We sailed back to Dover the next day with little to report. Tired but elated we had a great time aboard Barnacle Bill. She had behaved very well and was a real pleasure to sail. Acting as first mate to Jon’s skippering was also a fantastic experience too, so my thanks go out to him for his patience and knowledge! Linda and Jon – come over to Turkey soon!
We slipped the lines at 10am, making the most of the strong tides that run around Alderney Race, though this was nothing like our outward journey. We had the steering back for one thing! After passing Cherbourg we turned the engine off to find that we were doing roughly one knot through the water due to changing tides. Five knots of wind and fed up with the engine on… spinnaker anyone?
We left St Peter Port up Little Russel. The tides were incredible. Fortunately we were pointing in the right direction! The approach to Alderney was quite technical with a number of transits to take into account but we successfully moored up in the SE corner of Braye harbour. Although I had been to Alderney before, where it had p!ssed it down the entire time, it was good to see that the weather was a little better.
Aside from catching some seaweed and taking in some fine sunshine the weak easterlies meant we motored sailed much of the way back to Guernsey. We rafted up in St Peter Port, it being invaded by a French flotilla. We didn’t want to return to Guernsey since we’d been there twice already on this trip but it was necessary. The highlight was discovering an Indian restaurant in town, which Linda, Jon and I rated as perhaps the best curry we had ever had!
Paimpol is one of those French towns that comes to life at six in the morning. The boulangerie and patisserie were open for trade, so too were the cafes and tabacs. That early morning buzz is something that is lost in the UK. The only thing open in the UK at that time in the morning is the all-night garage and McDonalds.
So what was the lesson learnt? Simple really. Always err on the side of caution if things do not seem quite right. Don’t try and ‘force’ your passage into an angle that doesn’t match the suggested instructions. Generally a compass won’t lie so if it’s telling you you are 10 degrees out, then you probably are. Thanks to Jon’s sensible and considered approach we successfully made our way up the river with no problems, despite the fact that all his crew were moaning about him being over cautious!