Broken in Brest

Well, yesterday was certainly eventful. We started the day early from Camaret to go up the River Aulne to Chateaulin via a lock that we needed to reach around high water (1600 local time). We had clear blue skies and sunshine with very little wind so perfect for chugging up the river. All was going well until we slowed down to go under the Pont de Tevenez (a very beautiful suspension bridge) when the engine died around 1300 hours.

We dropped anchor and set about finding the fault. The engine was being cooled, we had oil and we even checked whether we had caught anything around the propeller – nothing. Liz was very gallant going over the side to check the prop as the water isn’t that warm here yet! Still nothing so concluded that it was a fuel problem. We changed the filters, bled the engine and tried restarting it. It turned over but wouldn’t catch. After 3 hours of trying to fix it, we decided that we needed some help but no one could come out until Friday as Thursday was a public holiday in France. There was still no wind and a strong tide so we couldn’t make our own way back to Brest so eventually, we called the coastguard who sent the sapeurs pompiers (diving firemen) initially followed by the Douane (Customs). In France they send whoever is available rather than the RNLI in the UK but they also charge. So, first of all, the divers arrived and checked there was nothing around the prop then the customs guys arrived. By this time we had 9 men around the boat so I suspect it had been a quiet day for them!

Formalities duly completed (after all they were Customs) and then an engineer looked at the engine. On the plus side, we hadn’t missed anything obvious but on the minus side, he couldn’t fix it. So, after 30 minutes they decided we would be towed back to Brest. The whole time, they were all delightful and couldn’t have been nicer. They even helped us to pull up the anchor as we couldn’t use the electric windlass as we had no engine. It took about 2 hours to get us back and safely moored up in the marina but then we needed to go with them back to their mother ship to complete the paperwork. How the French love their paperwork! On the way round a dolphin came to play in their bow waves. Once again, paperwork was completed, money duly paid and they brought us back round to Nimrod. After 15 hours we were in fact two hours from our start point for the day! But, we are safe and so is Nimrod – which is all that matters.

So, now we need to fix the problem and have a friend with us today to help. Otherwise it will be an engineer next week if it proves more complex than just a fuel problem.

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8 Responses to Broken in Brest

  1. Fiona says:

    Sounds eventful! But every adventure needs snags to ensure you have after dinner stories for years to come (and blog contents for now) so I’m sure you’ll overcome all issues and will be sailing forth again before long. I’ll keep everything crossed for you.

    And as an fyi, Westwood and several other sites were flying the IDAHO flag today – more sites in fact than last year so rest assured your legacy lives on…

    Stay safe

  2. Plumbey says:

    Oh my goodness girls, that all sounds a bit of a trauma. Poor Nimmie and poor you. Really hope she’s ok and that it’s a relatively quick and easy (and cheap) fix. Glad you’re safely in a marina. xx

  3. Wanda Goldwag says:

    Now I realise domain many engineers/ electricians/ plumbers are boat people it helps to be able to repair things

  4. Sam says:

    Glad you are all safe and sound

  5. jothesnow says:

    Poor you:( Poor Nimrod :(. What a trauma – but it sounds like you all handled the situation well. Glad you are all safe and sound. Fingers crossed that it turns out to be an easy fix xxx

  6. JetPlane says:

    What a day! Hope the engine gets fixed up quickly. Liz, I’m proud of you for your river dip!!

  7. andrew mcintyre says:

    give ollie a ring 07836 752841
    he might be able to help x x

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