Cherbourg to Brest
27 April 2013
Well, we've arrived in Brest on a glorious summer's day, warm with a light breeze. There's a vast ocean-racing catamaran next to a scruffy red mongrel single-hander, and the Crabe Marteau restaurant, which doesn't have place settings, just wooden mallets, is open.
We left Cherbourg in a sunny dawn, but with light winds it was motorsailing most of the way, with a big rush of tide down the Alderney race, and then a big swell and chop off Banc de la Schole. We reached St. Peter Port in the afternoon. After beating all day of course.
The next morning, as we left the pontoon, the Morse became detached from the gear cable, and we were stuck between pontoons without engine. Luckily we managed to come alongside with no grief, and my son Julian worked out that we needed 2 washers to pack the connection. We have spares for everything onboard, but guess what? No washers. We constructed 2 out of plastic, and amazingly it worked.
We decided to see where the wind would blow us rather than making for a destination. And we had a glorious 3 hours sailing close hauled, but the furthest west we were going to be able to get was Lezardrieux, too far east, and furthermore, the tide had turned against us, and our ETA was looking like 2 a.m. Well if we had to stay up til then, why not motorsail west to L'Aber Wrac'h, Finisterre, the end of the world, and the gateway to the Chenal du Four. And that's what we did, hallucinating sometimes about lights on the water, and arriving there at 8.30 the next morning in a thick mist.
The mist seemed even worse this morning when we left in the dark, less than a hundred metres visibility, and we were in two minds as to whether to go on, but we thought we'd give it a go. So we sailed glued to the chartplotter screen, round Portsall, and past the huge lighthouse of Le Four without being able to see it. But suddenly, after four hours sailing, the sun appeared as a hazy blob through the mist, and within a matter of minutes the mist had evaporated and it was a bright sunny spring day. Boy did we cheer up. So we saw the lighthouse at the Pointe St. Matthieu, and then the beautiful Douarnenez bay. Tide with us, we drifted in to Brest, relieved and cheerful.
And now the fun sailing starts. We may take the beautiful river Aulne up to Chateaulin tomorrow for supper, as the tide gets us there at aperitif time, and you can tie up at the hotel's pontoon as long as you eat there. So we will.