18. August 2012 · 2 comments · Categories: Posts

Not everyone is suited to the ‘cruising’ lifestyle. You need to be either a ‘little’ crazy, deluded or eccentric. Or maybe a little of all of them.

Despite what you may have read in all those ‘sell up and sail away’ books I think if you answer the three questions below truthfully you will know if the lifestyle will suit you:

1) Can you pat your head and rub your tummy at the same time? a) no b) yes

2) When things break down or go wrong do you; a) hold up your hands in frustration, or; b) start listing possible solution to the problem immediately?

3) If you woke up one morning to find that your boats toilet has been pumping poo into your bilges and the ships electrical system has a short so you have no running water or bilge pumps would you; a) run away in disgust and book a hotel; or b) go find the rubber gloves, a rope for the bucket, a disposable cup and a bottle of bleach?

If you answered (a) to any of these questions seriously consider either leaving with a limitless budget or giving up on the dream now. Beautiful locations, dazzling sunsets, great food and friendly people may be your fondest memories, but only if you can get through the hard times as well. You have to be able to get on ‘with it’ when the ‘poo’ hits the fan.

Finally left Audierne, France for the great Bay of Biscay crossing hoping to make land fall in Spain around the Ria de Cedeira. Wish us luck! end:

11. August 2012 · 5 comments · Categories: Posts

We left L’Aberwrach at the assigned time in all the guide books to tackle the Chanel du Four and the Raz de Seine to get around the point of the Finistere penisula to Audierne. Both have a bad reputation that did not materialise as we had fair winds and tides the whole way.


The shallower water through the straits did bear fruit from the sea. It was a long days sail, but calm enough to cook up our caught fish to eat for dinner along the way. We still got into port in time for ‘sun downers’.

After the expense of L’Aberwrach we decided that we would ‘save a few pennies’ and anchor in the mouth of the river at St.Yvette. It is a beautiful anchorage surrounded by white soft sand beaches. The waters are crystal clear and reflect aqua marine in the sun light. The temperature is already improving and my human’s are still wearing shorts and t-shirts in the evening.

After a good nights sleep we all jumped into the dingy and headed up river to the main town to attend the ‘grande’ market. The town centre was packed with people, food stands, fresh produce, cheeses, breads, meats and of course lots of French dogs. We went to the town marina to enquire about prices and get a weather update, but no one was in despite the times listed for openings.

When we got back, the little anchorage of St.Yvette was very packed. Every mooring buoy was gone and lots of boats where anchored around us. In the night the winds built to a force 4 and the boats where turned broad side to the Atlantic swell. All of us were rolling back and forth. Nothing that we would not experience on a down wind sail, but with out the sails up the boom creaked as the boat rolled and things left out started falling off the counters. A bit of a noisey night. I go and hide on my bed under the table when things get bumpy.

With the morning light we found we were the last boat standing. All the other anchored boats had left and most of the boats on buoys. Glad we have a big heavy boat sometimes. We did not want a repeat so we rigged up our drouge (sea parachute) to hang off our boom on one side of the boat. This dampens the roll of the boat and it sits much nicer now.

Made a mad kayaking trip into town again to see if the marina was open, but again it was closed. Finally a nice man who spoke ‘some’ english explained that the town centre closes for Saturday and Sunday so everyone can go to or participate in the market. Only the bars and resturants remain open.

Well tomorrow is Monday. So I suppose every thing will open again. The weather in the Bay of Biscay is ok, but all the winds are coming from the direction we want to travel. No good for a sail boat. Strong winds are coming for Wednesday and Gale force 7 for Thursday. We would prefer to move up river into town for those days….that is if we ever get to speak to the marina and book in.

aIt is a beautiful place to be weather bound. We are all trying new foods and looking forward to getting something nice from the huge fish market across the river from the town. I am loving the big long open beaches to run through. I race in and out of the water attaching floating weeds and chasing down sea birds…both always seem to get away. My owners are not so keen on the amount of sand I am bringing back onto the boat. They make me have a brush down on the deck and wash it all with a bucket of sea water before letting me into the cockpit. It is so embarrassing.

Will add photos and keep you up dated when we find some internet. Keep smiling until then.

09. August 2012 · 1 comment · Categories: Posts

Sorry I haven’t emailed you an update in a while.  It took a bit of effort to escape the pirates.  I finally ditched them on the most southerly point in England, Lizard Point.

You can not get any further south with out a boat.  And that is exactly what I have and hope to do…..

if the weather ever breaks.

In the mean time, when you are not sailing, you have to have someplace to put your boat.  You can tie it up to a dock, but you will have to pay the owners of the dock (usually called a Marina) a lot of money each day.  You can save money anchoring in a river, but in England even the river authorities charge you a fee to anchor.  At least it is less money then a Marina, but you do have trouble on anchor.


First your anchor can drag.  If you leave your boat the wind could strengthen and pull your boats anchor along the sea bed.  This can be bad if your boat hits something or a neighbours boat.  Luckly we have not had that happen yet.  But we did come back from a day out to find our boat moved.  The high cliffs in Cornwall blocked the mobile phone signal and the Harbour Authorities had been calling all day to get us to move our boat.  They gave up and moved it themselves.  We came back all freaked that the anchor had dragged.  Then we checked our voice mail messages.  Opps!

Secound the wind can change direction and your boat can end up somewhere different.  Usually not in a good spot.  We ended up only a few feet away from a cement dock when the wind changed one day while we were out.  Lucky escape.  The boats paying £40 a night were not happy we were anchored 2 feet off their dock.  Don’t tell them we figured out the code to their WiFi while we were there!

Thirdly if the wind dies down at low tide slack water, the anchored boats can wonder all over the place and sometimes hit each other if they are too close.  We had to anchor in closer one night when the channel was cleared.  The wind died so we were stuck on anchor watch in the middle of the night just missing our neighbours by a few feet.

Fourthly, really creepy boats can move in beside you.  When we saw this creepy boat move in, we knew it was time to leave.

I barked and barked at them, but they would not go away.   I told my owners I was tired of waiting for a 4 day weather window to sail to Spain.  Their was a small two day window opening and I talked them into ‘cutting the distance down’ and sailing to the Finistere Peninsula in France.


Well off we left yesterday on a fair tide out of Falmouth in the afternoon hoping for the best.  But you guys know they never have any luck. 

It did start out nice.  The winds were light, but steady and the sea state was only a little rolly.  The winds shifted and got lighter, so they got out their great big cruising shoot and had fun playing with that.

Then it went down hill from there.  The first person to try and use the loo discovered..it was not fixed.  They had decided to ‘shut her down’ and join me in the ‘great outdoors’ peeing ‘elfresco’.  Only they used a bucket to throw it over board.


Then the winds completely died so they packed up the sails and started the engine.  Engine started spitting out white smoke and overheating. Engine off, sails back up and lets see what is wrong.

They had to dismantle the cooling system to get at and clear a load of weed from the sea cock so the engine could get cold water to cool itself.  After a load of tries they found a BBQ skire, with the end bent into a small ‘U’ shape twisted in position before lifting, started to lift it out and clear it.

After wallowing at 1-1.5 kn they were finally able to drop the sails and start the engine as the sun set.

You would think that would be the last of their bad luck….but no way.  Everything must come in threes.

The winds quickly picked up again ,shortly after, on the beam.  They wanted to clear the decks in case it got rough and while stuffing the cruising shoot through the fore hatch the spinnaker halyard (an important line that runs inside the mask) accidentally got pulled out.  Noooo!

But they made it!  Yes they have left England behind and moved 100 miles south to fairer weather.

It is actually sunnier and warmer here.  The french are all well dressed, slender and actively engaged in some organised water sport.  There is no tacky sea side shops selling stupid floatation devices.

We missed the tides to get around the point of Finistere so we are tucked into the port of L’Aderwrac’h, south of Brest.  It is expensive here.  No anchoring allowed and tying to a buoy still costs you 30 euros.  But it did come with unlimited Wifi and showers. 

Despite all our fears that the language difference would cause a problem…some things are surprisingly easy to understand.  Guess what this means?

What else are you going to write on the back of your ‘welcome too’ our town signs.

After wandering around all day on no sleep there was only one thing that must be done by all Brits, and honorarily Brits……moules marinieres et pomme frites!

Especially as the protection of mussels and their breeding beds is the reason we can not anchor on this river any more. 

Off south again in the morning.  Through the Chenal du Four and the Raz de Sein on a fair tide in the morning to arrive at Audierne by late afternoon.  This will put us in a good position to get across the Bay of Biscay to Spain on the next 3 day weather window.

No they have not fixed the toilet or the spinniker line yet.  I am sure they can improvise for now.  Email Groco and tell them to send help soon!

Until next time enjoy the privacy!