Starblazer - 23/06/2017 – Change of plan!

What are plans for, if not to moderate or change them as circumstances
dictate? But more of that later. It can be dangerous to slavishly stick to
a plan when conditions change, for example if driving from the South Coast
to Scotland you wouldn’t plan your trip on an average speed of 70 m.p.h.
then not alter speed when a fog descends because ‘the plan says we average

Thursday was another gentle day with just enough breeze to allow us to drop
the revs to little more than tickover to maintain an average speed of 5
knots or better. The day’s run to noon was a record breaking (at least for
this leg) 128 nM, nothing to shout about but, hey, we are making
satisfactory progress while conserving fuel. The day was interspersed with
meal breaks, cups of tea and not much else. Dinner was spicy Italian
sausages with couscous and ratatouille. We were still on schedule to arrive
in Camaret shortly after dawn on Saturday.

Today, Friday, it’s all change. The wind is still very gentle, the seas are
still very calm and we are still motor sailing at between 5 and 6 knots.
Now we would really like to average 6 while not using more fuel than
necessary. Why? The elephant in the room is the predicted wind pattern for
the end of next week when we hoped to be heading for Portsmouth. Yachts can
make progress towards the wind, that is not our concern. From Camaret we
have to head north up the Chenal du Four inside Ile d’Ouessant (Ushant to
Brits) with the tide, this becomes hazardous when the wind is against the
tide. It was beginning to look as if we would be stuck in Camaret for at
least a week. News from Richard, our potential hitch hiker, is that his
passage is possibly going to be postponed and there is no guarantee they
would actually make landfall in Camaret before the very strong winds arrive
on Tuesday. We are now heading for Portsmouth!

The factors deciding this destination are varied. The fuel gauge does
appear to be working, we are just being very cautious with the revs and
expect to be sailing properly within about 12 hours. If we can average 6
knots we will reach the Needles Channel, another tidal gateway like the
Chenal du Four, before the tide turns foul on Sunday morning which will get
us into the Solent. Then we will be bashing into the tide all the way to
Portsmouth Harbour entrance, but we should have enough fuel and at least the
wind should help us. A late afternoon arrival on Sunday, a week earlier
than previously predicted, looks possible. The only downside is that the
pontoon at Hardway Sailing Club will be very nearly high and dry! We have
decided to go into Haslar Marina in Gosport for a few nights to get
ourselves sorted out. If we were willing to pay for a marina berth in
Camaret we should be willing to do the same in England.

Watch this space or Facebook posts from family for updates. We do not have
any working phones or iPads for the UK and I might just forget to blog that
we have arrived! What a shame, I was looking forward to a nice French meal
on Saturday however I am now getting excited about completing our
circumnavigation in two days’ time. Tonight’s ‘last night at sea dinner of
steak chips and corn on the cob’ will have to wait until tomorrow and I’ll
have to get enthusiastic about cooking something different.