Arrived at 7pm to be greeted by Georgie who had flown into Cork earlier in the day. Fantastic to see her and great to have had help provisioning as we planned to leave early the next morning.
Various jobs had been done in our absence, including holes drilled in the radar arch to run wires into; repairing the outboard, which needed a new carburetor and a replacement halyard diverter for the stay sail.
Supper from the local chipper: Chish & Fips. A chance to catch up with some of Georgie’s news.
Forecast F4- 3 or less mainly southerly. Vis Good, sea moderate.
24th June 07.30 departure
Target destination: Isles of Scilly as a good stopping point 24 hours into the journey; weather was fair and forecast good to take us there. Motored for the first few hours. 10:30 turned engine off for a smooth sail. Winds lightened into the evening so we powered up again and ran the engine for a few hours. During supper there was a whirring sound which we were unsure of followed some half an hour later by a strong odd burning smell. Turned off the engine as we were making good progress under sail. Big mistake.
Next time we wanted to power up, nothing happened. Not a squeak, not a dicky bird. Nothing, rien, nada. Damn, bother and blast.
After about an hour of diagnostics we realised that we weren’t going to be able to override the problem, which we’d figured was the starter motor. The Boat Owner’s Bible states “burnt out starter motor has a distinctive smell”. 01:00 Thursday, call to Coastguard to tell them and warn them we’d be crossing TSS and making landfall without engine.
The next 18 or more hours were very slow as the wind almost died and we battled the tide, but thanks to the code zero we made decent headway. Conditions would have perfect for the Isles of Scilly ,but not without an engine. So our second attempt at going there was scuppered. The last time was five years ago when we made it to Falmouth and stayed for three days due to gales. Then had to turn around and sail back to Cowes, slowly and enjoyably, but clearly it is a destination we are not bound for.
On the approach to Falmouth we had a eureka moment: by entering Falmouth harbor we had sailed round Britain via Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Estonia, Norway, Shetland Islands, Orkneys, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland!!! It was great to feel we’d achieved such a thing! The hours of contemplation on our way past Lands End and Lizard Point had given us a chance to ensure the local diesel mechanic was lined up to come to the boat with the right parts. He was fantastic and got us all sorted as well as answering a couple of other questions. Happy to pass on Dave the Diesel Mechanic’s details if you find yourself in Falmouth and in need.
The tying up alongside without power was a small challenge that we managed to get through with a couple of minor mishaps. Note to self: wear gloves when leaping ashore from a 14 tonne boat; and despite taking of life lines the darned crotch straps that are meant to save you when you fall in get caught on the stanchions (some readers will know about this). Sadly Georgie ended up in the drink because of this problem and her phone spent the next three days in rice. This prompted all sorts of silly comments including:
“what sort of dish will we have with the telephone rice?”
“Dial a curry with a side dish of chips and apps”
I have to believe there are reasons why things happen . As well as achieving ‘round Britain’ we were absolutely completely thrilled to find that Andrew & Julia Dallas on their Oyster 56, Hullabaloo, had tied up behind us whilst we had our heads in the engine. What a great surprise as it made the whole starter motor debacle worth while. We were expecting to see them on board in Lisbon in August! Needless to say our accidental pit-stop ended up being lots of fun!
Back on the road, crossing to L’Aber Wra’ch we had an uneventful journey although apparently there was quite a lot of traffic at one point. This followed my comment that I thought crossing the channel was meant to be difficult with lots of vessels to watch out for: where were they all? Georgie and the Captain felt the only way to prove what I missed whilst down below snoozing was to take a photo of the AIS signal. There was no disproving that. Piccadilly Circus at rush hour comes to mind….
L’Aber Wra’ch is well buoyed but not with fully lit buoys. Comments such as ‘wow look at those rocks’ were flying around at midnight. Luckily the night sky was clear with thousands of stars and a bright half moon to light the way. There was quite a party ashore, but no-one to help take lines and no-where to go along side. We had to raft and with an offshore breeze it proved to be a challenge (captain took 6 tries in order to avid any bumps and or crew falling in as on previous docking in Falmouth – extra time but much appreciated by the crew). We stopped counting how many tries after a couple but the combination of trying to get a person aboard another boat whilst not taking out their stanchions with the bow sprit and the memory of falling in last time were in the back of or minds. We made it and fell into bed very, very late.
The next day was glorious, sunny and perfect for exploring the peninsula. With only one folding bike on board we were able to rent two other bikes and set off to cycle to the dunes and find lunch. It was a great bike ride, lots of hills, great views of the beaches and kites surfers and our first moules frites. Yum, delicious!
13:00, Georgie booked to take the ferry from Roscoff to Plymouth and then night train to London. A long journey but fairly easy. We were very sorry to see her go. It was fabulous fun to have her on board and was definitely not long enough.
13:40, Depart for Camaret sur Mer. Motor sailed in very light wind, needing to get to and through the “Chenal du Four” at the right tide. The potentially huge overfalls and massive 5 knot current made the timing crucial – again as up in Scotland at the treacherous Sound of Luing and the Strait of Corryvreckan http://www.whirlpool-scotland.co.uk which we passed the worry at slack tide without any bouncing or turbulence and arrived in Camaret at 21:00, to a beautiful evening. Moules frites again, this time much more expensive, but delicious none the less.
Next day was a full on day of re-provisioning and laundry. The pontoon for larger boats is a good walk away from the facilities so we hi-jacked a shopping trolley to carry back bottles of water, boxes of wine, beer, food, clean laundry and all. On the basis that we didn’t have electricity on the pontoon, the showers were Euro 2 and the harbor fee was Euro 33 we decided to move to the bay adjacent to the marina and drop anchor. This was very exciting as it was the first time using the new “spade” https://www.spadeanchorusa.com anchor. It held us very well in a night of thunder storms and rocking and rolling as the wind shifted to put us sideways to the incoming tide.
We were glad to have decided to wait until the next afternoon to make the next ‘danger’ area of Raz de Sein http://www.sailingalmanac.com/Almanac/Navigation/razdesein.html . Again with warnings of picking the right tide, wind etc timing was crucial. Conditions were ideal with little wind and clear skies – last time we saw the Raz was in 2000 from ashore on one of the lay days of an Etchells regatta. We were sailing as a family with John Cronk and his children, in Douarnanez, Granny came too! It was a great regatta as we won prizes for which James and Charli gave a speech. Happy memories of old friends and happy times when we had a few days exploring the area and looking out to sea http://smallcraftadvisor.com/our-blog/?p=1798 .
France has been a journey of motor sailing with very light wind and strong tides. Across the bay of Audierne made for Benodet or rather Sainte Marine, which is on the other side of the river to Benodet. The almanac warns of ferocious ebb tide up to 4.5kn in springs: exactly where we are now! We arrived just as sun had gone down so there was still enough light to find a perfect spot on a hammer head.