We set off from Southampton Weds 13th May 2009 at 1730hrs under motor due to calm conditions, heading to Cherbourg. Most brave souls climbed to the crows nest (and back down again!). Watches began as soon as we slipped our moorings, with Jack (from Forward starboard watch - the best watch in the world!!) at the helm.
A calm channel crossing under motor, with practice at setting some of the sails then handing them before entering the port of Cherbourg.
The French pilot boarded at 11am. As we approached, happily, Tenacious was again in the capable hands of FS watch, this time with Phil guiding this magnificent vessel through a tight swing bridge into the small marina of Cherbourg. We experienced our first full Happy Hour, and scrubbed the ship inside & out. As a reward, the crew took shore leave to go shopping and visit local hostelries, improving international relations.
Whilst all of this was going on, Jaymee (from the BBC) was filming in the background plus interviewing a select portion of the crew for an upcoming nine minute feature as a part of the BBC Lifeline appeal.
When we were back on board, we played Pass the Pigs (with sound effects). Then on to harbour watch (known as the baboon watch) just one hour each, during which we were serenaded by some very colourful locals in fancy dress, who sang to the ship before moving back to the local bars.
Normal breakfast at 08.00hrs followed by photos on the quay when Malcolm very nearly went for a swim and Dave added interest to the photo sessions in his shorts and Smurf hat! This was followed by all hands to assist the wheel chairs aloft, which was great fun and good to see the delighted look on everyone’s faces. This was done between heavy showers which were a warning of what was to come! With the French pilot on board we left Cherboug at 12.15 hrs under the helm of Captain Smurf (Dave), who again expertly guided us through the narrow swing bridge and out to sea.
After saying ‘au revoir’ to the pilot, we set the inner jib and upper topsails, for an exciting, exhilarating sail across the channel with FS watch taking the helm in some difficult conditions, both due to the high winds (force 8) and tall breaking waves, not to mention sea-sickness(surprisingly little!). The ship gathered speed and started to heel at an interesting angle, with foam & waves spilling through the gunwales on the leeward side. Wet feet all round! Afternoon smoko was abandoned as a result, with not too many takers for supper either...
We made excellent progress and as we approached the Solent, we took the sails down & started motoring to a suitable anchorage site at St Helens Roads. Most of us celebrated with a beer in the bar, before a short snooze prior to doing anchor watch from midnight until 4am.
Liz and Debbie, FS