After visiting small idyllic Honfleur we were on the way to a much bigger Cherbourg. The marina in Cherbourg has 1500 berths. On this 76 nautical mile voyage the logbook got two significant entries. At first Suwena passed the Greenwich meridian and entered the western hemisphere.
We also made our own speed record, 10.7 knots over ground when rounding the Cherbourg peninsula. The peninsula’s north-east corner is called Pointe de Barfleur and every guidebook gives a warning about the Raz de Barfleur. When a fast flowing tide crosses the quickly rising seabed, the breaking waves, eddies and dangerous current are formed. Such an area is called the race. In heavy weather it is recommended to bypass the cape from a distance of five to seven miles, when especially north-west or south-east winds are blowing against the tide. There was not any wind at all on our passage day and we passed the Barfleur at a distance of about two miles. Despite of this the water was swirling around us and the autopilot had a lot of work to do, keeping us driving straight. We made our SOG record when we had a current of 4.2 knots and our own speed of 6.5 knots, all together Suwena was flying towards Cherbourg with the speed of 10.7 knots.
Jumbo sized marina was very full. There were a few places available only on a separate waiting pontoon from where it is not possible to walk ashore. We moored Suwena alongside the waiting pontoon quite happily. The dinghy trip from the pontoon to the dinghy dock is a nice change because we have been so much in the marinas during this season. There were also about ten boats anchored. The anchorage area is in front of the military port just outside the marina.
The marinero arrived with his own dinghy to our boat for completing the marina formalities. At the same time we heard the reason why the marina is so full. At this weekend one of the most famous watersport events in France starts from Cherbourg. Tour des ports de la Manche is a week long sailing competition. This year over one hundred boats participate in the regatta. The competition has arranged since 1984 and all boats with the length between 7 and 14 metres can participate.
On Sunday the 14th of July is the national day of France. In French it is called La Fête Nationale but in English it is called usually the Bastille Day. The day is celebrated all over France by parades and other festivities. In the evening at the yacht club restaurant in the harbour was quite a rush. We managed to make a reservation for a table and spent an evening at the club where cooks were preparing both the fish and meat dishes on open fire grill. After dark the French made a grand finale for the Bastille Day by magnificent fireworks at 11:30pm.
In Honfleur Olivier gave us a tip about the sign saying Recommandé par le Routard. The Routard has published travel guidebooks since 1973. Every year they give recommendations including the good restaurants. When Routard has recommended something, the company can buy an annual sign showing which year it has been chosen to be among the best. In Cherbourg we tried a restaurant recommended by Routard in four different years. Both the service and delicious duck breast were excellent so the Routard was right on this restaurant at least. By the way, they make over 200 incognito trips every year for updating the books. Well, maybe we could join somehow to the French food testing team if they are missing some testers.
The marina is Cherbourg is good for boat maintenance. There are several chandleries, maintenance companies and of course the boats as sold as well. We found from the chandlery small waterproof bags. We have been missing a bag to hold small items in cockpit at sea when hands are used for trimming the sails. We shall see if the purchases fulfil the expectations.