Pembroke Haven Yacht Club

Hobbs Point, Pembroke Dock

River L’odet and Isle de Glenan (12.8.2017)

Wow, after such a long sea crossing from Loctudy, which was all of 2 miles, we entered the River L’odet, on an incoming tide. The German couple, Peter and Ulrike went first in ‘Yoho’. We sailed past the township of Benodet and Saint Marine on the opposite bank and headed up river towards Quimper (Poldark country apparently). I’ve always called called Quimper, Quimper but Judith corrects me and with authority stating it is pronounced something like ‘Campair’. Who knows!

IMG-20170830-WA0009Yoho passing under the Bridge over the River L’Odet      

On the River L’Odet there are some lovely chateaux with anchorages to the front. Unfortunately the French were there before us and had pinched all the good spots. We continued up river with the tide and rounded right and left handed bends, each one revealing another marvel the river presents us with in the form of stunning riverside properties and equally beautiful views.


Ok, there comes a time when you are taking a yacht up a river with 2 metres of keel hanging below you and a questionable depth of water. Discretion the better part etc, We decided to anchor near other boats in sight of Quimper (Campair). A restful night was enjoyed in the peacefulness of the river.

IMG-20170830-WA0011Our Anchorage for the Night

The next day, we used the tide and negotiated the river back downstream to a pontoon on Saint marine, tied up and found a local street market in the town. A vast array of fruit and veg on display, with carrots etc still covered in earth, and sand. Why do home grown vegetables taste so much nicer in France?

Judith’s brother and family, having enjoyed a holiday further South were on their way home via Roscoff. We provided a convenient stopping over point on the journey north.  A family reunion was enjoyed by one and all with an very pleasant evening spent in a creperie catching up on family news and gossip.

IMG-20170830-WA0012      IMG-20170830-WA0013

Having bid farewell to Steve, Jo and Freddy we headed out to sea and set a heading for Isles de Glenan, some nine miles offshore. This archipelago of low lying islands are a mecca for French sailors, made famous by the World renowned sailing school ‘the centre Nautique des Glenans’, a company with bases on four of the main islands. Literally thousands of young students have either learnt to sail amongst the islands or enhanced their sailing skills. We anchored off St Nicholas in the company of some 50 other yachts on again a wonderful summers day (and French Holiday!)

IMG-20170830-WA0018    The Anchorage by day                  20170821_220735The Anchorage by night

Dinghy out and a hike ashore ensued.  It was like being in the Caribbean apart from the temperature of the water – wet suits were needed!!     


I think Judith and I were equally surprised to find that on this small island we found a fully occupied restaurant and bar. Not sure why we were surprised, it just looked so out of place. Another peaceful night on anchorage was had by one and all. No, not true, in the middle of the night the wind decided to dance a merry tune and turned a complete 180 degrees. No longer were the islands providing shelter from the wind. Instead an easterly wind give us a choppy sea and uncomfortable anchorage. Time to move on.

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Roscoff calling. (5.8.2017)

The very next day we bid farewell to the medieval town of Treguier.

We headed out down the river and turned left. Again the tide was with us and we made good progress across the extended bay towards Roscoff. That was until the tide decided to play tricks again and we ground to a virtual stop. Bit of a theme going on here !!!!!. Unless you can go anywhere along the North Brittany coast within 6 hour forget it, is my advice. Anyway Roscoff finally appears as a gleaming white object on the horizon. As we drew closer we both realised we were looking at the Irish Ferries ‘Oscar Wilde’ which is the stand in replacement for the Isle of Innishmore (Pembroke dock to Rosslare ferry which I used to see most days).

We arrived in the marina, which was very new and very modern, with toilets on the actual pontoons. Now, I’m getting used to a moving loo at sea, but when your brain tells you you are on dry land and the loo still goes up and down then said brain has problems working the whole movement / inner ear thing out. The marina pontoons were huge and a long walk ensued to get to the office to report our arrival and pay the exorbitant fee for what you get. We couldn’t even take on water as the cunning French had a new system for which you needed an adapter for your hose which they didn’t sell in the local chandlery. Work that one out!

The town of Roscoff is a long walk away, but a courtesy bus does run every quarter of an hour. Problem was, from where? We both decided to forget going into Roscoff and spend an evening on the boat. When I say spent an evening we were so tired we were in bed by 8pm. Nos da.

The early rise the following morning saw us leave the marina in company with other like minded sailors and we traversed the channel between Roscoff and the Ile de Batz on a falling tide. All very well and good if the engine doesn’t falter, but if it did you were left high and dry. Literally! At the Western end of the channel the wind decided to take up the battle with the outgoing tide. The result was about two miles of unrestful sea with short sharp waves and the boat slamming down on each and every wave whilst the skipper powered through the channel. Eventually, we were spat out the far end of the channel, and things calmed down on reaching the open sea. Or so we thought. Sails up and away we go guys.

Oh dear, I want to head on a course of 260 degrees. Aha, wind coming from 260 degrees. We tack out to sea for miles and miles and miles, and then back in for miles and miles and miles. I think you get the gist. On our way we were lucky enough to see a turtle, closely followed by a pod of porpoises which Judith filmed on her mobile. By now the seas had decided to once again play up and mount an attack on Money penny in the form of some pretty big rollers. Money Penny took on the challenge and swept them aside with aplomb. She really is a sea worthy vessel.

Our destination was the marina in L’aberwrach. Again up a river inlet, offering shelter from the rolling sea. According to the chart there was a short cut we could take through the rocky out crops in order to get into the river sooner than using the main channel. What the chart didn’t explain was just how close you had to get to the rocky out crops in order to use the ‘short cut’.  Judith was in panic mode, well slightly concerned, and made her way up to the bow in order to provide some divine intervention should a rock appear in front of us. I couldn’t have avoided any rocks if they were in front as by now we were in the tidal flow and only going forward, surfing down the waves. Some short cut! The calm sheltered waters of the river where soon upon us and we motored up the river to the relative security of L’aberwrach marina. We arrived to be greeted by a young lad in a rib who wanted us to raft up alongside another vessel. Following Anglo / French negotiations between Judith and young lad in rib we secured a pontoon berth. When I mentioned the relative security of L’aberwrach marina, in order to get to our allocated birth we had to manoeuvre around 4 yellow buoys surrounding a big red post as there was a big rock under the water ready to pounce on the unwary.

20170805_173717Looking back at the Marina as we made our way up hill to the promised supermarket!

Once tied up and boat reasonably tidy we set off armed with a shopping trolley for the shops in order to purchase provisions for future trips. Oh dear, the only shop was in the next village!. Up a hill, and a long walk brought us to said village, where a small supermarket was located. Provisions bought  and stored in shopping trolley, we commenced the long walk back with shopping trolley in tow.  The next day we decided to rest. Judith’s idea of rest is to pump up the kayak, sort out a picnic and paddle our way to a secluded beach, have picnic, sun bathe and paddle back. You’ve got to earn your lunch when Jude’s about!  The kayak has a see through bottom on it so you can see what you are just about to hit. We paddled over row upon row of oyster beds and could see the immature oysters encased in netting growing steadily awaiting their feat at the dinner tables of France, and beyond.

IMG-20170815-WA0008Our ‘picnic’ beach!

L’aberwrach is labelled as a mini Scilly Isles and I can see why. Its a lovely place, often used as the first port of call for yachts crossing the channel from Falmouth, heading south to warmer climes. This usually involves a one night stop over. They are missing a treat. Where next? Cape Finistere! Blimey!

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Treguier. (4.8.2017)

The next morning we awoke to le horrible weather with yet more wind and rain. We would have got soaked had we ventured in the dinghy up the river, and even then we would have had to traipse around the town in our oilies carrying our lifejackets.

Decision made, lets go into the marina. Judith called on the radio in her best French, which I must admit is good, very good. Judith is a product of Alice Otley school for females only, I have you know. Whilst I was busy learning Welsh and Nuffield science in school she was learning really useful stuff. Anyway I think she was relieved when Monsieur at the marina spoke English and we secured a berth at the marina. Engine on, anchor up and we proceeded to the comfort of the marina. The French guy at the marina also arranged for the weather to improve as we arrived, so all was good. The town of Treguier is again dominated by the cathedral in the centre Ville. (town centre). An unusual feature of said cathedral is a tall spire, made of wood and tiled at a very steep rake. Whether due to lack of funds when building but there were an awful lot of openings and holes in the spire, making the spire see through in various stages.


That evening the town erupted to the sound of music with two separate stages hosting an eclectic mix of bands all playing at the same time and with a certain degree of success I might add.  When you have a brass band on stage that appeared to be like the blues brother coupled with another playing what looked like French bag pipes, playing with another band playing high pitched sqeally things you get part of the picture!!!!!!  Le weather forecast for the following day was again poo, and a decision made to stay another night in Treguier marina.

IMG-20170815-WA0012IMG-20170815-WA0013IMG-20170815-WA0011Our walk around Trequier

The following day we wandered up into the town and sat down for coffee in a cafe in the main square and started talking to a very nice English couple who sailed on the yacht which was ‘parked’ in front of us in the marina. Well if you believe in co-incidents here they are. Whilst in Guernsey I took a photograph of a large rib type boat with four huge outboard engines which was on the hard in Saint Peter port. In the background is this couples 42 foot Southerly yacht undergoing repair. Co-incidence number 2 , Richard, the owner, worked as a commercial helicopter pilot and I was able to reel off a long list of persons I knew connected with Police aviation that Richard also knew. Co-incidence number 3 – When I mentioned the island of Shark, Richard stated that he used to work on Barque ????  as a relief pilot for the Barclay brothers helicopter (see previous posts) and that he trained as a pilot with a Mark Harrison who until recently was the estate manager on the island. As an addendum Richard has also worked for Beyonce and Jaycee I’ll have you know.

Another bid for escape was made early the next day!

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Cape Finistere, Camaret, and beyond. (11/8/2017)

We are still in Brittany. We have only managed to cover part of the North coast. Now the French Finistere beckons. Ok, the Spanish cape has a bit of a reputation for chewing up yachts and spitting them out in little bits ,so we had to pick our weather window on the French equivalent. As much as we loved L’aberwrach it was time to leave and luckily we were in company with a flotilla of yachts all heading the same way, with the same intentions. After some 8 miles it was turn to port and find the Chanal du Four. Now Money Penny is manufactured by a company called Dufour. So which came first? We picked a day where there wasn’t an ounce of wind so on with the engine and we motored down the Chanal du Four in glorious sunshine and crossed over the bay with Brest to port for our overnight stop in Camaret Sur Mer.

20170807_122430IMG-20170830-WA0001Passing through the Chanal du Four

Our destination was similar to a French take on a 1970’s British seaside town. All along the front was restaurant after restaurant all attempting to entice you to eat at their establishment. We picked the wrong one with Judith being served very undercooked chicken which was sent back only to have been blitzed in the microwave and again served under cooked.  In fairness the head waiter had seen what happened and offered a replacement dish, with Judith eventually enjoying Moules mariniere and frites. I just watched her eat them as I had long finished my meal. Camaret wasn’t our cup of tea. Over commercialised seaside town which had seen better days. Time to leave the following day  me thinks.

IMG-20170830-WA0000Just to make your mouth water!

Money Penny was manoeuvred off the mooring buoy early the next day and a course set for a very under used port of Douarnenez. Under used according to the guide books due to the fact that Douarnenez is at the far end of a bay that most sailors heading south can easily cut straight across. However they are missing a treat. Douarnenez  is three separate ports within the port . There is a large fishing port, a marina near the entrance and a large mooring area on the river, controlled by a tidal sill. We decided upon the marina and found a suitable berth on a pontoon.

20170808_174446The Fishing Port   20170808_163227The River Moorings    20170808_163234Entrance to the Marina is on the left of this picture

Later that afternoon Jude and I walked into the town and what a delight it was. A lovely trail along the river led us to a bridge across the tidal sill in the river which enabled us to cross into the town area. The bridge opens when the water levels are equal to allow vessels into the river moorings. Douarnenez has an maritime museum and also holds an historic yacht rally once a year which we sadly missed. However, there remained a large number of wooden yachts in the river all varnished with many coats of lacquer and polished to a high degree. They were a sight to savour.

20170808_163035  The River Bridge    20170808_163009The Tidal flow before the bridge opened!!!20170808_182346Les Chateaux at the entrance

A perusal of the weather forecast set the scene for what was going to be a rough night of high winds and rain. So we battened down the hatches and settled down to a night of high winds and wet weather. We weren’t disappointed. The Northerly wind was on our beam and was of such high intensity that the boat on the pontoon across from us nearly hit Money Penny due to the pontoon bending so much in the wind.  Douarnenez was a lovely town, vibrant , with lovely walks. Definitely worth the detour.

The next day after a lazy morning we set sail in company with a yacht called ‘Yoho’. The Raz De Sein channel located at the end of the bay has to be treated with respect due to the tidal race near some pretty nasty rocks.  Going through the channel gives you a 16 mile short cut when heading South. I set a time of 3 hours to sail the 18 miles to the headland. Due to the tide and wind strength Money Penny rattled along and made the trip in a little over one and a half hours. She flew along in a 22 + knot wind, finding her grove and enjoying the sail. The Raz de Sein channel is narrow. However we were joined by another 12 yachts which gave us the confidence to head on through the channel which spat us out the other end at over 9 knots. Luckily for us wind and tide were both heading in the same direction so not too many panics. The wind and conditions were so favourable that we decided to extend our sail and with the wind to our stern sailed downwind towards Point de Penmarc’h. It was a beautiful summers day and a very enjoyable sail. The wind stayed with us all day and eventually we motored up the river entrance into Port Loctudy, joined by Yacht Yoho.

IMG-20170830-WA0007IMG-20170830-WA0005  Raz De Sein         IMG-20170830-WA0003         IMG-20170830-WA0002Yoho keeping us company

Loctudy is set in a low lying area and eventually a young lad in a rib met us and directed us to our berth for the night. Unfortunately he didn’t realise the beam of Money Penny and we shoe horned into a finger pontoon alongside another yacht. I’m not sure we actually needed to tie on as Money Penny was practically jammed into the berth. A tight fit!.    We had been ‘chasing’ some friends from Pembrokeshire, Nick & Paula, for a while and knew that they were in Port Loctudy.  A quick check on our lines, just in case! and then we joined them in a local bar for a few beers.  They were leaving in the morning so who knows when we will catch up with them again!!

IMG-20170830-WA0004We finally tracked you down!!! - Nick & Paula!

Being a fishing port we thought that fish was on the menu for supper. A visit to the local Poissenaire (fishmonger) confirmed our individual choice for supper. Ouch, one medium bass and one Dorado with a bag of crevettes set us back 47 Euro! It would have been cheaper to eat out! It was nice though.

The following day ‘Yoho’ with Peter and Ulrike onboard left before us heading for the river L’Odet. It was just as well Yoho left before us as I (we) had a bit of an incident leaving the pontoon. I was on the helm and convinced that I had switched on the bow thruster, engaged reverse and headed astern. Oooops, with little control and a side wind Money Penny decided to proceed down the narrow fairway sideways. Judith shouted at me, so I went backwards and forwards hitting as many other yachts as I could. Switch the bow thruster on or words to that effect were heard at the helm and after an embarrassing couple of minutes Money Penny came to rest hooked by her anchor in someone’s expensive self steering gear. Ok, time to switch on the bow thruster properly and get out of this mess. There were injuries, but thankfully only a snapped flag pole on a newish Hanse yacht. We conferred with the marina staff and handed them a replacement flag staff we had spare on board, asking the guys to hand it over to the owners of the Hanse. Tail firmly between legs we headed out to sea for all of two miles to the River L’Odet.

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Jersey to Lazardrieux (River Trieux)

Having been on a day trip to Jersey, many years ago, I wanted to re-acquaint myself with the Island. Jude and I  had decided  that we would stay two nights in the marina. The first day was spend shopping in St Helier. Duty free of VAT, prices were below expectations. An enjoyable day just mooching about the town and sea front area, and included booking a hire car for the following day. A quiet evening on the boat was followed by a good nights sleep and the next day we picked up the car. Do they drive on the left or right in Jersey? Not helped by turning out of the hire depot into a series of one way streets. As I was the driver we somehow decided on an anticlockwise tour of the Island. We headed for the headlands we had rounded by sea a couple of days ago. A sobering visit to Point Cobiere as it was scattered with WW 2 defence  relics including gun emplacements and lookout positions made of very thick concrete. The pain and suffering of those involved in the occupation of the Island during the war must have been immense.

Our journey continued around the wild and beautiful West coast of the Island . Low lying with stunning sandy beaches were replaced on the North side of the Island by coves, inlets and high sided cliffs, akin to North Cornwall. The East side is a mixture of the two with rock outcrops extending far out to sea surrounded at low tide by golden sand.

The following day was met by poor weather so decision made to stay put. High winds and rain were the order of the day, but we did manage to come out of self inflicted hibernation late in the afternoon and shopped around St.Helier with a view to pricing up a pair of folding bikes. We declined the offer of a carbon fibre ‘G Tech’ folding cycle at £2800 each!

The next day, Saturday 29th July 2017 we left the Marina in St Helier and ventured out to sea. Ok, Ok we all make mistakes and with the benefit of hindsight travelling in a south westerly direction for 36 odd miles into a strong south westerly wind possibly wasn’t the best idea. What in essence should have taken around 6 hours took 12. O’ boy what a mistake. The tide turned when we were 10 miles off the French coast. Well we tried everything to reduce the 10 mile gap but it proved difficult. We went South, we went North, we ploughed straight towards our destination with engine straining, but the tides in this area are very very strong. Our track on the GPS chartplotter resembled a spider weaving a cobweb having had a heavy night on drugs!  Eventually through a series of trial and errors we entered the mouth of the River Trieux in semi darkness. Again not ideal as the river mouth is strewn with some very inhospitable rocks, and my eyes were glued to the chartplotter as we weaved our way up the river to an identified anchorage spot.

Now in darkness, surrounded by rock on three sides, oyster beds underneath us we had to carefully pick our spot and launch 30 KG of anchor and chain in the vain hope it didn’t end up on top of a fishermans livelihood in terms of oysters. Jude and I had an uncomfortable night at anchor, compounded by the fact that the rocks were close, very close, will the anchor hold, and the 30 Knts plus wind which decided to accompany us for most of the night. At day break I woke up to survey the scene outside. Flipping heck. We were bang in the middle of this inlet, away from the valuable oyster beds and far enough away from the dreaded rocks. Hopefully the end to a very unpleasant 24 hours which left Jude and I totally exhausted!


Time for rest and recuperation, so we upped anchor and travelled up stream some four miles to the sheltered waterway of Lazardrieux.  The town is small and we again decided to drop the big hook a little way downstream and eventually used the dinghy to reach the shoreline in what was beautiful sunshine. We needed a walk as we had been confined to Moneypenny for too long. A brisk stroll along the highways and byeways of rural France and following our sense of direction (mine by the way, not Judith’s)it lead us to the town of Lazardrieux. A very French town in the sense that the centre is dominated by a church around which the town was then built. Got to get used to the fact that nothing, absolutely nothing happens in France between 12md and 2pm. We managed to purchase roll, pate, etc and enjoyed a lovely picnic lunch on a bench overlooking the marina. After an equally long walk back to the dinghy, we returned to Money Penny and opened the Champagne to celebrate arriving on French Shores.


The following day we moved further down stream to an anchorage on the ‘Ile de brehat’ (Brehat island). Wow. what a stunning place. having pushed our way into the anchorage we leaped into the dinghy and motored ashore to discover this island which was displaying all the signs of being exceptional. We were not let down. There are some 350 inhabitants on the island, yet there seem to be more houses than inhabitants!. Paris holiday home area prevails me thinks. With no cars allowed on the island you either walk or cycle which was idylic, no noise, no pollution. A leisurely walk reinforced our intitial thoughts that this island had to be promoted to number one in our hit parade of the nicest place visited so far on the Alistair/Judith adventure. 

IMG-20170815-WA000420170801_110105Isle De  Brehat

IMG-20170815-WA0005IMG-20170815-WA0002IMG-20170815-WA0003Our Anchorage on Isle de Brehat

We dinghyied (if there isn’t such a word then I’ve just made it up) back to the boat and the following day couldn’t resist revisiting this enchanting island. Remember we are only about a mile off the French mainland at this point. We travelled in the dinghy to the island port where we mixed in with the tripper boats. French day tripper boats do not give way to Welsh man and English woman in a rubber dinghy was the order of the day! Again the island did not disappoint, with narrow paths, rocky outcrops and very desirable properties. A small three bedroomed cottage will set you back 1.3 million Euro should you have the urge to purchase.

That afternoon, taking full advantage of the outgoing tide we headed from Ile de Brehat to a neighbouring river estuary called Treguier. Having read a magazine article on anchorage spots in the Treguier river Judith was keen to put her new found knowledge to the test and we anchored Money Penny about half and mile downstream from the town bearing the rivers name. We anchored on a bend in the river under a cliff face and near to a chateau. Well, if I owned that chateau I'd have the chainsaw out as soon as the papers were signed. All the river views from the large maison were screened by a wall of mature evergreens. No doubt some obscure French/ European law prevents the felling of trees that blight the view from your own posh abode.

IMG-20170815-WA0006Our Anchorage in the Treguier River

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Herm, and Sark Zombies

Settled a few miles East of St Peter Port is the Island of Herm. Day tripper boats ply continuously across the small channel between the two when the tide allows., otherwise what was once sea water turns into a sea of sand and rocks. We motored in Money Penny to the South of Herm, around the marker buoys and up to a beautiful bay where we anchored and prepared to go ashore.   We then realised that we were anchored next to a motor boat called ‘Licensed to thrill 007’ The couple on board responded to our pointing frantically at the name of Money Penny displayed boldly on the boom. We all laughed.

IMG-20170803-WA0001    Our Company whilst crossing from Guernsey to Herm          20170725_123430Our Anchorage on Herm

Herm is a beautiful, small unspoilt island and we thoroughly enjoyed our walk around the entire island which took a few hours in the blazing sunshine, capped off with a nice swim.

IMG-20170803-WA0004         20170725_114108View from Herm across to Guernsey  IMG-20170803-WA0000The Fire Station at Herm!

We decided to move over to the neighbouring island of Sark for a night at anchor. With the genoa up we used the tidal stream and light winds to effect a ferry glide across the channel inbound for the North of Sark.

IMG-20170803-WA0003At Anchor in Sark (Before the mist & rain!)

On the way over as we neared Sark I saw what can only be described as a huge castle similar in shape to Camelot. Through the bino’s I could see this edifice looming upon high on a small island adjacent to Sark, identified on the chart as Brecqhou.   At anchor in a protected bay and with the wonder of modern technology and via internet I searched for the purpose and history associated with Brecqhou castle. Transpires that the island was purchased in 1997 by the infamous Barclay brothers, newspaper owners , wealthy old guys and famously reclusive. They spent millions and millions converting the island over to their idea of heaven. I’ll let you look up their story on the net, but during construction of the castle and harbour they imported 120,000 tons of building materials onto the island . When you witness the remoteness of Brecqhou you will then realise the enormity and cost of the building project .

The night at anchor on Sark was to say the least bloody uncomfortable. The boat rolled back and forth all night long in unison with the incoming rollers. Not a good nights sleep!  We did eventually get some shut eye only to wake up to mist and drizzle. We are here and we are going to make the most of things commanded Judith.  So it was hoist the dinghy in the water, don waterproofs and paddle ashore. Such was the aura of the island shrouded in low lying mist that it took on an eerie appearance and I envisaged the walk of the zombies on the island. You know, the packer-mac, hoods up, ruck sacks on, hiking boots, head down in a map  brigade. I wasn’t disappointed, there were hundreds of them. It then dawned on me, that I was wearing my coat with hood up and rucksack bearing. The only things missing were the boots and the map.

20170726_125203La Coupee between Great Sark & Little Sark - the concrete roadway was built in 1945 by German prisoners of war under direction of The Royal Engineers

There were an inordinate number of girl guides on the island. Obviously camped somewhere on the archipelago, all had hired cycles and were tearing around the island.

Sark left me cold. A lot had to do with the weather prevailing at the time but everything looked in decline. The shopping centre known as the Avenue was awash with closed down shops and vacant premises. When I use the phrase shopping centre I am talking about a maximum of 15 shops. Rumour has it that them there Barclay boys are attempting to control the island and work on its decline in order to purchase at a knockdown price in the not too distant future. Only a rumour mind you!

Later that afternoon and not wishing another sleep deprived night, and with a break in the weather Jude and I decided to once again escape zombie island and head out to sea. A lively sail ensued and three hours later with the onset of darkness we arrived in St Helier on Jersey. The marina in St Helier operates on a rather odd system, there is no radio channel assigned to contact the marina prior to arrival. Having phoned ahead we were informed that the marina was closed for the night but we were welcome to enter and tie up on the first pontoon on the right as we entered. Again controlled by a tidal cill or sill, a huge brightly lit sign announced to us that there was 10 metres of water over the sill or cill.  Once in we turned to starboard and berthed on the pontoon in a fair breeze and semi darkness. Tomorrow is another day.

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The Channel & Guernsey

Well, what an adventure. Set a course from Salcombe for Guernsey (a straight pencil line embossed on a chart) and off we go. Well flipping heck, we had a terrific sail, sun out, and joined for a short time by a large fat dolphin and porpoises all together in a small group. Who was the fat dolphin? Very different from the smaller porpoises. After a few hours we were joined on the horizon by another sailing yacht heading in the same direction as us. Race on!! Throw our entire belongings overboard came the cry from the skipper, in the quest for more speed.  But why was this yacht heading to the West of Jersey and not the East where St Peter Port lies. After about an hour of studying the charts, tide flow charts, and every other type of chart we realised that he was going that way due to the huge tidal race operating around Guernsey and there was absolutely not a cats chance in hell that we were going to get to St Peter Port without going around three quarters of the Island to get to the Port.   A 5 knot tidal current heading North passed the port, when we want to go South into the sheltered haven. Ok admit defeat and go the long way around or wait hours for the tide to turn. We followed our guide in towards St Peter Port and eventually gained access to the Victoria marina, and rest.

The crossing to a headland on Guernsey took 9 hours (63 miles) which for a fully laden floating caravan wasn’t too bad, if I say so myself.


St Peter port is lovely and a day spend walking around the town was enjoyable. Tax free status prevails and all purchases were without the dreaded VAT!! The tidal range in Guernsey  is about 12 metres. The marina has a cill (sill) at the opening and when we arrived, near high water, the gangway was inclined downwards  and we had to walk down to the quayside. The next day in order to go to the loo and with the tide out we donned crampons and ice axe in order to climb up the steep incline of the gangway towards the quayside. I jest not. The difference in height was amazing.


We walked to the Victorian tidal pools with every intention of swimming… of us enjoyed the facility however they were much too cold for Judith.  What a great facility when there is such a tidal range.  Enjoyment can still be had even at low tide.


The fat dolphin was later identified in a book as a Risso dolphin. What he was doing hanging about with the porpoise guys we don’t know. Maybe we stumbled upon some previously unknown dolphin cross breeding programme in the English Channel. Who knows!

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Salcombe Spar shop.

Salcombe was full. The moorings were full. The town was full. Everything was full. We wanted to anchor, but couldn’t find space for Money Penny to command an eighty metre swing radius. Ok, we conceded once again and radio’d in for a mooring. A nice young chap answered our call and directed us to a suitable mooring buoy. The mooring buoy consisted of a big yellow buoy, obviously, with a metal ring on the top. A crew member is expected to grab the metal ring with the boat hook, hold on for dear life whilst threading the mooring line though the vertically positioned loop and grab the free end and pull back on board, and secure both ends, whilst being shouted at by the nut holding the steering wheel., and whilst battling a 3 knot incoming current. Simples!!!!!!!!. Judith in fairness was doing ok. She grabbed the buoy with the boat hook, then stuck the boat hook handle in her mouth to hang on whilst leaning over the side of the boat trying to thread the mooring line through a moving metal eye some five foot below. (action woman) To the rescue came a knight in shining armour. (shinning armour consisting of work clothes and  lifejacket no less) Nice young man on the radio sprung into action and appeared from nowhere in his shinny tender, gallantly grabbing the mooring line from damsel in distress, threading it through said eye and handing it back,at the same time ensuring his little tender stayed exactly where he placed it. For that act of heroism he demanded £36 for the privilege of using one of his yellow floating balls!

IMG-20170802-WA0001View from our Mooring Buoy.  Some amazing properties all along the headland!

Lets go ashore and experience the delights of Salcombe in high season. Quite frankly we couldn’t be bothered to inflate the dinghy so summoned the services of a water taxi, paid the fare and headed ashore, in the comforting knowledge that at least we should stay reasonably dry. It was just as well we took the water taxi. The pontoons ashore were at least five deep in ‘Henry’s’ dinghies. It seemed that every hooray Henry whilst on holiday with his family in Salcombe needed to have the ability to be water bound. A dinghy was the easiest means to satisfy Henry’s yearning for the briny. There were literally hundreds of dinghies in Salcombe, all secured to the pontoon whilst Henry and his family were in their holiday cottage having afternoon Pimms or otherwise in the pub. I doubt if 92% of the dinghies in Salcombe that day were used as their design team originally intended.

Money, Money, Money. We need money in Henry’s town!. We walked the main street through the town to find that even Salcombe had surrendered to the influx of so called designer yottie clothing shops. Musto, Crew, HH, they were all there, selling their wares to the non sailing general public. Instead of a quaint small seaside town with independent traders, we were confronted with a stereotypical south coast town spoilt by big brother clothing chain shops. (rant over!) Another thing missing from Salcombe is banks. They have all shut their doors and gone, taking with them their cash dispensing machines. Two other free standing stand along cash machines had been milked dry of all the cash they contained. Getting desperate we were informed there was a cash machine in the local SPAR shop. OK where is the Spar shop. Oh it’s a fair walk from here, up hill. We commenced to walk in a near vertical direction towards the elusive Spar shop. Up we walked and eventually surrendered by asking directions from a guy walking his dog . Turned out he was the shop manager on his day off and he accompanied us to the door of his beloved Spar shop. Cash machine please? In the back love came the response. After we queued a short while we were informed by the customer in front of us that the machine was knackered. He may  have been doing something wrong or not have enough money in his account came the words of wisdom from my partner. No, it turned out that the only remaining cash machine in Salcombe was indeed knackered. The staff on seeing our frustration shouted ‘you can withdraw from the post office’ helpfully pointing to the post office counter they were standing by. Glory be a cash withdrawal was finally made, which allowed us to walk all the way back down the very steep hill and purchase an ice cream which I promptly dropped on the pavement. Bugger!!!

IMG-20170802-WA0002Exiting The Salcombe Estuary.

We left early the following morning , bound for the adventure of crossing the English channel and the dreaded shipping lanes.

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In the Navy!

Money Penny planned and executed her escape plan from Fowey. A weather window opened and we leaped out of the window at the earliest opportunity. It was a lively sail from Fowey to Plymouth. When I worked as a police officer in Aberystwyth there was a craze amongst the kids of the town that as a thrill some of the youngsters would jump in the spin driers at the local laundrette and literally take a ‘spin’ in the machine. The sail from Fowey to Plymouth was similar to  my understanding of the experience the kids would have had in the drier in Aberystwyth all those years ago. Difference being that they had to pay for the experience!

We eventually rounded Penlee Point and then had to endure another 4 miles, past the outer breakwater, the numerous marker buoys and moored up naval vessels before turning left then right into the Queen Anne’s battery (QAB) marina. I don’t think the marina got its name due to the fact that Queen Anne once bought a battery there. I think its more to do with the battlements and solid structures in the area that provide fortification to the city against attack from the sea. I may be wrong though!

QAB was full. Something they omitted to tell us on the radio, and we were forced to raft up against another similar sized boat and still pay the full marina fee. In fairness, they were expecting an armada of boats that weekend and told us we could only stay the one night. The following morning having arranged to move across the river to the Yacht Haven marina the marina staff informed us that they now had plenty of room as the intended yacht rally (armada) had cancelled due to the weather forecast. Too late brother, we had already agreed to move to the yacht Haven, so dropped our lines and headed out. It was a blustery day on the water and decided to review the Naval fleet based in Plymouth. The Naval fleet charged with our protection in the event of a conflict, not a war, but as now is acceptable these days a politically correct ‘conflict.’   Jude and I realised that the fleet was far from battle ready and all vessels appeared to be in various states or repair. The entire time we were reviewing Her Majesties fleet we were shadowed by a Police launch who I think out of pure boredom decided to follow us up the river at a discreet distance. Mind you, with all the chequered livery they were hardly ‘discreet’.

Fleet review including submarines complete, we battled the elements and headed for the Yacht Haven marine. Jude was at the helm, when we (me) noticed a rather large tanker enroute to the storage depot opposite our intended destination. Ok, who has right of way? A yacht under sail or a fully laden, tug towed tanker full of highly flammable petro chemicals of some unknown cocktail mix. Jude was up for a fight , she was at the helm , and wanted to out run the tanker. I, on the other hand decided to play chicken and let him go first. The tanker won and we gave him right of way. (Yes, yes, I fully appreciate all the other colregs to be considered)  We followed the tanker up the river and then completely unannounced the plonker came to a stop and started to undertake a 180 degree manoeuvre straight in front of us . I then noticed due to its looming arse end getting a tad cross that it was the ‘Bro designer’ who is a regular at the Valero refinery in Milford. That’s OK then he’s a friend!!

We dived into the moorings to get out of the way. As we negotiated our way through the moorings we again had to stop as the ‘Bro designer’ made full use of her bow thrusters and swung around into a channel directly in front of us again!  OK Bro Designer you’ve made your point. Yes you are bigger than us and have right of way through pure bulk. We eventually made the marina, and a big marina it was. They instructed us to berth up on K pontoon. We later discovered that K pontoon was only a half mile walk to the latrines. By marina standards we had a fairly rough night due to the very high winds and swell in the river bouncing Money Penny about all night. The following day Friday 21st July 2017, was spent at the marina, due to unseasonable weather!

Due to bad light and the official secrets act and the Police vessel, the only photograph that we can post on here is one of the Marina facilities in Yacht Haven………..namely a BATH!  Great excitement!  How many of you have had this facility in a marina??


The next day (clean and relaxed!!) we bide farewell to Plymouth, and headed out. Unfortunately, the wind wasn’t playing ball, and the four miles out to sea was straight into a 20 knot wind.  We headed for Salcombe.

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