Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Summer Cruising

Dawn breaks over Brighton
Before leaving Dubai we promised each other that once the Classic Channel Regatta was over, our summer holiday sailing would not include long overnight passages and would include plenty of anchoring and generally messing about in boats, in short a lovely relaxing time together. So how come Monday morning found me sitting in Brighton marina having just undertaken a nineteen hour passage mostly under spinnaker from St Peter Port, Guernsey leaving with the tide at 10:30am the previous day? Fresh as a daisy - definitely not!

Has Temptress spent a night at anchor since leaving her berth last Sunday? Not a chance, wind and weather have generally conspired against us. Two squally nights in St Helier were preceded by a damp trip north west from Paimpol trying to avoid the wet and windy weather forecast for Brittany. We had headed south from Swanage originally to "get below the low" that was almost stationary over Ireland and the UK. But whilst in France we did have a great day out on the "Train Vapeur" up the Trieux River to Pontrieux.

Train Vapeur
Sitting in a fifties carriage pulled by a coal burning, steam and smut belching little engine from the nineteen thirties the views across the river valley were beautifully green and sunny. Included in our ticket was a halt at an infamous house for crepes and "cidre" (an alltogether different drink to English cider) together with some Breton music.   The house, now a visitor centre, was the potential motive for a crime with no body and no witnesses only circumstantial evidence. The victim vanished without trace on a business trip and his friend Seznec was sentenced to a life of hard labour because it is claimed he stood to gain the house and land from the deed. The family fight on for his pardon even though he has been dead for many years.

Seznec's Motive?
Then it was onto Pontrieux where we took a horse drawn carriage from station to town. A slightly scruffy hotel with no sense of colour (the dining room had leaf green window frames with bright ochre and dark red walls and was furnished with thouse awful '80s blond wood chairs upholstered in pale pinks and greens) offered a cheap, four course lunch with more of the local cider.
Somehow we dodged the worst of the showers and even managed a walk along the moorings down by the station. We both felt slightly sad that Temptress will never reach this lovely spot as her air draft is too high for the 17m suspension bridge just above Lezardrieux.




Breton Musicians

The Lovely Trieux River

Pontrieux

Stormy Skies Approaching St Helier, CI
Trying to avoid more wet weather we headed for the Channel Islands. In St Helier we made it to a lovely fish restaurant Barqueiro run by a Madeiran family, arriving like drowned rats but made very welcome despite dripping all over their floor. This gem of a place is hidden away inside the back of the Fish Market and well worth a visit. Kevin had a tasty steak and I devoured a large helping of Monk Fish pieces wrapped in ham on crushed new potatoes, all washed down with a bottle of Agentinian Malbec. So crossing the Channel for a second time (the first crossing was as I mentioned earlier with the Classic Channel Regatta) during our sojourn in Europe has provided some memorable moments even if it wasn't quite as envisaged.