More readers' letters from YM's December 2006 issue.

Save yourself a fine
Brian Navin’s ‘chart’ into Borkum (Cruising Guide To Germany and Denmark 2nd Edition, p26) shows a nice dotted line for yachts to follow. We didn’t do so, but left the reds to starboard to stay out of the channel. However, we cut into the chanel to take the last red buoy to port to align ourselves for the narrow entrance to the marina, as, seemingly, recommended by Navin.

A distant white spot ahead in the empty channel turned out to be a police boat, charging towards us. He came alongside and gave us a lecture on the regulations and the necessity to keep out of the way of fast ferries. He said he’d fine us 50 euros, but spelt out 15. He left us in gleeful pursuit of another yacht following Navin’s line right down the middle of the channel. Meanwhile, it was approaching low tide, and we were aground.

After a few distress signals and gentle words, the police boat returned and told us not to worry; we would float off in five hours-plus. Our advice is to sail down the right-hand side of the channel, and cross it at right angles to the marina entrance. Never mind those fast ferries whose path you are crossing. You will be on the right side of the regulations, and will save yourself a fine.
Jean Shackleton, Dawn Walk, Norwich

Volvo engine power
Regarding the September issue with your test of the Dufour 325 – the engine you say has low revs, but the picture you’ve printed is of a Volvo D1 20, and they have more power at lower revs and have a max rpm of 3,200, so the 2,700 you have experienced is not so bad after all. Previous Volvo engines had a maximum rpm of 3,600, but that’s another story!
Tom Dujardin (by email)

Good old-fashioned service
At the London Boat Show this year I purchased an excellent cockpit table from K.J. Howells & Son of Poole and it has added much to our enjoyment of eating outside during a great summer’s cruising in Scotland. Unfortunately, during a wild sail across the St. George’s Channel, someone’s foot managed to find its way on to one of the fiddles and sheared it off.

At Southampton Boat Show I mentioned my plight to the company. ‘No problem, just send us the broken fiddle and we’ll try to match it for you,’ said David Howells. Two pieces of teak arrived in the post, with no charge. What a pleasure to see a family business giving old-fashioned service.
David Clements (by email)

The two faces of yachting
When I suffered a gear failure, Harken UK and Marechal Masts dispatched replacement parts immediately, plus an apology for the inconvenience. When my radar fell off the mast while sailing along in a calm sea, Scanstrut declared it had been knocked off by external forces and was not their responsibility. Quite what could knock it off at sea 15m up a mast is beyond me. You don’t need three guesses as to whose equipment I would purchase again and whose I would not.
P M Reed (by email)

Furlex praise
I’d like to pass on a sincere pat on the back for Furlex after a less-than-smart Calais crane driver put mine out of action. Users may be aware the Type A headsail reefing is full of loose ball-bearings, easily dropped all over the deck by undoing a pair of harmless looking grubscrews – which this chap did on my Centaur during a summer cruise to the French canals. Selden Mast, the makers, sorted my problem with charm and efficiency. The moral is buy Furlex, but keep it away from Frenchmen.
Phil Heming

Loire warning
Having just returned from six months exploring the French coast and rivers from Brest to Bordeax to read Ken Endean’s article on Exploring the Loire River, I offer a word of warning.

We intended to visit Trentemoult; however, as we too could not get a reply from the Marina Office we asked the Capitainerie in Pornic to check if there was space available at Trentemoult. Thankfully we had persevered as the marina was closed for refurbishment. I suggest that anyone contemplating this trip ensures they time the tides so if there’s a problem at Trentemoult they can return to St Nazaire / Pornichet in daylight.

It should also be noted that the Gate at St Nazaire was no longer being opened at even hours but rather at set hours of 0800, 1500 and 1800, so it is imperative to call ahead to ensure when you can get in.

The Marina at Le Pouligen rather than Pornichet has far prettier surroundings and is very much closer to the shops.
James Peto

A plea for help
I returned from a day at the Southampton Boat Show 2006 on Wednesday, 20 September 2006. This year’s show was even better than before and the exhibitors should be commended.

Unfortunately, during a visit to the Peters/Opal Marine exhibits of Island Packet Yachts I left my Kelvin Hughes carrier bag containing a 2007 Almanac and my RNLI carrier bag containing Christmas cards and a calendar there.

I went to the Show organisers’ office and the Show Security Office adjacent to the Holiday Inn in case anyone had handed in my carrier bags, perhaps realising that they had picked them up by mistake. In sharp contrast to the friendly, helpful Peters/Opal Marine staff, the show organisers’ security staff could not have cared less. I asked if a tannoy message asking if anyone had picked these up by mistake might be broadcast and was told that the tannoy was for emergencies only.

Should anyone reading this letter realise they’ve picked up my carrier bag, text or call 07899 867723 and leave a contact number I will call them back. I am very happy to pay the postage costs to have these items returned to me.
Geoff King, Seaford, Sussex
(Tel 07899 867723)