Welcome to the Maunie of Ardwall blog

This is the blog of Maunie of Ardwall. After a six-year adventure sailing from Dartmouth to Australia, we are now back in Britain.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Photos from Sark

The camers seems very dead but at least we've managed to extract some photos from its media card.

This is Havre Gosselein on the west coast of the Island.

The island's main road really is just a dusty track!

Monday, 6 June 2011

Guernsey to Sark to Dartmouth

Thursday saw a lovely one-hour sail from St Peter Port across to Sark. As warned, the French yachts from the overnight rally from Morlaix were rushing in to try to meet the deadline of tide at the marina entrance; the harbour master's two boats were battling to retain some kind of order so it was good to be away!

We picked up a visitor's mooring in a little anchorage on the west side of Sark called Port Gosselein. The word 'port' suggests rather more than this isolated spot offers - just very steep rocky cliffs, a space to leave your dinghy and some very steep steps onto the high top of the island. We climbed up onto the plateau and soon came to the main road running north-south along the middle of the island - it's just a dusty track with only horses, bicycles and the very occasional tractor! We walked south across to Little Sark, crossing the very precipitous La Coupee (just wide enough for a horse and cart and with stern warnings about No Cycling - you usually get blown over the edge apparently). For us, though, the weather was perfect - bright sunshine so we took lots of photos. Unfortunately we can't share these with you at the moment as my trusty Canon G9 has decided to die on me - I'll need to get a card-reader to retrieve them and post them later. Just got this one from my phone for now:

We had a great lunch of Sark lobster at a lovely but slightly chaotic hotel on Little Sark before walking back to the main village, which comprises just one street with a surprising number of tourist shops, two banks and the island's power station (a large diesel generator in a shed).

We returned to the boat to find a 34ft French boat sharing our mooring, which was fine until a nasty swell rolled into the anchorage and we both started to roll quite a lot but at different frequencies and amplitudes. A nasty crashing of masts was imminent, so our very friendly French neighbours decided to bugger off before we had to ask them so to do. A neighbouring British yacht had to be more forceful with his French charter buoy-mate before they did the right thing; We chatted to his skipper afterwards and it transpired we'd seen them in a previous boat in Schull, SW Ireland two years ago - we'd even emailed them a photo of their boat taken from the top of our mast. Small world!

On Friday morning we left at 9.00 for a really good 70-mile crossing back to Dartmouth. We had a brilliant Force 5 NE so reached across the end of Les Casquets shipping lanes and only had to motor for the last 3 hours as the breeze died as the sun set. We were back on the mooring at about 9.00pm.

We spent Saturday sorting a few jobs aboard, Jayne and Joe came across for supper and we left Maunie, very sadly, on Sunday to return home. After an eventful start, it turned out to be a great cruise and we look forward to revisiting Brittany and the Channel Islands later this year if possible.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

To Guernsey

The passage from Lezardrieux to Guernsey was pretty special. We’d worked out a departure time (10.00am local) to give us a strong ebb tide pushing us out of the estuary and then to windward, so that the close reach to leave Les Roches Douvres (a clump of nasty rocks with an impressive lighthouse) to starboard turned into an easy reach and we averaged 7 knots in a Force 5 NW.

Having passed the rocks, we eased off the wind further to set course for the SE tip of Guernsey, which quickly came into view in the bright sunshine. We had some further tidal assistance as we entered the southern end of the Russell Channel (between the east coast of Guernsey and Herm) so arrived in St Peter Port a good hour earlier than expected, just as the water was deep enough over the sill to allow us to enter Victoria Marina.

We had an excellent and really filling meal in the Nautique fish restaurant on the front. It’s in an old sailmaker’s loft as these photos show:

Wednesday was a lay-day; we had showers in the excellent marina facilities, a light bistro lunch, a glass of wine in the Royal Guernsey Yacht Club (view from their window below) and a bit of an exploration of the town.

The marina emptied of boats at high-water in the morning (the entrance sill that keeps the water in it means that you can only enter or leave for a couple of hours either side of high water) but by the afternoon there was a fresh gaggle of boats on the waiting pontoon in the outer marina waiting to come in. Apparently on Thursday there’s a rally of about 150 French boats arriving from Morlaix so it’s just as well that we’re leaving!

Tomorrow (Thursday) we’re planning to sail over to Sark to anchor there overnight and then sail back to Dartmouth on Friday. The forecast is for the wind to come from the north-east which will, we hope, be perfect for a good 70-mile passage.
By the way, today is Maunie’s 14th birthday so we raised a glass to her!