By the August bank holiday we had reached Padstow. The wind looked as if it would continue to blow from the North. So we stopped for four days and met up with my parents who were there on holiday. Padstow still send me Christmas cards and tide tables now. This pretty little fishing harbour is in the centre of the bustling seaside town. As it was a bank holiday entertainment was laid on in the harbour so it was heaving. The Rick Stein restaurant was really busy. All the boats were tied onto the harbour walls on the quayside the Custom House pub that sold spectacularly good cask beer.

  The break passed all too quickly and it soon became time to leave. The bank holiday weekend drew to an end. The man on the yacht next to me was anxious about getting back to Pwllhelli. The forecast was Northerly 5 to 6.It was on the nose for him. His boat was brand new and he appeared inexperienced. He may have reached his point of no return. He enquired where I was bound. France I told him down hill all the way.

  We left Padstow and passed St Ives where I had spent family holidays with my parents when I was a child. I can remember looking out from Lands End in wonderment at a lone yacht in the distance. Now as we pass offshore of Lands End I am looking back at that child. The only way is forward now across the channel to France. It will be the longest passage so far, 120 miles to L’Aber-wrac’h.

  We crossed the channel with a large following sea. It took us twenty hours leaving at dawn on one day and arriving the following morning. During the night passage we could see in the distance a trail of lights from ships travelling round Brittany. It was difficult judge the distance and direction of these ships and although we could see them they were unlikely to see us. We would have to pass through their line to reach the coast.

  Liverpool To France page 2



    Sailing Prospero

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  by Alan Gillam

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