Captain Hugh and the Reluctant Navigator
The Voyage of Vega

Ooh la la! L’Aber Wrac’h.

At last. We are on the Continent. After three rainy days in Padstow which were mainly spent sleeping, eating and trying to understand some of the new equipment that we had bought for the trip, we finally set off on Wednesday morning. Up at 6am and Hugh was fretting that most of the other boats in the harbour had already set sail. But the navigator had decided that this was quite early enough for the tides around Lands End. It was wet and Padstow was strangely quiet…. no tourists wandering the harbour at this silly hour.

The weather cleared around Lands End, and a steady force 4 wind from the north east meant a good sail on a broad reach across the Channel. We took turns overnight at being on watch and sleeping. The phosphorescence at night, streaming off the bow as Vega pushed through the water, was astonishing, at times lighting up the mainsail. When I woke at 6am we were surrounded by dense sea fog and passing through the shipping lanes. Our electronic plotter shows where we are, where we’re going and where the nearby tankers, cargo ships and fishing boats are… it looks worse in the picture of the plotter than it actually is. But we called up on the VHF radio several of the ships that appeared to be on a collision course and were relieved to know that they were aware of us, having picked us up on their radar. One obligingly changed course a few degrees. Another finally emerged from the fog and passed behind us at a distance of a third of a mile.

We were glad to pass by the Grand Pot de Beurre and Petit Pot de Beurre marker buoys and arrive at the marina in L’Aber Wrac’h in Brittany. We were last here 3 years ago on the way to the maritime festival in Brest where the Ambling Band were playing. Moules for supper in the same restaurant that we ate in then, and a day here whilst some very windy weather passes through.

The plan is to head off tomorrow, Saturday, to cross Biscay. It should take 3 days to Spain if all goes well.



  1. Jon Rolfe

    July 17, 2015 - 1:05 pm

    The image of the plotter screen looks really scary!!

  2. Annie

    July 17, 2015 - 2:09 pm

    The small scale makes it look a lot worse than it is 😉

  3. Peter Baylis

    July 17, 2015 - 2:51 pm

    Well done to you both. The first step is always the most scarey.

    • annie

      July 24, 2015 - 11:27 am

      Thanks Pete. Let’s hope it stays that way (on the scale of scariness) x

  4. Jim Lucas

    July 19, 2015 - 9:53 pm

    Is it now you realise you’ve left your passports in Bristol?…….. good to get off the ‘P’s – struggling to think of famous French ports beginning with P – unless you go down the Seine. Glad the countries are now being ticked off – Spain after the Bay of Biscay or are you missing this for your usual preference with ‘P’ortugal and ‘P’orto? Phosphoresence sounds great.

    • annie

      July 20, 2015 - 5:25 am

      We gave up on the P’s and decided to do the A’s in France. This is clearly the beginning of a secret code. What will it spell? We have our passports thank you. At least I have mine. Hugh? xx

  5. Jim Lucas

    July 21, 2015 - 10:24 pm

    Passepartout would be my guess – although 180 days may finally get you across the Bay of Biscay!! Mind you cycling sounds good and I suppose that is the beauty of sailing at your own pace. Hope you get a smooth crossing. I have noted that your longest stays will be in wine producing countries xx

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