Two sunkissed days in the Channel; heading west out of the Solent into a fresh breeze - unfortunately blowing in the opposite direction from our course - under the Skipper's new Pilotage Exemption flag. Our destination was Boulogne, directly upwind. So the iron topsail was pressed into service and we motored until the wind came round enough in late afternoon to put some fore-and-aft sails up and give a smoother ride. Our 2000 to midnight watch was hectic with a lot of big ship traffic heading up channel and a lot of small vessel traffic going all over the place. By morning the wind and our track had come round far enough to put up some of the squares and do real sailing. After a genuinely happy Happy Hour we had an unexpected visitor; a French Douane (customs) cutter came for a close look and then another - resulting in a lot of panic-stricken hiding of Stugeron by guilty Voyage Crew in case the sniffer spaniels came aboard!
From the Lovely Watch, Forward Starboard.