Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Cruise of the ‘Aziz’ a Pioneer 9 Part 14

Belle Île (Courtesy Wikipedia)

I listened to the early morning shipping forecast on Sunday, 4th August: variable 3 or less, becoming west, thundery showers, moderate or good. Well, that wasn’t bad. By 0640 we were underway and ten minutes later I streamed the log. As we sailed northwest we encountered numerous fishing buoys. Each and every one had to be avoided. By mid morning the sea was free of them. At mid-day we were attacked by a heavy squall that had me handing the Genoa. More was to come after lunch when we suffered the most horrendous thunderstorm accompanied by a gale force blast of wind that had ‘Aziz’ heeling about 25 degrees – that was after I had taken all sail off her. I can’t say I had seen such heavy rain before! – It was like being under Niagara Falls. I was fearful that the yacht may be struck by lightening as blinding bolts of light hurtled into the water all around. I was expecting to see the mast aglow with St. Elmo’s fire, but that didn’t happen.

Chastened by the experience, when the worst had passed I set the small jib and put three reefs in the main. Later in the afternoon another storm hit us, but it was not so vicious. By 2039 we were snugly anchored in the lee of the harbour wall at Le Palais, Belle Île. The sun was shining and I expected a quiet evening. We had only been anchored for ten or so minutes when a French yacht anchored beside ‘Aziz’ so close that we could just about shake hands – not that I felt like doing so. This was followed by another, almost equally close on the other side. By nightfall we were completely hemmed in. I prayed that the wind would not blow up during the hours of darkness. Shouting continued until early in the morning, when at last there was peace. However, I could not sleep on account of being worried that yachts may bump in the night. Miraculously they did not.

In the morning I noticed an English yacht had arrived from the River Deben; her name was ‘Mzuri’. Her crew was down below, presumably getting some shuteye. We remained anchored there until mid-afternoon when I couldn’t stand being hemmed in by other yachts. Getting the anchor up was a nightmare, as I had to push yachts aside before I could retrieve it. I dread to think what could have happened had anchor cables been entwined.


Two hours later we arrived at Sauzon, a small port further to the northwest. There all was peaceful as we lay at anchor admiring the scenery. I had a super coastal walk and returned to the yacht for my evening meal.

Îlse du Groix (Courtesy of Wikipedia)

Fairly early, on the morning of Tuesday, 12th August, I set off for Port Tudy on the Îlse du Groix. Seven hours later I made a terrible hash of anchoring outside the harbour. Each time I reversed the yacht the anchor would not hold, because it was clogged with weed. Eventually, I found good holding, and all was well. Nearby there was an English yacht named ‘Kaisow’ with Paul and Lesley from Southampton aboard. They invited me to a meal, which I gladly accepted.

Text for the Day

Psalm 1:1,2 ‘Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night.’

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