Discovering the Scilly Islands – By Gérard Bourgeois

Galleys and happiness!

For years, I have this strange and penetrating dream of a warmed by the Gulf Stream in the extreme south-west of Cornwall British archipelago including the famous Tresco Scilly Islands with its tropical garden. Finally, the long-awaited big day arrives …

To facilitate recovery from Arzal-Camoël (Morbihan) which is based our Themis, a Centurion 36, we decided to punctuate our journey in two stages. The first Arzal in Brest, and the second from Brest to Saint Mary, the island capital of Scilly. On 24 July 2010, so I leave the dock Camoël with two experienced friends, Bernard and Robert, giving us a few days to arrive at the port of Brest Moulin Blanc arrive Thursday evening where the relief crew: my wife, Sylvie, his cousin Caroline and a friend, Dominique.

Arzal / Brest: a flash recovery

Passage Lock Arzal late Saturday afternoon after refueling at Carrefour Market Penestin and mooring for the night in the Vilaine to the charming port of mussel Tréhiguier. No luck, a northwest 3-4 is announced for the following day. We will have to tack to Raz de Sein … Sunday, late afternoon, we manage to reach the Palais at Belle Ile, where we anchored buoy on the front edge of Ramonette. It’s gone! The sun shines at least a few hours a day and the wind keeps his promises.

Second night in Saint-Nicolas-des-Glénans in the House, where we wake up in the mist. Even Fort Stork, close, disappeared in cotton! At ten o’clock, the sun cleared the horizon, we can not accept and let the Pie to port. It’s Tuesday, we take long to reach Audierne edges. Themis, under mainsail and genoa track well on his way with peaks at 8 knots. To be Thursday at Brest to welcome the new crew, we hardly have time to explore unknown anchorages. But we take the pleasure to change Themis best of its potential.

All is well for now. The only problem lies in the mainsail and furling balm. To raise each morning, one of us must position the mast and guide rail in GV so it does not inappropriately so. The height of the paradox: this system involves several people, while its purpose is to navigate a small crew! A Pilot Saloon owner recently told me the same problems with his reel balm and he tried to sell it for a handful of euros 1000.

Engine failure !

We anchor Tuesday night on trunk , in the cove of Saint Evette , pre- marina Audierne which often serves as a starting point for boat rides out to the Raz de Sein at the best times of the tide. For our part , as the wind continues northwest , we chose to leave the next morning around 11 hours to find ourselves in the Old shortly before slack low tide and avoid the sea lapping against the current . An hour and a half later , we are ready to ” turn right ” and leave the Old Lighthouse to starboard. Boom! Oops! the engine stops dead . I restarted without problem , but every time he chokes . There is no time to procrastinate due to currents . We decide to return to on Saint Evette and resume our anchorage yesterday. It will be more comfortable to notify and call a mechanic if necessary.

After some checking in vain , I called the captain of the marina Audierne advises me two mechanics, including Guy Burel , agreed to come on board in the afternoon . It inspects the diesel supply circuit. His verdict is clear: ” there to drink and eat in your tank .” The deposit has accumulated over time at the bottom of the reserve aluminum and bacteria proliferated . Boat owner for just over a year, I discovered over the failures and other minor annoyances …

Our mechanic owner himself a boat has an overall vision. It is necessary for us to continue our summer program with Themis : replacement filters, drain the power supply / motor hose – completely blocked ! – By means of a compressor, the emptying and cleaning of the door provided for the level indicator . And advises us to enjoy the winter to drill two traps drain ( reserve is divided into two compartments) and thus be able to thoroughly clean the same subject . More advice for the road: every full , diesel filter and add anti- bacterial product. Let us say it to !

Balance of the day Wednesday : A Audierne / Audierne and mechanical intervention cost a little less than 500 euros.

The next morning , the engineer returns with his compressor to purge the supply hose reserve / engine. It is self-evident ! Our good old diesel Volvo Penta 2003T (over 4400 hours of operation ) purring again. Bernard , who has to take a train in the middle of Thursday afternoon , leaving us with the mechanic , via shuttle bus kindly made ​​available to boaters in the bay of Saint Evette . Welcome team Audierne port for its sense of hospitality !

And here we go again for the Raz de Sein . Always nor’wester , but the sun is still in the game. We pass by the old time lady. Arrival at the Moulin Blanc, Brest, to 18 hours. We moor at the dock in front of the visitor Ocean Alchimist Olivier de Kersauson . Very nice gesture , Bernard invites me to enjoy a pan – fried beer – bar End of the World . In my turn , I invite them to a pot all the crew to descend the TGV in the late evening.

Brest / Camaret / Penzance: The Battle of the Rails

Bernard spent the night on board. Before leaving , he gave me some explanations to back the Four Channel Camaret and suggested me as a first step . This will be good enough for the crew arriving sea legs . We will stop at Ouessant return …

Some banks in the harbor and arrive in time for the big refueling Super U Camaret . This is not yet the great weather we might wish one day in late July. But happiness is being on the water . The next morning , we left the dock about 11 hours to find ourselves in the channel of the oven just before slack low tide and prevent the sea lapping against the tide ( tide against wind noroît ) . This is a time girl that we spend the channel and then go back to the north off Ushant while enjoying our lunch on the cockpit.

As the headwind does not allow us direct Scilly , we choose one edge of Penzance in Cornwall. A nice little swell of about a meter does not make us comfortable crossing. Our two verdissantes teammates settled for the night in their bunk. We are going through the rail amount. Freighters , tankers and other commercial vessels that identifies Dominica , with its experience shipbroker , trace their way to the north-east ” in single file .” Not too worry, the distance between the ships are large enough to squeeze between us and each other . An hour or two later, we’re in the down rail. So there is anxiety . The immensely long boats we seem to come from all sides and make incomprehensible caps. Certainly , I think in retrospect that good night vision would have allowed me to make compass bearings to assess their road. I would have been probably avoided starting the engine to avoid a giant monster moving on us, ultra- powerful projector pointing to our hull 36 feet .

Another impressive but more peaceful encounter between a cruise ship in the Disney Cruise Line all garlanded with colored lights. We have also spotted in the radar thanks to the cylindrical baffle that I had installed in the second spreader in Camaret, he comes alongside us and enlightens its spot as to show us its passengers … Mickey ends happily and our crossing rail.

In the second part of the night, the benevolent Lighthouse Lizard takes us to the Cornish coast we find in the early morning. A small drizzle large Breton awaits us at the foot of the headland, with Brest, determines the finish line record transatlantic crossing. Two hours the engine we will be required to reach Penzance at the bottom of the bay. Penzance, or rather the fishing port of Newlyn, much more hospitable, which welcomes sailors on a pontoon funded by the European Union. A real fishing port as we do not see much further on the French coast, where all shells are mixed and where you can still buy fish or shellfish in the boat ass …

Saint Mary: After the effort, the reward!

The next morning we spoil a beautiful sun that illuminates the port of Newlyn, vessels with blue or red shells and typical houses nestled in an arc around the harbor. And we’re back at sea tacking between Land’End the Wolf Rock lighthouse and the islands of Scilly. Before arriving at Saint Mary, we see a beautiful part of fishing engaged in by white gulls we struggle to identify the species.

Finally, at sunset, we enter the Saint Mary Sound glowing in the last rays of sun. The happiness of a dream come true! Forget the crazy night crossing the rail …

Call the captaincy to the VHF that welcomes us and invites us to decide for ourselves our mooring buoy (mooring buoy). Just as the boat docked, Caroline sees the head of two small seals swimming near the crags surrounding the port of Saint Mary.

After inflating the schedule, we will meet the next morning for 17 pounds a night in port. Here, everything changes: money, beer … The welcome is friendly and not just the famous Mermaid Bar, highly recommended by Bernard. There are the Guinness but also good local beers and a tasty fish and chips.

Dare an image. The Scilly is the archipelago Glénan three times larger. Its five main islands form a kind of lagoon fringed beaches to almost white sand. The main difference lies in their lush vegetation flowers of all kinds, cacti, palm trees … The private island of Tresco, with its famous Abbey Garden symbolizes the tropical atmosphere created by the Gulf Stream bathing the island. But do not get carried away! The air temperature does not exceed 24 ° and the water takes us to 17 °. Nor in our mainland Britain this summer …

The Scilly scroll through the “four seasons” in the day, in less than an hour we spend a sunny sky and with the deep blue water franc at a time frankly covered, followed by a pleasant drizzle that mist garden.

Good weather (noroît 3-4) ahead. After two days of walking (it’s short, it will return to visit the other islands, Bryher, St Martin’s …), we decided to leave this dear Saint Mary in the late afternoon to arrive in the early morning Ushant . History of well control the comings and goings of boats to trade!

Back Scrub to Morbihan

After 32 hours and nearly 180 miles of sailing on a broad reach, the last engine to lack of wind, we arrived at the port of Saint Evette. The second part of this passage (pass the floor of the south Sein, go to the bottom of the Bay of Audierne) we seemed endless. It’s five and a half hours in the morning when we take the torch to identify a mooring buoy available.

Miraculous fishing in the Bay of Audierne, before passing the Penmarc’h: 12 mackerel caught trolling in an hour!

Adventure, adventure … Now, it’s lazy towards Arzal. The winds carry the team to Themis, the sun shows its face every day in the late morning. First stop south of the tip of Brittany’s Pie, to the sandy isthmus between Saint-Nicolas-des-Glénans and Bananec. The site is still enchanting. At breakfast, a fighter zodiac just offer us croissants. All hot live Concarneau!

The next afternoon, stop in front of the City close to full and complete water reserve diesel. We then égrainons steps over the inspiration and the weather. Port Manech where we meet friends. The Grands Sables beach at the tip of the Cross Croix. Sauzon where we embrace our cousins. Houat and anchor roller. Then Dumet island for lunch before joining the lock 20 hours Arzal halt.

Two beautiful hours of sailing to the lighthouse of Pen Lan. We then go smoothly Vilaine while enjoying the countryside to the sea cows grazing at the edge of water, straw rolls punctuating fields yellowed by early drought …

And damn, pof! Themis who spent the penultimate buoy before the lock, I want to start the engine to get me into the wind and roll sails. No contact, the dashboard remains hopelessly dark! It remains for us to take a life (thank you Gin Fizz for his help!) And analyze the situation … Finally, in the late evening, I put the engine running by making a direct contact on the starter using an electric wire with a terminal. “This is the method of car thieves! “Jokes my co-skipper Dominique.

It only remains for us to spend the night then planted in the mud, waiting for the first lock of the day. We have only a few hours to store the boat, pack our bags to the train station of Vannes with our little Polo service and catch our respective trains. Moral: no boat without adrenaline, including up to the last minute!

Epilogue: Following the intervention Flash Themis, Joachim, the Shipyard Vilaine Arzal, explains that the power outage from a fuse near the starter. A complete overhaul of the electrical circuit may be useful …

Sylvie and Gérard Bourgeois, happy owners of Themis (Centurion 36, 1989), with Caroline Song and Dominique de Saint Léger

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