300 degrees in the dark; Night passage Girolata to St Tropez

42° 20'.9 N 08° 36'.9 E  Girolata, Corsica to 43° 16'.2 N 06° 38'.0 E, St Tropez, France

With a 108 mile crossing ahead we set off from Girolata around 6p.m so we would, all going to plan, arrive in St Tropez early afternoon. 

I'd whipped up huge bowl of Quinoa and roast mediteranean vegetables to feed us throughout the night. I'm good like that. Mainly because I'm not good at being in the galley whilst we are at sea. I go a little green around the gills in the galley. I've learn’t the hard way that whichever self-ritous bastard said ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’ was 100 percent correct. In fact, there is probably no better quote for a sailor. 

Which brings me neatly to ‘the weather’. We have been watching the weather ('as we do every day Pinky') for our crossing closely, but Girolata had no access phone or internet signal. The Captainerie shed had a local forecast pinned to the shutter, good but not good enough. Thankfully the men inside allowed us to use the only computer in Girolata to google the bigger picture, giving us enough confidence to set off for the mainland. 

With a wind forecast between 5 and 15 knots we sailed into the sunset. About 11pm I decided, naively, to try and sleep in our bedroom. I spent two hours crashing in and out of ‘sleep’ in rhythm to the bow crashing over the waves. It was not clever. I gave up and went out to the helm where Captain was settled in darkness, watching the stars, waves and listening to his audio books. He was half way through Ellen Macarthur's autobiography when I rose from downstairs so, promising me he was alert and content, I tried harder to get some sleep and snuggled into a nap on the cockpit seat. 

By 4 a.m it was time Captain got some rest. He stupidly followed my earlier example and went downstairs to our bow cabin. I did the sunrise shift and it was soul enriching. Watching dawn arise, the atmosphere slowly but surely getting shade by shade lighter until the sun finally raises its head above the pulpit bursting colour and warmth across the sea. The swell calmed itself and for a few hours it was just me and Silver Paws, the sunrise and the sea. 

About 7.30am the quiet was interrupted. From the depths came a flurry of noise, a frustrated ball of no sleep, he was overheated and overtired and came up shouting. I just stood there looking confused. When he had finished ranting (“Have you adjusted the sails” “ What course are we on” “The winds changed” “The suns too bright” “the worlds too happy” etc etc) I simply said “Good sleep then”, which of course went down like sardines on cake. 

I suggested all was under control and he could, again, try to sleep. “It clearly didn’t help the first time did it”. His point was taken. Grumpy bear and I sailed in silence. 

Good morning St Tropez! Arriving, 3 to 4 hours early, tired but back in good spirits, around 11 a.m. The mariner showed us to a berth, we secured the boat, tidied away our equipment, shut all the curtains and promptly fell asleep. St Tropez we are really excited to meet you,  just hold that thought…

Charlie x