Corny title maybe but our crossing of the Baie de Seine from St Vaast to Deauville was a spectacular day.
The sun was out, and so, optimistically given we weren’t planned on sparing any proverbial horses and we were likely to be doing twice the speed of any mackerel out there, was our fishing line.
We had 60 miles to cover with the current against us most of the way so a long day ahead (as a medium displacement 40-footer we plan on 6 knots average through the water).
Oh yes, if you’re thinking “But aren’t you the one who always delivers homilies on sailing WITH the tide?”, unfortunately the downside of staying in charming destinations such as St Vaast and Deauville is that access is restricted by the state of the tide so you have to leave either side of high tide – not conducive to an easterly course.
Gentle force three conditions plus no swell equals parasailor conditions. Once breakfasted we soon had our downwind sail up just as the current turned against us, squeezing out a pleasing 4½ knots SOG (6 knots through the water) in 10-12 knots of wind. That we were still able to sail (and not need the engine) was pleasing enough, and then just as we passed la bouee de cussy baie we were joined by an escort of dolphins who hung around for ages – they had to slow their pace somewhat to stay with us.
As the wind picked up and moved WNW we started to fly in 14 knots abeam touching 8 knots consistently – albeit only 5 SOG – in cool airs under a hot sun: almost perfect sailing conditions (three knots of current against).
Our good run came to an end eventually and the dolphins left on their way too as a wind shift and lull forced us to drop the parasailor, yet we soon found ourselves in the rare (if not unheard of?) position of having to slow down to avoid arriving too early in Deauville and having to wait for the tide to come in, so we furled almost all of the genoa leaving only a scrap out for balance in order to add an hour to our trip time.
In the end we suffered an edgy 10 minutes waiting in the avant port waiting for the lock keeper to open the ecluse – I’d calculated it should be open at 1945 but he’d decided it was 2000 and not a minute before!
Great to be back in Deauville, Skippette’s former home port for a number of years so feels like a mini-homecoming.
Only a short overnight stay though as we press on towards St Valery en Caux.