Page 27 - Yachter Autumn 2023
P. 27

As it looked likely that Tina and I would be boatless this summer, Mike and Virginia Boyle kindly suggested we join them on Barti Blue for the delivery passage to La Rochelle and an explore once there. This soon morphed into, Mike and I would deliver the boat and the ladies would join us once there, alternatively known as hotel sailing!
We left Beaulieu in the last of the settled weather period at the end of June, an evening passage to Yarmouth for a meal together with Tina and Virginia who joined us by ferry leaving us at a reasonable time so we could
get back to the boat moored off ready for an early start the next day. The passage across
the channel was an uneventful motor sail in a light westerly breeze. Unusually, mid channel we could see land on the Dorset coast to the west of Swanage and Cap de la Hague with its attendant masts and structures on the French coast. As we approached Alderney the breeze firmed up and we had a fine sail carrying the tide down the race to St Peter Port. We stayed a day to fuel up and avoid a forecast fresh south westerly against which progress would have been slow. It turned out that the following day wasn’t much better, a westerly 25 knots and
a large sea over an even larger swell. It could
be said that we battered our way to Roscoff
motor sailing again, finding every last tiny leak point and arrived in Roscoff in the dark. We had a 1100 appointment with Douane (French costumes and exercise), so we turned up an hour early and an alarmed lady looked very perplexed when we told her we had arrived
late the previous evening. She had mistakenly picked up our emailed exit form, so smiles all round and with lots of admin franglais, she found the entry form and duly stamped our passports; it didn’t used to be this difficult, but in fairness the French have tried to make entry as easy as possible.
We were quickly on our way around to L’Aber Wrac’h, to keep up with our push
to get south, the weather wasn’t quite as boisterous as the previous day but not light enough to risk going between Île de Batz and the mainland. We went the long way round into the main L’Aber Wrac’h entrance not
being entirely confident in the chart plotter, which was behaving erratically and rather slowly. In the rocky entrance I had a confused near miss with a masonry easterly cardinal, my mental picture of north was 90 degrees out, use the compass it’s only staring me in the face, der! Mike calmly watched having concluded there was plenty of water all around being high tide. We found a space on the marina wave break and a helpful soul helped us tie up. His rather elderly boat with the appearance of a liveaboard was carefully packed up opposite us inside the marina. Evidently his engine had let him down at sea, a helpful Swedish boat had declined to give him a tow and instead radioed the French Lifeboat, who insisted on towing him in for the princely sum of 1200 euros. We guessed there was now an impasse between lifeboat, marina and our chappy who was now commuting between UK and France.
             WHAT’S YOUR TIPPLE? 27

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