23 Apr Passage du Fromveur
23 April 2023
The promised easterly winds in the Biscay came as predicted. That made this infamous bay (or gulf, depending on what language you speak) fly by quickly. The next obstacle is then Ouessant. On the engine you have to stay a long way outside this ‘western end’ of France, but under sail there are a number of possibilities.
As we did at Finisterre, you can also sail here through the ‘inshore traffic zone’, so that you pass west of the island. Or you can almost sail in at Brest and then on the east side against the coast through Canal du Four, but that’s quite small for a ship like this and the people of the VTS usually don’t think that’s such a good plan. Mainly because of the strong current that is there.
We therefore chose a slightly wider route, but still a nice shortcut, just on the east side of Ouessant: Passage du Fromveur. There is also a thick stream there, but if you have it with you, there is little to worry about. And we really got right at the beginning of the compliant flow to that. Slowly but surely our speed increased to top at 10.8 knots. If you consider that before that we were going about 5 knots, that says something about the current there.
Because we were on the east-going current so early, we could also follow it for a long time and cover a very nice distance. But all good things must come to an end and an obedient current will always go against you. That is why we dived into the north after a few hours, then the counter current is less strong. In addition, westerly to north-westerly winds were predicted for the coming day, which makes it nicer to sit under the English coast.
We are now following the English coast and are now sailing past the Isle of Wight. The wind is from the west-northwest and with a mainsail, jib and the other square sails we make a nice speed. Tomorrow the wind will leave us again and then come back firmly from the northeast. We will see what we are going to do tomorrow with a fresh weather report. Maybe we’ll just drop anchor somewhere for a night, or we’ll scrounge close to shore. We’ll make that decision tomorrow.