As predicted, the boating troubles did not end. Boating troubles are never simple. After a lovely sail we had a few days in Weymouth, eating fish and chips, and swimming in the sea – an evening dip is a very chilly, if bracing, experience! On waking to a glorious morning the day before we had arranged our channel crossing to Guernsey, we decided to leave while the weather was good. We packed up, again made a flask of green tea and marmite rolls for the journey, and waved goodbye to our friends, who are continuing West down the English coast. Painfully, half a mile out of the harbour, as the throttles went up, the starboard engine lost drive, again. We came speedily off the throttles and groaned in unison, turning Patience round to head back into Weymouth harbour.
Half an hour on the phone to the caterpillar engineers found a valve which had been left open, allowing further air into the diesel. Our second attempt at getting out of the harbour was even more tentative, none of us wanting to have a serious problem halfway across the English Channel, on our way to Guernsey. However, the crossing was smooth. Both engines worked perfectly, despite the choppy crossing. We were forced to sail from down below, as the flybridge was being soaked. Two of us took a precautionary seasickness tablet, seasickness being a sometimes unavoidable evil. This being five hours of bumpy, indoor (and therefore stuffy) sailing, we couldn’t run the risk (there is no feeling quite as awful as being seasick). Indeed, having never taken a double whammy of seasickness tablets before, only ever a precautionary single, the effects were bizarre. On entering St Peter port, my woozy cotton-wool brain found throwing ropes to secure boat to pontoon difficult!
Atop of this, we had to faff around in what is a tiny area for manoeuvring inside the harbour, which is enclosed by a tidal sill, over which you can only sail when the tide is high enough. On entering, we rafted alongside a large French trawler yacht, and another large motorboat came outside of us in order to raft. Meanwhile, we managed to breach the language barrier enough to find out the inner French boat were leaving at five o’ clock the next morning, meaning both us and the motorboat outside us would have to come off to allow the French boat out, at five am. A universal agreement decided this wasn’t happening. Much manoeuvring of large motorboats in tiny spaces ensued until we were finally moored alongside the pontoon, with the two motorboats rafted outside of us.
St Peter Port itself is a lovely old-fashioned harbour town, with narrow cobbled streets, and a yearly French market, which by the way, sells the best croque monsieur this side of France. Having met the Aqua-star renegades, and invited them over to Pat tonight for drinks before dinner at the yacht club tonight, the decision on whether to await the tail-end of Bertha the hurricane, which is speedily making it’s way over from America, or whether to make a dash for it to France awaits. Jusque-là, bonne nuit!