Gipsy Moth crew find their sea legs and are set to cross the Bay of Biscay

Skipper’s Log GMIV Monday 26 September, Brest, France

After an exhilarating night passage across the Channel, leaving Eddystone Lighthouse to starboard, the crew settled into night watches with Elaine and Peter on the skipper’s watch and Mathew with Dewi and Paul.

We sailed right throught the first night, until around 0300,when the wind dropped from gusting Force 7 to less than 7 knots, and the iron horse (engine) came into play.
There was quite a big swell running.

On Monday morning we were due to rendezvous with an RAF Nimrod aeroplane on a search training mission. But by they time they called us up on the VHF radio we were already in French territorial waters, just inside the 12-mile limit, and the French authorities declined to give permission for the Nimrod to fly over us in French airspace. We’d offered to sail back up our track, but the plan now is to set-up a rendezvous for later.

At noon Gipsy Moth IV was hove to so Elaine and Peter could use the oceangraphic environmental testing water to take water samples at sea.

Later, underway, Richard and Dewi showed the young crew how to take a noon sight – or merdian passage – using the Freiberger sextant, donated by the Maritime Trust, and the Corum timepiece, a prized item on the skipper’s wrist. Bling comes to sea!

Then it was time for the skipper to fire up an essential piece of kit on the boat – the Seafresh watermaker, which is cunningly hidden away behind an inspection hatch in the portside of the cockpit.

With a crew of six, supplies of fresh water for drinking etc are in demand. Chichester had to rely on catching rainwater running off his mailsail to top up his water tanks.

By mid afternoon Gipsy Moth was heading down the Rade de Brest throught the famous Chanel du Four? and later, with a sunset astern, we ran with the wind on the quarter down to a marina in Brest for the night, notching up our best speed yet – 9 knots surfing down a wave.

With every mile that passes Gipsy Moth’s keel, her new young crew are gaining in confidence and finding their sea legs.

Teamwork, as we berthed in Brest marina in strong winds, demonstrated, literally, how fast they are learning the ropes!

Elaine and Peter then showed their newly acquired culinary skills, dishing up a tasty supper of sweet and sour chicken, followed by skipper’s treat of steamed pudding (treacle and chocolate) led to an early night for the exhausted crew.

Next stop? somewhere in Spain?

stop press: Tuesday 1700 BST: Gipsy Moth IV gets set to slip her lines and head due west for some 100 miles, over the Continental Shelf, before heading south to Bayona, Cadiz or Lisbon