The last leg of our 2015 transatlantic tour took us from St Malo, France, via Guernsey (Channel Islands) and Cowes (Isle of Wight, UK) to Germany.
The Channel Islands are a destination in their own right and in three days we barely scratched the surface. Taking the ferry to Sark was a great experience and we wished we had more time (and less rain).
Sailing across the Channel past the Needles and down the Solent to the sailing mecca, Cowes, was a special experience (especially, when 400 boats participating in the Fastnet Race are going in the opposite direction).
On the Isle of Wight we enjoyed our daily exercise riding bikes up and down the rolling hills.
Finally pushing off to the final sail took us past the cliffs of Dover, lots wind farms and oil platforms and endless lines of freighters. Going through the locks to get into the Kiel Canal indicated that we were getting close.
A large reception with family and friends topped it off before we took Tioga out of the water in Kappeln.
All basic repairs are done by now and the more significant work is in progress. The new mast was ordered.
Distance traveled: about 680nm.
Life is good… (don’t wait too long to live it to its fullest 😉 )
Again, an attempt to provide access to the same video in countries where YouTube blocks this video:
This video covers the 2nd leg of our 2015 transatlantic journey, ie the tour from Terceira, Azores to Brittany, France.
Our new crew, Peter & Sean Davis, John Fulghum and Doug Frauenholz, had flown to Terceira a few days before our departure and stocked up lots of fresh food, including a frozen piglet. Corinna and Lauren had flown to Germany while Nick and Philip continued on with the 4 new guys.
We left Terceira in late July and arrived in Roscoff about 10 days later.
While we did not have any significant storms to deal with, the challenges were initially more about sailing downwind as close to the rhumb line as possible, followed by low wind periods that turned against us and increased in strength.
Crossing the first traffic separation zone showed the value of our new AIS system and prepared us well for further crossings later on.
From Roscoff, our formal port of entry, we moved on the Isle de Brehat and then St Malo.
Total distance sailed: app 1400nm.
For those in countries where this YouTube video does not run, the link below might be better choice (it takes a little longer to load, though)
The number of chairs squeezed into our clubhouse last night might have broken a record. It was nice so see such as large and interested crowd during our presentation of this year’s journey across the Atlantic.
Given the close connection between our tour and the various people and places in France we visited, it was good to listen to Commodore Manny’s opening statements where he found the appropriate words to address the tragedy in Paris.
Manny handed over to Philip and we continued with a couple of photos summarizing the highlights of the tour, giving us the opportunity to explain the bigger picture in words and answering questions.
- preparation took about 5 years
- 15 people sailed the boat this year, spread over three legs, supporters: many, many more
- we sailed about 4000nm, roughly 1/3 of the entire tour
- highest waves: about 45ft, strongest wind: low 50s kn, highest tides: approximately 40ft
- sailboats seen between Nahant and Azores: 0
- near collisions with whales: 3
- time to paint mural in Horta: 3 days
- number of significant storms: 3
- highest number of concurrent AIS targets: 86 (North Sea)
After that, Corinna, Ellen and Peter presented the burgees to the Dory Club that we had exchanged at various places:
- Peter Cafe Sport, Horta, Faial, Azores
- Guernsey Yacht Club, Guernsey
- Cowes Corinthian Yacht Club, Cowes
- Island Sailing Club, Cowes
Videos for each leg followed, showing live at sea and the various places we visited.
Comments about Philip’s choice of music were minimal 😉
Photos we presented to explain overall route;
Summary video of crew and this year’s highlights:
As most people lose interest when watching hundreds photos of someone else’s trip, here is a very quick slideshow to get an idea of what this year’s trip looked like.
A teaser to our upcoming video night at the Dory Club…
Cowes marks the first half of our final leg to Germany. This is where we change crew for the last time. Candace left the island per ferry on Monday (flying back to Boston via Heathrow) and Alex arrived here on Tuesday (coming in from Hannover via plane, bus and ferry). Bjoern will fly in from Munich on Thursday morning and we are planning to leave here Thursday afternoon (weather permitting).
We had a great time in St Malo, the Channel Islands, Lymington and Cowes and already miss Candace and our sitting in the cockpit dance club at the dock in Cowes….
The overnight sail from St Malo was about 60 nm and the daysail from Guernsey to Lymington about 100nm. Both were quite different in nature but quite enjoyable in their own way.
A couple of impressions of our crew:
We decided to leave St Malo at around 15:00 on Tuesday. After the Frauenholzes bid us farewell, we left the dock in time for the first lock opening (2hrs before high tide). As we motored in the pouring rain towards the lock, only 4 other sailboats seems to have the same plan. Unfortunately, a freighter joined us just before the gates opened and filled about 2/3 of the lock. As that delayed the entire process, the sailboats had to rush to get in and scramble to tie up to the wall.
We took the easy way out and tied up to one of the other sailboats. As a result, there was not a lot of space left between us and the freighter and we were happy that we kept some of the fenders on port, as the departure out of the look was a narrow passage where we finally had the opportunity to bump into a freighter… – it all worked out very well and our new crew good a nice introduction into moving Tioga in close quarters.
We set sails, squared away a number of items we had left on deck and sailed into the night past numerous lighthouses, islands etc.
And of course we again forgot to put the battens into the working jib.
We made it to the locks in time (2.5hr before – 2.5 after high tide) and were assigned to a nice spot at the pier right across from the main gate. Perfect.
While St Malo is certainly impressive when approaching from the sea, it is equally special when inside the old walls. Although checking it all out when we arrived was tempting, we had to get the boat cleaned up and ready for the next crew first.
The Fulghum and Frauenholz families reunited and we went for a swim in the natural pool on the other side of town. There, we had a great time jumping off the 5m tower (which is completely submersed at high tide) and absorbing life in France. A nice French meal with the eleven of us rounded of another pretty good day.
Over the next days, various groups went sight seeing, Sean caught the train to Switzerland, Corinna and Thomas arrived and Nick took the plane to Spain. Ellen and Candace arrived and Philip continued searching for decent internet speed.
By now the new main halyard is installed, more wood is holding the liferaft above the sliding hatch and the shopping list for the final supermarket runs is ready. Routes are plotted and the weather forecasts are becoming more relevant. Next stop: Guernsey…