27 Aug 2014

[Cruise News] Back in Plymouth

Well I'm finally back online after a manic couple of months readying the boat, business and myself for departure ... I wouldn't want to go through all that again I can tell you.  Anyway, Wednesday 20th August was D-Day : we had to be ready for the off as a professional skipper had been booked to deliver Tumi to Guernsey as the final step of the export process.  And we were hitching a ride as crew.  So Phil & Judi collected us at 7pm and after dinner in the marina bistro and a couple of hours sleep we were off ... 2am on 21st August.  At last.  Sadly the weather didn't really merit setting off at that time, the upshot being we had to motor-sail all the way to Guernsey.  I'll leave the skipper to fill you in on happenings along the way.
So we arrived in Guernsey and moored up alongside another new Jeanneau being exported and delivered by professional crew and we all did the only sociable thing - go out for a drink and a curry.  It reminded us of just how friendly the sailing community is.  And after a marathon sleep we finally surfaced about 11am the next morning.
I love Guernsey - the right blend of island life and sophistication which make me feel it's somewhere I could happily live one day.  We pottered along on a coastal walk in the afternoon and had a lazy night on board. Saturday dawned bright and Sunday so we caught the ferry across to Sark, taking our new folding bikes with us.  We put the bikes to good use cycling the length and breadth of this small but beautiful island before returning to Guernsey somewhat saddle sore.  We had planned on eating out that evening but felt too bushed to make the effort!  Sunday was another lovely day and we walked a more strenuous length of the coast on the south side of the island, passing old German WW2 gun emplacemenrts and lookout towers that look like something from War of the Worlds.  Very sinister.
Monday dawned wet & windy and stayed wet & windy but we put the time to good use sorting things out on board.  The last few days pre-departure had seen us putting a lot of things on board which rather got stuffed anywhere ... a bit of order has now been brought to bear.  The rain stopped late afternoon and after checking the weather forecasts we decided to head off home.  Mistake: an hour and a half out of Guernsey we turned around and headed back to port to escape the pounding of beating into high winds and rough seas.  We didn't have a deadline so decided to abort what would have been an uncomfortable passage.
Anyway, conditions were slightly better yesterday so we set sail and had an exhilerating first few hours in 35+ knots and big-is seas but made great progress averaging over 8 knots.  And then the wind died.  Talk about extremes!  And we ended up motoring the rest of the way, arriving in Plymouth 10.30pm last night.
Today we have had a series of technicians on board sorting out little niggles.  Mum is collecting us mid-afternoon (we are now without a car of course, having left it with a local garage to sell) but I think Paul will need to stay on board tonight to do a few jobs.