We decided to head up to a town called Morlaix. In the past this was one of the most important ports in the area. There was a thriving tobacco trade with a huge factory employing 1000’s of workers and local produce was distributed by rail across a huge viaduct spanning across the valley.
It has a tidal river entrance with a lock at the top and a floating harbour.
Drying river, floating harbour, historic tobacco trade, large impressive bridge. We could almost be heading back to Bristol.
We had a slightly later than planned start as when I turned on the windlass and pressed the up button, nothing happened.
Ok no problem we have a manual option, we need to test it properly anyway. It is slightly bent but looks like it should be fine.
Doesn’t work at all. Its bent and this means the ratchet bit just slips off (we have an old Goiot windlass and I had contacted them to try and get a replacement but they didn’t have them anymore). Another job for the list: make a drawing and get one made.
A bit of fiddling with the connections and the windlass was working again and the anchor came up.
Heading up the river, beautiful morning. No longer on a rising tide but should still have time to make the last lock.
We come to a slow smooth stop….
Hard reverse, we move a back a bit but not enough, and our propwalk pulls us the wrong way.
We are stuck.
Commence a couple minutes of cool headed critical thinking of how we will overcome our current situation (read as running round the boat wondering what we are going to do and achieving very little)
A call to the harbour (about 600m further up the river, but round a corner) doesn’t lead to any help but certainly gives the guys on duty some amusement for the day.
Looks like we were here till the tide comes back in and floats us back off.
So we made the most of the day. We were stuck in the sun, healed over less than 5 degrees and we got a stack of jobs done* and the inside of the boat cleaner than it had been in months.
*including the windlass which had corroded wiring on the switch to the point that it fell appart in my hand.
The tide eventually came back in. We had a 2nd shore line rigged to a post on the other bank to pull ourselves out.
Unfortunately other boats kept coming up and down the river before the tide came in enough to lift us off. However we are very thankful to the one that stopped and helped pull us off.
Once off we carried on up the river and in through the lock to be greeted by the friendly jesting of the harbour officials.
So what went wrong?
We didn’t read the pilot carefully enough so weren’t looking for the transits (Andrew’s crosses onshore half hidden behind the bushes)
If we had been on a rising tide it simply wouldn’t have mattered as we would have lifted off a few minutes later.
What went right?
We secured the boat as best we could and prevented her healing over so there was no damage and we had a nice comfortable day.
We laughed (very hard) at ourselves which made it fun and we just felt stupid.
We got loads of jobs done while we waited for the tide.
We met the legend Andre Gentil.