On passage from the Dutch & East Coasts: 7 July 2016

OGA Members from the UK and Netherlands are making passage to France to join the Brest and Douarnenez Festivals. We will be bringing news and updates of the fleet as they make their way across the English Channel.

‘Gwenili’, built in Bordeaux over 100 years ago and now based at Greenwich has been cruising in the South West since June and crossed to France, arriving in Roscoff 6 July.

'Gwenili' in Roscoff Photo: Barbara Runnalls
‘Gwenili’ in Roscoff Photo: Barbara Runnalls

‘Witch’ left the Walton Backwaters at 0600, Monday 27 June deciding not to go through Foulgers Gat which runs through the London Array wind farm, taking the slightly longer route through Fishermans Gat. Passing Ramsgate, she pressed on for Dover, punching the tide. Having motor-sailed to reach Eastbourne on Tuesday, skipper and crew sit out the strong winds in the Marina. The next day, after clearing Beachy Head the forecast was promising gusts of Force7 so ‘Witch’ headed for Brighton where she sat out more stormy weather until Sunday.

'Witch' makes passage non-stop from Brighton to Alderney Photo: Paul Hemsley
‘Witch’ makes passage non-stop from Brighton to Alderney Photo: Paul Hemsley

Making passage across the Channel towards Guernsey, skipper and crew took two-hour watches to arrive in St Peter Port where they met with some of the other Gaffers headed for Brest. After some maintenance, ‘Witch’ departed for Treguier in company with ‘Passager’, changing plans to take a buoy up the river at Lezardrieux. Taking the Chenal de la Moisie to the north from the river entrance a procession of boats departed Lezardrieux on passage for Roscoff. ‘Witch’ arrived after her long passage from the Blackwater Wednesday 6 July to enjoy the sunshine ‘en vacancies’ and feel that Brest is in reaching distance now. For the full story and pictures, follow ‘Witch’ on her blog.

'Victoria' on her lorry, ready to depart for France Photo: Sue Lewis
‘Victoria’ on her lorry, ready to depart for France Photo: Sue Lewis

In contrast to those beating the storms to make passage to Brest, ’Victoria’, the 1897 Police boat based in Harwich, is crossing to France on the back of a lorry! On Sunday 3 July, she’s lifted onto her truck and sets off (by road) on Wednesday.

Ship's dog rests in the cabin of 'Windbreker' Photo: Else Wagemakers
Ship’s dog rests in the cabin of ‘Windbreker’ Photo: Else Wagemakers

Whilst scanning the horizon from the ferry approaching Calais, Sue spots a dark spec through the dirty window and identifies Dutch OGA member in the steel-hulled ‘Windbreker’, also on passage to Brest, departing Vlissingen on Wednesday morning. Follow ‘Victoria’ on her blog.

We hear that another OGA boat from the East Coast, ‘Random’, has crossed the English Channel and arrived in Cherbourg, 7 July.