunately a small fishing boat had happily taken the end of the berth and not left enough room for us. Of course the owner was nowhere in sight. A quick decision was made to pull it over to the next berth to raft up to a sail training boat. Talk about a crowd and a half. Without any mishaps we were safely tied up to the town quay. The only problem was you felt like a monkey in a zoo, with hundreds of eyes peering down at you. The town was very quiet the next day as a lot of people apparently had only travelled down for the day.

Trialing the new sail

05 July 2010 | In the Hamble
Jenny & David Spencer
Trialing the new sail.
Last year we had a new sail made by Doyles Sailmakers in Southampton, so it was time to try it out. We moved over to the visitor's pontoons in the Hamble which was a lot more reasonable and a lot prettier spot. Without having a furling line as yet attached to the sail, we hoisted it up in position in preparation for the trial later that day. A strong rope was attached around the sail. Shouldn't have been a problem but unfortunately the wind got up and the tightly wound up sail decided to unravel itself rendering it impossible to get down. After a few frantic moments we realised we'd ripped it. There goes the sailing for the day. Oh dear! Back to the drawing board!
Since it will be off to the sailmaker's for a repair we decided to go over to Cowes for a few days and watch the Sailing World go by.
With a short hop over there and having been there last year, we knew exactly where the marina entrance was but better still we had the same berth.
The weather has been lovely for weeks now so it's time to head to down to Weymouth. Rather than come into the Town Quay late, we decided to anchor in Studland Bay, which is near the channel leading into Poole Harbour. It's a long way into the harbour so the bay seems the best option to be able to leave reasonably early the next day for a short 20 mile sail. There are a few other boats here so that's a comforting sight.
Vessel Name: Alexes
Vessel Make/Model: Taswell
Hailing Port: Sydney
Crew: Jenny and Dave
Extra: We Departed Sydney Jan 2004 bound for NZ and Fiji. We joined the Blue Water Rally at Cairns QLD in Sept 2006 and have been sailing around the MED for the last few years before venturing up to UK and Holland.
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Alexes's Photos -


Who: Jenny and Dave
Port: Sydney