Thanks for the shout-out, LeoV, didn't realise my little adventure was noticed outside the family. The AIS was a pre-condition of my wife's agreement to let me do the trip to Brest and Douarnenez from Plymouth, as her 19-year-old son was my crew for the southbound trip, and my 26-year-old son for the return voyage. I tried to join the Yacht Club Classique race from Plymouth to Brest, but they rejected my application as they said 'Your boat is a dinghy'! We left Plymouth some six hours after the race started, and still caught some tail-enders.
Here are a couple of shots from the cliffs on the north side of the entrance to Le Rade de Brest, taken by Michel Floch and uploaded onto Marine Traffic.
It's a long story, and I haven't written it up yet (still having PTSD counselling! lol) but the bones of it are shown below in the Avionics summaries. The first one is Saltash (where else? I have been to Brisbane and seen the great Saltash 11!) to the Grande Basse buoy, where I accidentally turned the machine off, and the missing distance is 122.7NM, and then the second leg into Brest. The whole regatta moved en masse to Douarnenez, and I then single-handed Black Diamond for sixty-odd miles round the corner to L'Aber Vrach (topping out at 12 knots in Le Chenal du Four with the flood tide - not bad for a 30 foot boat powered by a 5HP Tohatsu two-stroke). The third summary is from L'Aber to Saltash, and I can't explain how the erroneous straight line heading south from Saltash got there, but it ends in the armpit of Africa for some reason.
Suffice to say that the return leg was somewhat challenging, with the speed topping out at 15.8 knots, with only a double-reefed main and bare-headed, plus what seemed like a ton of cruising gear that had her a couple of inches lower in the water than her racing trim. It peed with rain all day and night, the wind topped out around 30 knots, I guess, and I had 18 hours on the helm while the boy bailed, as the automatic pump couldn't keep up with the breakers (that was weird, actually enjoying the roar of the breakers, as they were far enough away not to end up in the cockpit), and that was on top of a sleepless night on the Plymouth Roscoff ferry going out to fetch her back across La Manche (formerly known by me as the English Channel before the Brexiteers ruined everything).
Roaring through the Plymouth breakwater soon after 4am was a great relief, but was followed by a miserable five mile beat up the Tamar in the dark, with confused and gusty winds and hosing rain, and being buzzed by a bored copper guarding the Navy base. I put the tin lid on the miserable voyage by slipping on the cockpit coaming whilst tying up and stoving in my starb'd ribs on the winch. Only badly bruised, thankfully, but the Anglo Saxon oaths I uttered woke up the neighbour we were quietly rafting up against.
Would I do it again? Yes.
Will I be allowed to do it again? No - My son and crew has forbidden it, and he lists bungee-jumping as an interest!
I can understand the appeal of boats with lids on ......
Mersea Island, Essex, England