Only fools cruise in early April and late September. We do both – but, this year, it has not been entirely by choice. We have been aboard Abemama for 180 days now and although we are still very happy to be doing what we are lucky enough to be able to do, it is time to be home, where we would have been had we not had long delays through technical problems and the weather. However, in order to have the boat at home for the Winter in such a super place, we are willing to suffer the inconvenience in order to lift her ashore where we can walk down to work on her easily and even see her from the lounge window. We gladly swap the pain for the gain.

Since the last posting, we had a typical 20 hour motor sailer passage from Ile d’Yeu, North of Belle Ile, where the wind freed and the waves became smaller and the speed rose from 4.7 to 6.5 knots of pure upright sailing magic, just in time for our 1800 tapas of weak pastis and lemonade with crisps and dried sausage – an Abi tradition. Next, in the dark, we were South of the Glenans and around trawler strewn Penmarch to Audierne, by 0800 for a few hours sleep. We then dawdled along towards the Raz de Sein and caught no mackerel, before breaking all the rules and going around the Raz a full hour before low water Brest. There was no wind and no breaking water. We also had some flood tide with us. Strange.

Amongst the things which have gone wrong this year, we have lost our white steaming light. Rather than go up the mast to rewire it, we taped a spotlight to the genoa pole slider and hoisted it up about 15 feet. As a trawler deterrent, it has been brilliant. (Sorry about the pun) as it shines through the genoa – or direct. They think that we are another trawler, especially as we have learned the trawler trick of swinging our second spotlight in a horizontal arc. It says ” I see you and you had better acknowledge that you have seen me because I am sticking to my right of way.” The response was different from that normally accorded to yachts and 3 of them acknowledged and turned away.

We are now in Camaret (another favourite berth) with the threat of strong winds for five days. It could be worse. Here we pay ‘8.50 a night. If we were stuck in Brixham, we pay ‘18.50 for a less good berth. Having no mooring, we have to time our lift out to fit in with local arrangements, but we also have a 30 hour channel crossing to come. We need a weather window.

We could have escaped from here on Monday, but we were not fuelled up and not prepared. It would also have been touch and go, but whenever we leave somewhere in a hurry, we always create problems. Besides, we had been invited to lunch with my French radio ham buddy F9OE. Often we have been disappointed that the French do not live up to their haute cuisine reputation – but not chez Claude and Claire. The lunch was light and long – prawns grilled beneath a sprinkling of thyme, stuffed tomatoes, cheese, apple tart, chocolate mousse and coffee. Then we talked radio, boats, Camaret history and Euro politics. Suddenly, it was 6 o’clock.

So the delay continues? which gives a bit more time to locate our engine irritant of a micro drop of air getting in somewhere. I have also been having trouble with the cloned connector from PC to phone, so have switched to using the Nokia card phone. (See PBO July/Aug) I should have done it weeks ago because of its speed and reliability.

We also had a parcel awaiting us with some goodies to test. There is a product which was selling at ’80 at LIBS last year and which we have for ’30 – so I shall certainly buy it. There is also a medically approved counter to seasickness and a foghorn which never needs a new aerosol. They, plus others will all be in PBO January issue, when Liveaboards Diary lines up what we hope to buy at Earls Court. Before then, we have written about 10 little winter evening projects, which you might find useful. In February, there will be