Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Back On Route

We left Belle Isle just after yesterday’s lunch, straight out for the final stretch of the Bay of Biscay and around Ouessant; the most westerly point of France.

It’s a different language on deck and I'm at last beginning to pick up some sailing vocab … boom, thumb, jibe, sheet in, sheet out, pin and jib, and I now know what fenders are! Another term I learnt and certainly won't forget is bow sprit and cargo net. The bow sprit is the large wooden post that points directly out from the bow, beneath which sits the cargo netting that allows access to the very front sails.

Today it was my turn to venture out and pull in the front sails tying them to the bow sprit. I donned my life vest clipped on to the safety wire and precariously headed with a bunch of sail ties draped around my neck. As I edged out carefully, looking towards the farthest sail, I looked down and it was like I was floating over the sea! I managed to do all the sails moving back towards the bow. A quite brilliant experience and I was very pleased with myself until Sacha walked past and said "should of taken 3 minutes per sail, you took nine!"

Around late afternoon Leslie gave us his in-depth weather report which was "it's not good for us but it's not bad for us"?? I decided to hear only the latter!

It was a mighty big swell once out of the protected coastal waters. Suddenly a huge pirate ship appeared on the horizon. By the time it passed us, we could identify the vessel as the famous old Bellem, a French 3 mast ship built 1897. She was named after a Brazilian port and used for transporting cacoa beans from South America, later used for shipping wine.

Jamie made a great pork stew and I provided a 2007 Grand Chai Pomerol. Although the seas were rolling it was a sunny evening and we ate on deck and watched the sunset. Our watch late tonight.

Follow the journey online at

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