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Extreme Rafting

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Just a few examples of what puts us off cruising in French waters.

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Up to five abreast on a single mooring in Sauzon, Belle Ile
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This was madness in Le Palais, also on Belle Ile.  There are about 20 yachts there is a mass raft!!
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Port L’Angol on Hoedic.  Six yachts on a single buoy

We are now in L’Herbaudiere and not well impressed with French mooring conventions which revolves around not having sufficient facilities anywhere once past about Morgat & Douarnanez.

 

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Îles to Glénan to Belle île (Islands in the Sun)

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70 boats in image!! 10 last time we were there!

A very peaceful night on the mooring at a very crowded Iles de Glenan which we are hoping is just due to the very fine weather and a French weekend.  Left the mooring at about 09:00 and, it being high tide, motored around the archipelago and, especially, around Ile de Drenec, something that can only be done, without grounding, infrequently.  Then, on to Ile de Groix, the place that, two years ago, we saw at first hand, how abysmal local boat handling can be.  We put that down then to the close proximity to Lorient and the abundance of yachts from sailing academies, or on hire.

On this occasion, we decided to give the harbour, Port Tudy, a miss and, so, motored along the south coast of the island where, yachtwise, there is nothing but a couple of exposed anchorages.  Once past the Ile, we decided that, given the continuing good weather, Belle Ile would be the place to be seen.

Eventually arrived at Sauzon on Belle Ile having motored the entire distance (9 hours) in bright sunshine and very little wind.  We only displayed a sail for a total of about an hour – to little effect.  This place is crowded as well!!  At 18:00, we picked up one of the last of about 30 moorings outside the harbour!!! Boats are still arriving two hours later!!!

Another windless day forecast for tomorrow, but with a little rain.  Hopefully, the locals will go back to work.  Rain?  Fresh water? G just whooped that she can clean the decks tomorrow.  She does not like salt on the decks!!!

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G pleased about fresh water on deck

I want to add two images to this entry, but am having difficulty.  I’ll keep trying

Second Revisit to Appalling French Colregs Observance

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We were running downwind with only the Genoa flying and on Starboard tack, on our way to the Iles to Glenan, in good visibility, when we spotted a yacht motoring towards us, on our port bow from a distance at least 1 nm.  We were on an almost reciprocal course and, so he was motoring into the wind with no sails out/up.  With a closing speed of about 12 kt, there was at least 5 minutes for the other chap to see us and take avoiding action.  No avoiding action was taken at any time, not even when it soon became clear that there would probably be a collision.  In the end, we took avoiding action by turning to starboard by about 20°until it was apparent that we would clear him.  As we passed close by, it was equally clear, from his actions, that he had been completely unaware of our presence and had not been keeping a proper lookout.

Solitude to “Good Grief”

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A very peaceful night on the mooring off St Evette. Move off at 07:50 today to have a look at Audierne which has a narrow shallow approach and a ridiculously narrow and crowded marina.  Fortunately, we had decided notto go in last night because, had we done so, we would have turned around and gone back to St Evette having wasted ¾ hour.  As it was, we didn’t even bother to tie up and look for some milk.  Glad we looked though.

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Outlying rocks off Pointe de Penmarc’h about 2 miles offshore with breakers.  Yes, the red is a canoeist fishing!!!

So, off we went, initially in an unexpected 15 kt breeze which suddenly died to zilch. Thereafter, mainly motored our way around Pointe de Penmarc’h and on to Lesconil, a nice little harbour which we visited last time.   This time, we just wanted milk, water and some fresh veg.  Arrived at 1 o’clock having forgotten that, in France, everything closes from 1 ‘til 3!!!!

Three short hours later,  we set off for Iles de Glenan, an isolated archipelago where we moored last time we were here – in relative isolation.  This time, a Saturday with beautiful weather, the place is heaving. There must be about 50 visitors moorings, at least 20 laid since we were last here, and every one is taken.  Plus, there are a number of boats at anchor. Anyway, it is now 20:00, the sky is cloudless, the wind  is 5 kt and it is quite warm. It is also relatively peaceful, but not in a ‘West Loch Tarbert on Jura’ sort of way!!!

 

An Exciting Day – if you like rocks

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Departed L’Aber-Wrac’h just before 09:00 on a day promising light winds and sunshine.  The first bit was correct!  Putting to one side the swell, we used the inner passage past the Roches de Portal, where the Amoco Cadiz was wrecked, and then the inner passage on the Roches D’Argenton.  All very exciting – saved a couple of miles and kept us ahead of a faster 42 footer!!  Got pretty narrow at one point.

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End of the Chenal du Four

Then close inshore through the Chenal du Four and onwards aiming  for Morgat or Douarnanez, both of which we have visited before.  Decided that the extra 15 nm to visit either and, so, as you will see from Marinetraffic, an abrupt change of direction and off through the Raz de Sein.  As tide had not yet turned in the Raz and as it was running at over 4 kt, we dawdled along at 2.5 kt under sail.  Eventually passed through against a 2 kt, at least, foul tide and it was pretty lumpy and less than pleasant.

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Just through Raz de Sein, under motor, and at about 1.8 kt!!

Then, the sun came out, the wind sprang up to about 10 kt and we had a fantastic evening sail to St Evette where we picked up a mooring.  Had a very peaceful night.

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Twilight at the mooring at St Evette.

Anyway, this morning, we need to get some milk.  Our total batch has curdled, unopened, in the fridge, before its ‘best before’ date.  And it’s organic!  It certainly is!!

Back at L’Aber-Wrac’h

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A great day’s sail in about 8 kt from the north-West and us going west in endless sunshine. A bit of swell left over from the last two days, but nothing unpleasant. Started the day by motoring through the Chenal de Ile de Batz. Pretty narrow in places, but a doddle Aitken a chart-plotter. Then, sails up for the rest of the day, but with a couple of blasts from the engine to avoid a couple of outlying rock ledges of which there a many on the north coast. Into L’Aber-Wrac’h by way of the Chenal de La Malouine – it’s always exciting to go through a narrow channel between the rocks. We have been here twice before and, I have to say, it never ceases to wow us with its beauty and the sight of so many rocks and islands and with its peacefulness.

Great little marina with good showers and friendly staff. (What a contrast with Roscoff where the receptionist was a pain in the a***. Unhelpful, unwelcoming and unfriendly.

off earlyish again tomorrow to press on. There is a very long (100 miles) firing range just south of the Gironde which is open every weekday and imposes restrictions. This, we are aiming to travel across it on the weekend of 12th/13th. The forecast is brilliant for next week- not a lot of wind, but lots of sun. The benefit of little wind is that there are no restrictions on which direction you go in a sailing boat although it does mean a good deal of motoring.

Two relaxing days

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Tuesday was spent catching up on sleep and revisiting old Roscoff, a beautiful town nestling behind Ile de Batz.

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G on the Ile de Batz

Today, with a fresh wind from the wrong direction, we took the ferry over to Ile de Batz for a walk around part of this peaceful island, although I doubt it is quite so peaceful in the summer. We now have a week of sun and light winds forecast. So, tomorrow, we are off through the Chanel and on to, possibly, L’aber-Wrac’h, or further on.