Tuesday, May the 12th – 20:45 – Brest

May the 12th …or maybe April the 12th? It has been quite cold and wet with thick fog and no wind all the way through the night. Temperatures ranging at about 10°C, humidity 85% and visibility almost zero. The Radar provided some sense of safety locating fishing boats operating without AIS (Automatic Identification System). The only dangerous objects that couldn’t be seen were the lobster cage buoys which are spread all along the Brittany coast. Such a buoy with its rope produces a distinct noise that you won’t forget easily again and forces the engine to stop immediately when caught and wrapped around the spinning propeller. Without any wind, your vessel is not under control anymore and drifting with the tide. Nothing you would like to experience in these waters.

Anyway, at about 8:00 in the morning the wind was suddenly switched on by someone. The fog was gone and it started blowing with F5. It took a while for the sun to clear up the sky and the day finally turned into what we had been waiting for from the beginning of the voyage.

The Atlantic Ocean seas, big but smooth like hills, were running in from the west. The boat adapted to the conditions steadily sailing its course. Everything felt lighter such as Matilda had broken free from the lines holding her in the gray wet and cold English Channel. A feeling of freedom came up.

It is time to head south into warmer climates.

20150512 The Morning after the cold and foggy nightThe morning after the cold and foggy night

20150512 The Wind is backThe wind is back

20150512 Heading south in the Chenal Du FourHeading south through the Chenal du Four

20150512 10NM west of BrestBrest fisher

20150512 Passing Pointe du Petit Minou on the way into Rade de BrestPassing Pointe du Petit Minou on the way into Rade de Brest

Monday, May the 11th – 12:45 – Guernsey

We arrived yesterday after a great sailing from Cherbourg through the Alderney Race. Wind was about 4 Bft from south. Although the Sailing Almanac says “Avoid any wind over tide situation” it was a very smooth and pleasant ride (what does “any” mean? more than Force 6??? ).
The crew is out exploring Guernsey. Plan for today and tomorrow is to sail to Brest.

We will be leaving Guernsey at about 15:00 local time.

Next blog entry in Brest.

20150510 Dolphins1

20150510 Dolphins2Dolphins came along and accompanied us for a while

20150510 SailingGreat sailing on the way to “Little Russel”

20150510 Guernsay FlagGuernsey we are coming!

20150510 Guernsay EnteringEntering Saint Peter Port

20150510 Guernsay PubA nice pint of John Smith’s finally. Cheers!

Sunday, May the 10th – 00:48 – Cherbourg

There is always something to repair on a boat. This time, the wind instrument refused to do what it should. No wind speed and no direction indication. Not only because Benno is the lightest member of the crew, but also because he has done this job many times in the past was he lifted up the mast to check the newly installed wind sensor. The connector was showing some evidence of corrosion (!!!!???). It was cleaned with WD40 and reconnected. Now the wind speed indication works again but the direction is still faulty…

20150509 Masttop

Friday, May the 8th – 21:30 – Cherbourg

We left Boulogne on Thursday at 07:00 in the morning. It was still blowing with 6-7 Bft and the sea state was quite rough. We had the second reef in the main and the headsail half rolled away.

20150507 Breaking WavesWaves on Boulogne breakwater

20150507 Leaving BoulogneI think I have to secure that outboarder with a rope before it goes overboard…

20150507 Dirk Evan

20150507 Felix Benno

After 8 hours trying to make way west (we only managed to do 16 miles in 8 hours), we decided to start the engine. A few hours later the wind died away completely and the sea calmed down which was a great relief for one of the crewmembers who was suffering from severe seasickness.
We arrived in Cherbourg Friday in the morning just before the turn of the tide after 24 hours of motoring.

Wednesday, May the 6th – 12:30 – Boulogne Sur Meer

Another day in the harbour… Gale warning is still valid. We will leave Boulogne Sur Meer later today and try to arrive in Cherbourg by Friday evening. The wind is expected to decrease but will still be coming from the wrong direction. There is another low expected for Saturday with strong winds and gusts up to 9 or 10 Bft.
Next blog entry won’t be before Saturday.

Monday, May the 4th – 23:00 – Boulogne Sur Meer

There have been many gale warnings for the area over the past 24 hours but the “Severe Gale Warning of Force 9” for the Dover Strait issued by the Dover Coastguard finally changed our plans and we decided to search shelter in Boulogne Sur Meer. We arrived at 22:00 in a downpour and made fast in the marina. We will probably stay in for the coming 24 hours.

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For some reason I have not realized yet that I am on my voyage to Greece. It still feels like a week’s trip with friends in northern Europe….

May the 4rd – 09:00 – Nieuwpoort

It was a cold and wet start, feeling like winter sailing. We arrived in Oostende yesterday late afternoon where the fourth crew member signed on. Despite the strong wind warning, we decided to go out and make some more way west to Nieuwpoort and ended up motoring against big waves for 4 hours. There is not much room at the Belgian coast for beating to windward because of the many sandbanks. A low west of Portugal is moving over England providing mainly strong west winds for the next days. Not what we want. We will try to keep at the continental side of the channel for the time being. If everything comes out as we think, we will be in Cherbourg Wednesday afternoon.