Guernsey Astern

Things are warming up. We stripped down to two layers yesterday and took off our boots for the first time in days. The current gods favored us with a favorable current to push us through the Alderney Race near Guernsey (which was better than Tuskar or Brest), and we are now past Cherbourg.

near Guernsey
Bar Fleur off the Cherbourg peninsula

Heading south

Kite and her happy crew spent another day of dieting blasting down the Celtic Sea to Land’s End and then further south to a mark off Brest.  Overnight and then around mid day the Celtic Sea gave us a proper welcome with up to 35-37kts and a confused sea that certainly wasn’t small.  The conditions were variable enough to let us practice reefing and unreefing and changing between the J1 and J2.  As Wednesday ends, we are blasting across “la manche” with the 0 up.  But it is feeling lonely and the J2 will soon join it as a stay sail.  

The next couple of days look a bit lighter which will give a bit of relief to our sore muscles and bruises, but might delay the steak and fries that have been on our minds.  

Approaching Tuskar Rock

No sunbathing today

We had a busy night.  It was windy, mainly around 25.  We had the code 5 up which is a furling sail on a cable and the head came unlashed from the cable.  That means it doesn’t furl right. We did get it furled albeit poorly and then quickly down.  There was some good luck in that as it was over 25 at the time, and you can’t douse one of those like a spinnaker without a sock.  

The course changed to drop Fastnet and instead add a mark off Brest. The next leg is 200 nm upwind which is a lot simpler.

First Day on the Solent

Wow. Last night we had a lot of lightning in and after the Solent.  As the storms passed, the wind did crazy things: 0-25 and directions from all quadrants.  We escaped without incident, but we are a bit tired, and it was busy.

This morning was fairly settled and, despite the engine only reluctantly starting, I got some sleep.  Hannes did too.  A bit after lunch the wind went to 30.  Yuk! We put in two reefs and set up the J2 on the lock ready to go.  I needed a snorkel mask on the bow.  Of course, then the wind went down to low 20s, J1 conditions. 

We have now lost one of the two reefs, but the wind just dropped to 13!  On top of that, a warship “Queen Elizabeth” just announced live fire exercises not too far from us.  It’s been quite a day.  We will wait a few minutes before shaking out the last reef. 

The new solar panels are working great and putting in a lot of charge. 

Stacking the gear is a nice work out and well deserved after the baguettes and French pastries. 

Heading Out to the Start Line

Sunday morning saw the procession out of the harbor and north through the canal to the start of the Normandy Channel Race. Here are a few photos:

Hannes and Greg before the start.
Tied up in the lock.
Thirty teams are competing in this 2022 Normandy Channel Race. Here they are in the lock to the ocean.
Thunderstorms are also forecast this forecast.
The procession down Caen Canal
Pegasus Bridge
Café Gondrée on the banks of the Caen Canal. This building was the first liberated by Allied troops on D Day. British forces walked into the cafe at 6:20 a.m. on June 6, 1944, after capturing Pegasus Bridge.

From the race village and Caen earlier in the week:

Hannes signing autographs for school children on a school field trip
Seen on the streets of Caen

Live Coverage of the Start on Sunday morning

From the Normandy Channel Race:

An unprecedented 52’ of live TV coverage on FRANCE 3 for the race start
For the start of the CIC Normandy Channel Race on Sunday 15 May at 13:30 hours, FRANCE3 NORMANDIE is providing 52’ of live coverage with the support of the IMAGINE IN FRANCE teams, which begins airing at 13:25 hours local time. This live coverage will be hosted by Laurent Marvylle of France 3 and Louis Duc, a skipper with very close ties to the event, having participated in it 9 times before setting out on his quest to compete in the next Vendée Globe on an Imoca 60. In the process of being finalised, the device set up by FRANCE 3 NORMANDIE also includes FRANCE 3 HAUTS DE FRANCE, FRANCE 3 BRETAGNE and FRANCE 3 NOUVELLE – AQUITAINE. Furthermore, the start will be broadcast across all the digital networks associated with FRANCE 3 and the event.