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Lorient - Newhaven
-- 10 to 21 July 2013  --
Back to the water for Saltimbanque after close to one year on land. And so we start our long journey to the North...

More pictures from this preliminary leg can be found in our page "Pictures".

480 milles sailed

Our stops, click on the names for more details :
Kernével (marina) - Lesconil (mooring buoy) - Ste Evette (anchorage) - Posrmoguer (moring buoy) - Trebeurden (marina) - Guernesey (anchorage) - Cherbourg (marina) - Newhaven (marina)
Lorient - Trébeurden
That's it, holidays are here at last! Time to fly to Lorient where we get back to our dear little Saltimbanque. The crew of the shipyward where it was stored since we came back from our one-year trip craned it back to the water just a few days before.

We spend the 2 first days in rigging back, filling up the cupboards again, and have a bit of fun with our propeller packing gland which struggled to wake up after 10 months up and dry. And it's time to leave the bay of Lorient pushed by a gentle wind. By pure chance we sail by our friends the "Pingouins Tropicaux" in the channel . Last time we had seen them, it was in Pointe à Pitre in March 2012.

Saltimbanque is back to its normal liquid element after 10 months on the dry land

Saint-Matthieu's head by Brest
We enjoy stable conditions on the first days: moderate wind from the North-East (4-5b), bright sun, and a temperature closer to the one of more tropical latitudes. We glide down the wind wearing shorts and asymetrical spinneaker from Lorient to Lesconil, where we moor on a buoy for the night. Very friendly small fishing harbour.

Then we hop to Audierne on the next day where we drop the anchor in a magnificent - if ice cold - water !!

Crossing the "Raz de Sein" - a famous race with strong current - is easy, but the next one called le Four is very bumpy with this Northeasterly wind now blowing at a good 20 knots against the current. We reach the bay of Porsmoguer to the south of the Corsen head and grab a much-welcomed mooring buoy !

We sleep for a few hours waiting for the tide to turn, and at 2 am we just hoist the sails, let the buoy go, and silently leave towards the second part of "le Four" channel. The wind has dropped a bit, but hasn't changed much in direction. All sails up, Bob - our wind vane- steers Saltimbanque close to the wind. We just have to enjoy the raising sun, after all we are not in a rush !

The cost line passes by: the ile Vierge lighthouse, the cardinal beacon of Aman ar Ross, the isle of Batz... The wind keeps dropping inexorably. It's flat calm, it's beautiful... We continue towards Trebeurden in an agonizing wind under the not less dying sun. In slow motion we skim past the rocks even pinkier than usual and reach our former home port.

Quiet landing at Trébeurden
No wind at all but a bright sun, we spend a bit of time on a mooring buoy at Trebeurden, just gazing at these landscapes so familiar and that we still love so much. The local old gaffers make a festival for us in between the winding granit.



Trébeurden - Newhaven
The wind is still on holidays, the trip to Guernsey is mostly covered motoring. Mot notable event being the fireworks everywhere onshore for the National Day on July 14th. The anchorage place under Castle Coret is like a mirror.

We leave again at 3am with the tide change and still with the engine, taking the Little Russel channel. The mist falls down on us right when we get out of the narrowest part and we'll keep us blind sailing for 3 long hours. Still motoring, we take the Alderney Race for our very first time ! And yes we were right at slack water and yes the tide coefficient was very low (53), but still the current whirlpools are extremely powerful.  Pushed by the current we sail at 7-8 knots to Cherbourg.

Cherbourg... A city with a harbour as big as the center ! We have to wait for the wind to pick up and share our time between ship chandlers, an exposition in the city, and nostalgic discussions with our neighbouring boat: he is heading to his home port of Boulogne-sur-Mer back from his 4th Antlantic round trip.

Guernsey, still beautiful boats, still no wind... 

To convey our boat we tack and tack again... there are simpler ways !
Departure at midnight towards England still in very calm conditions. Then the wind finally picks up - from the North East- and we quickly reach the South of the Isle of Wight. And the wind drops again, and picks up, and drops, and picks up again, and miraculously takes a more East - South - East orientation so we can sail 20 milles on the intended course. Then it drops again, and picks up right from the direction where we need to go... We tack and tack for the entire night, there is only 15 milles left in a straight line.
At 6am, the wind picks up quite much, we reduce the main sail by 2 reefs and swap the genoa for the jib. It's ok we still know how to do this :o) And we sail in Newhaven harbour with the sunrise.

The entrance of Newhaven

Low tide at Newhaven
The harbour is nicer under this sun than in our greyish memories from last spring. But a small surprise awaits us, the management of the marina has not registered our berth demand... But we find a solution by the end of the day, and we finally moor Saltimbanque onto its new home berth. At low tide the keel sinks into an extremely soft mud, but the other sailboats in the marina don't sem to suffer from this. Freeky feeling though...
The surroundings are very steep: white cliffs of chalk and a few pebble beaches. Very few anchorage possibilities so our trips that summer can be summed up to a few round trips in front of the harbour, and very adventurous expeditions to remote Brighton, 6 miles to the west. It's time to get back to our fjord...

The famous 7-sisters
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