Category Archives: Sailing to France 2015

Dartmouth and Home after 2 months

After the channel crossing, we found that Hopscotch had beaten us to it; there were just down from the pontoon in Guernsey. Their boat was longer and faster than us. We had a rest day, intending, on the following day, to go off for a walk or go up the river, however, the Boss suggested that we listen to the weather forecast during breakfast (10:10 broadcast from Falmouth Coastguard) and discovered that the weather on Monday was forecast to be S force 5 – 6 veering to SW with rain. Not a good idea, Sunday was forecast to be S 3 – 4 and no rain, another quick change of plan saw us getting the boat ready to leave with the tide back to Plymouth. Hopscotch was doing the same!

It was a high spring tide, and very choppy in the entrance to Dartmouth; we’re glad that we put up our mainsail earlier! The wind was force 4 but from the East, with significant swell and chop, so we risked going over the NW end of the Skerries (quite rough for about 20 minutes), continue SSE until we were about 1.5 miles South of Start Point (again, quite rough for a while). Once clear, we goose-winged the main and genoa (on opposite sides of the boat) and motor-sailed for another hour or so until the wind had strengthened enough for us to sail downwind at 5 to 6 knots. Superb!

We continued sailing into Plymouth Sound, across the Bridge at Drakes Island and finally took the sails down and motor on just South of the Cargreen moorings. It was a great end to the sailing trip.

Packing up the boat took some time and it was divided into what we needed at home and what we can collect later. It took 2 journeys to the clubhouse to ferry the “what we need” off the boat. I suspect it will be 3 for the rest later in the week!

Friends from Eilean who were looking after our car came to collect us, however, after 2 months of inactivity the battery was flat and a little Fiat 500 pumped the necessary into a Honda CRV diesel and got it started. D & A, many thanks for the super lunch as well!

The pile of washing was about 400mm high on the landing! We’re home!

Mixed Days in Guernsey and Back Home

We explored parts of Guernsey that we had been past on the round the island bus on previous visits. This time we caught the bus to Pembroke Bay in the morning to walk back to the marina in time for tea. It was actually good to get off the boat for a while. Guernsey does not have really interesting walks inland, so we had to put up with the East coast. The sands were good, but not in the cold wind we were having, so they were all but deserted.

The walk took us past Beaucette marina, which was rather disappointing, with narrow entrance, the pontoons were well below the top of the old quarry, so there was no view, even at high tide; there was not much space for many visiting boats, although we could have gone there. The other bays on the way back were interesting in their own way. St Sampson was not pleasant, but it is the industrial estate for Guernsey. With prior permission, we could visit one day, because it looks very sheltered.

From Right to Left: Sark - Jethou - Herm - Some German Cruise Liner - Castle Cornet

From Right to Left: Sark – Jethou – Herm – Some German Cruise Liner – Castle Cornet

The next day, we visited the German tunnel museum, fascinating place. I think that the Brigadier Snow, who was in charge of the liberation of Guernsey, used to live in the village on Exmoor where the Skipper lived in the 50s and 60s!

This is the first time we have been to the Channel Is in the holiday season; it’s nearly full all the time with boats coming & going, and not as sheltered as we thought. As it turned out, there has always been room in Carteret, ‘cos the boat rally was cancelled! Bother, as they say in the trade.

As a treat for the last night, we decided to go into the inner marina. We had ended up with 2 boats rafted onto us, unfortunately they left about an hour later than they said. We went to get some fuel for the channel crossing and missed getting into the marina. We were on the waiting pontoon for most of the morning by ourselves, but by the time the berthing masters were letting us in (about an hour after we could have got in) we had 5 boats rafted onto us! Anyway, we got a berth inside on a finger pontoon so we could get away at 05:00 the next day. This was another reminder that we have not been here during the holiday season!

Guernsey Outer Marina whilst it's QUIET!

Guernsey Outer Marina whilst it’s QUIET!

The Boss on Cuchulainn on the good day before we went into the marina. (Note the inner harbour and sill!)

The Boss on Cuchulainn on the good day before we went into the marina. (Note the inner harbour and sill!)

At very silly o’clock, we were woken up by the alarm, got ready and waited for the sill traffic light to go green; after about 30 minutes of waiting the Skipper went to see the depth gauge which read 2.9m (we need 1.4m plus a bit). The harbour master keeps it red when they aren’t around!? Off we went into smooth water, light wind for a 13-hour motor-sail to Dartmouth. This was the best forecast day for it and, for once, it was! The sun rose as we sailed up the Little Russell. Enough wind, from the forecast direction, for both the main and genoa to be well filled, but only enough to sail at 3 to 4 knots, but with the engine at a fast tick-over we were averaging 5.5 knots for most of the way. The sun was shining, the sea and sky were mostly blue, NO RAIN! We lost sight of Guernsey after 24 miles and were out of sight of land for about 2 hours before we could see England. On the last channel crossing, we saw at least 20 ships using the shipping lanes; this time, we saw about 6!

We sailed the last hour or so, making about 6 knots, which helped to reduce the crossing time to 13 hours. We arrived in Dartmouth in time for supper and an early night.

Jersey and Guernsey

Jersey was GREAT. We were very well fed and entertained by brother & sister-in-law, various nephews and great nephews; the rest were on holiday. The washing was done as well!

Our departure from our tight berth did not go as the Skipper had planned, however, we didn’t come close to anyone and reversed out between the pontoons; it was excellent to discover that the boat could reverse so well, albeit at a reasonable speed.

The forecast was again inaccurate and we ended motor sailing most of the way with a final quick sail at the end, but we did not arrive in time to go into the inner harbour. We squeezed into a space on the nearest pontoon with the intention to go into the inner harbour the next day. The forecast for the next few days were not good. The southerly force 5-6 kept us pinned onto the pontoon! We are staying where we are. The worse part was the swell that came into the harbour. It caused all the boats to surge as well, which rolled the fenders back and forth and put huge forces onto the guardrails. This caused the pushpit to be pulled up breaking the toe rail from the boat. The Skipper moved all the fender lines in the heavy rain and strong wind, doubled up all the mooring lines and did a temporary repair to the pushpit, all before lunch! (My tea did get cold in the process.) The Boss went shopping for lunch and supper and came home with a few treats.

After lunch the wind went gone round to the SW to W, the surging was much better, the rain stopped and it was time to get off the boat.

St Quay Portrieux and across to Jersey

St Quay Portrieux was a very pleasant marina, cheaper too, but only by one Euro per night. Plus the facilities were good and, for a change, close by, unfortunately the patisserie was a 10min walk. On the first morning, the croissants had all gone!

Later, we explored the town, did some shopping for food and other stuff to have lunch on board with a fresh baguette and fresh food. However, the weather wasn’t good for much more, ‘cos it rained and the visibility dropped to <1nm.

The WiFi was pretty good here, so we managed to Skype the kids, which was lovely. Several people mentioned how quiet it was for a July.

Day 2: with a lazy start, we set off for a walk from Portrieux where the harbour, fishing port and fish market are towards St Quay on the other side of the peninsular. This was a holiday resort, but again the weather didn’t look promising so it was quiet as well. Several SERIOUS walkers were “doing” the coast path – for us the infamous GR34, a coast path around Brittany.

Table Showing Key Points of the Coast from Above St Quay

Table Showing Key Points of the Coast from Above St Quay

That evening, we couldn’t decide which restaurant to go to and chose the closest one and managed to miss all the heavy rain during the meal. People outside got wet in various degrees, particularly when the staff removed rainwater from the canopies! The food was good but I definitely chose the wrong thing! (I’m saying no more!)

Departing from the Marina at St Quay Portrieux

Departing from the Marina at St Quay Portrieux

We left St Quay Portrieux at 09:00, in the hope of reasonable tides for some of the way to Jersey, winds from the SW (we were going NE, so it should have been from directly behind us) Force 3-4, occasionally 5. We tried to sail in winds from the South, Force 2-3, which was not enough to drive the boat at any reasonable speed. Another motor, this time for 7½ hours.

This REALLY is a French Lighthouse

This REALLY is a French Lighthouse outside St Quay Portrieux

Arriving at Jersey, it was quite busy and a real scrum around 8:00pm when the sill opened. We eventually ended up rafted between 3 boats onto a motorboat, which was for sale. The following day, we moved to a finger berth quite near the end. Fine now, but we’ll have fun when we depart, as there is not very much manoeuvring room.

As this is the home of one of the Skipper’s brothers, and we have spent several days with them, hoping to see all their kids, however, we will manage to see 2/3 as they are on holiday or away. The lady of the house feeds us very well and even does most of the washing as well; we’ll come again!

In Lezadrieux and on to St Quay Portrieux

The Boss getting onto Cuchulainn

The Boss getting onto Cuchulainn

Being Brits, we had to explore. Paimpol was not an easy option with the tides at the moment. So we went there by bus and saw for ourselves that the tide went out for a couple of miles, leaving a very narrow ditch with a little water running out through it!


The ditch is all that there is when the tide goes out

The ditch is all that there is when the tide goes out

We had a very civilised cup of Indian Darjeeling tea by the marina. Unfortunately, most the Classic boats had left on the morning tide at 8:00am, and wouldn’t be back until well after 6:00pm. I think we can say, “We’ve been there and don’t need to go there again!”

Being Brits, we walked back to Lezadrieux in less than an hour and a half. We crossed the road bridge. The Boss is definitely much fitter than in the spring! S & J in their Najad had arrived; after some discussion, they provided the glasses and venue, we drank our cider, they drank their wine and we all ate our nibbles!

Looking North up the River at Lezardrieux (Note the current!)

Looking North up the River at Lezardrieux (Note the current!)

Friday morning, around 08:30, we set off towards St Quay P. We decided to motor for the first hour down the river and East out through a narrow route between Isle de Brehat and the mainland. We didn’t put the main up ‘cos the wind was coming from right behind us and would have made the boat difficult to control, and no genoa, so that we could see the numerous navigation marks. Out the other side, we put up the genoa for a while, then rolled it back in, raised the main and unrolled the genoa again, turned the engine off and sailed the rest of the way to St Quay P, which took 3 hours. We did wonder where all the other boats were because we probably saw 8 other boats until we were coming into St Quay P.

We tied up on the visitors pontoon along with at least 2 other British boats that we had seen earlier in our trip, some several times.

Perros Guirec to Lezardrieux

The entrance to Perros Guirec is very narrow; catamarans would find it a very tight squeeze! We had fun avoiding a 10m motorboat being towed into the marina by a much smaller boat in a considerable cross-wind. It failed ‘cos there was not enough width in the gate to do an alongside tow!

We walked the streets again, finding more shops, and most importantly, a very good place close by to buy bread and croissants, this time from the shop where they’re baked. The 1st bagette was still warm so the Skipper munched the end off (the bagette).

Bastille day started around 6pm on the 13th and continued until late on 14th. The fireworks were very good, if a little short. We saw and heard them from the boat. We were wimps ‘cos it was raining!

The highlight here, was walking the Pink Granite Coast. See images, click on the images for larger versions. It’s definitely pink! Worse news is that the Boss has announced that she would like pink granite worktop in her new kitchen!

Panorama of Part of the Pink Granite Coast

Panorama of Part of the Pink Granite Coast

Old Man

Another Old Man Can anyone identify him? Answers to the author via the blog please. Best cpation will win a prize, knowing me, not much!

Boss under Rock

The Boss found a rock that she liked

We’re now meeting several of the same boats and crew at different ports. Perros G was no different, drinks with S & J twice, Vivona we’ve met twice or thrice before. At least with boating, we talk, unlike caravanning, no one talks especially after 6:30pm when their huge televisions are on! We like yachting!

Up with the gulls at first light to exit the gate before it closed at 08:30 with a forecast wind from SW. The visibility was poor and got much worse behind us as we left; then the drizzle started. As we sailed, initially North and East, the wind remained from behind and less than 5 knots most of the time. It was a motor again. The boat sails very poorly with the wind from the stern, shame really, ‘cos she goes very well to windward.

Up to now, we’ve mostly had favourable tide, however, the trip to Lezardrieux was against the tide virtually most of the way which added 6 miles through the water to our journey.

The trip up the river, with the tide this time was very interesting. Quite a number of their navigation marks are large concrete structures that were painted the correct colour. Some have lost nearly all their green/red/white/yellow paint. Either way, you can’t miss them!

We found a mooring, well out of the notorious current at Lezardrieux. Spoilt when Glenans sailing school arrived! How do 7 people live on a 32ft boat for a week? Actually, they weren’t too bad and left at a reasonable time in the morning, i.e. we were up! The shops in the small town up the hill, good butcher, baker and a small supermarket. Franch butchers do not follow the same rules as English butchers, with regard raw and cooked meats! We’ll let you know if I survived the experience.

More in Trebeurden then to Perros Guirec

We stayed in Treuberden for 3 days, our last visit was 6 years ago and not much seemed to have changed.

Day one morning was spent sorting and washing. The Boss did a large load of washing and drying, while the Skipper serviced the engine – all’s well. A long standing problem has been the lights at the masthead – the anchor light is on when either the anchor light or the tri-colour light has been switched on, but the tricolour never comes on! The Skipper went up the mast to check the light in situ, but nothing was found, so it was brought back down. While he was up there, he removed and lowered the inner forestay, which isn’t being used. “No Fault Found” – so back up the mast again to replace it and to think again. All this time the Boss was providing a safety line, except when the son kept texting “Can we Skype now please?” “No, Dad’s up the mast!”

In the afternoon, we went for a short hot walk around the coast, ending up at the supermarket to get food for the next couple of days. We met this rather old gentleman …

A really, really old Man

A really, really old Man

In the Tourist information office, the Boss found a walk around the Megaliths. On day 2, we set off, after much hot walking on roads, chasing obscure, un-signposted paths, we found just one!

A very well hidden Megalith

A very well hidden Megalith

Once away from the coast, we found the coast path in a nature reserve and woodland, it became a quite pleasant walk!

The tidal gate at Trebeurden opens for about 4 to 5 hours every high tide, and plenty of people, including quite a number of Brits are sailing in both directions. Plenty of people to chat to, and finding just how small a world it is. One couple lived in Brant Broughton where the Boss also worked!

We departed just after the gate opened to sail to Perros Guirec, only 18 miles away. Tide with us, wind from the SW (mostly), it was another rolly ride with some sailing (about half) but the tide was up to 3 knots (unexpectedly high) so we arrived early. On the way, la granit cote rose, lived up to its name.

A Solitary Rock on the Pink Granite Coast

A Solitary Rock on the Pink Granite Coast

By this time the wind was a good force 5 (un-forecast) so we hove to waiting for the Perros gate to open. Unlike Trebeurden, this gate only opened for 2 hours. For about 3-4 days per month, it never opens!

We’re here for Bastille Day, which the Capitainerie promises to be a good one!

P.S. I’ve put some more photos into “From Family in Benodet back to Original Itinerary”.

Roscoff then to Trebeurden

We had a jolly time with the crew of C Moon and probably drank too much! Certainly, ate too many crisps! We walked around Roscoff old town a couple of times. They have a market, possibly daily; on Wed, it’s food and there was plenty of very good stuff, meat, fruit & veg, cheese, fish and food to eat. We chose a super Creperie for lunch and then walked along the coast until we joined a footpath to the supermarket for our supper.

The new marina is big, very wide pontoons and sheltered. However, at the end of the pontoons, where we were moored, the current runs very strongly through the marina, and extreme care is needed by everyone coming or going. The day before we arrived, a boat was crunched by a someone not allowing for about 2knots of tide. We had to warn a French boat that he was getting a bit close! The facilities cannot be faulted, but they were rather a long way away. Unusually, there were loos on the pontoons!

At the moment, the tides are favourable for us. We left our berth backing out, grateful that C Moon had left at 5:30 the same morning, to make our way to Trebeurden, in forecast NW 3, however, it was only a Force 2 with 1½m swell. So the boat couldn’t sail with just 4 knots or so of wind across the deck, it became another motor-sail in lumpy sea with up to 2 knots of tide with us. The coastline was very rocky compared with S. Brittany; parts are known as the pink coast after the pink granite around here. The marina at Trebeurden is made of the stuff! The harbour entrance dries at low water and the marina is behind a sea-wall, luckily the gate is open only when there is enough water to get in. It’s currently open about HW ±3½hours. The way in is also a little interesting; the approach is NW towards a red buoy, turn 60° right, followed a bit later by 60° left, then a wiggle, almost turning back on yourself into the marina over the sill.

We’re here until Sunday, and I’ve started to add some photos to the blog. See below. We entered from behind the rock on the far right and did the wiggles described above.

In Trebeurden behind the wall

In Trebeurden behind the wall

Escape from Camaret to Roscoff via L’Aberwrach

By Friday, we were beginning to get boat happy and probably should have moved on. We still enjoyed being in Port Notic, in the inner harbour. There was lots going on and it was quick and easy to get to the shops, restaurants (several very good) and showers (that were not very good). However, there were 3 or 4 motorbikes/scooters without exhausts that made sure we all knew that they were around!

The Skipper tested the water tank fully by over-filling and there were NO leaks! On the Sunday, we left Camaret after a leisurely morning around 12:30. An un-forecast thundershower interrupted our trip up the Chenal du Four. We put a reef in the main and full oilies for a while. We were a bit early for the full benefit of the tide but we still arrived at L’Aberwrach in good time. However, the depth-gauge decided that it would stop working while we were going up the channel. The Skipper was not a happy bear! As we approached the town, it started to work again.

Apart from rolling somewhat whilst sailing downwind approaching L’Aberwrach, it was an enjoyable sail again. We picked up a mooring, had supper and an early night for…

a very early start. We got up while it was still dark! and cold, so on with a fleece, oilies and boots! We wanted to leave in time to catch the tide around the Brittany coast to Roscoff. We took a short cut between the rocks on the way out of L’Aberwrach to save a couple of miles. The Boss enjoyed steering within 50m of exposed rocks!

For a change, the wind started as forecast, it was another enjoyable sail up to the Isle de Batz but the wind started to increase and head us up, so we ended up with a reefed main and genoa, hard on the wind. We were going with up to 3.5 knots of tide, so it was a very quick journey, arriving just before 12:00 instead of around 14:00.

Cuchulainn and C Moon

Cuchulainn and C Moon in Roscoff

We moored alongside C-Moon; the crew arrived soon afterwards and were invited for an enjoyable cup of tea.

The forecast does not look good for the next few days, so we’ll wait and see when we move on to Treburden & Perros Guirec.


From Family in Benodet back to Original Itinerary

We had a really great time meeting with family who were on holiday in Benodet. We ate out several times with them, introduced them all to our new boat and did the tourist stuff! However, to do all this, we strayed some way from our original plan, but now we are on our way back to it!

We were used to a 550litre fuel tank on the Rival but now we have just 100l! For the first time, we used the automatic fuel system in France. It’s actually very similar to “Pay at the Pump” in supermarkets and elsewhere. It limited us to €70 @ €1.38/litre as opposed to £1.16/litre in the UK. No wonder the EU doesn’t like our red diesel system!

The day was really hot as we retraced our way back to Ste Evette, but we managed to sail for 2½hours before the quite large swell from the Atlantic made us roll too much and shook what wind there was out of the sails. To make it more comfortable, we motor-sailed the rest of the way. The Skipper managed to have a shower without causing too many splashes! The Boss did similar and we both felt much better. Some people were swimming, apparently the water was 20°C!

Ste Evette Moorings BEFORE the winds hit!

Ste Evette Moorings BEFORE the winds hit!

The forecast for overnight was for easterly 3-4, which meant that the moorings were open to the waves. The night was so uncomfortable that we moved into the saloon to sleep. (less up and down and side-to-side!)

Next morning, we left quite early (for us) to make our way back to Camaret. At last, this was a proper sail with 5¼hours sailing and just 45mins motoring. Good sailing! However, there were some quite strong gusts where we managed 6+knots and other times we were down to 1.9knots, but it was all worthwhile!

On every visit to Camaret, we have been in Port Vaubin on the outside but today we moored alongside in Port Notic, very close to town. The Skipper fetched, in about 10 mins, a baguette from the patisserie for to go with our goulash supper. A French racing boat rafted onto us for the night – highly colourful it was too! Later that night we had plenty of thunder and rain to wake us up. Fresh croissants for breakfast were collected between the showers.

Thu addendum: Staying in Camaret until Fri, we can’t go to Roscoff until Mon, because, adverse forecast weather, tides and major events in Roscoff get in the way. Now, it’s chucking it down with rain, worse, we discovered that the forehatch still leaks, fortunately for the Skipper, it’s on the Boss’ side!

Later Addition:

While we waited, we did a couple of walks around the coast:

The remaining part of a set of Breton stone rows

The remaining part of a set of Breton stone rows

This ship took the same route between the rocks as we did!

This ship took the same route between the rocks as we did!

A fast French Lizard, company on our walk

A fast French Lizard, company on our walk