26 July 2014

Across the Channel

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Happy Anniversary!

We woke up this morning at 7 am still feeling a bit jet lagged. My breakfast was an interesting British combination of smoked trout with poached egg and baked tomato. John had Irish bacon, roasted tomato and an egg.

Off to meet Agnes in Newlyn. As we arrived at the dock, I was looking at every wooden boat out there and wondering which one was her. Abruptly, John stopped the taxi: "There she is!". Yes, there she was, tied alongside an old fishing boat. From the dock, we had to gently step down about 3-feet into this boat, then across to Agnes.

Our first view of Agnes -- rafted on the far side of a fishing boat
On Agnes, I expected to meet other 2 couples, but the passengers that will be sharing the inside of this boat with us are Mark from Chicago, and David and Derek from England. Good, manly men that want to do all the sailing. Luke, the Captain, took us all around the boat and explained the "man overboard" procedures, talked about lines and ropes, night watch (gasp), and what to do in case he falls overboard. Joanna, Agnes' lady in command, does all the cooking.

Bonding with Dave and Mark
Walking around Agnes' deck
The 'pilot' bunks are built into the side of the boat, so no privacy really. John got the best and widest bunk of them all, but he is also right across from the "head" (bathroom), I am on a bunk above him, small, but much bigger than Fiona's 18-inch wide bunks. Instead of damp sleeping bags, Agnes has sheets on mattresses, comfy pillows, and duvets.

Our berths for the next week
Derek and Mark are in the V-shaped area in front bunks (there are 4 bunks there) and David is the only one with a curtain for privacy, probably because he is literally sleeping in the living room -- the main salon.

Agnes' cozy main salon and galley
With the sleeping arrangements organized, we set sail for France -- across the English channel. Luke is a real sailor, so we had the sails up before leaving the harbor, and as soon as possible, he turned the engine off and we were sailing in a light breeze. As the morning progressed the wind picked up, and soon the boat, with all it's 5 sails (main, foresail, jib, flying jib, and topsail -- Ed.), was heeling (tilting) a lot. Water was pouring into the deck through holes called scuppers, and I went down below for a nice little nap. Wonderful.

Leaving Newlyn

Setting sail
John in his element
Settling in for the crossing - John, Derek and Mark
with Cornwall disappearing behind

Lunch was served on deck: vegetable soup and bread. Dinner was served below: beef stew with cabbage, mashed potatoes and bread and wine.

I am trying not to compare this voyage with Fiona's, but it is a bit hard because Fiona (and some small sails on Blue Moon --- John's boat) are all I know about sailing. So if I go that way, just stop me!

After dinner, Captain Luke calls the watches. The "team" (meaning all of them and volunteers until 1 am, then Derek and Mark 1 to 3 am, then John and David and me (sigh) from 3 to 5. I asked John to wake me up for the sunrise...

With Fiona (you were supposed to stop me!) all moments of the daily sailing were planned. Lunch precisely at 1:00, chocolate treat for dessert, tea and bisquits at 3:00, Happy Hour at 5:00, dinner and 7:00, watches start precisely at 8:00 pm and time of arrival exactly 4:22 pm the next day.

Our hosts: Luke and Johanna
Agnes has a more relaxed crew and schedule... everyone brings their drinks on board and drinks them whenever they like; lunch and dinner is served when it is ready; night watches are voluntary and you get to pick your time, if you want to do the watch at all.

After taking my long nap this afternoon, I felt guilty and was ready to go up on deck to take over somebody's watch. Captain Luke looked at me and with a smile said, "Let them be, they are enjoying being men". Agreeably, I turned around and took another long womanly nap.

Next Episode: Pilot Cutters

1 comment:

  1. I live your adventures vicariously. Unfortunately for me life (read work) gets in the way--


I'd love to hear from you. Please comment!