Leaving the Cherbourg breakwater. look at that sea. At 0900 it was a calm as a millpond. the forecast said that it would get loud later! and it didn`t dissapoint in anyway! (writers note I wish I could load the photos up in the right order :o(( The second down photo indicates the state of the current, ( I had turned to Port giving me a bit of an advantage from the adverse declining tide) I decided to trade about 3 hours of foul tide for getting some way off before accepting the natural push towards the SE bottom corner of the shipping lane off Alderney, which worked out well, given the time frame, I was to have approximately two tides with me and two against. The journey (unlike my last delivery which took 5 hours from Brighton to Cherbourg in a gin palace) took 25 hours, of the worst weather I have experienced this year so far. The boat a "Trident" was bomb proof and behaved very well I had 7.5 knots through the water at one point with only the Yankee up.
I found out later that there was no electric to the binnacle, so at night, no compass? (quick flash of a torch, , do I hear, which I resorted to then my night vision was totally shot! My course through the hours of darkness 10-30 to 05-20 looked like the trace of a drunken spider who had walked in ink :o)) Hee hee!
Just keeping the cockpit clear of water was more my concern as following seas on one occasion nearly up to the lower crosstrees threatened to break over the stern. Fortunately there was only one breaking sea that I missed, and failed to react too, that swamped the cockpit at about 06.00 this morning.
Having turned along the coast of La Belle France to head down to Guernsey before crossing to Plymouth (my course gave me the minimum distance of crossing of the area used by shipping, and yes I saw lots of them!) whilst just being off the actual TSZ itself, well almost ,as I did just "cut a bit off" the bottom SE corner off Alderney/guernsey :o((. As the weather started to decline the old "Corbiere" light looked very forboding as I hurtle past it at all too close a distance for a sudden "wind swing".
With the initial calm I took the oportunity to set up the Aries wind vane which worked well for about an hour but as the vessel became more over pressed it couldn`t cope and I couldn`t make use of it again during the trip! if there hadn`t been so much weather helm and had the boat been better balanced it would have been fine but in the conditions (which really needed me to "hove to") no.
As I said I encountered many large vessels on the journey mostly mid channel and during the night hours and mostly exiting the TSZ, who`s "Officer of the watch" probably couldn`t believe their eyes at the sight of the lone, small vessel, bucking and rolling her way across the channel, often ahead of them, having just crossed their bow or having veered to approach their stern (in plenty of time not to cause them any stress, of course :o))).
The seas on the UK Salcome side were heaped up towards the shore, very confused (crests breaking from all angles) with winds showing at, often, around 3o to 40 knots, and now I was almost running parallel to them dipping down into the dips and turning into the sometimes quite high, approaching waves to rise safetly ride out of them (works for me!) but! I missed one sneaky one and the wave broke right over the vessel from the port side knocked her flat and shovied her along the surface, scooping up a cockpit full of water before I knew it! Fortunately the cockpit doors were shut tight and the four cockpit drains were terrific, it was gone without any trauma (much! and a resounding "thank heavens for my 20 year old Musto Oceans").
Some time during the night ( yes I know I should have put it in the log) the owners newly installed chart plotter went down with a fault message! something like "I`m not happy with all this bouncing around so I`m going to shut down!" which was, of course, on what I had previously set my course. True to good "Naval tradition" a secondary one had been plotted for such an eventuality on the chart table 128 GPS, but that was not on the bridge! ( and with no compass, you can imagine?) Daylight came slowly as the cloud cover was dense and the nearly full moon not visible. The ever increasing washer dryer action got worse, not really finding any respite untill I surfed through the Eastern entrance of the breakwater at Plymouth yesterday at 09.00 having just passed( but due to heavy swirling mist, not seen much off) the greater Mew stone, and the shagstone.
The next thing, having had no sleep for at least 36 hours and just two packets of Buscuits and a hurried "cook in the bag" french meal and soup ( quite palatable actually, reminding me somewhat of photos I had seen of Marys "Misu concoctions" ;o)) ) I had to brave the great British train journey home via Paddington! £65 quid for a one way smelly slow trip? I could have got better from a pusher on Rose street, Edinborough! :o((
Guess what? as I walked back into my house my wife (bless her!) said "Have a nice trip dear" Just what do I say to that? "Oh! Great thanks! you know how they are? great to be home though" particularily as some 12 hours earlier I had sat nearly waist deep in water wondering where the next wave was to come from! the joys of the "well found" boat this one was a 38 foot excellent, home finished,Trident, God (May be there is one) bless the owner on his build capability!"