Nearly Time To Move On
As I write this we’re bouncing around in Braye Harbour as ‘Gleda’ pulls hard against the four large ropes attaching us to what I hope is a very well secured mooring buoy. The reason for this is an unseasonably strong gale that has swept across the English Channel during the night and is forecast to continue for the bulk of today (Tues 2nd June). During a check on deck about 4am I recorded a gust of 40 knots on my handheld gauge, that’s top end of gale 8 on the Beaufort scale.
Luckily it’s blowing from the South West and the huge harbour wall is doing it’s job as the photo below well illustrates. Mind you I’m pleased we’re moored on the opposite side of the fairway from that small cat as she’s being well washed down every now and again. No, South West is good because this place is open to the North and North East and I really wouldn’t want to be here when it blows in hard from that direction.
I’ve spent the past few days of less than pleasant weather working on the passage plan for the next legs of our voyage South although I did take an hour out for a nice sail round the Bay with Jake on ‘A Roamer’, it was fun. I can’t help thinking he’s going to find sailing a Tiki 38 a whole lot different from the dinghy like performance he gets from his little Tiki 26.
By the way the wall in the background below is the same one as in the photo above but some 16 hours earlier!
Anyway I’ve pretty much finalised the plan and here it is. We’ll probably leave here around Friday lunchtime to catch the South West tidal stream through the Swinge and down towards Guernsey. It runs at up to 9 knots so we really do have to go with the flow.
Here’s the broad picture:
I’ve set a place called L’Aber Benoit on the North Brittany coast of France as our next stop. It’s next door to the better know L’Aber Wrac’h but a lot quieter and as we’re only using as a rest stop it looks good. It’s about 120nm from Braye so we’re in for another overnighter but hopefully we’ll move along a bit quicker that we did on the leg from Falmouth.
There’s another good reason for stopping on the North coast of Brittany, we then have to catch the right tidal stream to sweep us through the Chenal du Four which is the inshore passage between mainland France and the outlying island of Ouessant (Ushant). With luck we’’ll transit quick enough to keep the tide past the entrance to the Rade de Brest and onwards to another inshore passage called the Raz de Sein, after that we can turn left and head for shelter and rest at Sainte Evette near Audierne in Southern Brittany. Total distance for this second leg is about 60 miles.
Sainte Evette will be our departure point for crossing the Bay of Biscay. I’m planning on heading for La Coruna some 350nm to the South West but of course that may change. If the weather holds and all goes well we could be there by the weekend of 13th/14th June and maybe, just maybe we’ll finally be rid if the cold, rain and gales for a wee while.
I’ll confess to a certain level of stress about these next legs, these are some of the trickiest waters anywhere with regard to tides and navigation and they’ll test me. At the same time though I’m keen to get going again and to really get ‘Gleda’ moving. I’ll update you when I can and if The Universe is kind it will be from Spain 🙂
P.S. Gail and I want to say a big thank you to all of you who’ve taken the time to comment on our first passage post. We simply don’t have time to reply individually but reading them has given us both huge pleasure. Once again thank you.