Wine run to the Med: Through the canals of France – Sailing Story Parts 1
by David Collinson
When David Collinson set off for the Mediterranean, he took the scenic route up the Seine to Paris and down through the French rivers and canals. Here he recalls the journey with all its ups and downs
The scenic route through France appealed to both me and my wife in order to take our newly purchased 21-year-old Tomahawk 25 from Topsham to the Mediterranean. Years ago our previous yacht, an Achilles 24, had made the passage by sea, but now that we were both retired and over 65 we had more time available to enjoy the journey through the waterways and canals. Besides, it would be an interesting and learning experience for us both.
At Topsham we craned Keewaydin into the water on a beautiful April morning, then we motored gently down the River Exe and out to sea, hoping to find some wind and have our first sail. In the event, we motored across a glassy sea to Brixham, where we spent a few days sorting things out. We discovered that the furling genoa wouldn’t furl, so we made a visit to Atlantic Spars in Dartmouth, who repaired it for us.
Picture shows Keewaydin being hoisted into the water at Topsham, England
We set off from Dartmouth on April 17th at1400 bound for Cherbourg, enjoying a splendid crossing and a night’s sail with a gentle following wind and a nearly full moon. There was just one problem – in mid-channel, the boat started to fill with water – we had a leaking stern gland and just to make matters more difficult the main bilge pump failed to work. Later we found a match stick obstructing one of the valves. However, a desperate man and wife can work wonders with a bucket and all went well.
Story will continue on Wine run to the Med: Through the canals of France – Sailing Story Parts 2