|Dreams of mixing the Red Ensign with the French Tricolor|
The loose plan was to leave from Swanage on Wednesday first light and make the passage to either Alderney or Cherbourg depending on wind direction. We had a few simple rules: We'd only go if there were three boats, there would be at least two people on each boat, we'd keep within sight of each other, go at the pace of the slowest boat and assess pace and direction after three hours to see if it was worth continuing.
After a week of all the signs that the weather was going to be great with a high building over the Azores it became apparent that Wednesday was not going to be very nice, with F5 gusting F6-7! Also we were having trouble finding crew for Peggotty. Also Peggotty wasn't going to be able to plan to go to Cherbourg as Liam doesn't have a passport, he did agree that we may have no choice as a port of refuge.
We put off the start day until Thursday and agreed to sail to Swanage on Wednesday evening. Liam had some good news in that he'd picked up a couple of experienced sailors who were prepared to crew for him and had been on his boat before.
I'd arranged to meet Paul at Wetherspoons on Poole Quay on Weds afternoon for a bit of nosh before setting off. Bad news, Paul's crew had disappeared and was uncontactable.
Liam came to the rescue, His crew were happy to sail Peggotty on their own and Liam said he'd crew for Paul. With boats and crew organised Lapwing and Ciao Bella left Poole around 6pm on Weds evening to meet up with Peggotty in Swanage.
|Swanage from Handfast point|
|Lapwing leaving Swanage with mist sitting across the Dorset countryside.|
As my cool box was stuffed with bacon, sausage and eggs I thought it would be best to get them cooked and eaten. Paul came along to help get through the mountain of meat. You can't beat a Sausage, bacon and egg sandwich when boating. I think they went down well.
|Looking East from Saltern Wood|
|Kindred spirit :)|
|the usual suspects|
|Liam and Caroline on Peggotty|
|Peggotty and Lapwing|
|Ciao Bella and Lapwing|
|Ciao Bella off Yarmouth|
|In Cowes Yacht Haven|
Homeward bound. Tiffins is an absolute must for breakfast when I go to Cowes, I'm fairly predictable.. sausage and egg butty with a cup of coffee. I have to say, Paul's milk shake did make me chuckle.. very kitsch.
|Paul's elaborate milk shake.|
OK, so we didn't go to Alderney, in fact we didn't get close. But we did make the right decisions and our confidence has built. We now know that the boats can make the required speed, even on a beat so long as the hull is clean. We had a great time and that's what my kind of sailing is all about.