The 2019 Long Trip Blog

If you would also like to post a diary of some or all of your 2019 adventures on Freyja on this page send the text to Tony Lewis at tony@ecyd.org.uk

 

THE 2019 LONG CRUISE, AS REPORTED ON THE ECYD FACEBOOK PAGE (not including Facebook videos)

 SHOTLEY TO GOSPORT

 Wednesday 8 May 2019

First Report from Freyja as the long trip starts.  Those in the WhatsApp group saw this first… just saying…..Left Shotley early as lock was closing at 0700 for maintenance.  Rain from the SE as cold front came through.  Then skies cleared with sudden hail and a squall.  Safely moored now at Burnham, ready for a run ashore.

9 May

Freyja on Thursday.  Beautiful start clear skies, little wind as we left Burnham.  Shook out reefs but no hope of sailing as only 5kts wind on the nose.  Wiggled through various sandbanks and prepared to cross Thames Estuary.  Almost no commercial traffic as we headed for the Medway in increasing drizzle and rain.  Down the Medway and then into the Swale.  A cheap berth at Queenborough alongside a friendly barge and meal on board.  Variable wind and weather for tomorrow’s trip to Ramsgate.  We will be away early to catch the tide.

10 May

Freyja on Friday. Another early start – bright skies, sunshine, about 5kts of wind on the nose. We have the tide with us and follow the 5m contour to stay out the main channel. Very little commercial shipping. Soon we catch the tide sweeping us around North Foreland and on a calm sea arrive at Ramsgate. And then the rain showers start! Make use of facilities. Later we repair to Peter’s Fish Factory for generous fish ‘n chips. Writing this in the warmth of Royal Temple yacht club. Tomorrow’s plans depend on wx forecast.

11 May

We watched the sun rise over Ramsgate and the blue skies with wispy clouds promising a day of peaceful sailing.  And then we found the dredger occupying most of the main entrance of the marina.  The excellent navigation by Paul and Clive had us floating down the coast to Dover on the tide.  With wind almost over the stern, we unrolled the new genoa and took off at 4 kts.  The wind, ignoring our treaties, showed little desire to help us; and faded away to a meagre 3 kts.  Sadly, we furled the jib and exercised the iron topsail, although not for the first time today.  The blue skies were replaced by walls of stern grey clouds.  We overlooked the heavy rain that washed the decks as ferries ignored us we passed Dover.  We turned the corner (did you know it was called South Foreland?) and passed Dungeness.  The fickle wind taunted us.  Soon we could see the weak sunshine over Eastbourne and we prepared to enter the harbour – the channel had recently been dredged and the cat’s eyes had not yet been replaced.  So a long day’s sail and although not enough wind a pleasurable day.

Passing by Beachy Head

12 May

Today’s report will be entirely factual with no flights of fancy.  The Wx forecast was Var 3 or less then N or NE 3 – 5.  Actually at 0900 as we left Eastbourne we had negligible wind, clear blue skies, and bright sunshine.  Bill the Met guided us as we saw 3.5 kts on the quarter.  With Rob in control, the Genoa was unfurled and the motor turned off.  2.2 kts through the water and 4.4. kts SOG.  Sun glinting on the light popple.  The local boats were preparing for Sunday racing.  The sense of ghosting over the sea warmed by the sun is why we sail.  Still under just Genoa, we gybed for the entrance for Newhaven.  Soon Freyja was alongside visitors berth in Newhaven marina, and we had lunch.
The crew then headed for a walk up around Newhaven Fort (see Wiki). We repaired to the Hope Inn to try the local ales.  A wonderful day of gentle sailing not motoring.  Come sailing with us and find a new meaning to living.

13 May

The crew are enjoying a spiritual refreshment at The Schooner Inn, Shoreham.  Freyja had an excellent passage from Newhaven.  Bill the Met had prepared a course to make the most of the NE F3 breeze.  The asymetric cruising chute was brought out and collective experience enabled us to rig and fly it.  In 10 kts of breeze, Freyja was making 5.2 kts through water.  All to soon, we were faced with working how best to recover the chute.  In practise it was not at all difficult.  Then we approached the lock (see pics) and rose 4.5m to the harbour level and were directed to a hammerhead facing into wind.  Another great day of sailing.

14 May

Freyja added another 38 miles to her log for 2019 as she travelled closer to her destination of France for the Long Cruise.  We cleared the lock at Shoreham at 0815 and headed for Chichester.  We had hoped for another Spinnaker run today, but the wind was a little too strong.  So we ran at about 5 kts under Genoa towards Chichester under bright sunshine.  Our arrival at the entrance Dolphin mark matched the change in tide so we ghosted up to Emsworth before heading for a buoy off Itchenor SC.  An old friend of Vic’s sailing a traditional gunter rigged dinghy with tan sails hailed us.  Rob, Paul, Clive, and Bill all steered to great effect.  A peaceful end to another lovely sail.

A few pictures – the shadow of the mast on the Genoa, sunset over Chichester harbour, and a good mooring.

 

15 May

What follows was written by the crew.
After a gorgeous sunset last night and a quiet night moored in the river at Itchenor, today’s three hour sail to Gosport has completed a memorable 226 mile trip from Shotley.
The first day to Burnham on Crouch was cold, wet and windy and we did wonder why we had agreed to come.
These thoughts dissipated the following morning with the arrival of the sun which has lasted all week, together with the East or Northeast wind.  Not very strong at first then enough to sail and we’ve had 4 days of gentle downwind sailing.
We saw some seals and some feeding sea birds on the ebbing tide.
The company has been superb with much banter, reminiscing and discussion of engineering issues, and a few hangovers.
The crew did all the work under the guidance of our intrepid and patient skipper who was able to hone our pre-existing skills, and to whom the crew express our thanks.

Pics showing the route.

 

16 to 19 May

Between 16th and 19th May Freyja cruised the Solent with BTOSC. This was great opportunity to show off Freyja to people who had not sailed here before. Freyja is in lovely condition and I think all were suitably impressed.

For the record our itinerary was:
-16th Hornet -> Itchenor with plenty of wind. Prepared the tender. Moored overnight and ate at the Ship (Highly recommended).
-17th Itchenor back to Hornet to collect additional crew member then to a very quiet mooring at the Folly on the Medina River overnight. Tested radar en-route and during passage up river.
-18th Early start to catch the flood tide. Breakfast drifting past Seaview, Lunch followed by an expedition to St Helen’s village and lunch in Bembridge. Then back to Hornet where we were joined by two other yachts and others for our AGM Meeting, a superb rally supper, followed by cheese, wine and company on board.
-19th A predictably late start. Bade farewell to other crews returning to Hamble. V little wind again. From several proposals crew voted for a famil visit to Langstone Harbour where it rained – so stopped for elevenses and then headed back out to sea where we found a breeze and enjoyed plain sailing around the forts before returning to Hornet for lunch and to prepare Freyja for handover. A total of 75 nm over 3 days.
The only disaster was my own photos and my phone going for a drink and since they won’t be coming back so I will have to make do with some I took when last in Itchenor.
Fair winds to subsequent crews.

 

Late May to early June

GOSPORT – Yarmouth – Cherbourg- Alderney- St Peter Port – Guernsey – Roscoff – L’Aberwrach – BREST

Skipper – Paul Brereton

1st Mate/Watchleader – Dave Messham

2nd Mate/Watchleader – David Hedley

Watchleader – Keith Pemberton

Crew – Lynne Pasquill

Crew – Keith Morris

 

Wish – to cruise the Channel Islands

Mission – to deliver to Brest

 

Skipper and Mates received Freyja from James Savage in Hornet SC, Gosport. We made passage towards Lymington and completed boat checks in very light winds on Monday 20May19. The further crew joined us on the Dan Bran Pontoon.

 

Skipper set out his 5-man watch scheme leaving him free to be on watch at key times and substitute as and when required – 4-hour watches between 0600 and 1800 and 3-hour watches between 1800 and 0600 with 2 crew on each watch with one of two of the other crew. The cycle of watch times repeats after 5 days.

 

We departed Lymington on Tuesday 21May19 for a crew familiarisation/briefing sail in sunshine and pleasant breeze across to Yarmouth for a late lunch.

 

We departed Yarmouth late afternoon to catch the last of the favourable tide through the Hurst Narrows and turned south at the Needles for a very pleasant night sail towards Cherbourg. We made it most of the way before the wind died completely and we motored in and wandered up to town for French elevenses.

 

We departed Cherbourg 23May19 on a favourable tide for Braye, Alderney with little and soon, no wind and arrived late afternoon. We hailed the water taxi and spent the following day strolling or cycling around the sights of Alderney meeting up for lunch in St Anne.

 

We had a good but upwind sail to St Peter Port, Guernsey on 25May19 arriving early evening for dinner on board while rafted to the waiting pontoon for the tide to lift us into Victoria Marina. The following day we toured Guernsey.

 

A big change in the forecast forced cancellation of our plans for Sark and a break in our planned long passage towards L’Iroise. We set off towards Roscoff late afternoon on 27May19 where we could sit out the stronger headwinds.

 

Having enjoyed Roscoff we hopped along to L’Aberwrac’h on 30May19 once again in light airs on the bow. Our trip was completed on 31May19 with passage to Brest via the Chenal du Four – once again under motor. Arrived Brest mid-evening.

 

 

BREST TO LA ROCHELLE, Skipper John Figgures

3 June

Three ageing juvenile delinquents braved French railways to arrive at Brest to take Freyja onwards towards La Rochelle. Sunday was a shakedown cruise from Brest to Camaret. Checking the tides, we decided to forgo some sleep to leave at 0100 hrs to pass the Raz de Sein in comfort. So Monday morning at 0515 we were at the entrance of the Raz as the tide turned to sweep us South. Timing was critical and after motoring to ensure we had a smooth passage through the Raz, we enjoyed the joy of silent sailing for most of the trip. With variable light wind and swell we aimed for Loctudy, arriving at 1320. The crew enjoyed a well earned beer, and a sleep. Refreshed, we ventured into town to find the only restaurant open on a Monday where we enjoyed delicious grilled local Lemon Sole washed down with Muscadet. It is difficult to believe we have sailed some 80 miles since arriving in Brest. Tuesday, we will have a short trip to Concarneau.

4 June

Tuesday. The old salts woke refreshed from good sleep after a hard sail to face rain and no wind. Concarneau’s Ville Close beckoned. So Freyja left Loctudy and braved the swell of Bernodet Bay and the showers to arrive in time for a late lunch. Later, we were to discover many restaurants had yet to open for the season: but found a good Confit de porc and a modest red wine. And so – to quote – to bed.

5 June

Once again we were faced with light showers and no wind as we left Concarneau for points South. The drizzle faded away as we motored. After a couple of hours, we had 8 kts of wind dead astern: the jib was unrolled and engine turned off. 5kts under headsail but a rolling motion from the Atlantic swell. As we approached Port Tudy the wind freshened to 18 kts: berthing with cross-winds was interesting and we were grateful for the offered assistance from other sailors to secure a berth. In the midst of the berthing evolution, another moored sailor shouted across that he was from Woodbridge and wanted to chat! We enjoyed a quiet meal in a local hostlery.

6 June

After 4 days of sedate progress with max F3 winds, your erstwhile mariners in search of hot showers left the sports bar of Port Tudy for new horizons. Of course, we left with no wind! Soon zephirs rippled the surface of the sea and – bravely – we hoisted full sail in about 8 kts of breeze. From a leaden sky, 15 kts on the nose appeared. We put in reef and we were sailing at 6 kts and the new sails setting well. The wind freshened and backed as we passed Belle Isle en route for Crouesty. Suddenly, we had F6 gusts; we adjusted the sails and our attitude. Freyja responded admirably and just off the wind we had a comfortable 7.3 kts. Too soon the wind abated, we shook out the reef, dodged the rocks around Teignouse and make for Crouesty. The Harbour Master confessed that there were no spare berths so we were instructed to moor alongside another 40ft yacht on the opposite side of the Marina 1.2km from the Marina office and facilities (and restaurants). The powerful hot showers made it all worth while. We will be staying an extra night here to avoid F7/9 and lightning at sea. There will be no report tomorrow as we nurse the newly rediscovered muscles from today’s activities. (How to spell chiropractor in French?).

6 June

Freyja buffetted by W/SW F7 and we are secured within the marina at Crouesty. Deinitely not a day for sailing.

7 June

Watching the barometer fall to 993 and now, 24 hrs later, 1011.4 and rising and with F8 in the harbour, the skipper exercising accumulated knowledge, has decided that we should adopt Plan C. We will stay here another 24 hrs. (Actually we think lunch in Vannes has much to commend it.) If you would like to listen to the sounds of the close Isobar chorus, listen to the attached clip.

9 June

Your crew are in a bar (where else?) in L’Herbaudiere on Isle de Noirmoutier drinking hot chocolate! The day started by the crew hoisting the Skipper up the mast (well he was the oldest and lightest) and agreed to let him once it was proved that the Steaming light was fixed. Then we left Pornichet in light winds and no rain (see later). Soon under jib alone we were making 4kts and a fair tide. We dodged a trawler hauling nets. The wind died as a short shower wet the decks. Then we picked up the leading marks and were guided to a comfortable berth. The skipper had his revenge and cooked supper for the crew. We will look at Tuesday’s forecast tomorrow and decide where next. Watch this space.

Saturday, we cruised around the Gulf de Morbihan where the swells were much reduced. We were on the No 24 bus! Vannes was a jolly bustling scene of people enjoying the sunshine, including those on the many yachts in its marina. We took in the sights (and let the skipper loose on the cheese stall). Sunday morning, we disentangled ourselves from the raft and left Crouesty in weak sunshine and, unsurpringly, 3 kts of wind. Unlike the previous days, the sea was as smooth as a mill pond – not a hint even of swell. The passage to Pornichet was uneventfull, although the entry to the bay was spoilt by drizzle. We were pleased to have the ambulance waiting for us as we arrived. We were allocated a berth very close to all facilities. Later, we enjoyed a meal in one of the many crowded restaurants and had to sit outside. On return to Freyja the skipper summoned the crew to endure his choice of cheese and wine.

10 June

Your crew are in a bar (where else?) in L’Herbaudiere on Isle de Noirmoutier drinking hot chocolate! The day started by the crew hoisting the Skipper up the mast (well he was the oldest and lightest) and agreed to let him once it was proved that the Steaming light was fixed. Then we left Pornichet in light winds and no rain (see later). Soon under jib alone we were making 4kts and a fair tide. We dodged a trawler hauling nets. The wind died as a short shower wet the decks. Then we picked up the leading marks and were guided to a comfortable berth. The skipper had his revenge and cooked supper for the crew. We will look at Tuesday’s forecast tomorrow and decide where next. Watch this space.

11 June

Freyja is now moored at St Gilles et Croix de Vie. There is no record at the Capitainnerie of any previous visit. Our passage today was wet and almost wind free. There are restaurants varied from McD to Michelin – we ate well and modestly. We are rafted up and the inboard boat plans to leave at 0800. More rain and variable winds are forecast. Flaming June it aint!

 

12 June.Todays report from Freyja. I learned two new words – the first I think should have a double o ( gongoozler)…..

 

At 0730, the inner boat said he wanted to leave now. Our mild protestation of the previously minuted agreement was met with a Gallic shrug! In due course, we left and found wind dead astern and ‘houles’ giving an uncomfortable ride. The genoa was unfurled and we were making 4.5 kts but not quite in the right direction. But the sun was warming us and the motion was what it was. After an hour or so we calculated our arrival time at Bourgenay so the iron topsail was deployed. The entrance to Bourgenay is interesting and we were glad to leave the ‘houle’ behind. We had not planned on the effect of the wind on Freyja as we tried to berth. The gongozolers appeared. After a number of unsuccessgul attempts, good seamanship prevailed as we got the hell out of there and headed for a port of safe refuge. We arrived about an hour later, refueled and found a safe berth. After a late lunch on board and wonderful showers we found a well patronised Creperie and the local cidre. The latter helped the skipper justify his earlier decision: he who lives to run away….. . Tomorrow we aim for La Rochelle and hope for a quartering wind and more sun.

14 June [ no Report made on 13 June].

We left our harbour of safe refuge (Les Sables) and with good winds forecast we went on the Atlantic side of Ile de Re. We had a cracking sail for several hours before the wind died (see video) and we had to motor. Sadly, there was no room in the Vieux Port, so Les Minimes it had to be, where we were allocated a berth close to the facilities and eateries. As we had not had the chance to see the ports on the Ile de Re we decided to visit St Martin by bus. There we enjoyed more crustaceans and local (over-hyped and indifferent) Ile de Re white wine. We returned and the skipper required that Freyja be properly cleaned for next crew ( The b*****d). This was followed by suitable refreshment. A most pleasant cruise (see the overall track). If you have enjoyed reading these tales, please tell your friends about it. If you think you could do better, then come sailing with CSSA/ECYD.

 

20th to 31 MAY

Skipper – Paul Brereton
1st Mate/Watchleader – Dave Messham
2nd Mate/Watchleader – David Hedley
Watchleader – Keith Pemberton
Crew – Lynne Pasquill
Crew – Keith Morris
Wish – to cruise the Channel Islands
Mission – to deliver to Brest
Skipper and Mates received Freyja from James Savage in Hornet SC, Gosport. We made passage towards Lymington and completed boat checks in very light winds on Monday 20May19. The further crew joined us on the Dan Bran Pontoon.
Skipper set out his 5-man watch scheme leaving him free to be on watch at key times and substitute as and when required – 4-hour watches between 0600 and 1800 and 3-hour watches between 1800 and 0600 with 2 crew on each watch with one of two of the other crew. The cycle of watch times repeats after 5 days.
We departed Lymington on Tuesday 21May19 for a crew familiarisation/briefing sail in sunshine and pleasant breeze across to Yarmouth for a late lunch.
We departed Yarmouth late afternoon to catch the last of the favourable tide through the Hurst Narrows and turned south at the Needles for a very pleasant night sail towards Cherbourg. We made it most of the way before the wind died completely and we motored in and wandered up to town for French elevenses.
We departed Cherbourg 23May19 on a favourable tide for Braye, Alderney with little and soon, no wind and arrived late afternoon. We hailed the water taxi and spent the following day strolling or cycling around the sights of Alderney meeting up for lunch in St Anne.
We had a good but upwind sail to St Peter Port, Guernsey on 25May19 arriving early evening for dinner on board while rafted to the waiting pontoon for the tide to lift us into Victoria Marina. The following day we toured Guernsey.
A big change in the forecast forced cancellation of our plans for Sark and a break in our planned long passage towards L’Iroise. We set off towards Roscoff late afternoon on 27May19 where we could sit out the stronger headwinds.
Having enjoyed Roscoff we hopped along to L’Aberwrac’h on 30May19 once again in light airs on the bow. Our trip was completed on 31May19 with passage to Brest via the Chenal du Four – once again under motor. Arrived Brest mid-evening.

First report from Brian Barnes’s “La Rochelle to La Rochelle” leg on Freyja.

Well everything went well initially. We all met at Gatwick as agreed.
Then the plane was delayed by an hour, but we did manage to get a decent sized taxi right to the boat in the big marina called Minimes.
We had hoped to get a berth in the Old Port so that we could get food from the Monoprix store just off the square, but that is not possible now.
The guys in the Capitainery explained where the nearest Supermarket was located, it was miles away and not a very good one either, but the temperature was close to 40° and that was exceedingly hot and a very long walk or trudge I should say.
Still next day we found there was a water bus from an nearby pontoon right into the old port – that made life much easier.
My plan for the week was to sail up to Les Sables and then return at a more leisurely pace. The first two days were with temperatures in the 40’s but this trip was cold and thick mist. We even had our nav lights on.
In my most recent visits the marina was almost empty and you could choose any berth – but not now – we got a space but right on the outside miles from anywhere.
The next day we came down to Ile de Re – no change there, still crowded and still rafted out – we were number four.
One bright spot was that we came into the marina a few boats behind Sea Essay skippered by Paul Brereton.
To be continued…

A Report from next {post Brian Barnes’s} crew, by John Garside

Well, we took over Freyja on Friday and suddenly it’s Monday.
Brian Barnes and crew kindly delivered Freyja to the Vieux Port in La Rochelle -right in the centre and close to everything. We stocked up easily in the Monoprix a few streets away and found plenty of edible treats in the superb daily market.
Saturday afternoon was time for a shakedown cruise, out between the famous towers and away down the long entrance channel, past the giant red ‘Richelieu’ marker. A few hours at sea with plenty of wind and we finished in the slightly out of town Les Minimes marina. More later …
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