Wednesday, 4 August 2010

French fried!

A days delay in Eastbourne proved somewhat more passable than i'd expected... We dug the folding bikes out, and rode into Eastbourne, a journey of just 2.5 miles (just far enough for SWMBO to complain about a sore backside!)... Eastbourne proved to be quite a pleasant little seaside town, with an air of being well kept and cared for... lots of evidence of fresh paint, carefully tended flower beds, and seemingly lots going on... much nicer than its counterparts further up the Eastern channel.

We'd decided the previous evening that we'd head for Cherbourg, with a fallback of Portsmouth should the weather be less pleasant. An early alarm call (04h00), and we were soon on the fuel pontoon, and locked out on the 05h00 opening... The sea was quite flat, with a light breeze at around 8kts... westerly rather than south westerly meant that the main went up, and for once the sail was helping rather than hindering.... we soon reached Beachy Head, and eased off out to sea, and in a mere 15 miles, reached the edge of where the TSS ended. This meant that we could now head for France properly... and with the wind not having exceeded 10 kts, there was nothing to stop us... it is however, extremely hard psychologically to see the next waypoint pop up on the plotter with 79.6nm to go.... on the upside, it was the entrance to Cherbourg!

What followed was an entirely uneventful trip... we saw lots of ships, but didn't have to alter course for a single one of them. We had the wind increase up to a max of 15kts.... hardly a gale... and ate heartily... a huge corned beef hash mid channel went down well.... SWMBO and I alternated 1hr shifts on the helm, neccessitated by the complete and utter failure of the autohelm... the previous day's attempts and repair proving to be rather useless!

It was, therefore, rather nice to reach the entrance to Cherbourg marina at 20h15, with plenty of daylight left, and having averged well over 6.5kts... pretty good... we seem to have played the tides perfectly.

Tying up was another matter.... the marina was chockablock full, and when we found a space, we made a right pig's ear of getting in it... but get in it we did, albeit with a lot of warp pulling, extreme knot tying competitions, and swearing at the kids... nothing hit, nothing bent, and no one died... a success!

The final negative, is that after so many hours of motoring (and a repeat of the trip to Eastbourne - although I forgot to mention it on that entry), the engine seemed to 'judder' a bit on putting it gently into gear, and then out again...including in neutral, so not the gearbox... and it didn't seem to be 'tight'.... it felt almost like something had overheated, and was firing on less cylinders than perfect.... it only seems to happen when she's run for very extended periods... we'll see.

But overall... here we are... in France... even better, at the right end of the French northern coastline... just a short hop from the Channel Islands... and we're only a few days in.... as C pointed out, excluding the aborted saturday at the beginning, we are in a position we'd be delighted with when we were planning, so can't complain.

Now I need to get a forecast.... no internet access at the need to find a cafe with free wireless

Miles logged 103nm
Miles this trip 200nm
Miles this season 577nm
Miles since this blog started 5,157nm

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