Jon had spent much time explaining the basics of passage planning. We had sat down each evening to plan our route for the next day. In Portsmouth we had to decide where we were planning to head to next and we debated two options: either head west towards Devon and Cornwall in the south west of the UK, or sail due south towards Cherbourg. The decision was really out of our hands – the forecast suggested that the current N+NW winds were threatening to turn SW, so Cherbourg it was.
It started off as a great night-sail. Typically the last 36 hours in Portsmouth were dreary and dank but we left to a blazing sunset in the west and a double rainbow to the east! As we passed the Isle of Wight we put 2 reefs in the main to be on the safe side and we pulled in the fishing line since we weren’t going to catch anything at 8.5 knots. The crossing started off well but at 2am I woke up to find that the autohelm had broken, so the rest of the night was spent fighting the increasing swell. The early morning entry into Cherbourg was very wet with low visibility. Barnacle Bill, however, coped with it perfectly. In fact she was a pleasure to sail in these dreary conditions.
We arrived at 7am and cracked open a beer. Jon’s idea, not mine. Honest.