Goodbye Southampton

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Biscay

We left Falmouth (and the UK) in a very British way: under the rain. The strong winds of the previous day – 100 knots gusts (!!!) were recorded during Friday night at Black Rock – were dropping slowly but we still had pretty big waves and strong easterlies to sail accross the Channel.

The downside of that only appeared later: onboard Cirrus you cannot flush the heads whilst sailing on port tack. ” Can someone ease the main please?”

As we sailed South the wind eased and then vanished, but the rain stayed, lovely! Overnight we had to motor through the traffic separation scheme.

When we saw on the forecast that the wind was only going to pick up 12 hours later, we decided to do a pit stop in the island of Ouessant. The sun came out and we had time to dry out and visit the local creperie. It felt like heaven.

We said au revoir to Ouessant with our “batteries” fully charged and entered the Bay of Biscay with the wind pushing us gently from behind. Well deserved perfect conditions.

But the Bay of Biscay was keeping a little surprise for us. On Tuesday the moon was very yellow when it set at dawn. Gon said – that usually means that the wind is going to pick up. And so it did.

We got caught into an easterly blow, where we ended up sailing under reefed jib and no mainsail at all. Each wave would come slapping Cirrus’ topsides and crash on top of whoever stayed in the cockpit. Soaked to the bone, some tried to dry the undies by hovering their ass above the stove while boiling water for the tea. Mitigated success.

Giorgio the wind pilot did most of the hard job, overseen by the occasional bird taking shelter.

The wind and the sea started to calm down in the afternoon. Only a few hours later, the Basque Country welcomed us with the best weather.

It took us 3 and a half days of sailing from Falmouth to Bilbao. We had almost all the imaginable  conditions and we keep on learning about the boat. It was pretty good to test her under the conditions we had on Tuesday, without anything major breaking onboard. It is good to know as well that the wind pilot does a great job even with strong winds if we drop the mainsail and keep little sail area at the front. 

Now we are safely moored at Club Marítimo del Abra, enjoying some sun, good food and company. We have emptied Cirrus and she floats about 10 cm higher than before! We will stay here until the end of July, preparing her for the big trip, come by and say hi if you are around, if you are lucky we will give you a paintbrush and ask you to stay! 😉

Meanwhile in Falmouth…

We arrived in  Falmouth (Cornwall) on Wednesday night, after a day and a half of sailing and quite a lot of motoring through unexpectedly calm weather. 

Obviously, we ran out of fuel as we were entering in Falmouth, and that’s when you appreciate the benefits of being a crew of four: while one pumps some more fuel into the tank from the jerry can, the other one primes the engine, the third one helms the boat under sail and the fourth person tries to spot the marks in the night – the result is we arrived in the harbour and as if nothing had happened.

Other than that, our first part of the trip went well, we even managed to test our “new” spinnaker for about half an hour in the Solent, before the wind turned in to our nose. It looks good although perhaps we could add an extra 1.5 m band of sail cloth to the bottom of it…

Dolphins came along to play with Cirrus, we hope to see many more on our way down to Bilbao!

Now we are in Falmouth waiting for the weather to calm down before we set sail again tomorrow morning. It’s pretty windy here at the moment – gusts of 53 kts have been recorded in the harbour. We are pretty lucky to be moored alongside the gaffer Amelie Rose, on the inner side of the visitors pontoon, otherwise we would really be bouncing around. 

We have even made our first bread onboard thanks to the “oven” offered to Gaspar by his colleagues, it works amazingly well, thank you so much Gurit people!

Falmouth turns out to be a very beautiful town, I really wish I had come here more often while I was still living in Southampton. Yesterday we did a bit of tourism and we had lunch and siesta by Gyllyvase beach – how hard can a sailor’s life be!

Goodbye UK!

We are off! It’s been a busy last month in Southampton, getting Cirrus ready for the first part of the trip to Bilbao and saying goodbye to friends who have made our time in the UK something to be missed. We will keep you in our minds and hope to hear from you!

We are leaving in about an hour, destination Falmouth, where we estimate to arrive on Thursday. From there we will go accross Biscay, straight to Bilbao.

Weather is pretty calm today but the wind is meant to pick up from the East tomorrow morning. We are lucky to have 5 star crew onboard, with Pau and Gon (el jefe Gandarias) coming along with us.

See you soon Falmouth! Over and out

I take the chance to say goodbye to this lovely crow who lives on our neighbour’s mast and loves to sing at 4 in the morning… Goodbye!!😁

Hello Spring!

Spring is here and the official countdown to the day we leave Southampton has begun. If the weather is favourable, we will be brexiting on the week starting the 1st of May – exactly one year after bringing Cirrus over from France.

Exciting times! Meanwhile, we have been busy trying to shorten down the job list. Longer days and not-so-cold weekends mean boat work! Fortunately for us, we’ve got friends willing to help in exchange of food and beers…

Apart from little touches here and there, Cirrus is pretty much ready to set sail. In fact she can’t wait. She is looking forward to feeling less like a floating home and more like a sailing machine.

She was so happy when we took her out for a wander around the Solent, on a day that started very foggy but ended up with full susnshine.

The first stop of our trip will be Bilbao (Basque Country), where we plan to stay for about 2 months and do a full preparation of the boat, including antifouling and engine servicing.

Less tan 6 weeks to go…!

Life as a boat owner

It’s been almost a year now that we bought Cirrus.

The delivery from the Golf du Morbihan in Brittany to the UK, with a little stop-over in Saint Vaast la Houge in Normandie, was a fantastic way to test her.

We left the mooring at Logeo on the 1st of May 2016 with sunshine, not one bit of wind and our friends Matteo and Thomas onboard. We left at dawn to make sure the tide was with us to be able to get out of the Golf.

Sailing up the coast of Brittany with its beautiful scenery, we tested our navigation skills through the Chenal du Four. 

We experienced the “tapis roulant” in Alderney Race. Basically you think you are sailing forwards at a pretty decent speed and after three hours you check the GPS and you haven’t moved at all, thank you tide!

After picking up our friend Big Ben in Normandie, where we visited Gaspar’s parents and filled our bellies with oysters (and Cirrus’ belly with bottles of wine) we set sail to the UK.

The effect of the tide in the Channel made us draw a nice “S” shape on the GPS tracker in our way to the South of the Isle of Wight. With the conditions and the tide it took us a little while to get around to the other side of the island… in fact we first tried to go around the Eastern side and we ended up turning around and going around the West side…oops.

We moored up the boat in the river Hamble for the following months, and we took the best out of the British summer. Seriously, every weekend felt like holidays.

In September we moved to the boat, just in time for the winter.

 

Cirrus

We found The Boat! Now let the adventures begin…

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Cirrus is “ni trop grand, ni trop petit, juste comme il faut”. Her 9.4 meter long sleek aluminium hull will be our home.

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Thomas came to help us.. help us getting lost on the way to Britanny… help us turning the question round and round in our head “Do we buy her?”

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Thank you very much Jeremy and Maud, for having sold us the boat. We love her. She is in our mind ALL the time.

And yes indeed I believe Cirrus did not only learn to speak English very quick, she might also have changed gender. We believe she was probably more a “il” than a “elle” when she still flew the French flag.

That now makes her the most French yacht of the English small craft register. HMS Cirrus?

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la rivière d’Auray

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J attendais Rocio qui devait débarquer a la gare. 31 Décembre mais il ne faisait pas si froid. Le lendemain, on visitera deux bateaux. Peut-être qu’un de ceux-la deviendra notre maison? Ca devient sérieux quoi!

I was waiting for Rocio who was arriving at the station. 31st December but it was not cold. The following day we will have visited two boats. Maybe one of them will become our home? It becomes serious.