All times are BST
Thu 26 Jul 17:00 arrived at boat, load up and find somewhere to store bike then finish off a couple of jobs – 18v converter for laptop power and put a lock on the cutlery draw, to stop it falling out when I get a bit of a lean on.
Fri 27 Jul 07:55 drop mooring for Cherbourg. Wind started as N 4 but died around midday so motored.
Arrived 22:40, Cherbourg was full so had to raft off on A pontoon. The people on the boat that I rafted to, a Beneteau 40 something, were still up celebrating their crossing! So they invited me aboard for a drink. Slept well but woke fairly early.
Sat 28 Jul. Saw that there was space on the end of P pontoon so moved over there. Did my normal trick of not getting into town till lunch time, there was a big street market on, all the usual shoes, handbag and clothes stalls.
Had a sausage and chips then went to the Orange shop and bought ‘Le Domino’ 3G wifi dongle, €49.90 ‘sans commitment’(payg). Works brilliantly :-). Got the bike out and did a shopping trip to Carrefour.
Sun 29 Jul. Phoned daughter the elder to wish her a happy birthday, lazed around for a bit then went for a bike ride round town, ended up at a mini Super U and did a bit more shopping.
Mon 30 Jul 06:00 left Cherbourg for St Peter Port. Wind on the nose so motored to Cap de la Hague, once round the corner managed to sail for a bit but I was making too much East so ended up motoring again. I paid the penalty for sailing, the tide turned up the Little Russel as I arrived so it took an hour twenty to get down to St PP.
Went onto Boatworks pontoon and filled up with red, 77p/ltr, then went round to anchor in Havelet Bay 18:00.
Tue 31 Jul 07:50 Set off for Port Blanc. Wind WSW 6 so I could set 180 till I could tack up W side of Guernsey. 14:00 tack S again for an hour and a half then the wind dropped so wrapped up sails and motored in, arrived at 21:15 just as the light was going, picked up a visitors buoy on the second attempt.
Wed 1 Aug. Noticed last night that the echo sounder wasn’t happy with the engine on so set to investigate. Found that the 24v output connector on the alternator had broken, soldered on a new terminal.
Now too late to leave, so had a days rest and an early night.
Thu 2 Aug 07:40 left for Roscoff, had a SW 5-6 so good sailing. Had some rain squalls come through, dropped the main for the first one then put it back up after it had passed but the second one crept up behind me and I got caught with full sail and 30+ knots of wind with sea washing down the side deck! Got the genoa released and wound up to what would be a third reefing point. Don’t want to go there again! Reduced the genoa again for the third one and the boat coped with it well. I should have had a reef in the main, but I was enjoying the sail. Wasn’t too sure of the route into the new marina in Roscoff, so fired up OpenCPN with the gps and 3G dongles on so I could use Google Earth in OpenCPN which helped a lot. Motored into the marina at 17:00. Just after I had tied up the chap on the opposite finger went into a panic as the wind got behind his child’s pushchair and propelled it into the water, I lent him my folding grapnel to drag for it – successfully.
Fri 3 Aug. The day didn’t start too well, went up to pay (half price was €37.50 for three nights) but their machine wouldn’t accept my card, so went for a shower which was cold, the shower flooded, and then found that the door would not open from inside, I had to reach out through the window and put in the door code!
Cycled into Roscoff to change some money but the PO there doesn’t do money changing, so had to cycle to Saint Pol de Leon to change my cash. Well worth the trip as it is fully stocked with super markets including a Lidl, there was also a street market going on. When I got back to the marina, the office tried my card again and it worked!
Sat 4 Aug. Had a lazy day, a few rain squalls came through in the morning but it brightened in the afternoon so did my dhoby then went into town, when I returned a couple of hours later washing was all dry. Had a hot shower and packed the bike away ready for the next hop to L’Aber Wrac’h, forecast is for S 3-4, that can’t be bad.
Sun 5 Aug 08:15 left for L’Aber Wrac’h. S 3-4 my eye! SSW 5-6 mainly 24-28 knots! Had a reef in the main this time and a couple of reefs in the genoa but a good sail. Motored up the estuary just after low water so had the current with me, tied up at 16:00 next to a Belgian couple who had been away for three months in Spain.
The ‘boisterous’ wind has taken its toll on my genoa, the stitching at two of the joins in the anti UV strip had parted company.
Mon 6 Aug. No sail maker / repairer in the area (nearest is Brest) so it will have to be a DIY job, spent most of the day after a late start sowing, but pleased with the result.
The wind started with a SSW 5-6 which tested my stitching but died away to a SSW 3 when I turned the corner to head south, so it was motor on and follow the buoys down to Pointe St Mathieu. As the weather was good I took the short cut between St Mathieu and Les Vieux Moines saving half an hour or so as the current had just turned to the North, but once through the gap I picked up the East going current into Brest and the wind was far enough off the bow to motor-sail, but not strong enough to sail at a reasonable speed. Isn’t that always the way, too much wind or not enough!
To celebrate, I went out and treated myself to a restaurant meal, fish soup, stake & chips and coffee €18.30.
Wed 8 Aug. Met people on a couple of Brit boats, one a Westerly Consort, a chap from the Solent and a woman crewing for him that he found via the C.A. The other boat, a Jeanneau 37 (White Angle), with a chap (David) single handing heading back from Spain, we had a good evening out and a couple of beers.
Thu 9 Aug.was a lazy day, a wander round town and a bit of shopping, prep for tomorrow.
Fri 10 Aug 11:06 off down the Raz du Sein and round the corner East to Audierne. Conditions were very calm with the wind off the land, so ended up motor-sailing, arriving in the bay off St Evette at 17:50. Anchored in the bay for the night rather than pay for a visitors buoy, the wind picked up over night but had died away again by morning.
Sat 11 Aug 11:20 round into Audierne harbour (at HW) following the lead marks, did a bit of shopping and had a look around.
Sun 12 Aug. Big street market going on, it looks like the same one that I saw at Saint Pol de Leon! Bought a jumper, knitted in what looks like cotton string €10.
11:15 left with the HW for Lesconil, had the wind just forward of the beam about SW 4-5 till I got to St Guenole then once round the point, it was behind me so I motor-sailed. Arrived at Lesconil at 18:20, had a wander around and treated myself to Moule frites and a Cider, Yum! But over €5 for the Cider!
Mon 13 Aug. It should be Friday 13th ! A wet and windy day, a boat that had rafted off me last night moved to another pontoon this morning, but because he was being blown on he had trouble getting away and managed to snag one of my stanchions, bending it about twenty degrees! And he had a bow thruster, either he didn’t know how to use it or it was totally ineffective against that amount of wind.
Went to see the offender, settled on €60 as the price to fix / replace. B French drivers!!
The boat inside then said he was moving, so rather than give myself a hard time getting off I got hold of the local dingy sailors safety boat to pull my boat off.
Then when searching online for a replacement stanchion my initial Domino 3g credit ran out, trying to top up was a nightmare. First tried the online top-up option which started ok but then wouldn’t accept my VISA credit card, so tried the ‘phone a number’ option, but as my french isn’t up to much, and the automated voice goes at twenty to the dozen, I asked a (2) local(s) to assist, they both gave up, not being able to understand the procedure. Last option was to go to a town with an Orange shop. The helpful ‘patron’ in the bar where I ate last night said her daughter was going to the town and I could get a lift.
It turns out (according to the Orange guy) that the online option doesn’t like VISA, but it will take MasterCard – this has yet to be tried! The ‘phone a number’ option needs a ‘credit voucher’ – ask for a ‘Orange Mobicarte’ top-up at a Tabac, pay your money and the receipt has a 14 digit voucher number, then phone the freephone (France Telecom) number, key in your Domino SIM ‘phone’ number, select option 2, key in your 14 digit voucher number and Bob’s your uncle.
Sounds easy but I had to take a trip back to the Orange shop because the ‘phone a number’ option wouldn’t recognize my Domino SIM ‘phone’ number, I had tried several times but it only worked after the ‘Orange man’ took out the SIM and checked online that the Domino SIM ‘phone’ number was correct!
I wonder what else he did! Anyway, I am back online.
Tue 14 Aug. The wind has backed from the SW to the SE so I now have it on the nose on this pontoon. Took the opportunity to move from this cheap €12/night pontoon across to the expensive €22/night one, this one is more expensive because it has power and water.
I am expecting some bad weather (Gale) Wed / Thu and I didn’t want to be stuck blown hard onto the pontoon. Looks like I shall be stuck here till Friday when the weather has blown through. I could have gone today to Benodet but because I don’t know it and how I will be sheltered from the wind I thought ‘better the devil you know’.
Met a French couple on a boat they had just bought and are taking it back to St Malo where they live. He speaks excellent English, he retired from the French navy as a Captain and said that one of his jobs had been as a interpreter.
Wed 15 Aug. What a windy day! Gale force from SSW but sunny, took some pictures of the waves crashing over the sea wall,
It didn’t look any better from inside the sea wall!
Doubled up on my mooring lines! Used the Port showers now I have the entry code, proper shower, hot with a hose and H&C taps, the only issue was that the connectors that attach the shower head to the pole had been removed, but soon sorted with a bit of cord and a few hitches.
Put some washing into soak.
I got invited round to ‘French Captains’ boat for an 18:30 glass of wine, Pate on toast & saucisson. He wanted to pump me for the good (small) places to visit along the UK S coast.
Had to get up in the night to adjust my lines as the wind had shifted again and the boat was snatching.
Thu 16 Aug. Wind has dropped to 4-5 but we now have the rain, hung my washing out under my cockpit cover. Sorted out all my old S coast Port Guide freebee’s and took them round to ‘French Captain’ or Fabien as I now know. He is of the ‘old school’ of navigators, I helped him out with his chart plotter, effectively showed him how to use it. He came round this pm to exchange e-dress and brought me a carton of Merlot Vin Rouge as thanks – very nice of him.
Went and paid for my stay, 2 nights on pontoon sans facilities @ €12 + 3 nights avec facilities @ €22 but I was charged €66! Not sure what went on there, don’t know if he can’t add up or he took pity on me and gave me the 2 @ 12 for free. They have no facility here to pay by card, so had to pay hard cash.
Filled up with water ready for the off and washed the sand (grit) off the decks where I had been sand blasted by the wind. I’m expecting a SSW 3.
Fri 17 Aug. 13:10 leave Lesconil and round to Benodet, motored as no wind, went up the River Odet and anchored at 16:00 in the Anse de Combrit, very peaceful and tranquil.
View of my anchorage in the Anse de Combrit at low water.
Sat 18 Aug. 13:30 up anchor, what a lot of gooey black mud on the chain. Went up the river on the tide to Quimper, 15:00 couldn’t go any further, due to low bridge, so anchored in the middle of the river.
Rowed the dingy ashore and did a bit of shopping, then took L in R a mile or so back down the river on the ebb and anchored just behind another Brit boat. Invited them round for a drink, had a nice evening, they keep their boat in Treguier and they know two of my acquaintances who also keep their boat, a Rustler 36 there. Apparently they have now sold it and haven’t replaced it.
Sun 19 Aug 10:00 continued down the river past Benodet and anchored out in the Anse du Trez, took the dingy ashore and had a look around Benodet.
The view of Benodet beach from the Anse du Trez
Looks like a village that has grown into a town on the back of the tourist trade. Totally knackered when I got back to the boat, not sure if I had caught a bit too much sun, went to bed before the sun was down, but woke up during the night gasping for a drink, maybe I was a bit dehydrated as well.
Mon 20 Aug. My back was playing up when I woke so rubbed it with Ibuprofen and spent the morning in bed. Felt better in the afternoon so upped sticks and took a lazy sail round to Concarneau (F3 behind me), it’s only 12 Nm, got in at 17:30 had a shower (free) then gave the town a quick once over.
I cycled around the peninsula where it looked out to Loctudy
There is a ‘Citadel’ here, a bit like a mini St Malo.
Tue 21 Aug. 36th Anniversary! I had remembered and sent some flowers via the net, gave SWMBO a buzz. Dug out my trusty steed and cycled to the supermarket, bought a mini pizza for dinner and some bottles of local sweet cider, then had a tour of the Citadel.
Saw an advert for a Jazz concert in the Citadel tonight 21:00, asked the price – it’s free!
Did the pizza with added extra ham, cheese and garlic, cider is lovely. Off to concert, I put a cushion in my bag as they are hard bench seats and cycled in. It was very good, a quartet – keyboard, sax / clarinet, bass guitar and drums. All had their own style, bass was extrovert, white trousers smart shirt and God’s gift! Keyboard was cool and laid back but a talented pianist who also demonstrated at one point that he was also a good drummer. Drummer was the comedian, but very deadpan when he played. Which leaves the sax man, he got deeply ‘into it’ when he played, adopting a Crane like pose on one leg when on the fast or higher notes and squeezed his legs tighter together to get the extra high notes! Again he showed that he was pretty good on the keyboard when they did a swap around. A really good evening’s entertainment.
Wed 22 Aug. Did some boat maint – checked battery electrolyte levels, one was down quite a bit so used all my deionised water, a quick ride up to the supermarket to replenish and be tempted by an apple lattice slice. Back and pack bike away, ready to set off with the tide for the Lorient.
Left 13:40, great sail with the wind F4 off the beam then F5 up my chuff when I turned the corner at Pointe de Trvignon, 30nM in 6 hrs, picked up someone’s mooring buoy just in the shelter of Port Louis, just as the sun was going down at 19:50. Sweet & Sour Chicken, rice and fresh leeks for dinner followed by a chopped nectarine in melted (it won’t keep in my fridge) blackcurrant sorbet topped with UHT cream 🙂
Thu 23 Aug. An early start (for me) 08:00 left Port Louis to catch the last of the flood up the River Blavet to Hennebont, to hunker down for the expected bad weather at the w/e. The first impression is that the Lorient is not pretty! Very industrial.
Blavet river to Hennebont
There is an old castle and an old church, plus several florists to support the church but not a lot else. There were four choristers (two chaps and two girls) rehearsing in the church, the acoustics were fantastic, it sounded like a whole choir from the back. The castle entrance and one wall looked the part but there was a mixture of old houses and modern muses inside the walls, outside the wall, there were nicely laid out flower beds along a grassed area. I saw a notice at the landing pontoon that they wanted €12 to use the visitors buoys, so at LW when the tide turned to flood I left the buoys and anchored a few hundred yards downstream towards the railway viaduct, I paid good money upgrading my anchor and chain, so best get the benefit of it!
Fri 24 Aug. Hunkered down for the day, rain and windy, B Test Cricket on R4 LW and what is worse is that there is no play due to rain, so they just sit there talking about it! Why they can’t switch back to normal programmes defeats me, so spent the day reading and on the net. The sun tried to make a bit of an appearance at about 16:30 but failed, it tried again at six with a bit of success so did something about my hard plastic anchor buoy which woke me last night banging on the hull and has annoyed me all day doing the same. At LW when the tide turned I replaced it with a small fender I had, which I thought was no use to me, how wrong can you be!
An interesting dinner, broke out the pressure cooker and cooked a broccoli then put some of it into a tin of smoked haddock chowder soup with potatoes, then for pud I had a tin of rice pudding and the remains of the liquid blackcurrant sorbet. I didn’t eat much yesterday, just a couple of rounds of ham and cheese sandwiches, I had better be losing some weight!
Sat 25 Aug. Still windy and showers but the sun was out so rowed up river to the quay and went in search of the supermarket, there is a Leclerc advertised on a sign. Walked for about 20 mins out of town, not only a Leclerc Hypermarket as big as Cherbourgs but a Lidl. Did a tour around the Lidl, I was about the only customer, and bought some veg, then onto Leclerc. Bought my first ‘Roti Pullie’ of the trip and a baguette. The council gardeners have done a nice job on the round-a-bouts here, like the flower beds by the castle wall. Got back to boat avoiding the rain showers to tuck into my roast, then spent the evening reading.
Sun 26 Aug. The wind had died so 11:30 got the tide down river, just down river on the outskirts of Hennebont is a boat yard that builds Trimarans and Cats. Looked in at Lorient marina. My first impressions were true, this is not a pretty area, very industrial, though it’s nice up the river. Headed back down to Port Louise and picked up the same buoy as previous. Took the dingy round into the marina for a wander around, quite a nice little village.
Mon 27 Aug. Afraid that the weather is on the turn. I wanted to go on down to Belle Ile but the wind is on the nose for the next three days then turning from the North for the rest of the week. I have made the decision to start heading back. 09:30 left Port Louis for Loctudy, had the wind just aft of the port beam so hoisted the mizzen gennaker 37.2 Nm in 8Hrs15. Entered Loctudy and anchored up in the estuary, rain again.
Tue 28 Aug. A nice day, left 10:00 for Audierne 32 Nm in 8Hrs15, had to motor for the first 3½ hrs as the wind was on the nose, then rounded the corner and had it on the beam, F3 so engine off but no great speed, but at least it was quiet, spent some time cleaning up the woodwork in the cockpit. Anchored in the bay off St Evette then made dinner, the remains of the chicken, a leek and some noodles heated with a can of condensed mushroom soup – that will last two days!
Early start in the morning (05:45) to get to the Raz de Sein for slack water, similar to going round Portland Bill.
Wed 29 Aug. Early start! Well that was the plan, but after a very rocky-rolley windy night, where I got up and let out another 10mtrs of chain. When I got up at 05:30 to prep for leaving it was blowing F6 – 7 across the anchorage so I decided that I wouldn’t be going anywhere today and went back to bed. The sun came out late in the afternoon but mainly a cold, wet windy day.
Thu 30 Aug. Again up at 05:30, today it is only blowing F4 across the anchorage so today is up the Raz day. Had to motor up to the corner as the wind was on the nose, a bit South of West. I has set off a wee bit early to get to there at slack water so had to ease back the throttle to get the timing right, so for the first 3 hrs (11 Nm) to the Point du Raz I was doing less than 3 knots so as to arrive at slack water.
It was now blowing W F6 so put a reef in the main, but the sun was out. Once round the Light House I could sail, so unrolled half of the genoa and engine off, I was still doing 6 knots and that was at slack water. Had a good trip up to Carmaret 32.7 Nm in 7Hrs20.
An English chap came and helped me tie up when I arrived in Carmaret, I went over to have a chat with him and his wife and got invited aboard for a drink, he keeps the boat, a Westerly Falcon, over here at Morlaix. His cockpit is quite narrow, and if you think you have trouble getting round my wheel, it is impossible on this Falcon, and the wheel is smaller than mine!
Fri 31 Aug. Sleep in, got up at ten, did a few jobs then a wander up to town, sunny day but the heat has now gone, summer is on its way out! Bought a ham joint, a garlic sausage, a melon and some crisps as I have invited, who I now know to be Malcolm & Margaret, round to return their hospitality of last night. A good evening, the garlic sausage was nice and I soaked the melon in Southern Comfort which gave it a lift. The evenings are starting to get quite cold.
Sat 1 Sep. Left Carmaret 11:30 (LW Brest) to go round past Brest up the river Alder to Chateaulin. Arrived at Lock Launay 17:30 (HW Brest) the lock was on ‘free flow’ so straight through. Arrived Chateaulin 18:00, 35.5Nm in 6Hrs30. Chateaulin pontoon isn’t as was! It is now a small metal construction with large exposed flotation barrels, not very inviting so tied up on the wall the opposite side of the river, partly because the fair was in town and it was set up all along the right bank.
Sun 2 Sep. Whata cockup! I realised last night that the forum get together in Cherbourg on Saturday is on the 8th not the 11th so I have lost three days! Upped stumps at 06:00 (HW) and set off through the lock and back down the river. It was quite eerie with the mist on the water, saw a family of three rats swimming across, they were quite a size. I struck quite lucky with the tides and current, the ebb took me all the way down from Chateaulin, out through the Rade du Brest, up the Channel du Four, round the corner and into L’Aberwac’h, 12 hrs of favourable tide and 67 Nm, unfortunately with an absence of wind it was motoring all the way. Fuel is now becoming an issue, if I hadn’t cocked up the dates I would have missed out Chateaulin and would have had another 13 hours fuel in the tank. I now have just over a quarter of a tank, about 70 ltrs, which will be a bit tight to get me to Guernsey, especially as, the way the weather is, it looks as though I will be motoring most, if not all the way.
Met a chap at L’Aberwac’h who I had met previously on the trip, he is looking for favourable conditions to cross to the Scillies.
Mon 3 Sep. Another early start at 06:30 to go to Roscoff, mist and fine drizzle most of the way, so put the radar on, the first time for ages. The sun only breaking out mid afternoon. 33.2 Nm in 9hrs 35, most of it motoring against the current at 2 knots over the ground. I wanted to get to Roscoff in time to get some fuel but things are conspiring against me, I found that there is no fuel outlet in Roscoff marina and someone had vandalised the automatic fuel vend at the supermarket, so ended up cycling to St Pol de Lyon with my 20ltr can. Luckily the return trip is more downhill than up, really picked up some momentum on the downhill bits with an extra 20 kilograms on the bike.
Tue 4 Sep. Not leaving until this afternoon so had a sleep in, then cycled to St Pol de Lyon again for another 20ltrs to keep in the can, and do a bit of food shopping. Had a shower and prepared to leave at 15:30, got to the entry and the control lights said no exit – the ferry was departing. They could do with putting the lights where they can be seen from the pontoons! Got away at 15:50 for Port Blanc where I arrived at from St Peter Port as it is 24/7 access. 30Nm in 5hrs25, so arrived in the dark just after 21:00, no problem getting in thanks to the chart plotter, and after trawling around a bit I found one of the visitors buoys, quite a feat on a cloudy black night.
Wed 5 Sep. 06:30 start for St Peter Port, 46Nm as the crow fly’s but unfortunately that direction was straight into a strong NE wind. It was blowing F6 gusting F7 so put two reefs in the main and only unrolled half the genoa and settled down to a long beat to windward. The wind dropped to F5 in the afternoon then down to F3 after dark, at that point (22:10) I started motoring. What with tacking and working the current I ended up doing 95.3nM, I had realised I would miss the slot to go up the Little Russel, so made for the North of Guernsey, I ended up having a 2 – 3 knot adverse current when I was going across the North of Guernsey and no wind before turning at 04:00 and picking up the current going down the Little Russel, anchored in Havelet Bay at 05:10 – 23hrs40 totally knackered. They reckon that you should work on a figure of 100Nm a day when on passage, so that sounds about right.
Thu 6 Sep. Was going to go up to Cherbourg today but decided that a sleep in was a better idea, but the sun woke me after about four hours sleep. A bit of engine maint and then up anchor and go round to Boatworks and fill up with diesel. I have used 245 ltrs since leaving St Peter Port in July, tank capacity is 272 ltrs, so I would have just made it without the top up. Back round to Havelet Bay which is well sheltered, as the wind is from the North, not rocky rolley like the last time I was here in June.
Fri 7 Sep. Left for Cherbourg at 08:00 sea like a mill pond so motored all the way, 46Nm in 8Hrs30.
Had a shower, the first for a few days, and met up with several of the people here who had crossed from UK for our forum ‘get together’.
Sat 8 Sep. A shopping visit to Carrefour, meet up for drinks with everyone who had made it across and then the Scuttlebutt forum dinner at the Marina restaurant, a very good meal, then back to someone’s boat for several more drinks.
Sun 9 Sep. Sleep in, the only thing to do after a late night out! Then fill up with water, pack the inflatable away and relax.
Mon 10 Sep. 04:50 leave for home, SW 4-5 but built to 6 later. Arrived at Poole Chain ferry at 16:50. Grand Rade to Chain Ferry 65.5Nm in 11Hrs 25. Took the boat right up to Ridge to unload then down onto mooring at 20:00. FB stake & kidney for dinner then to bed.
Tue 11Sep. Up about 10:00, tidy up the boat and pack, empty my hard dingy of water then head home, arriving at about 18:00.
What a good trip!