Today we rolled our merry way past the Dover Callais line in a magical orange sunrise, having now officially left the English channel at our stern. Where we also had a stark reminder that not all of us are as privileged and free as us here on our little square rig shipping around a Corona scared Europe as we closely passed a blowup canoe manned by two people hoping for a better life in England having fled their own war-torn country behind them.
It reminded most of the crew that we are the lucky ones and that we shouldn’t take our freedom and our liberties for granted as people are willing to risk their life paddling across the busiest waterways in this hemisphere.
But further on we rolled our chariot down and into the north sea.
We followed the shipping lane claiming our own spot among vessels many times larger than us.
But going 8 knots we held our heads up high as the wind is pushing us ever closer towards the north and into the shortest night this year.
as every day the tide is changing, our course over ground is changing, the side where the sails are set is changing, the meals as well.
Although something never changed since we left Amsterdam; the motivation expressed from all buddies on board. Yes, it is hard not to sleep well because of the boat bouncing into the waves, because of muscle ache from all the line handling. Today many plasters have been stuck around fingers and cream to heal hand wounds. Our hands are using all their strength to grab as strong as possible the smoothes or roughs halyards, sheets and down hauls. Oh yeah, the body feelings print the adventure in our memories.
I would like to say thanks a lot to some person on duty radio for “Dover Coast Guards ” and “Gris Nez Traffic” who made our passage easier and friendlier instead of asking strictly to apply the rule nb 10. Between theory and reality, tolerance should be accepted. Let’s create a new rule inspired by the Historic Passage of big ships who were racing here. The ones who don’t get the deep experience of pure sailing through the screen, please become a trainee on board!
The perseverance of a crew to realize more than 50 tacks within 72h is Funtackstic!!!
Tomorrow we will continue some repairs on the sails cause of the tough conditions. The inner jib has 2 seams slightly open to be restitched, a thimble disappeared through the mainsail from the clew outhaul of the main staysail who made a hole, also some shaved lines to splice.
Let s go for quieter weather forecast all sails up!!
It has been a 48h of tacking in the very agitated sea and sky…
With the tide, we came back exactly where we were the day before in a distance of 15 miles straight line. The reality is that we needed so many little straight lines to reach this 15 miles further south. The explanation is maybe difficult to understand because we are “losing our north” sometimes. I stopped counting how many times we tacked and jibed. The picture is messy on the chart but all was under control. We reported our plan to Dover coast guards and Gris Nez Traffic who keep a sharp lookout on the traffic on the English and French side. Of course, we are annoying them by being the only one ship making a zig-zag route. Not so many options for us aiming the English channel. Some manoeuvres are impressive for those who’ve never seen the dear Tres in such meteorologic conditions. Facing high waves, big splashes, strong gusts in our ears. Our faces are burned or brown from sun and salt, muscles are getting tight and the new rain gears are baptized. Still a lot of positive and useful Joyce on deck.
The gale warning is cancelled now. It means the wind is decreasing and will shift to the West. The ship is well-positioned to go through this bloody tiny busy channel. We are looking forward to going through, at any minute now.
Under fore staysail, topsail and mainsail 1 reef. That is not much but enough. The royal and gallant furling was quick and successfully done with eager crew members called Jules, Colin and Lenno.
The 28th of April I woke up the Fo’c’sle at 5 o’clock in the morning.
Good Morning everyone: time to pump up some anchor! Half an hour later the anchor was up and with a very small wind we moved up and down in the bay of Douarnenez. We stopped over here because we were already 5 weeks at sea and the wind in the channel was not that good (tacking with light winds) and we were running out of food. Our good friends Remi and Liz did the provisioning for us (thanks!) and the Tres Hombres crew could sleep for a few days.
A few hours after pumping up the anchor the current was going out of the bay and the wind started to increase slowly. Also, the rains were getting heavier and heavier. Eight hours later we were out of the bay tacking with a Westerly wind up and down Cap du Raz and Ile d’Ouessant. Heavy currents made it very special navigation. Another 10 hours later the wind increased and backed from West to South West. With this wind, we could reach the south side of Ile D’Ouessant but the currents were coming from North to South so we could not get around. This night around 4 o’clock the tidal current changed and we could get around the island open the sails and finally sail into the channel .
I knew this was the perfect timing because a small low was just coming over one watch later. Rain, Rain, Rain and 30 knots of wind backing from one to the other moment. So we had to brace around and wear ship (Gybe).
Now we are sailing or better surfing in the channel, doing in between 6.5 and 10 knots (depending on current again) in the right direction. As we say in the Netherlands: Het paard ruikt de stal! (The horse smells the stable!)
We are looking so much forward to see our families and friends even we have to act differently with the 1.5 m rule.
Still a few days at sea, all the best.