UK to France. Our first European country.

Newlyn UK to Brest France. Bon Voyage UK for now!

We couldn’t stay in Newlyn for long, but I’d like to say. It’s a long time since I was in Cornwall. Padstow and Newlyn have still got a traditional charm and I look forward to visiting when we get back.

Time to crack on with our trip to France and Brest.

Our boat is heavy, due to the live-aboard kit we have on board. The wind forecast was 18 knots, fairly good. 20-25 knots would be better for covering the miles. Approximately 130 of them.

We left Newlyn, roughly 1600 hours on Wednesday the 18TH August. Wind strength was a bit weak at first. Had me worried that we’d be struggling to cross in a day, as I’d hoped.

The wind soon picked up and we were off at a steady 4.5-6 knots for the whole night. The sea was a bit rough. Jeanette slept all night, with sea sickness. The tablets seem to make her sleep.

We had 4-5 dolphins showing off for almost 1 hour, always a welcome sight. Then a few boats through the night but other than that we just sailed on at a good pace.

I got my music playing on the blue tooth speaker, the night just flew by. Before I knew it, we’d covered over 100 miles in 24 hours. Proof that Ocean Strider was well up-to the job.

It was light when Jeanette surfaced, which gave me an hour or two breake on the lea bed. I needed it!!

The current took me over to the West at first, so I corrected my course to get back on line. Then later in the crossing, the current took me over to the East. If I hadn’t corrected, the wind would have been at the perfect angle for entering France. Cost us a few hours and we needed the motor, to get to our destination.

I’m guilty of not re-checking the wind, tide and current when arriving at our destination. It’s cost us, time, battery power and stressed us at the end of a long journey. I hoped lesson learnt.

We aimed to get to Brest but settled for an anchorage under motor, 30 miles before. It was good to drop the anchor and get some rest in a quiet bay.

Next day. Only 30 miles, we’ll just get going. Big mistake, current against us and we weren’t getting anywhere. Some people never learn!!! 

We headed back to the bay and just made it in. I handed the tiller over to Jeanette, whilst I got the sails down. We went too close to a small mooring buoy and got the rope tangled in the prop. It just gets better, no stress “honest”.

A welcome sight, our first anchorage in France.

I went swimming in my pants, spent the next hour nearly drowning, with a snorkel and mask, untangling the rope. I should have had the GoPro on would’ve made a good video. Another lesson.

Later I looked at the current information and left at 1600 hour when the current was moving at 3 knots in the right direction. Finally, I’m learning.

The original plan was to go around the corner and anchor. The current leaving Brest was moving in the wrong direction.

We decided to try for Brest, as the current arrows were now going in the right direction. However, we needed to cross a narrow channel leaving the bay where Brest Marina was situated and hit a 4-knot current, going in the wrong direction, (not on the electronic chart).

We were doing 6 knots through the water and 0 knots over ground “ACE”. I pushed the motor a little more and we got into a small bay on the marina side, which looked sheltered from the current. We started moving forward at 3 knots, the marina entrance was 3 miles away.

I decided to stick close to the very long, high marina wall and stay out of the current. Jeanette mentioned it was a naval base and maybe we were to close. We stuck close to the wall anyway and made it to the entrance. A French naval boat shot over to us, with a few questions. All going well then??

I worked out later. We should’ve stayed on the left-hand side of the channel and entered the large bay, then sailed over to the marina from the other side of the bay. All a learning curve, just got to stay positive.

We’re now in Brest Marina and looking forward to the Bay of Biscay, well I am!!! May be tomorrow??

Published by oceanstrider2

An old boy with a plan to see the world.

2 thoughts on “UK to France. Our first European country.

  1. Well done both of you – no mean feat for those unacustomed ! Keep cracking on. All the best. Paul

  2. Hi Paul. Calypso?
    Sorry for the late reply, had a few things to sort on the boat.
    Thank you for the positive comments, the channel and Bay were not easy trip’s. The bay was a lot harder! Certainly getting some sailing time/experience!
    Next stage is to get further South before the Autumn Storms come along.
    Will be doing a blog later today, but lost all the images with my drowned phone;>(
    Keep in touch

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