Sugar 'n' Spice – Weblog 1

Date Filed



Perros-Guirec, Brittany, France


48˚ 48’ N

3˚ 26’ W

Content complete to – (Date | Place)



Previous Weblog

Next Weblog

2014 Index




Sun 11th May.   The usual final loading of gear & provisions, returning cars to home etc then we stayed on board ready for a next day departure.

Mon 12th May.  A mid morning start, having let a rather boisterous wind calm down a bit, sailing with full genny & a reef in the main. The wind eased gradually & as we changed course further down the coast came on the nose, so the engine went on to avoid the numerous tacks needed to stay in the channels between the sandbanks.

Further on still our course took us through the London Array, a very extensive windfarm.  Part way along the recognised channel a guard boat for the towers requested us to use a different route (basically one row of towers over) as they were working on some of the tower bases & had divers down, so some odd bends in our course!

Clear of that the wind was very fickle as we crossed the Thames estuary & thunder clouds were building.  We had hoped to anchor off Deal, but heading close inshore we found a huge swell rolling up the coast from S Foreland.  It would not have made for a restful night so we headed on for Dover, a few miles south.  That short distance was a very uncomfortable slamming sea, until we were actually inside Dover’s harbour walls, late afternoon.  58.0 nm.

Berthed in the tidal harbour we had a quick rush around to batten down before the rain arrived.  It did, so it was supper & an early night.

Tues 13th May.  A relaxed midday start, with a stroll to shops & back along the prom, as we waited for the tide to turn in our favour.  There was still a nasty sea off Dover, the wind was variable in strength & direction (but mostly on the nose) so we motored.

Mid afternoon we rounded Dungeness, it started to rain, the vis dropped & the wind picked up.  As the rain & murk cleared through we hoisted sails only to have to resort to engine again as the wind died, & so we arrived in Eastbourne (Sovereign harbour) through the lock & tied up mid evening.  48.5 nm.

Wed 14th May.  A busy start to the day with a successful shopping trip that included a length of rope for a new main halyard.  We have not been happy with the sheaving on the halyard, since it parted off Whitby last year, so decided to ‘bite the bullet’ & replace it.  That was duly done on our return to the boat.

Late morning we were through the lock again with a light wind forecast.  Almost immediately the wind picked up & sailing hard on we could only just lay Brighton, not at all to forecast!  It turned into a cracking sail along the coast with close views of Beachy Head & the Seven Sisters & overtaking a motoring catamaran. So tea time we were in Brighton, not quite the plan , but expedient & 19.5 nm further west.

Thur 15th May.  A very big moon as we left Brighton in the small hours (3am), initially motor sailing to counteract the strong tide against us.  We saw a few ships, the occasional yacht & some guillemots diving away from our track, & the wind varied in strength. We got as far as rigging the lines for the spinnaker.

Early afternoon, motorsailing the engine juddered, we put it into neutral.  A skein of what looked like weed trailed from the stern.  After several attempts to free it with the engine we dropped the sails & our hero climbed into wetsuit, tied a rope round his chest & went in to have a look.  Next ‘it’s net – I think I can clear it’ & a request for ‘the sharp knife’ (a serious diving knife that we do not leave lying about).  After several more dives he reappeared with a large ball of what must be commercial fishing net.



The engine starts & sounds OK.  I shove Doug into a hot shower, & put the kettle on, & we are underway again.  The whole episode took less than half an hour, but if Doug had not been able to clear the prop we would have been at the mercy of the tide off the Cherbourg peninsula & would have had no choice but to put out a Mayday call.  I’ve always said he has lungs like bellows!

Late afternoon we spent a lot of time dodging shipping coming up channel in the lanes off Cherboug & finally we slid out of the tide into Braye Harbour, Alderney & picked up a mooring (8.15pm).

112.7 nm.   A very sound sleep that night.

Fri 16th May.  A relaxed day on Alderney.  A stroll up to the Town, then walk a loop taking in part of the Coast path to the south of the island. We eat our lunch watching the huge Gannet colony on the off island/rock of Etacs, luckily the wind is offshore.



Not so good our route still includes the most vicious up & down on the island.  Finally the compulsory pint in ‘the Divers’ on the harbour wall in Braye before returning to the boat.




Back to Top