Sat 5thSept 09

12 noon (BST) position: 49 25'N, 002 54'W

Left St Peterport Victoria marina last night after last fish and chips - courtesy of friendly 'Ship and Crown'! Had a cranberry juice rather than their 'Special'. Sat with friend Liz, who'd kindly ferried me around earlier in the day for last minute visits, and ITN TV crew who've been with me a lot of the day. Amusing being filmed (I gather item was later put out on 6 o'clock news, repeated at ten o'clock) but it definitely didn't help me keep to my schedule - too many jobs still to do plus unexpected extras - like the Hydrovane rudder... I fixed it in place - beautifully easy....but then putting in the pin to hold it there, it got jammed and was impossible to release (not helped when I forced it!)... Two Dutch cruisers close by put down their glasses of wine to help me - and eventually sorted it out. Before that, I'd just finished drilling and fixing the remaining two brackets for the under-floor reinforcing strut - which job, when started, caused me to spot water in the bilges - lots!! I'd topped up the water-tank and the overflow into the sink had obviously run in water faster than it could exit. It must have overflowed as I went to close the tap.... Time had to be spent mopping it all up, and more time was wasted trying to set up a 12V power supply to a small pump which would have speeded the job up, but changing a cigar plug from German to British got too convoluted & was taking up too much time so I abandoned it & went back to a floorcloth on the end of a long 'grabber'! (At least that helped get rid of the remnants of the diesel leak in the same place I'd had to clear up two days earlier!)

I had to leave the marina around high water to get over the 'sill' which keeps boats inside afloat when the tide goes out - so after my supper, I went back to 'Nereida' and motored out to a pontoon outside in the main harbour to finish tidying and organizing - so the start of my long passage was delayed until I felt comfortable that I was prepared for putting to sea safely...

I then found the wind still not quite as the weather forecast predicted and decided to get a few hours sleep to wait for a favourable tide around dawn - at least I could make use of that help when I sailed away from St Peterport.

So here we are finally sailing nicely in a WNW F4-5 at around 6 knots but having to head rather more inshore than I wanted in order not to get headed I expect to have to tack out shortly to keep well offshore when rounding Ushant to begin the Biscay crossing - I'm not looking forward to that, since SW winds are expected by tomorrow and Monday. I may have to head well out, not to get 'embayed'. We'll see how that pans out - weather forecasts are rarely correct in detail...

I found very rough water around Guernsey even though I tried to stay in deeper water - a strong 'Spring' tide and lots of rocks around...!! But it's nice to be sailing and on passage finally. ...

Later(7pm): We're really struggling to make headway against the tide... having to tack and making very little real progress ... Speed is 3.5-4 knots over the ground with full canvas and tide is likely to get up to 2 knots against (HW was at 5.30pm) - stronger more inshore so a good reason to try to stay well out - except must try to avoid shipping in lanes to north of here.... It's going to be a frustrating several days, since crossing Biscay is likely to be similar... Oh well,..... at least the threatening rain of mid-afternoon came to nothing and the sky is only lightly clouded and I'm getting frequent 20 minute sleeps to catch up.

7.18pm: Speed (SOG) 2.1 kn, course over ground (COG): 170T - I'm going backwards!!! Wind has dropped to around F2-3 (7 knots or less) so the tide is taking me east.... grrr!!!

8pm: Sun just set. Decided to use the 'iron horse', heading due west to make for waypoint north of Ushant, just outside shipping lanes (busy area)- time to slack water is at least another hour - I'll see what happens then and if there's wind enough to sail... at least on this leg I have this option - not so, once I leave the Canaries. Present position: 48 24'N, 002 10'W

Written by : Mike

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