Crossing the Bay of Biscay.
A 3-day stopover in, Brest/Marina Du Chateau was relaxing. The surrounding area is busy with bars and just what we needed. Brest itself is perfect for re-stocking your boat.
Marina Du Chateau have a fantastic service, free use push bikes (150 Euro deposit). Which we took advantage and rode to Port Du Moulin Blanc, approximately 3 km. We visited a fantastic chandlery. I wish I could go back there for more bits.
Essential maintenance done, we’re ready for the biggest trip so far. Brest to Northern Spain across the Bay of Biscay. We knew this next stage wasn’t going to be easy.
We left Marina Du Chateau at 08.30h, with the intention to get to Camaret-Su-Mere for 10.00h local time/09.00h UK time and re-schedule our insurance. Which only took us as far South as, La Rochelle/France. Assist insurance were fantastic and got this sorted straight away.
Just after 1200h. We left Camaret Sur Mere on the 1st part of the main leg, Crossing the Baie De Douarnenez.
Our route took us South, 196 degrees. On time to beat the turning tide at the Raz De Sein. A channel between main land France and a group of Islands and rocks stretching West, for approx 16 miles.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t get to the channel before the tide turned. It was now flowing against us at a 3 kts. Our option, to round the Chaussee de Sein. This would give us a better wind angle for the Bay of Biscay. I’m sure we could’ve done better.
We sailed at 260 degrees to the light at Ar Men (Chaussee de Sein) and crossed at the channel just before. Now flying, making 7 kts and more into the Bay of Biscay.
The wind was awesome and just kept building. So did the swell. We made it to approx 47.2.3N 5.35.4W, before nightfall on the 1st night. Not looking forward to nightfall but committed to carry on, that’s just what we did.
Dawn of the 2nd day. The sea was looking very unwelcoming and the wind was now pushing 25 kts. I was getting tired as Jeanette was sea sick. No sleep for me. Like a fool I didn’t were a hat and got too much sun. I also felt rough and by nightfall I was sick.
The saying Murphy’s Law comes into play here. Within approximately 1 hour our Navionics device was washed out by a wave, I was feeling rough, Jeanette was rough, the waves and weather were just getting more aggressive, we had no radio communication, jeanette realised the water tank had leaked and water was showing under the floor as we healed, we were 150 miles from land. Finally, the boom out-hall snapped. I suspected the electric drive had failed during the night but struggled to do anything because of the weather and Jeanette was being sick. We couldn’t risk turning the boat to reef the sail.
It was time to try a call by sat phone, (to let them know where we were) to Falmouth Coast Guard. We then realised we had the wrong number.
We needed to get our act together. We were both ill and feeling very negative but there was nothing that couldn’t be sorted.
I used a reefing rope to sort the out-hall.
Did a temporary fix on the water tank.
I suspected the drive had tripped due to a DC-DC converter, which ran the navigation lights. I disconnected that and connected the lights directly to the 12v system. The drive motor un-tripped and was back on.
“I’ve since contacted Lynch Electric Drives, they are doing all they can to resolve the problem with the tripping drive, as the DC-DC converter is a standard part”.
We had 4 back up navigation systems. Any 1 was more than adequate.
The sat phone was working, so a call was fine if we needed to.
It’s not good if all are sick at sea and a negative attitude is allowed to take over. All was now positive again and we were on our way. Just another 2 days sailing in heavy weather and seas.
To be continued!!!!