Chapter 12 Falmouth to Brest Part 1

Sunday 30th July 2017

Falmouth Harbour, Cornwall (XVIII-XIX cent.) J.M.W. Turner

Falmouth Harbour, Cornwall (XVIII-XIX cent.) J.M.W. Turner

I awake on Sunday to butterflies in my stomach. I’m not sure if these are because I’m nervous about the sail to France or because I’m finally saying goodbye to England. We prepare the boat and carefully manoeuvre Kite out of her berth and onto the fuel pontoon. We refuel without spilling a drop of diesel and head down the Penyrn river and back out to sea.

Maxime at the helm asks for some waterproof trousers and manages to get into to them just before a squall hits us. It soon passes and we dry remarkably quickly. The wind is coming from the south west. After we get the main up we are close hauled and heading due south. As we also need to make a little way westward at some point we will need to tack. We dodge a cargo vessel bizarrely named BBC Europe. The sun comes out and we can see the lighthouse at the Lizard in the distance. I become aware that on this course this is the last part of the UK that I will see.

As we get into the afternoon Maxime decides to take a nap. This she does on the bed that we have made in the main cabin where the table folds down, a wooden base is added and then covered with a cushion. This is surprisingly comfortable and is a preferred place to sleep while at sea as there is less up and down motion than in the forward or aft cabins and we are protected from rolling out by the table on one side and the back of the sofa on the other. We have both taken seasickness medication. On a day sail I don’t normally suffer, finding that any feelings of queasiness can be quickly fought by a good look at the horizon. Overnight trips are not so simple and I find I get caught by sickness as I awaken from sleep. We are close hauled in a bit of a chop and are both feeling a little off colour, even with the medication. Max seems to have the worst of it. This is somewhat discouraging as we will be on this point of sail most of the way to France.

I spot another squall ahead of us and I put in a tack to avoid it and make some of the westerly ground that we need. As a tactic it works well and Kite gets just a splattering of rain as the squall passes us by. Unfortunately it has woken Max from her sleep rolling her from one side of the bed to the other as Kite rights herself and then heels in the other direction. She is not too grumpy though and gets on warm clothes so that she can come up to the cockpit. At around 10pm she takes the first night watch. She and I practiced keeping watches back in May when we travelled overnight on a trip from Brighton to Dieppe. So I feel confident leaving her in charge while I rest. I take off my outside clothes and snuggle into bed thinking how lucky I am as a father.