Normandy after the 'Quinze Aout'

Some real sailing at last - approaching the passe de l'Est There's nothing to beat a pain chocolat - except another pain chocolat!

The peace of the Channel was welcome after the pre-carnival bustle of Weymouth, even though the WSW wind was less than forecast, meaning bursts of engine mid-Channel to keep going - very necessary at springs. It was interesting to be at sea in what I call 'normal' conditions, the wind filling in from the right soon after leaving the harbour at 0530, and the visibility good under light cloud which kept the temperature down, making for a very pleasant sail down to the shipping lanes.

Although I crossed the Shambles bank well to the west of the east cardinal with the remains of the morning ebb, the flood still deposited me a bit to the NE of Cherbourg, which left a sprightly,and occasionally spray-laden, close-hauled leg in 12 knots of sea breeze with the ebb to make the eastern entrance, always an interesting exercise as the west-going current gathers force!

Fortunately the Normandie Express catamaran had cleared the entrance by the time I got there, though it added its wake to the 'wind over tide' sea forming quite quickly with the ebb; fortunately also there are easy marks ashore to line up to assess drift, and the current is much reduced once you're in the shelter of the rocky plateau extending north from Ile Pelee, though the rocks extending from the fort de l'Est still need a wide berth.

Sitting in the cabin this morning listening to the rain, I am glad to have come over yesterday in the sunshine (once beyond what seemed, looking back, like a grey Brexit-esque gloom over the English coast) which also gives me a day to arrange things - my new spray hood from Axe Sail, and what I'm supposed to be doing for the University Worlds at Cherbourg in two weeks time. Then it's leave for Saint-Vaast on the Sigma tomorrow morning with the flood, in preparation for the race there on Saturday, followed by the delivery on Sunday to Fecamp for the first leg of the 'Double de Normandie' on Monday on Crazy Goose with Georges...

The Quinze Aout, or 15th of August, is the official end of the holiday season in France, and traditionally when the weather starts to change, as it has this year. Sitting in the sunshine yesterday having a beer with friends from YCC it seemed the summer was continuing, though today the weather has seemed more typically Norman!

More as we have it from WSC's own Normandy division,

Steve Fraser

Submitted on 16th August 2018