sailing into trouble

13 12 2009

all rugged up we were

So this one is for all those people who think us yacht crew simply cruise from port to port in glorious sunshine, sipping mojitos along the way.

Although this IS our preferred style, it’s rarely the reality.

The reality for the Braveheart gang these past few months has been a series of unwelcome delays in a series of uninviting ports, as we struggled to make our way south against the weather.

storm moving into Brest

The catchcry since September has been ‘It wasn’t ‘sposed to be like this…’ as we endeavoured to stay positive and stay busy holed up in spots like Jersey and Brest.

[I should like to note at this point that Jersey in fact turned out to be a bustling cosmopolitan metropolis in comparison to the concrete wasteland that was Brest, but we never appreciated this at the time…]

The major obstacle on this journey was the Bay of Biscay, a notoriously unpleasant stretch of water off north-western France and one which we needed a good two days of decent weather to clear.

This eventually arrived last week and we got a crack at Biscay, despite being uninsured for the trip – our insurers refuse to cover anyone crossing the bay after October – that’s how nasty it is.

We basically made it across unscathed after strapping down anything that moved and dosing up on seasickness pills.

Much of the early part of the trip followed this pattern – head out into the cockpit for watch / get drenched and freeze for 3 hours / retire to cabin / throw up / sleep / repeat.

But we got there and now Braveheart is enjoying the Portuguese sunshine as we figure out if we can make the Canary Islands for Christmas.

My personal preference was for Morocco, but strangely the owner was having none of it.

take that, Biscay

Things to do in Jersey

13 12 2009

1. Wander lonely beach

2. Stumble across old door frame

3. Hilarity ensues.

Stranded in Jersey

19 11 2009

I’m stuck in Jersey, Channel Islands waiting for a break in the weather to get our yacht across to the Canary Islands and ultimately, some sunshine.

But there aint much to do in Jersey, unless you’re a banker, in which case you shuffle rich dudes’ money around and try to stay warm. It’s extremely dull here.



There are 6 of us escorting a 75ft Hoek sloop to warmer climes, including my pals James and Jodie who have spent the past 8 months in Lymington, UK, overseeing an expensive and time-consuming keel repair. In that 8 months, they’ve sailed a grand total of 110 miles on ol’ Braveheart, from Lymo to Jersey and that’s it.

Daily we scour the weather reports for any break that will let us flee these northern waters, but we were around 2 weeks late getting out of the UK and with each passing storm, the European winter edges closer. Got. To. Leave.

The English owner had planned to compete in the ARC, a leisurely cruisers’ race from Gran Canaria to St Lucia, but delays in the shipyard and now the weather have seen us miss the start this week.

Eventually he plans for James and Jodes to pilot his fine yacht thru the Panama canal and onward thru the Pacific next year, but that’s only if we ever get out of Jersey.

If Jersey were a little more interesting it might be ok, but it suffers a weird lack of identity – an odd combination of English high street / nouveau financial hub / provincial French seaside village.

ask for maryanne

gorey castle jersey

ruins at elizabeth castle

st helier's house