6/7 November 2013

6/7th November 2013

Monday was to be the start of Elsi’s big trip and the weather forecast, when we looed at it over Saturday and Sunday, didn’t look not too bad. The wind should be NW F4 all morning and afternoon before backing west then south west and freshening. That should let us get past Ushant (on the NW corner of France) and into the Bay of Biscay. I wanted to clear Cape Finisterre (on the NW corner of Spain) by Saturday as there was a deep low coming in affecting the Bay of Biscay and the English Channel with winds up to F9.

However Monday started with a flat calm and it was early afternoon before there was any wind from the NW. The SW’lys were now a more persistent F6+ which was less good. But I still hoped to clear the Channel and have some sea room before the worst iof it came in.

I left Falmouth at 1435. Alyson and her sister Penny and friends Robin and Carolyn Wilson Webb were waving final farewells from Pendennis Point.

Less than 2 hours later the wind had gone south of west and any benefit I would have got from a fair wind had gone. To make matters worse the combination of the (initially) light head wind and the flood tide running up from the Lizard pushed us into the SE for a time when we should have been going SW.

The tide eased and we were able to make a course SSW but as the night wore on the wind freshened and backed it was obvious we were not going to clear Ushant on the one tack. There is a traffic zone for shipping on the corner there and as we neared it the wind picked up to F7-F8 and we had to hove to for a couple of hours. Monster container ships and gas tankers rumbled by in the darkness. I was really grateful for the AIS to help me keep track of them all.

We were not going to clear the traffic zone and so had to tack north again.

Sailing to windward is not one of Elsi’s strong points. She is heavy and under canvassed compared to modern yachts. To add to that she is carrying almost an extra ton of food, water and supplies for a year at sea and she is at her heaviest right now. As the seas got bigger and the wind freshened we were pointing to windward but the waves were knocking us back so that we were more or less beam on. In other words we were getting nowhere.

The forecast was to stay the same for the next few days and if I continued to tack back and fore across the Channel making no headway I would eventually get hit by this low pressure coming in on Saturday.

I decided to come back in to Falmouth and wait for a better forecast.  It isn’t easy or pleasant going back on a decision once made but I feel this is the most sensible thing to do just now.

So now we are at anchor in Falmouth and it will be Sunday at the earliest before we move from here again.


Sorry, no comments or trackbacks are allowed on this post.