Decisions, decisions…

5 August, 1907 UTC:  About 20nm from Brest, France. The winds finally moderated a few hours ago. Forecast was 20-25 kts, occasionally 30, but we had a lot of 25-30 and higher gusts…lots of ships too. I had to call several to change course- harder when some were approaching traffic separation zones. Last night again it was too rough for the autopilot, so a lot of hand steering needed.

Luckily we weren’t running down the huge waves of a few nights ago, so my crew was able to steer during their watches. I still would have liked to have hove-to since we were expecting heavy weather, but Marlein and Simone need to get back and we have been out several days longer than I expected. As we approach Brest we still see nothing but a few dolphins, dropping seas, several ships, fishing boats and one sailboat.

Marlein and Simone just after the strong winds subsided, nearing landfall in Camaret sur Mer
Marlein and Simone just after the strong winds subsided, nearing landfall in Camaret sur Mer
Marlein and Simone just after the strong winds subsided, nearing landfall in Camaret sur Mer
Marlein and Simone just after the strong winds subsided, nearing landfall in Camaret sur Mer

The sun has made an appearance, but it’s still cloudy. We can get in before dark, nearly 11pm at this latitude, but the tide is just about to ebb as we near. This boat is a little slow to fight a current. It looks about 1.5 kts, so I still have two options:

1: Fight the current and enter an unknown harbor and marina in the dark after midnight

Or

2: Anchor at Anse de Camaret, if there is room, sleep well if it’s not too rough, and move to the marina to clear immigration in the morning.

I’m really glad the wind has finally died down. I was worried we’d be trying to get into an unknown port in 30 kts. Not fun.

Funny thing; I have called several ships on the radio either for weather forecast or to request they change course. A sailing vessel has right of way as long as they are not in a channel or have some other encumbrance.

It should be the officer on watch who responds. So far I think it’s been 5 Russians, 2 Indians, and 2 Indonesians. The Russians are over-represented and all have very deep voices and sound bored. One very rude, one pretty helpful, the others so-so. The Indians just tell me what the weather is currently; yes, I know it’s blowing 25-30 from the south, How about tomorrow? …”It’s OK tomorrow”. OK on a 600ft freighter may be different than for a 38ft sailboat, and not terribly descriptive. I think the Indonesians were most helpful, but it’s a small sample.

 

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