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Summer Cruise aboard "Ventis Secundis" from Plymouth

June 2014

***Ahoy! - Photos from Lis ***

Report from Roger Francis

Crew: Nigel Owen (Skipper), Lis Jones, Ruth Jennings, David Gist, Steve Worner and Roger Francis.

Friday 20th June lunchtime saw the crew assembling at QAB, Plymouth, ready for a fine weeks sailing. The forecast was good and hopes were high for a trip across the Channel to foreign shores (particularly Lis who had made some unsuccessful attempts earlier). With an eye to an easy evening meal and expecting to be at sea, pasties were sought and obtained ashore and the opportunity was taken to have a leisurely lunch. Then back to the marina for the handover and, at 16.20, left QAB bound for a night crossing to France. Two hours on the motor then full sail up and a glorious cruise till dusk fell at 9.30pm at which point the headsail was stowed, the motor started and the lights put on. Using three-hour watches we motored through the night on a calm sea keeping a very close watch on the vessels around us. The crew were treated to a fine clear night sky with the best view of the Milky Way that I've seen since childhood (a very long time ago). Around 2am, the crescent moon rose, looking like a ghostly vessel with spinnaker set. Early Saturday morning saw us on an empty sea off the French coast; so sails up, motor off and on to Treguier, our destination.

French rocks French rocks
When the French coast came into view, the rocks were spectacular; very similar to the north Cornish coast, and with a tricky tidal entrance into the estuary and then on up river to the marina; arriving at 10.45am, tired but very happy.

A quick tidy of the boat, a wash and brush-up for the crew followed by a lunch of sardines and rolls and then off to explore the town. Treguier has a fine square with adjoining cathedral but the main attraction was the opportunity to sample the local beer whilst being serenaded by a local band consisting of several accordions and a clarinet. An evening meal at the bar adjacent to the marina and an early night concluded the day (or two?).

Sunday morning and we were heading to Lezardrieux, on the next estuary east. Away at 8am, we motored out to sea and when clear set sail. As we left the estuary, we were accompanied for a while by a large dolphin riding the bow wave to the great delight of the crew. Gannets feeding off the shore also entertained us. After tacking steadily for 3 hours, the sails were stowed and the motor used to go up the river to Lezardrieux. Once safely moored, it was ashore for a shower (2 euros for a warm dribble but refreshing none the same) and small party to recce the town; a long street with a church at one end. Three possible eateries for the evening meal espied back to the boat. On our return, imagine our horror when it was discovered that two of the three possible venues were closed for the evening. However, the pizzeria was very good and very filling to the extent that we returned too full and too tired to break out the cheese and wine as had been planned.

Dolphin bubbles Dolphin bubbles

Monday dawned and an early start, 07:15, saw us forsaking France and heading back to Blighty (well the Channel Islands - Guernsey). This being Dame Ruth's official birthday, the usual niceties and formalities were observed with the promise of a slap-up nosh in the evening. Motored out down river avoiding a large dredger at work and put the sails up. Again, the winds were fair but in the wrong quarter. After sailing for six hours on two tacks, a crew decision was reluctantly taken to put on the motor and head directly for St Peter Port to enable an entry into the marina, arriving at just before 6pm. Ashore for the birthday meal greatly enjoyed by all then back latish and bed.

After four days solid sailing, Tuesday was spent resting, re-victualling and exploring St Peter Port. The afternoon saw England play out a lack-lustre draw with Costa Rica in the World Cup; duly watched by some of the crew. A meal aboard and a pleasant evening chatting followed this hectic day.

With Wednesday came the need to really head back. So motoring out of the marina, west around the south side of Guernsey and then setting sail for a north-westerly course for home and England. An uneventful sail with the wind freshening (one reef in the main then roll in the headsail) and arriving at Salcombe just after 7pm to find it very busy with lots of dinghy sailing. On a buoy by 8pm; Corned Beef hash aboard and more footie to finish (forgot to mention, VS is equipped with a TV!!).

Thursday - bacon butties for breakfast. Then off for the Yealm. Grey skies with rain at times - oh la Belle France, where art thou now? Into the Yealm at midday and on the pontoon around 2pm. Pasties for lunch then a lazy day till ashore to the Ship for dinner.

Friday and back to reality and QAB. Just to remind the crew that the weather is always in charge, it was wet, windy and the sea lumpy in places. At QAB, refuel the boat, return to its berth, clean up and handover. Then the drive back to Bristol and beyond. All in all a great week. For me, this represented what KP is all about - messing about in boats, great sailing and, above all, great company.

Many thanks to all my crew mates.

Ventis crew "Ventis Secundis" crew


*** NEW *** - Photos from Lis Jones

La Corne - pilotage up river to Treguier La Corne - pilotage up river to Treguier
Enjoying our first views of France Enjoying our first views of France
Approaching Treguier Approaching Treguier
Local entertainment in the square......before..... Local entertainment in the square......before.....
Local refreshments! Local refreshments!
Passage Planning Passage Planning
Le Croix. Pilotage up-river to Lezardrieux Le Croix. Pilotage up-river to Lezardrieux
Safely past Le Croix (note only painted on one side) Safely past Le Croix (note only painted on one side)
Unofficial chart in the 'facilities'! Unofficial chart in the 'facilities'!
Leaving Lezardrieux Leaving Lezardrieux
All eyes on watch! All eyes on watch!
The skipper plotting The skipper plotting
Courtesy flag and KPCA burgee Courtesy flag and KPCA burgee
The Navigatrix at work! The Navigatrix at work!
A relaxed Skipper at the helm A relaxed Skipper at the helm
Guernsey Ahoy! Guernsey Ahoy!
Tied up in St Peter Port Tied up in St Peter Port
Tied up in St Peter Port Tied up in St Peter Port
Les Hanois lighthouse Les Hanois lighthouse
Company on the way back over The English Channel on passage to Salcombe Company on the way back over The English Channel on passage to Salcombe