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auchmill

Cap Finistere 2 nighter

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This is the fifth year we have used this sailing and although it can seem a bit of a drag at times it works for us as we get an early start Tuesday morning out of Bilbao.  We leave the Scottish Borders on the Friday and find a caravan site or Britstop 3 or 4 hours down the road.  Saturday we make for somewhere convenient for Sunday which will allow us to have a good walk before driving to Port Solent where we have something to eat in the motorhome and make for the port around 8 pm.  This year it was the New Forest again, and a walk from Brockenhurst.  But I think we've "done" the New Forest and will go somewhere else next year.

I study the Sailing Updates regularly at this time and see she is a couple of hours behind schedule but makes up time on the return from Santander.

We have a dog so we're usually amongst the last on and this year was no exception.  The dreaded ramp holds no horrors now.  I put the automatic gearbox into manual and first gear and leave plenty of room from the vehicle in front, as people have been known to stall.  One of the helpful crew always reminds us which deck we're on and which stair to use.  And leave the dog in the van until called down.  Handbrake on, fridge and gas off.

Up to the pet friendly cabins, and look, there's someone with their dog already.  "Have they called for dogs to come up?"  "No, one of the crew said just to take it up," she lied.

Not too busy tonight so we set sail early.  And so to bed.

Breakfast in the restaurant.  Orange juice.  Swap the toasties for Muesli - still get the unwanted sugar though.  I have the full English Brexit of sausage, bacon, scrambled egg and toast, while F has the Contintental.  Lovely rolls and some croissants will do our lunch too.  £1.10 after our CV discount.

Arrive at Roscoff around 9.  "Ding dong."  "Outside deck 7 will be closed while we do maintenance" or something.  "We'll leave at 1pm but still arrive at Bilbao at 6:45 British Time."  Sitting about in port we seem to be going nowhere fast.  We have a walk around, nothing much has changed, but it's sooo quiet.  Only 300 aboard.  It's never been busy but this is the quietest ever.  Every cloud....well, the free internet is the fastest it's ever been.

We read the paper, do some knitting, hear the singer from the deck below, old favourites from the 60' & 70's - he's not bad - catch the quiz, the crew have a safety drill, a rescue boat comes close(ish) matching our speed and then veers off - the excitement is palpable - we need another coffee, which is pretty good, take the dog up to Deck 10 and coax her to do something, she hates it.  A treat falls onto the deck, she won't touch it.

And before you know it it's time for a shower and down to the restaurant for dinner.  This is always a highlight.  Ironically, this is also the time when the sea is most lively, nothing serious but enough that a woman in the next table exits left in a great hurry and doesn't come back.  We start with crab and F has organic salmon and I have seared sea bream - beautifully presented and delicious.  And so to bed.

(last year's waiter was an entertainer.  "Can we have some tap water please?"  "No".  "What do you mean 'No', you must have tap water."  "It's sea water"  "What do you mean it's sea water?"  "It's from the sea."  "Doesn't matter, we want some tap water, we're not paying for bottled water"  "OK, you can have it, but don't blame me if you're ill"  He brings a carafe of water and it's fine.  A few minutes later he draws something on some paper and sticks on the carafe - 2 fishes swimming.)

Tuesday morning up at 5:15 and on the road at 8:00 CET with the sun rising.  It was a quiet voyage, but no complaints.  We ate well, we showered well and slept quite well too.

 

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17 minutes ago, auchmill said:

The dreaded ramp holds no horrors now.  I put the automatic gearbox into manual and first gear and leave plenty of room from the vehicle in front,

Auchmill, a daft question really, is your base vehicle a Fiat? The reason I ask is that ours has a hill hold button above the gear stick which works very well if stuck on a ferry ramp.

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We always find the A7 to Carlisle the worst part of the journey , would put up with it now though  to get away from these minus temperatures.

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7 hours ago, neilcvx said:

We always find the A7 to Carlisle the worst part of the journey , would put up with it now though  to get away from these minus temperatures.

Yes, why not pop over to France and warm your hands in front of a burning car. But bring your own fuel. Ed. 

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1 hour ago, Cabin-boy said:

Yes, why not pop over to France and warm your hands in front of a burning car. But bring your own fuel. Ed. 

Bilbao isn’t in France Ed 😉

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The experience of a 3 language menu in Hendaye was quite unusual and unfortunately none of the 3 languages were English.

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10 hours ago, jonno said:

Auchmill, a daft question really, is your base vehicle a Fiat? The reason I ask is that ours has a hill hold button above the gear stick which works very well if stuck on a ferry ramp.

Yes, it is a Fiat, afaik the only variation that has the Comformatic, but it doesn't have Hill Hold.  The button I have above the gearstick is for something else, to allow "eco" driving of a laden vehicle on hills, but I've never really worked out how it operates. It has a picture of a van going up hill with a large weight on it. 

Edited by auchmill

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The Sunday night crossing is one I've wanted to do for some time, maybe next year...personally, the 3 times I've sailed on Cap Finistere I've absolutely loved it, especially the ambience on board, it's like no other ferry I can think of. If she does have to go when the new ships arrive (and I hope not) then my only wish is that there is still somewhere as nice to pass the time as the Planets bar ;) 

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The only concern I have about the Cap is the lack of a self service restaurant, I quite like that option if I’m a bit peckish.

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4 minutes ago, neilcvx said:

The only concern I have about the Cap is the lack of a self service restaurant, I quite like that option if I’m a bit peckish.

I know what you mean but there is quite a bit available from the petit marche or the cafe on the top deck. Admittedly the latter is perhaps less attractive this time of year but there’s certainly no need for anyone to go hungry.

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I think the cap is the best ferry in the fleet when it comes to winter crossings and it is best for us with having a dog with us.just another point,I know the cap does a change over at roscoff on Mondays  but why I ask?or am missing something?the other ferries on the Spanish sailings don't so why does the cap do it for?ps when we sailed from Portsmouth to bilbao 11 November we did not have to leave the dog In the car until called down. on all of our crossings on her before we have had to leave the dog in the car until called for and go to reception then down to car deck to pick the dog up.i hope this is going to be the norm because it is much better system this way.

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Pont does a Plymouth to Roscoff leg on a Thursday before its Cork trip.  I assume that this is when the crew change is made. 

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2 hours ago, auchmill said:

Yes, it is a Fiat, afaik the only variation that has the Comformatic, but it doesn't have Hill Hold.  The button I have above the gearstick is for something else, to allow "eco" driving of a laden vehicle on hills, but I've never really worked out how it operates. It has a picture of a van going up hill with a large weight on it. 

Used in auto mode it selects the most appropriate gears to climb hills of different gradients regardless of sequence-it'll drop from 6th to 4th etc-to stop power drop off, removes the lag and stays in gear longer between shifts. I first tried it stuck on BDS's ramp, it instantly dropped the van from 2nd to 1st and added nearly 500 rpms. Did the same on Cap' back in September... with a fair bit of wheel spin, just be ready to brake hard at the top! In ours it seems to act more like a "sport" mode rather than anything "eco".

 

1 hour ago, Ryan_H said:

I know what you mean but there is quite a bit available from the petit marche

Yes, we quite like the convenience of nipping in for a sandwich and a cake. We always seem to be on deck 7 so it's a quick visit.

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2 hours ago, Malc said:

Pont does a Plymouth to Roscoff leg on a Thursday before its Cork trip.  I assume that this is when the crew change is made. 

Correct, and B de S changes crew in Le Havre.

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All members of the French-crewed fleet* undertake their crew changes in France.

(*NEX is, I believe, an exception in that her crew changes take place in Portsmouth with crew ferried over from Ouistreham.  But the size of her crew is of a different order to that of a cruise ferry.  To do that for CF would not be practical).

 

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2 hours ago, jonno said:

 

Yes, we quite like the convenience of nipping in for a sandwich and a cake. We always seem to be on deck 7 so it's a quick visit.

You can even do that at the cafe on Armorique 😉

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Interesting post, thanks Auchmill. We always use the 2 nighter as well, we're booked twice next year, January and June. We don't need a pet friendly cabin but Mrs Dorset does like her comfort so we go for a deluxe. The only drawback with them is, being at the front they do tend to catch the worst of the pitching when it's a bit choppy. We tend to go for a nightcap in Planets bar before turning in for the first night, breakfast in the cabin just before the stop at Roscoff. Then either a main meal lunch in the restaurant (plenty of time for elderly digestive systems to do their thing) or lunch on deck 10 as we go round Ushant. Time for SWMBO to get her nails done during the afternoon. Not forgetting the chance to buy the over-strength Gordons gin in the shop. Tuesday morning is either an early continental breakfast in the cabin, or, if we're up and about, the full monty in the restaurant. We aim for somewhere around Zaragoza for the first night, but NOT the dreadful municipal campsite there, known affectionately as Beirut! A second night at Altomira and then a short run down to Benicassim.

I'm getting itchy feet already.

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The only problem with the early arrival into bilbo is a you have a dog,it is a struggle to have enough time to eat it before you have to take pets down to the car deck.a earlier breakfast time would be better for us pet owners.

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44 minutes ago, Paully said:

Roasted or boiled do you reckon??

Given it's BF it'll be 'goujons of chihuahua served with its jus on a bed of wilted seaweed' Ed. 

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