Planning to sail in a south westerly direction is asking for headwinds and lots of tacking or motoring, but for the start of the 2013 cruising season we were blessed with almost continuous northerly winds – unheard of in our sailing experience!
BB set off from Brighton on 1st June in glorious sunshine with a crew of seven, skippered by Brian. Those following us on the AIS could watch us changing our minds in the early hours of Sunday, and abandoning our planned destination of Cherbourg for a direct passage to Guernsey. The tides were perfect, we were making good speed under engine, so it was breakfast in St Peter Port.
After Phil and Diana doing a recce by land, (thanks for the cream-tea-for-lunch, Phil), we anchored in a bay on the South of the island for a very brave swim and some successful fishing – how can a couple of mackerel make so much mess?!
Another beautiful overnight passage under full sail (this crew were busy packing two weeks of sailing into one), to the brand new marina at Roscoff. The marina will be magnificent by next year when the facilities are finished, but I think we all fell a little in love with the old harbour and town. Roscoff is famous for the ‘Onion Johnnies’ who really did come over on the ferry with strings of onions on bicycles up until the 1970’s, and for its ‘hundred and one uses for seaweed’. A couple of BB crew were quite charmed by the lady in the Seaweed Museum, I understand – maybe she was really a mermaid…..
Richard and Stewart excelled themselves by getting up early to buy delicious goodies from the market including three beautiful crabs (veggies look away now). The dinner of crab linguine washed down with local white wine will surely pass into BB legend – sublime food.
The little port of L’Aberwrach provided a bit of a ‘parking’ challenge, but Brian got us in and out without frightening the neighbouring boats too much, and then we were off on the last leg to Brest. The wind gusted, then fell light, the clouds gathered, and we had to motor the last few miles in a positively tropical downpour.
Brest is HUGE – a naval, commercial, racing and pleasure port, with a very interesting maritime history. We moored BB near an enormous catamaran, skippered by a local racing hero, and met a couple of professional crews delivering boats to exotic destinations for their absent owners. The skipper of one of these state-of-the-art vessels said how much he preferred BB’s sociable and comfortable interior to the yacht he was sailing, and having seen his – I agree!
After another feast in the ‘Crab Hammer’ restaurant (yes – you get a crab and a hammer), we reluctantly left the boat, wishing fair winds to Stewart and his crew, and flew home, salty and happy.