2019 Summer Cruise – Weeks 10 and 11
This is a combined report for weeks 10 and 11, as your illustrious (now retiring) skipper was in nominal command for both weeks, spending as much time as possible snoozing on the starboard main cabin bunk or stocking the beer fridge. It was great trip with two fine crews, somewhat livened by inclement weather, some very fine weather, a reportable ding in St Malo, a possible fastest passage cross channel, with prodigious eating and drinking forays in some delightful towns.
Week 10 started somewhat erratically. Andy Bowerman was expecting to take the overnight ferry from Plymouth to Roscoff, arriving at 0700 on Saturday 10th August. However, the weather demon kicked in and a ‘polite’ text from Brittany Ferries (received on the train to Plymouth) rambled on about a 12 hour delay due to Gale 8/9 in the forecast. So, the offer was to spend the night on the ferry in port, or ‘go away’ until the morning. The good news was the bars and restaurant on the ferry were open till midnight and a spare cabin miraculously became available after a bit of winging about age, infirmity, drunkenness, confusion and insanity. If you are a sad old git like me – it works, even with hard-nosed French reception ladies – try it!!
Peter Russell and Elena Fioravanzo had an even worse experience, with their ferry cancelled and a 24hr delay, involving an expensive overnight stay in Plymouth and arrival delayed to Sunday. Nick Carter flew (maybe corkscrewed a bit) to Brest on Saturday morning, then took an expensive taxi ride (Ouch!) to Roscoff, meeting an exhausted Andy in the marina bar that evening. I will never forget those very nice beers Nick bought me that evening, most appreciated.
Peter and Elena arrived on Sunday afternoon, having missed a day on board, but with a much smoother ferry crossing. So, then we had a full crew and could plan to head out on Monday morning. All that has little interest for the reader, other than that when sailing with PYC you must expect ‘sod’s law’ to kick in when trip planning and weather forecasting.
A highlight in Roscoff was the discovery of the delightful old port, about 1/2mile from the marina, with waterfront restaurants, well away from the rather austere ferry and marina side.
The sail east to St Malo was on a slightly lumpy sea, uncomfortably lumpy off headlands, with some ‘strong breezes’ kicking in, so a very welcome two nights in Treguier gave us a day ashore, followed by two nights in St Malo to enjoy the delights of both towns. Quartette was on her best behaviour for us and sailed well for the whole week.
Unlike Roscoff, crew changeover at St Malo was smooth and straightforward, with brief introductions and farewells at the Ferry Terminal. It rained and blew a bit – more sod’s law kicking in. The incoming crew of Nigel Aldridge, Lotte Earle A’Hern, Hugh Dunlop and David Freemantle enjoyed the delights of St Malo and in particular, the small port/cove of Les Corbieres, only a short walk from the Marina.
Suitably stocked up with essentials like ginger biscuits, cake for Nigel and beer for Andy, we set off for St Helier, which was a trifle bumpy after the breezy weather of the previous few days. We elected to stay two nights in St Helier, while the weather improved and we could wander around the town, trying to spend the Jersey banknotes that ATM’s unexpectedly spewed out.
Working our way up through the Channel Islands to Alderney was a bit scary at times with tide streams, overfalls and lots of rocks to bounce off. An overnight stop at Sark was cancelled as the anchor winch was not working and a manual setting in 10m would have required a gorilla to haul it up (we did not have said gorilla on board – note for future crew composition). We instead opted for the delightful little marina at Beaucette, before a short run to Braye, where we took the last but three of the 70 moorings.
Braye was fun for us all, with a fish and chip dinner in the little hut restaurant near the harbour, besieged by holiday makers and children, all holidaying away from the pathetic € to £ exchange rate. Next day Nigel skippered the channel crossing to Weymouth, on a flat sea, beam reach and hot sunshine. This channel crossing clearly suited Quartette as she picked up her skirts and really flew – definitely up for fastest 2019 passage? A tanker decided to stalk Nigel in to Weymouth, but unflustered, he parked us on the visitor’s pontoon, only to collect another four boats rafted up to us.
Un-rafting after two nights in a packed Weymouth was a logistical triumph, with Nigel leading the tact and diplomacy negotiations with an RAF sailing rally (Andy was sent below) to extract ourselves as painlessly as possible. We timed it as the town bridge opened (Oops!) so the whole harbour was a mass of milling boats for a few minutes. It credits everyone there was no shouting or drama, just jolly good boat handling.
In settled warm weather we were able to view the Jurassic coast at close quarters, before mooring for the night outside Yarmouth, on the very last (<9m) mooring as the Solent was rammed over the bank holiday and without an anchor ‘gorilla’ we were stuffed. So straight back to Gosport the next day, through a congested Solent.
Written on behalf of both the SC10 and SC11 crews.