Atlantic Circuit,  Northern Europe,  Sailing

Our last days in France before the Biscay crossing

October 11-13, 2020

We ate a good, steady breakfast before starting our sail from Fecamp to Cherbourgh. We have learned that it is worth a lot to eat breakfast before leaving than leaving and then eat breakfast on the go. It takes time before you can settle to make breakfast and it is really nice to start the day with a proper meal even if it means leaving a bit later.

Our sail to Cherbourgh was followed by more seasickness for Petra, and more throwing up. But apart from that it was a pretty okay sail. Still it has been cold and we have a lot of clothes on, which makes a simple toilet visit pretty tiring. We really look forward to warmer weather and less clothes!

We arrived in Cherbourgh-Octeville after sunset and found ourselves a spot. During our sail through northern Europe we have never booked a spot in a marina, we have always found a spot. But we have also sailed during low season so if going in July-August there is probably more boats and less available spots. Another good thing about sailing in low season is that the marina fees at some places has been a bit lower.

The day after our arrival we went to the harbor office to pay the marina fee and we also fueled up for our upcoming Biscay crossing. We had a weather window starting the next day so we planned to sail all the way from Cherbourgh across the bay with no stopping in between. So we did the final preparations and one of them was to switch genoas. We brought an extra genoa with us, a smaller one which we thought we would use during the Biscay crossing, but switching sails turned out to be a bad choice…

Finally we got to see some palm trees!

Fueling up in Cherbourgh.

We left early (but still after breakfast) with the goal to sail all the way to Spain. We passed the Channel islands (but not allowed to stop there due to Corona, would loved a visit otherwise) and timed the strong currents around the islands.

It was a rainy sail with pretty strong winds and a while into the sail our genoa started to get damaged. At first it was just a small damage and still possible to continue, but later another damage appeared so we decided to head towards Roscoff instead. It was still a long way to, over 100 nautical miles. As the genoa was damaged we set up a headsail on the cutter stay instead.

It was a tough night, with rain and thunder. That was a bit scary being in a sailboat at the ocean with lightning all around. Luckily there was a fishing vessel close to us if something should happen. If we where to be hit we made sure that our handheld VHF was out of its charger so that we would be able to call for help.

We managed to stay out of the thunderclouds by changing direction a bit so that the clouds didn’t hit us. Maybe they where so far away so that it wouldn’t have been a problem anyway, but better safe than sorry.

When we finally arrived in Roscoff in the morning we where really tired. We ate breakfast and feel asleep for a couple of hours. After that we changed genoa once more and decided that the other one wasn’t much to have (but will probably use it as an anchor sail and/or bimini/sun protection). Hopefully our other genoa last for the rest of the year.

One of the damages in our genoa.

Our Biscay window was still open, and we where gonna start crossing the bay the following day. As our night sail to Roscoff had been a very tough one we where a bit nervous of how our three day crossing would turn out…

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