Saskia VII in Roscoff

On Monday 13th June Saskia VII set sail for Roscoff on the first leg of our annual cruise.

We packed our Covid certificates and duly posted our C1331 form to the Boarder Force in Dover with full details of our boat including hull build number, radio number, call sign, passport number and a host of other apparently vital details!

We had a very light wind crossing in beautiful sunshine and a full moon later at night. As we approached Roscoff next morning our normally reliable auto pilot started to misbehave.

However we made it into port without further difficulty. After checking into the marina office we set about trying to find the customs office to get our passports stamped. We had been told you have to make an appointment with the customs but sometimes if you just turned  they would accept your arrival form and stamp your passport there and then. The ferry terminal appeared deserted when we arrived and it dawned on me that logically the customs only operated when the ferry actually arrived and they were not waiting in for British yachtsmen to randomly turn up. Fortunately we managed to attract a customs official by pressing a buzzer on a locked entry door at passenger arrivals and he kindly stamped us in and accepted our arrival form. We were then officially in the EU!

Next morning when a local engineer examined the autopilot he also noticed that we had a small water leak in the engine cooling system which meant we were in slowly sinking.

I rushed off to find a mechanic leaving Rima to look after the boat. Despite Rima being fluent in French she assured me that she did not have technical language and I would be better able to explain our problem. Armed with my trusty Google translate I engaged in conversation with the local engineer. However he was somewhat perplexed to learn I had a problem with a vegetable on my boat...and "did I need a recipe?" much to my embarrassment. Fortunately after this initial confusion I was able to explain the problem. It turned out to be a more complicated issue than first envisaged. A part needed to be ordered but the mechanic was great and it was finally fixed by the end of the week.

While berthed in Roscoff marina we were delighted to see another WSC burgee flying. Simon and Mairi Kershaw were moored opposite us in Carpe Diem. They arrived  just hours before us having sailed directly from Cherbourg. There can't have been many occasions when two WSC boats have arrived in Roscoff together. It was good to meet up with fellow members and share notes on the passages we had made.

However WSC was significantly outnumbered and out gunned  by the Royal Yacht Squadron. Squadron Commodore was leading a club cruise in company and some serious tonnage started to arrive. He was coordinating things via his WhatsApp group which must read something like pages out of Debretts since a title is normally a membership prerequisite. WSC could only boast members as being Mr & Mrs. However we were given a lesson in flag etiquette by the Commodore with white ensign ceremoniously rolled up at dusk and burgee lowered.

While we basked in glorious sunshine during a visit to the Ile de Batz on the Friday I could see from the forecast that a storm was shortly to follow the heatwave. With engine repaired we made a dash to L'Aberwrach the next morning and arrived just before the gale hit. Upon arrival we  managed to secure the last pontoon space and hunkered down to weather the gale. Wind and torrential rain made for and uncomfortable couple of days. No yachts were able to depart and certainly none tried to arrive for two days' That's Finistere weather for you.

We are are off to Camaret next on route to the sun in Southern Brittany and beyond.

Mark & Rima Bugler Saskia VII

Submitted on Wednesday, 22nd June