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Going to Cherbourg … or wait a minute!

We woke up early and maneuvered alongside the fuelingship. The night alongside the fuel barge had been short and uneventful. With freshly topped off tanks and 100 liters in jerry cans, we hurried into the marina in IJmuiden to do the last few things. The last few things included picking up the sails Patrick (the sailmaker) had fixed, hoisting the new genoa and finishing off the bilge pump repair. We topped hoisting the new genoa off by pulling the starboard pulpit out of the deck. I’ve never been closer to crying, but it worked out. My friend Rob showed up and did some emergency repairs that will allow me to sail until I decide to get it fixed, probably in the Caribbean. Though it was a shock and it looked worse than it was, it was still a big blow. With the pulpit stored safely in the dinghy and the holes sika’d shut, we cast off. Patrick waved us off and we set a south-westerly course straight for Cherbourg.
As is normal, we had basically bought the wrong things to eat, because as soon as we were on our way, our appetites vanished and we focused on two things: standing watch and sleeping. Basically if you weren’t doing one, you were doing the other. We did 3-hour shifts and though we had lots of tasty nibblies, speaking for myself, getting food down was like a second job. It’s not that it was particularly rough, but I just wasn’t hungry. I did drink a lot of water though, so the body seemed happy.
What was clear was that we were making very good progress and when we were looking at the map and the wind indicator 2 days later, it was clear to us that it would make much more sense to continue for another day and go straight to Falmouth on the south western extremity of England. We spent about 10 seconds discussing it, before we traded French cuisine and red wine for pub grub and ales. What a great choice! Some really good friends of us studied in Falmouth, so we had a complete run-down of where to go and what to do before we hit the harbor. This looked very promising.
Of course before we could even think of entering Falmouth we had to cross one of the busiest shipping lanes in the World: The English Channel. I’d like to say that it was stressful and scary, but we followed the rules and made a straight line across. This minimized the danger and made crossing the high-traffic separation zones a speedy affair.
When we arrived in Falmouth we entered on cue as the sun was supposed to rise. It didn’t and when I was thinking the World was going to Hell, I realized that we had forgot to set our clocks one hour back. This ensured that we were sailing around Falmouth in the pre-twilight. We did OK and found a perfect spot in the guest harbor, happily aided by Meme a friendly South African lady who popped up as we were about to tie up. She gave us all the info we needed to ensure a happy stay in the guest harbor.
The trip had taken us 62.5 hours. In that time we covered 440nm miles. This gave us an average speed of just above 7 knots for the entire trip. Not amazing, but pretty damned good. We were certainly happy and ready to enjoy Falmouth.