Millbrook to le Conquet - Tuesday to Wednesday 8 and 9 July 2003, 111 miles

We set sail from Millbrook (near Plymouth) at midday on 8 July, bound initially for West Brittany. Our objective was to reach North West Spain as quickly as could be done in comfort and safety, then to spend 2 months or so visiting the nicest places in North Spain and West France, all preferably with little use of the engine, and avoiding formal yacht harbours and marinas. As an aside, it's worth stating that we don't do "passage plans", in the sense that don't have a planned destination, and certainly not an ETA. We like to sail everywhere, with little use of the engine. This means that our average speed varies unpredictably between zero and around 8 knots. What we do do is have "passage strategies", meaning that we study the charts and pilot books for our intended area, look up the tides and check the weather forecast. We then choose a course, but the actual destination is chosen during the voyage, depending on conditions and how we feel.

Luke enjoying some vigorous cat sailing in the company of Harry Potter

In the event, the gentle afternoon breeze gave way to a F0 gusting F1 overnight, and we motored intermittently . In the morning, a gentle breeze filled in allowing us to carry Mr Andrews to Portsal and down the Chenal de Four until the wind and tide left us around 1800 off le Conquet. So, we chose le Conquet as our destination! There seemed to be plenty of unoccupied mooring buoys, tightly packed for local boats, carrying around 2 metres on the neap tide. Le Conquet is delightful. I would have said it was only for shallow-draft craft, but we later saw a large Dutch ketch, probably drawing 2 metres, which had picked up a fishing boat mooring in the outer harbour (presumably by arrangement). All the shops one could need for provisioning were in the small town.