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Old 10-29-2015, 12:43 PM   #101
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Dunkirk Military Cemetery.
If anyone has a relative lying sleeping here and wish a photograph of their headstone or inscription on a plaque if you give me their surname, initials, rank and regiment I will endeavour to find it and send it to you.
If you wish to research your relative's final resting place 'Google' The British War Graves Commission who will help you.
At the going down of the sun and in the morn, we will remember them.
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Old 10-30-2015, 05:37 PM   #102
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On a much lighter note.
When we collected 'Snow Mouse' all those sea miles and adventures ago in Belturbet, Ireland we went by car as anyone following this will know, now we wanted to be re- united again with it and use it for our return to our other boat down in Narbonne in the South of France.
You may, or may not have heard of Ryanair the no frills Irish airline, it's not so bad now they have inside toilets. All joking aside I booked the train from Dunkirk to Lille and from Lille in France to Brussels in Belgium and took the shuttle train to the airport and was a bit bemused when I was asked for 5 Euro's tax just to enter the airport. Having stumped up the tax I did the usual trek to the boarding gate for the 20 Euro flight to Dublin.
Every one was loaded up and the doors closed and the next thing the Captain said there would be a slight delay, the doors opened and the police came on board with hands on pistols and took two men off the plane, the men didn't take their bags even though the police asked them to collect their belongings, luckily it was spotted and the bags removed.
We never heard any more info but thankfully had a safe flight and I promise never to grumble about airport security again.
Re-united with my ancient Mercedes she took umbrage and wouldn't start after lying so long so I copied the old knackers horse trick, when a horse wouldn't go quick enough for them they stuck a pepper up it's ass and it went like hell , I had no peppers but a jag of electric with the jump leads and it was ready to spin tyres again.
A nice leisurely drive to the ferry port at Rosslare for the Irish Ferries 'Oscar Wilde' overnight ferry to Cherbourg, refreshed after a good nights sleep the drive to Dunkirk was easy peasy.
The boat was serviced, winterized, car packed and a 2 day journey back to Narbonne finished our summer adventures for 2015.
We will of course be visiting 'Snow Mouse' for a few days at a time to continue a little refurbishing and visiting friends in Northern France and at home to Ireland.
At the beginning of this blog I posted some photo's of Omaha beach, the camera was terrible and the photo's awful so I plan to visit again over the next few months and retake the photo's and post them on here for you.
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Old 11-05-2015, 01:27 PM   #103
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Back in Narbonne on our Birchwood 33 'Sanity' and we're busy getting health checks and defects remedied so we'll be in fine fettle and ready for Part 2 of our 'Ireland to the Mediterranean' adventures.
I'm often asked why in heavens name did I go all the way to Ireland to buy an ex hire boat ? are you crazy ?

But locks, that's the reason, or should I say 'not as many locks'
There aren't that many locks on the Irish rivers and canals in comparison to the Canal du Midi in the South of France, the hire boats are of a higher(pardon the pun) standard consequently the boats don't get smashed into lock walls and gates, and just as importantly the hire crews are given better instruction on taking over a boat.
The older boats that come up for sale were 'built up to a quality' and as tough as old boots, the newer models are built down to a price and it shows.
I'm not saying for a moment hire boats don't get any damage in Ireland but it's definitely much less and therefore easily repaired.
And to be absolutely honest with you, I simply love the challenge of the adventure.


Just take a look at these photo's of hire boats in Narbonne and you'll see why some hirers have refused to take them out and demand a refund.
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Old 11-05-2015, 02:58 PM   #104
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Did you mention cheap flights?
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Old 11-06-2015, 01:04 AM   #105
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Thanks, it's Brilliant, suits my sense of humour, we've seen it before but it's always worth a replay.
Nice to have a bit of fun and bring a smile to brighten our life.
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Old 11-07-2015, 01:01 AM   #106
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Would you sailors/cruisers give your opinion on a discussion that's been chatted over many times between my other half and I ?
If you were buying a boat in another country and able to do so via this forum.


Would you prefer to buy a 'bare boat' ? stripped in a boat yard, or, would you prefer to buy a 'turn key boat' ready to cruise, fully fitted, full of diesel, water, bedding etc.
I hope it doesn't turn into an 'anchor debate', I'm curious as to other opinions.
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Old 11-07-2015, 01:32 AM   #107
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Following on from why we chose to buy a boat in Ireland and why we're cruising by a circuitous route to Narbonne in the South of France, apart from the significant other half being French.
Initially I set sail single handed for Spain some years ago in 'Sanity' a Birchwood 33' and got 'captured' or should that read, 'captivated' by a French lady en route, the rest is history.
Why Narbonne ? In my research I discovered there's a small area on the Golf du Lion coast that enjoys the 'Littoral weather pattern' micro climate and Narbonne sits nicely in there, which makes it very comfortable for easy living.
During the summer months there are lots of tourists to give the place some buzz and an excellent health service to support them, when it's quiet and we're not cruising during the winter months it's very easy to get any health issues sorted quickly.
Why the circuitous route ?
'You'll not tear in the plucking' is an old Irish term meaning I'm an old bird that's seen many a treetop.
I wish to enjoy my Autumn years to the maximum, as 'Snow Mouse' is in Dunkirk, Northern Europe after our adventures since leaving Belturbet it makes sense to me to make the most of the journey and surrounding areas and visit Belgium, Holland and Germany before cruising down the Rhone valley to Narbonne in the South of France.
Narbonne was, during the Roman empire the largest settlement outside of Rome so there's lot's of interesting history packed in and around Narbonne and I'll bring some of that history to life for you in later posts.
It's also geographically strategic for us as it's situated on the Canal du Robine, a gentle days cruise takes us up to the Canal du Midi with Bordeaux and the Atlantic to port. The Camargue, the Rhone and into the rest of the European network to starboard.
Going South down the Canal du Robine a leisurely afternoon cruise takes us to the Mediterranean where we usually turn to starboard and go down the Spanish coast, eventually to Gibraltar. Further on lie Libya and Morocco, the last time I was in that area I was doing long range desert patrols and I've no desire at all at all to go back there.
To port lies Monaco, Italy and South East the Greek Islands, Turkey etc. which currently have their own problems and best avoided
Over the next few posts I'll bring you some photo's of in and around Narbonne.
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Old 11-13-2015, 10:57 PM   #108
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Winter moorings in Narbonne.
Narbonne was the largest Roman settlement outside of Rome and the canal du Robine which passes though the centre of Narbonne started life as the river Aude which debouched into the Mediterranean at Port La Nouvelle.
This region was highly productive in agriculture and used to supply both the garrison stationed here and also exported to Rome, the Romans had a water driven flour mill here in Narbonne to produce flour for bread making.
The Roman governor of Narbonne was called Agrippa,(he was christened Agrippa after being born by breach birth).
He directed that the river Aude be made into a canalised river by using newly designed lock gates by Leonardo da Vinci, this meant that supply ships could then strike their sails when entering the port and be horse drawn up to the port of Narbonne.
Just North of Narbonne at a place called Salleles du Aude, the Romans discovered the local red clay was suitable for making pots and amphorae for storing food so they built a large pottery there and built an aqueduct to supply the pottery with water from the nearby mountains, wood was plentiful and in it's heyday the pottery had 7 large kilns for firing the clay products and the remains can be seen in the photo's.
Interlocking roof tiles were made for the houses.
The giant amphorae is a tourist attraction and sited in a roundabout in Narbonne to depict it's Roman past.
The house is an accurately built replica according to old Roman plans.
Before the advent of modern medicine, herbs and plants were used by the Romans both for cooking, medicine and making what are known today as 'essential oils'.
Many of these oils would have been transported around the Roman empire in the various sized amphorae.
The amphorae's curious design was actually very ergonomic for both storage, handling and transportation, they could be lifted by the handles, stored vertically in holes in the ground to keep the contents at a stable temperature and when being transported by sea they were laid down on their side in interlocking rows giving a stable cargo for the ships transporting them across the notoriously fickle Mediterranean where storms can be quite vicious.
This region of the Mediterranean is not called the Gulf de Lion for nothing.
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Old 11-18-2015, 10:55 PM   #109
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A few more photo's of in, and around Narbonne.
There are one of the finest examples of Roman bridge building here in Narbonne, the bridge was built over the river Aude and was lined with shops and houses, it's still very much in use today, the only modification to the bridge were 2 steel beams, one each side, inserted to give it more strength due to the extra loading with the passage of time.(photo), The bridge clearance limit for cruisers is 3.50 metres high over 2.75 width.
The Romans built the Via Domitia, a road that ran from Rome to the Pyrenees and the Spanish border.
Their policy was to build straight roads and overcome any obstacles that's in it's path. if there's a river build a bridge over it, in the town square in Narbonne the original foundations of the Via Domitia have been preserved(photo).
The Romans invented the mile, columns were erected at each mile both as a marker and to boost the marching troops morale as they counted off the miles,(photo).
Signposts gave directions(photo).
A preserved smaller road bridge was taken down stone by stone and re-erected to original condition in a roundabout(photo).


I just couldn't resist the photo of the ducklings.
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Old 11-20-2015, 11:01 AM   #110
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As we wind down gently from our summer cruise we looked back on the logistics and totted up our accounts as many people wonder what such a trip would cost and generally it's one of the first questions were asked.
Things like food we can't really count a we'd be eating wherever we were, we ate out twice in 5* restaurants and while the surroundings were nice the meals were nothing to write home about and the wine astronomically priced for what was a mediocre wine.
The rest of the time we ate on board or if we ate out it was from fish and chip shops and on one disastrous occasion, Kentucky Fried Chicken.
The Guinness and beer consumption would have been about the same too.
However wine and spirits are much more expensive in Ireland and UK, so as we were leaving for our adventure from the wine growing region of Languedoc Roussillon in the South of France it made sense to us to shop around for good deals on wine and took with us in the car trailer 150 litres, we then sold the trailer in Ireland for a profit.
The dearest bottle of wine was 2 euro's thirty cents, spirits are much cheaper in Spain, as the Spanish border is only 40 minutes drive away we stocked up with 20 bottles of Spanish Brandy @ 8 euro's a bottle, 6 Irish Whiskey @ 12 euro, 8 Gin @ 8 euro.
We contributed 20 bottles of wine for the leaving party and still had 8 bottles of rose wine left at the end of our 4 month cruise.
We likewise stocked up with meat products in Ireland before we left which we bought in supermarkets at a 30% price reduction due to a 'short sell' by date and put it in the freezer.
The cost for moorings and diesel came to Euro 3,700 = $3,954.37 = 2,593.00, marina fees accounted for 60% of the costs.
Already were preparing gently for part 2 of our adventures buying maps and pilot books and making sure we have all the legal requirements in place for each country we'll be passing through.
The Birchwood 33 we're living on at the moment will also get some TLC over the winter months as she's up for sale and we want her to be in good condition for a prospective new owner.
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Old 11-20-2015, 12:59 PM   #111
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Congratulations on reaching Narbonne! What a fantastic aschievment in such a short time , what with the terrible weather.

I would hazard a guess that you are the first people to cross the Irish sea and channel in that specific model of Broom.

I was wondering if you have mpg/speed figure for overall cruise?
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Old 11-20-2015, 01:51 PM   #112
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Hello Peter, I hope yourself keeping warm back there in Athlone. Brrr !
Now I know why the Irish make whiskey, it makes great anti freeze...
You must've missed our earlier post, we cruised as far as Dunkirk and 'Snow Mouse' is winterized and tucked up nice there with frost heaters running to keep her in good condition ready for our return. We'll probably take a run back up to check her over and start restocking her ready for next season.
We plan to leave Dunkirk and cruise up through Belgium into Holland and Germany and back through the Moselle valley and on down to Narbonne.
I put up the photo's and short description of Narbonne and it's surroundings to show any readers who are interested why were headed here with 'Snow Mouse'.
I'll post that trip up on TF as Ireland to the Mediterranean Part 2.
Were getting organized with body maintenance, (dental implants in Spain, as they're much cheaper than in France) & just tidying our Birchwood 33 up, she'll up for sale after Christmas, she's a great solid boat and somebody will have a good buy.
The Broom 42 hull is a semi displacement working at displacement (hull) speed (8.45 knots)and far exceeded our expectations at sea, with a low centre of gravity she coped far better with rough sea conditions than an Ocean 34 and a twin engine Broom 37 that cruised with us various times.
We cruised at 7 knots for economy but paid great attention to the tidal streams and on one occasion got up to 13 knots over the ground.
If you've any other queries I'll be happy to answer them for you..
Geoff.
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Old 11-20-2015, 02:33 PM   #113
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Originally Posted by Irish Rambler View Post
Hello Peter, I hope yourself keeping warm back there in Athlone. Brrr !
Now I know why the Irish make whiskey, it makes great anti freeze...
You must've missed our earlier post, we cruised as far as Dunkirk and 'Snow Mouse' is winterized and tucked up nice there with frost heaters running to keep her in good condition ready for our return. We'll probably take a run back up to check her over and start restocking her ready for next season.
We plan to leave Dunkirk and cruise up through Belgium into Holland and Germany and back through the Moselle valley and on down to Narbonne.
I put up the photo's and short description of Narbonne and it's surroundings to show any readers who are interested why were headed here with 'Snow Mouse'.
I'll post that trip up on TF as Ireland to the Mediterranean Part 2.
Were getting organized with body maintenance, (dental implants in Spain, as they're much cheaper than in France) & just tidying our Birchwood 33 up, she'll up for sale after Christmas, she's a great solid boat and somebody will have a good buy.
The Broom 42 hull is a semi displacement working at displacement (hull) speed (8.45 knots)and far exceeded our expectations at sea, with a low centre of gravity she coped far better with rough sea conditions than an Ocean 34 and a twin engine Broom 37 that cruised with us various times.
We cruised at 7 knots for economy but paid great attention to the tidal streams and on one occasion got up to 13 knots over the ground.
If you've any other queries I'll be happy to answer them for you..
Geoff.

Thanks for the update. A very interesting and educational adventure, please keep us all updated on all your new experiences.

Most people dream of taking a trip like you have done, but end up going on day trips. ( like me. Lol)

I'm going down to Gib at Christmas to have a look see, so I might have a mooring arranged for this spring. Seems to be convient for English speaking /spanish; best of both worlds....
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Old 11-20-2015, 11:09 PM   #114
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Hello Peter,
Gib's really nice for a visit but I found it a bit restrictive for long stays and the cruising limited, banks are very helpful with offshore/low tax investments and you can get English food from the Sainsbury's supermarket with regular flights to London. Go into Spain for Ryanair/Iberia flights from Murcia. There can at times be serious border delays into/out of Spain if the Spanish get a bit antsy about who owns Gib (the Brits conquered it and been there over 350 yrs) but the Spaniards want it back for the mineral rights around it.


Some practical details of our trip from Ireland may be helpful to anyone wishing to do something similar.
We used the Irish Cruising Club and the English Channel pilot books with Imray 'C' series of charts.
Standard Horizon VHF's, we had a radio check every hour and kept chatter restricted.
We had a serious planning session each evening and a general discussion over a few relaxing drinks, generally in a local hostelry to get off the boat, look around for things to see and do while in port.
We found the flybridge too rough for helming and only used it entering/leaving port or before daylight for early starts, the inside helm was much more comfortable and whoever was off watch could lie on the sofa for a siesta if they wished
Steiner 7x50 binoculars with compass for running fixes and back bearings.
A simple Garmin 72 gps with no need of all the bells and whistles was very accurate, we found a swinging compass on a small boat too hard to follow accurately.
We found Wi-Fi poor in most ports and bought Sim data cards which were pretty much useless and a waste of money, an iPhone gave alternative coverage.
There are lots of sites like visitmyharbour.com and inyourfootsteps.com but we found these not to be as good as they would have you believe, we found these sites gave consistently accurate results.
www.meteoconsult.co.uk for wave/swell height/direction.
www.metoffice.gov.uk for 5 day surface pressure predictions.


Sailors need to be well catered for to keep them alert and morale high so we cooked as we cruised with a hot breakfast/dinner every day and regular hot drinks with an emergency flask as a backup in case of emergency. Alcohol was strictly banned while cruising.
I don't suffer from sea sickness but some people do and we found that crystalized ginger dissolved slowly in the mouth very effective for upset stomachs.
I have no connection with any of the company's or websites mentioned above, other than as a satisfied user.
I've been asked if I would do it again ? You betcha, a brilliant experience/adventure and I hope an inspiration to others who are up until now had been only thinking of something similar.
I hope this is helpful to you.
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Old 11-22-2015, 02:27 AM   #115
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Rusty Barge,
We came across these photo's that show the Broom hull can hold it's own with the' big boys'. The wash from these ships is very large, as you know the trick is to turn bow on, otherwise it can be very dangerous with the risk of damage or even swamping small boats.
The big wash tends to come well after the ship has passed and wash from quite distant passing ships can catch you unawares unless you keep a sharp lookout..
Oops ! one photo slipped out at 90% apologies.
Skipper and first mate in La Jonquera,Spain on a recent shopping trip.
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Old 11-22-2015, 05:00 AM   #116
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Rusty Barge,
We came across these photo's that show the Broom hull can hold it's own with the' big boys'. The wash from these ships is very large, as you know the trick is to turn bow on, otherwise it can be very dangerous with the risk of damage or even swamping small boats.
The big wash tends to come well after the ship has passed and wash from quite distant passing ships can catch you unawares unless you keep a sharp lookout..
Oops ! one photo slipped out at 90% apologies.
Skipper and first mate in La Jonquera,Spain on a recent shopping trip.
You can't argue with physics, low and wide makes a very stable boat ; a lesson many high sided trawler designs should take onboard. The low freeboard on your design looks suspect to most people, but when you consider the Nelson designs shared the same concept and are considered one of the most seaworthy designs ever made.

Thanks for bringing my attention to Brooms as a suitable choice for cruising Europe, its something I never considered as I presumed they were just river cruisers.

I'm sure you're looking forward to the spring and getting going again.
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Old 11-22-2015, 01:32 PM   #117
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Hi Peter,
Don't worry I used the old maxim of measure twice and cut once when I was considering buying another boat and did mountains of research.
Different people expect different things from a boat which is why there are rarely two the same in a marina.
The Broom hulls were designed by naval architect Andrew Wolstenholme for Aquafibre, when Aquafibre moulded hulls they moulded for economy of scale, the only difference being planing or semi displacement, how they were fitted out later wasn't in their remit.
We took the same points as you into account regarding the similarity to the Nelson hull, on a practical note we'd been aboard one the same that some friends had hired from Emerald Star and got caught in a nasty storm on Lough Ree, as you well know the waves there can be quite vicious being much shorter and steeper than those found at sea ,I was mightily impressed how well the low centre of gravity hull coped and even more surprisingly a 'dry' boat.


Yes were in full swing on the planning and have a full schedule lined up, my Visa cards taking a hammering as we get the relevant charts, pilot books and tourist info, once we get the schedule organised we'll set a departure date from Dunkirk.
I promised people here on TF at the start of this blog that I'd go back to Omaha beach to take a better photo for them and I never break a promise so it's all 'GO' here, some people call it the 'quiet season', whew ! if this is quiet what's devil is hectic like !
We've Thanksgiving later this week with our American friends and before you know it Christmas will be upon us.
Geoff.
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Old 12-16-2015, 11:33 AM   #118
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The following photo,s, are as I promised, of, and around Omaha beach;
We had to drive over 2,500 kilometres to take them but I felt so bad about the quality of the first ones that I couldn,t let it go without setting the record straight.
Because of these men,s sacrifice, you are now able to live in a free world.
I hope you have the same courage of these men when you face adversity.
Don,t let their sacrifice be in vain.
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Old 12-16-2015, 11:42 AM   #119
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I'm so glad to see they are still HONORED, Thanks.
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Old 12-16-2015, 12:13 PM   #120
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HiDho,
You can rest assured that they are, very much so;
The garden of Remembrance would put the White House lawn to shame, it,s absolutely immaculate;
Many visitors from around the world come to visit and pay their respects;
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