Sunday, May 22, 2011


We made it!

What an amazing experience we had a great mix of conditions but luckily our 3 day forecast was spot on and we didn’t get plastered by any gales.    

Day 1 - Light NW winds and sunshine. Close hauled but not unpleasantly heeled, we made good progress at about 6 kts. the sea was flat calm but with a long swell. The 1st night continued much the same.
Just as night was falling we had a stow away join us. A small migratory bird (swallow or swift?) was knackered and landed on the fore deck to rest. He took off and disappeared for an hour and then returned, he did this a couple of times and then eventually returned flew into the saloon and perched on the book shelf where he stayed until sun up. He was a polite and pretty guest and was kind enough not to shit on Amanda who was sleeping 2ft away.
Our first guest !

Day 2 - Windless and sunny we motored for hours to make progress, we played with the spinnaker, but swell kept knocking the wind out. Did a bit of sunbathing, but the highlight of day was a whale that surfaced about 25 meters away and was then kind enough to do it again on queue once I had roused Amanda to share my excitement.

Day 3 – The NE wind started to build and we soon ended up with just half the foresail unfurled and braced with a pole, doing 7\8 knts. We had pods and pods of dolphins visit us all day and all night, they were amazing, leaping out of the waves and playing in our bow wave. When we were below decks trying to sleep you could hear them talking to each other through Magnums hull.

We flew downwind for hour after hour but the sea built bigger and bigger so we were rolling dramatically from side to side making it very difficult to sleep, cook and eat.
The wind built to a F6 so we decided not to round Cape Finsterre, as this area has a reputation of having even stronger winds so diverted to La Coruna. We had a few horrendous hours getting here as the wind grew and it was the darkest coldest night we had yet experienced. It was so dark at one point I had to ask Amanda if she was still in the cockpit despite her sitting only 2 ft away ! Luckily she was still there. Then we crossed from the deep abyssal plain (4000m+) back onto the continental shelf (100m) and the waves became huge and a little on the unpleasant side.

Finally docked at La Coruna at 5am after some challenging night pilotage to enter the port and avoid the fishing fleets heading out to sea.

Long, long night !

We are showered and rested now and we are predicted light winds and 27deg for the next few days. . . . . our reward .

Monday, May 16, 2011

Rock hopping in Brittany

15/5 Day sail from Brest to St Evette via the notorious Raz de Sein.
Awful nights sleep in one of the rolliest anchorages we have ever been in followed by a fantastic days sailing today with some interesting pilotage between various rock formations and with some serious tidal gates to get the timing exact for.
The pilot book states that you MUST arrive at the Raz de Sein within 15 minutes of HW Brest -1/2 and that if you miss this you should reconsider your transit for another day or risk boat sinking overfalls !!! Difficult to achieve such exact timing on a sailboat with variable winds, but we managed it almost perfectly and whistled through with a slack tide wondering what all the fuss was about.
Perfect days sailing with F4 NW winds, blue skies and sunshine all the way. We were convinced today was going to be a dolphin day but alas they decided not to grace us with their presence. ;-(
We arrived in good time at a place called Saint Evette just down the river from Audierne. Very pretty place with beautiful beaches, we are currently anchored just off the visitors buoys as we are too tight to pay !!
Tomorrow we will explore by dingy and try to get a decent 5 day forecast so we can plan our Biscay crossing.

This is our current position -,-4.064941&sspn=6.881357,14.941406&ll=48.007755,-4.557996&spn=0.015705,0.058622&z=15
Obstacle No.1

Light house at Raz De Sein

Pretty anchorage just outside Audierne

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


150 miles in the last 24hrs and we are nackered!
A good fast crossing from Falmouth, but the wind didnt veer as predicted so we spent 15 hours bashing upwind against proper Atlantic swells. Magnum and Heidi handled it all with aplomb keeping up a good average with no interference from us which was just as well as we took a bit of a pasteing and I have never seen so many ships, most were courteous and altered course to give us room, but one caused me to take avoiding action by trying to pass 300ft in front of us, git!
Still here safe and we also managed to make the tidal gate at chenal du four so we carried straight on to Brest without stopping. Currently anchored in a beautiful bay with just birds for company....bliss :-)

What a spectacular site 2 hours out of Falmouth - The Bounty on passage to Plymouth

The container ship stopped to take a better look! 

 Queen Victoria passing very closely in the middle of the night on passage to Barcelona

Saturday, May 7, 2011


Falmouth has been our home for longer than expected although a wealth of maritime history we have not seen or done as much as we would have liked and every time we get in the dingy it seems to rain!

We sailed from Fowey on Wednesday 4th, we left with a F5-F7 easterly blowing us along the pretty coastline, it was pretty grey and cold when we left but after about an hour it started to cheer up and we were both baking (possibly a bit of exaggeration but just nice to see the sunshine!).  Heidi the Hydrovane managed her first real voyage and worked well running with the wind and getting a battering from the waves side on.  This allowed us both to laze around and just admire the scenery.  

Entrance into the harbour was pretty exciting as seem to be big stunning boats everywhere.

Falmouth has been good for getting all the domestics done; seem to forget we are not on holiday and still need to do the washing, shopping, etc.  It has been a novelty using the laundrette and been surprised about how much it costs - £5.50 for 1 load of wash and dry! Provisioning should be reasonable as there is a Tesco Express 2 mins walk but only every has 50% of what is on the shopping list, why no red onions, limited amount of yogurts, not my margarine, I suppose we are going to have to get used to adapting.

We have tried to avoid all the pasty and fish & chip temptations but have experienced the delights of Trago Mills, what a novelty, a shop full of complete crap! Although did pick up some nice ginger biscuits.

Had a couple of bumpy nights at anchor as marinas still pretty pricey down here and even have to pay for anchoring in the harbour but does mean we can use the warm showers which as been a lifesaver.

By Thursday night we were having some problems with our batteries not holding their charge, this lead to us having to move the boat, hire a car, drive to Plymouth, TWICE and generally having a mad panic to get the problem resolved and spending loads of money.  Whilst all this was going on we had no power, so no lights, gas, hot water – what fun! I suppose we can just be glad that it happened this side of the channel.

I am trying to put this all down to experience and looking forward to some more adventures.  Currently I am on the look out for Fraggles (does anyone remember them!), they originate and live in the local lighthouse and I am sure I saw Sprocket walking down the High Street and there are many Doozers working in the docks! Only a matter on time until I see Red or Gobo out to get a pasty.

Monday, May 2, 2011


Magnum at rest 
Needed to leave Plymouth as the marina was just too expensive for us, so after a night to recover we set off to Fowey in a forecast F5-7 E breeze.

We weren't disappointed and we were soon speeding along at 7-8 knts and good visibility. We seemed to be continually checked out by various inquisitive sea birds, we were very jealous of the gannets who are just the most amazing fliers.

Arrival at Fowey

Passage to Plymouth

Interesting Sail for our first long passage, left in a light NE which quickly died and left us with the motor on for quite a few hours. Still we managed a nice dinner of cheese and cauliflower soup with fresh baked rolls yummy !!

Then the wind filled in and we cracked along with a F5-6 NE which got bumpier and bumpier as we approached Start point.

Amanda fast asleep in the port side sea berth Zzzzzzzz

Visibility wasn't great with a slight mist and no moon at all, we were very glad of our AIS system as there were quite a few ships and fishing boats around. We also had a bit of a shock when we found ourselves in the middle of a massive thunderstorm which lit the sea up around us. No scary moments though just a long slog and arrived in Plymouth safe and sound just after sun up.

Sunrise over Prawl point

Had a good day in Plymouth lazing around and making the most of hot water showers. It took us a day to recover from the Scoperderm patches we both use to ward off seasickness. These patches are great and pretty much eliminate all traces of sickness, but they do have some odd side effects, the worst of which is that Amanda suffers from double vision (lucky her that means two of me !!) and we also discovered that neither of us could read when we first arrived. I think the marina staff thought we had been taking too many recreational drugs !!