Cowes Dinard (St Malo) - 1st April 2007

Crew PJ plus Al Draper, Ed Lock, Nick Tilt, Liz Simmons, Palle Hansen, James Burbidge, Jonathan Burbidge, Francesca Paciti

With SW wind force 5/6 gusting 32 kts a good start and beat to the Needles saw In X Celsis performing well against her handicap peer group. Leading Exocet and faster boats including Phantom and Exocet with the windward rail loaded, we made progress up the fleet on the way to Needles Fairway. Annoyingly the GPS systems both went down at this point!

Through the day the wind veered as predicted and a southerly tack gradually turned into a magnetic course of around 220 degrees, taking the boat clear of The Casquets around midnight.

Facing the tide, the course to Les Hanois was achieved by daybreak but with the skipper off watch we made on too far South before identifying the need for a change of direction. Probably adding 12 to 15 miles to our water track, which was to prove punishing on our position in the fleet.

From a short spell with the small heavy weather spinnaker, a jibe gave us the opportunity to put up the bigger Sobstad A/P which pulled us quickly to the finish with some encouraging overtaking of boats on the way.

A finish at 1146 hrs saw us entering the lock in St Malo at 1400 hrs and safely berthed by 1445.

So a good sail with some heavy weather experience of the boat for new crew and good helming experience for Liz and James. A disappointing place of 65th out of 80 starters.

Cherbourg here we come!

St Malo and return passage

An enjoyable stay in St Malo with an excellent dinner in the town was enjoyed. Palle had to leave Saturday for home so was sadly missed! With Al leaving the boat for the ferry return to Southampton, a crew of 7 departed on Sunday in the first lock out at 1430 hrs.

Light winds called for passage under motor for most of the return journey and after a few moments of concern, a safe entry was made into Alderney harbour at 0730 hrs on Monday. Mainbrace supplied us with 10 gallons of diesel, giving adequate supply of fuel for a further passage, leaving Alderney at 1000 hrs, under engine all the way back to Hamble.

The return was marked as on Sunday, with another excellent hot supper served up by Nick, again supporting the whole effort with his skills in the galley!

Arriving in the dock at HYS, 2330 hours, a well prepared exit was achieved for crew departure by midnight.

Skipper on board overnight for final boat tidying!

Well done crew. Many thanks for your support.


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