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First Essential’s first sail

April 26, 2011

First Essential in Marseille

Monday 25th April: Kate and Phil’s first journey with ‘First Essential’.

0630; Canet-en-Rousillon, engine on. Slipped mooring 15 minutes later in light drizzle and no wind.

0715; Having navigated through the very narrow harbour entrance, the main sail went up at the touch of a button – electric winches are a must with the amount of sail we’ve got! – and we were on course(070) for Marseille.

0900; Have been watching the weather and there are large grey patches all around with a lot of rain underneath them and hopefully some wind! Finally one is coming for us and the wind has picked up to 15 knots. Genoa is unfurled, engine is off and we are cruising at 8 knots.

1000; Reef 1 into the main, not so easy this time as it is done by manual winching! 26 knots of wind on the beam and we are racing along at 10knots, helping our track no end. Only down side is heavy rain. Chocolate, banana and raspberry muffins made yesterday go down well and sugar levels are restored!

1020; Waypoint 1 is reached. Phil was helming and a shark swam right past the boat, just 3 – 4 feet long this time!

1145; Reef 1 is shaken out – making use of electric winch! Wind has dropped to 12 – 18 knots, but still cruising at 8 – 9 knots. The sun has appeared. Position: 42 degrees, 53′ 300”N, 003 degrees, 46′, 100”E.

1315; Waypoint 2 is reached. To celebrate being in the middle of the Golfe du Lion we have lunch: yesterday’s baguette, ham, salad and a bottle of water!

1415; Wind has died, engine is on and Bob is steering (our trusty, never-tiring, faithful, electronic friend).

1545; A small, very yellow bird is hitching a lift with us, he landed on deck and seems worn out. Has made his way to the boom.

1600; Hitch hiker has just flown away without so much as a thank you!

1640; Waypoint 3: 43 degrees, 05′, 500”N, 004 degrees, 30′, 000”E. Most of the way across the Golfe du Lion and hopefully in Marseille by 2200.

1830; Very calm, flat sea. Donkey (engine) and Bob are working well together, in fact some might say you could cross oceans with them! Spaghetti bolognaise for dinner, note-to-self, only serve tomato based sauces in flat calm otherwise white walls will be splattered with red!

2000; Nav. lights on, the lights of Marseille are in sight, just got to navigate round some large islands and then we’re there.

2100; Massive green buoy on starboard side, have a look on chart, not a buoy, a tower that can be seen for 27 miles!!

2200; Entrance to Marseille, no ships on the move, one in port. Mosy on up the channel and look for space. No answer from harbour master who is apparently available 24/7, just not on Easter Monday it turns out. Find a large space on SNM moorings. Stern to, with lazy line.

2300; Packed up and ready for bed! 120 nautical miles, 16 hours, 1 shark, 1 hitchhiker, sunburnt noses and 0 fish! We had the lines out all day and … nothing!

0045; Gas alarm has a fit. Gas checked, no leak, not tripped, noise won’t stop – resolution: fuse out. Peace and quiet once more…

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