Across the channel
25 July 2015
Penzance to France
Well, I suppose it's time I wrote a blog without leaving it to my beautiful assistant all of the time.
Three days in Penzance waiting on weather, lazing and walking around the town over the weekend. We all think of the pirates of Penzance and you can imagine it once being a piratical place, the winding cobbled streets dotted with ale houses, play houses and many the house besides!! I find it a strange place now, a mixture of dilapidated prosperity from the time when it was a busy port and charming tree lined streets with Victorian and Edwardian houses, mixed with B&B's and hotels with grey haired tourists, Fawlty Towers?? Not sure if I can warm to the place though.
Our neighbours Chris and Mandy with their two charming kids on 'Tallulah May' have been very friendly and informative to us. They are heading to winter in Cardiff after being at sea for a couple years on their beautiful Hilliard from the 60's, a labour of love for them both having had it in the driveway for 18 months before departure.
Tuesday 14th July, Bastille Day
Will we go, will we stay?? We go, in the rain, the cat's not waving either. Mmmmm. The forecast is for a SW x W 4-5, but with rain and poor visibility. We decide to go, following Tallulah May out into Penzance Bay and off we head south under a double reefed main, jib and half a genoa. Destination, France............ somewhere.
We start off well and the wind is our friend all the way, even keeping the visibility at a mile or two, it's all good. Poor Liz isn't enjoying this crossing though, reasonably bumpy with a SW Atlantic swell (though not much) combined with the wind waves. Not to worry, with the poor vis I like to be around anyway. We make cracking progress and are meeting the traffic from the Ushant Traffic Scheme in the early hours of the morning. The phosphorescence is the best I have ever seen it, almost blue! Though with all the white caps I keep seeing imaginary ships. Maybe it's those pirates heading home to Penzance.
The dawn breaks rather sheepishly and then the fog appears, or rather, the mist turns to fog! I have decided we won't make Cammaret or Ushant in a decent time and as the long night is catching up on us the right place to go is L'Aber-Wrach to the North East of Brest. It's a difficult approach, rocks and tides so I decide to slow down and wait for the fog to clear, it does! Just as we approach the buoy at the entrance. I keep thinking of that blasted cat not waving and wonder what's around the corner.
A beautiful arrival into L'Aber-Wrach, departing yachts heading north, a Dutchman and a German. The rocky outcrops peeping from behind the mist and then the town opens up in bright sunshine, apparently oblivious to the blind apprehension outside the channel. We moor alongside yet another Hallberg Rassey, 48 feet no less. Odyssey turns green with envy of her teak decks and ample cockpit. No matter, ashore for a pression to celebrate our continental arrival!! Phew!