Sugar 'n' Spice – Weblog 12

Date Filed



At home in Ipswich UK


51° 59’71 N

1° 16’22 E

Content complete to – (Date | Place)


Levington, Suffolk UK

Previous Weblog

Next Weblog

2011 Index




Saturday 16th July to Monday 18th July.

We stayed put in Lezardrieux as there was a forecast of some bad weather, wet & windy, over an extensive area from Scotland to Biscay for this period.

Luckily I had arranged to catch up with a friend, who has a cottage in that part of Brittany, on Saturday. John came over to Lezardrieux (unfortunately his wife Rosie was back in the UK) & we all went out for a lunch of crepes then spent the afternoon reminiscing & catching up on about 20 yrs. It was a very pleasant way to pass a grey, drizzly day as the forecast weather duly started to arrive.

Sunday the weather arrived, so apart from dodging showers for a brief walk up to the town in the morning, the rest of the day was for ‘inside’ boat jobs & round tuits, as the wind & rain started in earnest

On Monday we tempted fate & went for a walk. Our route took us inland northwards along narrow roads & tracks & through pretty villages vibrant with flowers. Then we rejoined the coast & returned along the coastal GR (Grande Randonee or French long distance path), inevitably with its ups & down between the rocky bays of this coast.



There was still plenty of wind, especially on the tops of the hills, & lots of threatening black clouds, but we only caught one brief shower soon after we started & reckoned we walked about 10 miles. The rain returned in the evening changing our plan to go up to the town for supper to heading to the nearest resturant on the quayside.

Tuesday 19th July. A 6 am start, wet & dark as we left the berth, navigation lights on. The tide was starting to run against us as we headed down the channel between moorings & large beacons atop rocks. We hoisted the main with one reef & as we got clear of Ile de Brehat started sailing. Soon a second reef went in to match the little bit of genoa we had unfurled, but with the wind just forward of the beam we were stomping along, mostly at 7½ kts plus, & as the rain ceased the sun put in an appearance. So it turned into a very pleasant sail. We arrived at St Peter Port, Guernsey, just before 1 pm, found the fuel berth empty & refuelled at Guernsey’s vat free prices. We had just missed the tide on the sill to the inner harbour, so we made our number with the harbour & tied to the waiting pontoon. 47.8 nm.

Boats of all shapes & sizes came & went, the yachts & motorboats on the waiting pontoons increased as the harbour launches tried to instil some semblance of order.

Then early evening as the tide came in & covered the sill they started marshalling boats into the inner harbour, Victoria marina. Our draft means there are only a few spaces where we can fit so our early afternoon arrival meant we had ‘bagged’ one of those places, so once tied up inside we got a supper of real ‘English’ fish & chips.



Wednesday 20th July. An early morning foray in a sea fret to the Port office & a chandlery, the shops & laundrette. By the time the laundry was done the drizzle had turned to very solid rain, so more round tuits. Late afternoon another brief foray during a slight lull in the rain, before battening the hatches down on the wet world.

Thursday 21st July. A better day so in the afternoon we headed south on the coast path. It winds up & down between the very pretty bays on Guernsey’s SE coast, & is fairly strenuous, so after Moulin Huet bay we turned inland up a lovely wooded valley & then took a ‘route tranquil’ (cars give way, & there aren’t many) to return to St Peter Port. About 6 mls.

Friday 22nd July. A sunny day & a relaxed mid morning start when the tide had risen enough to let us out over the harbour sill. We were soon clear of the harbour, & sailing close hauled, initially on starboard with a reef in the main. That soon came out, & later went back in & out again, as the wind varied round the islands. There were yachts heading in various directions, lots of gannets & our timing was right to go through the Swinge. This is the channel between Alderney & the numerous rocks & islets lying to its west & north, (& home to the gannets). The tide had started to pick up, & the wind was shifting direction around the headlands, so our concentration got quite high as we beat through. Then just after 2 pm we turned into Braye, the main harbour on Alderney & picked up a mooring. 23 nm.

It was still a lovely day so for a change we took the canoes ashore & then round the bay with its clear water, golden sand rocky outcrops. There were very few tourists about.

Saturday 23rd July. Another relaxed start, courtesy of the tide, hoisting the main, with a reef, on the mooring. We were soon sailing, a close reach with a reef in the genny as well. There were a few yachts, the occasional ship on the horizon, gannets & one small ‘raft’ of guillemots. Early afternoon the wind went lighter & the reefs came out, but we were still making a good speed up Channel thanks to the tide. Tea time we altered course to cross the routing lanes (funnelling ships into the compulsory shipping lanes) at the recommended right angle. Soon after we needed the reef back in, then deemed it wise to give way to a large container vessel which appeared to have no intention of altering course for us although other ships in the same lane were. We then had to ‘dodge’ again, this time an England bound ferry (& again an earlier ferry had altered for us). I hope these two were keeping a better lookout than appeared to us. We put the engine on for an hour just before dusk to charge the batteries for the night, the tide had now turned, but our speed was still good as we passed the lighted towns of England’s south coast.

Sunday 24th July. Just after midnight we crossed the Greenwich meridian from west to east, rounded Beachy Head & rolled the genny away. So we were waiting, in company with a fishing boat, to lock into Eastbourne’s Sovereign marina 17 hours after leaving Braye. Half an hour later we were moored & catching up on some sleep. 113.2 nm.

Surfacing mid morning we went for an all day brunch, followed by a walk along the beach as far as Pevensey Sailing Club – fairly bracing.  The day finished with a spectacular sunset.



Monday 25th July. A very early start (about 25 hrs after our arrival!) we were in the lock again, this time outbound & sharing with another yacht & a fishing boat.

Light wind initially had us motoring, after an hour it picked up a bit & we motor sailed, & by Hastings we were sailing until at Dungeness the wind headed & switched off completely. So we motored the rest of the way to Dover & berthed in the Granville dock just after midday. 45.3 nm

The first people we saw were Dale & Judie Oliver, on Miss Saigon, from HPYC.

That afternoon we climbed the hill to the Castle as the Great Tower, at its centre, has had major work to recreate it as it was in Henry ll’s time. It was very impressive exhibit with animations & actors as well as all the trappings of a royal palace.



Having climbed to the roof for a view over castle, harbour & town we descended to the underground wartime tunnels where there was an audio visual display on the Dunkirk evacuation, also very good.

Finally it was drinks on board Miss Saigon with the Olivers.

Tuesday 26th July. Another early start from Dover governed by tide again, but only 6.50 am, not quite as bad as yesterday. After avoiding the ferries coming & going from the harbour we carried on motoring. With the lightish wind on the nose & the forecast set to stay the same for several days there was no point in waiting for a more favourable wind direction. With wind over tide it was lumpy to N Foreland & as our course altered across the Thames estuary so the wind shifted to stay uncompromisingly on the nose. As we got to Fishermans Gat we were amazed by the development of the various windfarms on the sands. When we headed south in 2008 most of them were just in the planning stage, now some are working & others are still growing, with all the ancillary construction barges & rigs. Finally we were across the sands, & in Harwich Harbour encountered one of these rigs under tow.



Then up the Orwell to Levington & a vacant berth, arriving around teatime. 54.8 nm.

We caught up with a few friends in the Lightship before supper & had an early night.

Wednesday 27th July. We cycled home to Ipswich & returned with car to start unloading. Our first job was to move the boat to what we hope will become her permanent berth, just across the pontoon from the one we left, 4 summers ago.


2011  Total Logged Distance            1774.6 nm                   [engine hours  204.3]




Back to Top