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Sunday, 25 August 2013

Short AV of our Transat Classique 2012

Next one scheduled for January 2015 leaving Gibraltar - I wonder if we'll be there?

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Croix des Gardes back at the Royal Harwich Yacht Club

Saturday, 27 July 2013

The Happy Return

After Cowes, James had reached Eastbourne before the fine weather and the run of easterlies curtailed further progress. He hired a car and took the children home for the first time in nine months. A week later, the whole family (kids, wife, new au pair and cats) returned to Croix des Gardes to complete the trip and return home to East coast waters for the first time since 2011.

We planned an early start to run the flood to Dover and locked out at dead low. Sovereign Marina has been recently dredged to 2m and we should have had 50cm over astronomical low leaving a healthy four inch margin of water under the keel. In the lock, all was well and we allowed the visiting Dutch flotilla to leave first so we'd have more space to manoeuvre. Just as well - we left the lock and James commented that we actually had 1.5m under the keel and then instantly hit the bottom. We were no more than a boat length outside the lock gates and now stuck fast, blocking the lock. Fortunately, Sovereign have a second lock and were very apologetic as to the lack of charted depth. They sent out their work boat on the next lock and he nudged us off and we were under way.
Aground just out the lock!

It was lovely to be back on board after three months. The conditions were extremely light and we had a 'Caribbean' sail on smooth seas, warm air and turquoise water. E persuaded us that she didn't want to be on board any longer than necessary so we replanned to anchor in Ramsgate Roades for a few hours to wait for the tide and then continue soon after midnight on the ebb across the Thames Estuary. I have to say that sipping English Harbour rum in the cockpit off Ramsgate breakwater wasn't quite as I remembered from the Antilles!
The turquoise water of the English Channel

The wind continued to drop and we motored and sailed out past North Foreland and into Black Deep. James took us through Foulger's despite new difficulties of picking the lit buoys among the city of new wind turbines, each showing a white at their base and a red at their masthead. By dawn, we were within sight of Felixstowe and home. I took us up the familiar Medusa Channel to Harwich shelf and we were back in the Orwell. The smooth waters, deep channel and gentle folds of the East Anglian landscape were even more beautiful after our absence and we reminisced over our voyage.
We even got the spinnaker up - and broached before we got it down again

By 10am we were alongside at our home club of the Royal Harwich Yacht Club to see their fine new clubhouse. The kids played on the lawn and we tidied the decks ready for a weekend of celebration to mark the end of this voyage.
New crew on deck

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Cats, Cowes and Clogging!

After a fine passage up from Plymouth , via Dartmouth and Studland Bay, we stopped at Swanwick for a couple fo nights and picked up some fuel on Saturday before moving over to Cowes for the Panerai British Classic Yacht Club regatta.  The new crew, Napoleon and Ensign seem to be settling in.

It was fantastic to see everyone again along with a great welcome from the club committee and membership.  We where presented with a new club birgee, as the old one was on its last legs.  The new one is defacted with an "A" at the fly distinguishing us as an Atlantic member.  Another club boat, Swanilda received the same, in recognition of her Atlantic circuit in the same year.

We were also presented with a very nice pottery fruit bowl in pale blue and white, for the "Greatest Distance Travelled".  Many thanks to the club for their support.  It has been fantastic to depart the 2012 regatta, and return to the 2013 one having spent the entire time in comission and cruising.

With all those miles behind us we are now stuck in Cowes with the high pressure fuel injection pump off and awayin Southampton, thanks to water in the fuel.  Not what you expect once you are back home!  Thanks to the company doing the testing, we are here going on a week after they got the pump, despite promising a "48 hour turn around".  Unimpressed.


Some seatime photographs

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Crew Changes

We have settled down in Plymouth and the transatlantic crew have departed, back to their families and boyfriends, but we have two new crew that have joined us; Madamoiselle Ensign and General Napoleon.  Two 3 month old kittens, one  black tortoise shell (Mlle E) and one black (M. N).

Full of playful kitteness, E thinks they are better than television!

Cornelius and his family have made us wonderfully welcome in Plymouth, but time constraints mean w are off to Dartmouth in the morning for a couple of day and then the run up to Cowes.

Friday, 28 June 2013

Back in Old Blighty

Well, we finally arrived in Plymouth to the welcome of Cornelius' family who came out at 0100 to stand on a headland and watch us in.  Official arrival time of 00:41 on 28 June.  18 days 7 hours and 41minutes.

All tired and now looking forward to a few relaxing days in Plymouth before heading for Cowes and the BCYC regatta.

More to follow once we have sorted the boat out, cleaned up, showered etc.