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From disharmony to calm: how the latest outing scarcely didn’t happen



By Paul Johnson on Aug 17, 2016 in Cruises Boat Travel, Europe, Featured, Food and Drink, France, Going Out, Regions, Restaurants, Spain, Speciality Travel, Travel Miscellany, Western Europe   – Read 1917 times

It started with a bang. A unequivocally shrill bang. And it didn’t take us prolonged to realize what had happened. The vessel trailer that we were towing had turn isolated from a automobile and one of a boats on it had come true by a behind windscreen. Panic set in. We were due to locate a packet in a afternoon. Now we were adult opposite it, wanting to get a potion transposed and make it to a Brittany Ferries packet pier in Portsmouth, about an hour’s expostulate away, nearing during slightest 45 mins before departure.

Broken behind windscreen on Volvo XC90

We had designed to spend a day during Portsmouth Historic Dockyard so luckily had during slightest some time on a side, yet it was still going to be a high order. Even some-more luckily, though, a occurrence had happened on a devious usually a mile or dual divided from 1st Direct Windscreens, run by Mark Copeland – a many pleasant and useful male we could have hoped to accommodate during this impulse of crisis. Mark contingency have seen a demeanour of panic in a faces. This wasn’t usually any trip. We were throwing a packet from Portsmouth to Santander so that a boys could contest in their initial ever sailing World Championships, representing Great Britain for a initial time.

Missing a packet wasn’t unequivocally an choice for us – we substantially wouldn’t have usually been means to locate a subsequent one as they book adult a prolonged proceed in advance, and we wouldn’t unequivocally have had time to expostulate by France and still make a competition. Flying was also not an choice as we indispensable to get a boats out there. Mark, though, was going to do all he could to safeguard that we done a crossing. He called his mother to go and collect a potion that we indispensable (she is a clergyman and opportunely it was a propagandize holidays) before move to call all his business who he had requisitioned in that day in sequence to re-arrange his schedule. He afterwards sent us off to a circuitously Costa to ‘relax’ and pronounced that he would call once all was sorted.

Whilst we waited, not meaningful either we would make a ferry, we deliberated on what had happened. We had stopped during a hotel a prior night and called forward to check that it was going to be OK to park with a trailer. We were told there was no problem, since there was a series of double spaces divided from a categorical opening that were frequency used. However, when we arrived, all a spaces were full so we had to detach a trailer and park in one dilemma of a automobile park on an slip to safeguard we were out of a way. Trying to join a trailer behind on to a car, while ancillary a weight of a trailer with 3 boats on it, wasn’t an easy task, yet we listened a ‘click’ as we placed it behind on a towbar and all was good (or so we thought). In hindsight, we can usually assume that it hadn’t clicked into place scrupulously or maybe someone had tampered with it overnight, we don’t know.

Anyway, a call came and we returned to a automobile to find all was well. Mark had worked wonders and pulled out all a stops for us. We usually had to get on a proceed and locate that ferry. All this, we should add, happened on a thirteenth marriage anniversary. Unlucky for some! When we finally done it to a port, with about 20 mins to spare, we authorised ourselves a devious grin when we were also destined to line 13 for a ferry. We were blissful to be withdrawal a disharmony of a day behind us and were shortly boarding a Pont-Aven, Brittany Ferries’ flagship, with a vessel trailer safely secured.

Boat trailer on house Pont-Aven

The channel from Portsmouth to Santander takes 25 hours. As we set sail, we mark HMS Victory during Portsmouth Historic Dockyard – we’d been before, yet had wanted to see a re-vamped Mary Rose (I remember it being salvaged in 1982, lifted to a aspect after 437 years on a bottom of a Solent) yet would have to wait a tiny longer before we could revisit again.

HMS Victory during Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

Instead, it was time to try a ship.

Looking out from Pont-Aven

Our initial stop was during a cabin so we could offload a luggage. We stayed in a Club cabin (the De Luxe and Commodore cabins were already entirely requisitioned notwithstanding engagement in December) that is tiny yet was some-more than plenty for a needs given that we weren’t formulation to spend most time there other than to sleep.


The lounge that we see turns into a bed and there is one that folds down from a other side of a cabin as good as dual from a roof – ideal for a needs as a family of four.

Cabin with beds down

The cabin creates amazingly fit use of a accessible space and there’s even room for a sauce list and mirror, along with some storage space, and a tiny showering with lavatory, rinse dish and shower.

Cabin sauce table

A liberality tray with a kettle and tea, coffee and prohibited chocolate is also provided.

For dinner, we chose to sup during a grill where there is a smorgasboard starter with a outrageous choice, including vast baskets of prawns and langoustines, as good as a accumulation of other dishes to name from.


For a categorical course, we can name from an a la grant menu – since we dined on both a outbound and lapse journeys, and had a sundry choice between us, we can share with we a series of opposite dishes to give we a feel for what to expect.

Piperade, Serrano ham and a poached egg

Piperade, Serrano ham and a poached egg

Roasted organic Scottish salmon in a shellfish kari gosse sauce

Roasted organic Scottish salmon in a shellfish kari gosse sauce

Fillet of steep tornedos

Fillet of steep tornedos

Breast of guinea fowl with seafood conchiglionis

Breast of guinea fowl with seafood conchiglionis

Poached solitary with carrots in many ways


Fillet of beef with fungus tartlet and kampot red peppers sauce

Fillet of beef with fungus tartlet and kampot red peppers sauce

For dessert, there was a smorgasboard preference once more. It had been good ‘picked at’ by a time we got there, so my sketch doesn’t unequivocally do it justice. Instead, here’s a design of 4 happy on-board chefs, properly unapproachable of their evening’s work.

Brittany Ferries grill chefs

Whilst a suspicion of spending an whole day on a packet competence fill some of we with dread, it unequivocally needn’t. There is so most on house that a time flies by and, if we welcome it, it’s indeed a unequivocally relaxing proceed to strech your destination.

We had a splash during a bar, watched a film during a cinema, done one or dual purchases from a shop, and loose with a sauna treatment. For toddlers, there’s a play area and a ‘Games Planet’ for teenagers. There’s even a swimming pool on house if we imagination a discerning dip.

Although, there’s giveaway internet on board, it’s contingent on a satellite couple and we didn’t find it too reliable. It’s positively not matched to streaming so make certain we download anything on iPlayer in allege if we devise to pass a time examination some of your favourite programmes.

You could be forgiven for meditative that prices on-board are high, given that it’s a serf audience, yet that couldn’t be serve from a truth. Prices are in fact unequivocally reasonable indeed, either it be a packet shop, a cinema (£20 for a family of 4 to watch a new blockbuster), or a food and drinks during a restuarant, café and bars.

Before we knew it, 24 hours had flown by and we were absolved to be invited onto a overpass by a bursar as we approached Santander. This was a smashing event to get a primary perspective of a end and see a captain and organisation during work.

View coming Santander

There’s also a tiny territory of potion building that we can mount on and demeanour down below… if we dare.

Glass floor

But one of a genuine highlights of this knowledge is saying a commander from Santander proceed a ferry. Pilots, in box you’re not aware, are obliged for bringing ships in bustling or undiluted waters, such as a pier during Santander.

Pilot coming a ferry

I prisoner a impulse a commander boarded a packet to take over – this is indeed utterly a dangerous stratagem and hence deliberate to be a sincerely high-risk job.

Pilot boarding a ferry

As we approached Santander, we dignified a blue skies and sandy beaches, and what had happened usually a day progressing was now a apart memory – explanation that holding a packet can be a truly relaxing proceed to travel.

Santander beaches

I’m also gratified to news that a lapse tour was uneventful… and didn’t engage line 13.


Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Brittany Ferries.

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