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A straightforward, day to day account of what we have done during the current year's cruise. What we found may help others. I hope that anyone interested in the area will cherry pick rather than trying to read from start to finish.

Our boat is a Hallberg Rassy 34, Anhinga. This year it is crewed by Frank and Jennifer Singleton, Home port is Darthaven, Kingswear opposite Dartmouth

Plans for 2017

With advancing age we have decided that La Rochelle/Ile d’Oléron is our limit. Much as we love Northern Spain and the Rias we think that these are really beyond our comfort zone. This year will be similar to the previous three years so I will try to say little and keep this log more as a note of where we have been rather than detailed descriptions.

Our daughter, Jayne and family hope to come out to see us at some stage. We may see other family members.

Ports of call

A shakedown sail
St Peter Port
L'Aber Wrac'h
Ste Evette
Le Palais, Belle Ile
Port Joinville, Ile d’Yeu
Sables d’Olonne
St Denis d’Oléron
La Rochelle
St Martin
Lea Sables d’Olonne, again
La Roche Bernard
La Roche Bernard again
Piriac-sur-mer with family
La Roche Bernard with family
Back to Locmiquelic
Port la Foret
Back to L’Aber Wrac'h
Back to Roscoff
Back to Lezardrieux
St Peter Port again
Back to Dartmouth

The Yealm and back. 20 April/1 May. 60 miles.

Two very windy sails with winds up to F7 intended to give son-in-law Andy some sailing experience. Also to test the new auto-helm. Being on medication for a health problem the poor lad was sick on the way out so Jayne came on return.

To St Peter Port. 7/8 May. 70 miles.

As ever an interesting trip. Andy came with us to get more experience. Timing of departure was determined partly by his flight booking back to Exeter and his need to get 4 hours’ night experience. We managed both. Departure from the berth was 2315.

Getting off was a problem as the first reef jammed and the main would not go up. That delayed us as we circled in the river for ½ hour or so. I was getting twitchy thinking about tides and flight times although we had plenty of leeway. We finally left the river with a nice wind and clear skies under a full moon. Then the wind dropped and we had to motor for 1 ½ hours. Then it came in as expected from the NE but soon increased to an unexpected 2 reef job as we approached to shipping lanes.

We saw several dolphins and could still see Start Point light from mid-Chanel and ships many miles off. Several fishing boats were quite close but no problems. The west bound lane was OK. All fairly well separated, only one close encounter. The second lane was more congested and needed careful watching on the AIS display. The final ship was likely to be so close that I called him up and assured him that we would pass astern.

Unfortunately, winds were a couple of forces stronger than expected and he did not enjoy the second half. A great pity as he is very keen and did learn a great deal. He recovered when north of Guernsey and watched all the various marks as they flashed by.

Today is Liberation Day and there are market stalls with the awful smell of food being cooked en masse. There is even a small RN patrol boat in the marina.

Briefly we met Denny, off Misty Blue on his way to Lézardrieux. Another pleasure was to meet John and Chris Twigg on Goshawk.

Wisely Denny decided to leave early on the 11th. We chickened out because of the risk of thunderstorms. A bad mistake.

To Lézardrieux, 11 May, 58 miles

This was a Hobson’s choice as the next possible window was some days off and doubtful at that. Winds were very uncertain. There were two possibilities: St Cast about 50 miles SSE or Lézardrieux about the same to SSW. We hoped for the latter.

Leaving St Peter Port at about 10.00 , it looked like St Cast. Then, about three hours out, Jersey Radio issued a strong wind warning – SF F6 later. I guessed that was to be after midnight but could not be sure. It suggested a strengthening SE’ly. At 1345 we heard the full Jersey forecast. Variable but becoming SE 1-3, stronger after midnight. Definitely not good for St Cast.

Four options. Back to St PP; head for St Helier, neither attractive. Bash on hoping for not too strong winds to St Cast or head off about the same distance to Lézardrieux. A S’ly would help and it was the same distance as St Cast. A no brainier. It was a long motor sail. We berthed on the mid river pontoon for the night.

Moral – if you have the chance take it.

At Lézardrieux.

The marina gave us a berth in the bassin a flot, always nice and quiet if a little remote from other sailors. Again briefly we met up with Denny – this time with Julie. No doubt our wakes will cross later.

Not sure when we will leave. We like it here and favourable winds seem in short supply.

May 20th. Watching forecasts, GRIB and Météo France it has become obvious that the 21st is a one day window. We moved out of the wet basin for an early start at daybreak. We will have to buck the tide across the baies de Lannion and Morlaix but hope for enough wind and that the not too strong tide will help. The alternative is to descend the Trieux in the dark.

To Roscoff. 21st May. 45 miles

Left the berth at first light, 0545, got to La Moisie with only 4 hours of west going tide instead of our usual 6 for this passage but it worked well. It was a neap tide but we had the strongest tide just where we wanted it – around Les Heaux de Bréhat. The wind was a F3-4 SE which gave us enough speed to round Bar ar Gall westerly cardinal into the baie de Lannion still with the ebb tide. Currents are not strong across this bay. Even across the baie de Morlaix we only had ½ knot foul tide. We arrived at Roscoff at 1345. 8 hours is about par for this passage.

For the third time this year we arrived just as Misty Blue was about to depart. One day we will get lucky and be able to have a drink with Denny and Julie.

At Roscoff

We have decided to wait here to meet up with our old friends Ross and wei Wei with their two delightful girls. Near catastrophe when we had a blockage in the heads sea water intake. After much fiddling around – even considering asking a diver to go down to clear the seacock, we eventually managed to poke a flexible tube down to loosen the problem and then blew it away with the dinghy pump. A day’s work but it saved a lot of money.

Work on the seacock prevented a visit to Morlaix on the Tuesday. Wednesday is market day in Roscoff so Thursday was the day - until the bus never arrived. We had overlooked some very small print in the timetable. It was Ascension Day!

Ross and family arrived on Friday. Their immediate good turn was for Wei Wei to give us several jars of her home made jam. The second was to take us on a supermarket shop for the heavies.

We also met Brian and Maddie on Dragonstar, our saviours from last year when we had starter motor problems. We also met David and Christine Homer on Noisette, a boat we knew from its previous owner (Peter Nutt.) Another old friend here was David Echlin on HR36, Senninga with a delivery crew on his way to Spain.

Intentions were to leave on Sunday (28th) but the French forecast of averses oranges was off putting coupled with radar and lightning displays. We are staying put.

To L'Aber Wrac'h. 31st May. 32 miles.

At last a day %with wind in a sensible direction, no storms and good visibility forecast. In the event, we had a short spell of a sailing wind before it dropped off too light. We were met by the boat- lady and shown to a pontoon berth. Ross and family had arrived half an hour earlier and invited us on board for drinks. David and Christine off Quadrophenia joined us.

To Sainte Evette. 2nd June, 58 miles

A frustrating “nearly” sail. The forecasts, especially the GRIBs were promising although Météo France was a little less so. In the event, the wind stayed stubbornly just too tight for good sailing. Best was the last ½ hour. On passage, we were hailed by Osprey, a HR34.

The tide turned fair later than expected in the Chenal du Four. It turned foul earlier than expected in the Raz de Sein.

Perhaps with more motoring, Osprey got to the mooring buoys earlier than we did.

To Loctudy. 3rd June. 29 miles.

After a very quiet night, this was a near perfect sail. It was a near-dead run across the bay to Pointe de Penmar’c. Enough wind not to have to think about motoring and enough not to have to use the spinnaker. After Penmar’c, around all the cardinal marks, the wind gradually increased to a fine reach F6 on the last leg.

The marina directed us to pontoon A where we found a berth by Graham and Anne Wiley on Dione, a HR36. Later, Osprey arrived with John and Sarah Hakes.

We may stay a few days.

At Loctudy.

Sunday, 4th June. Forecasts for Monday and Tuesday are up to gale force on both GRIBs and Météo France. After that, several days of not too strong SW winds are expected. That should let us move on. Meanwhile, there is a good boulangerie, a good take away creperie, an active fishing fleet noted for its langoustines bought from poissoneries on the quay, a reasonably convenient supermarket and restaurants to meet all other needs. We will cope.

We got our langoustines, slightly disappointing because of the strong winds. Few boats had gone out and we probably had the tail-enders of the previous day’s catch.

To Locmiquelic. 7th June. 35 miles

One of our better passages. A broad reach door to door, or, more strictly from Loctudy marina to the river up to Locmiquelic. For once we overtook our outstripped just about every boat in sight, including a much larger HR.

As ever, the marina answered our call promptly and showed us to a berth, taking lines.

We plan to stay a few days waiting for favourable winds to go south. We have one or two boat jobs to do.

The village is far less attractive than Port Louis, a touristy town. There are fewer food shops and only two restaurants, neither remarkable. However, the boulangerie is very good as are the two boucherie/traiteurs. Above all, we just like the marina far more than Port Louis.

The marina office seems to be the adopted home of a black cat who sits on the reception desk. It is known affectionately as Locmichat!

To Le Palais, Belle Ile, 11th June. 25 miles.

After a foggy (not forecast) start to the day, it brightened up for our midday start. The W-NW F4-5 gave us another fast door to door sail. Being a little early, we had to pick up a mooring outside Le Palais.

Going into the wet basin we asked for 4 nights and were offered a “catway”, that good old French word for a finger pontoon, in the bassin Saline beyond the usual bassin a flot. This is a first for us here and promised to be a quiet few days without the worry of boats coming and going each tide and being in a raft of boats with all the attendant hassle. Also without the interest. Swings and roundabouts although my Three MiFi works pretty well – most of the time.

We were alongside Pennant, a 34 ft yacht owned by French/Americans Gerard and Laurens. They are preparing their bot for a trans-Atlantic crossing to their home in Naples, Florida. We were able to give some advice on Portuguese ports and, of course, weather. We will watch their progress (MMSI 205 414 530.)

Gerard was an Air France pilot but had flown for Air Djibouti in the late 70s. He is one of the few people that we know who had been to Aden albeit after we were there.

The evening before we left, a CA boat, Beryl Grey came in with Roger and Mike. This is a 45 year old Amel ketch. Looks superb.

To L’Herbaudiere, 15th June. 43 miles.

Another door to door sail in a nearly right downwind in mainly an F5 with some F6. The marina boat d us to a berth – necessary because For a usually logical nation, this was unusually arcane.

The nearest boulangerie had rather indifferent croissants and pain cereal. It did have some very good rhubarb tart. You cannot have everything. We just missed seeing our friends on Jinn. They were off the boat when we arrived and left the next morning before we could say hello. We had better success with Denny and Julie on Misty Blue. After three fleeting hello and good byes, at last we were able to meet up for a chat. Like us, they are on the way to Port Joinville for a CA meet.

To Port Joinville, Ile d’Yeu. 18th June.21 miles.

Yet another door to door sail. The wind started about F4, increased to a good F5, nearly 6 with thoughts of a reef. We took a few rolls in the genoa. But it then dropped to a F3-4. The marina were helpful and directed us to a berth where we would be near other CA boats.

At Port Joinville.

The first very pleasant surprise was to berth alongside Jinn with our old friends Mike and Sue. Th next day, HROA members Richard and Jane (also friends of Jinn) arrived. We had the inevitable drinks evening on Jinn.

In the meantime, we spent a few hours trying to find out why the bilge pump was not working. Probably it was because with little water in the bilge, it gets sucked into the pipe which then sucks air.

Cruising Association boats have been arriving mostly finding spaces near other members in the increasingly busy marina. Tuesday evening was a general get together on the pontoon. With a few exceptions, most were boats that we did not know and it was great to see several new (to us, at least) members.

On the second evening, we had pot luck with members bringing along a variety of dishes, totally uncoordinated. Interesting and delightful. On the final evening, it was an excellent meal at the 09 restaurant. The range of members’ boats and interests was fascinating. We went on board Tormaline, a 34 ft Pacific Seacraft Pilot owned by David and Carol Steptoe. The boat is a similar size and displacement to Anhinga but there the resemblance ended. We will have fond memories of the event organised by the CA president Judith Grimwade.

Briefly, we met Martin and Barbara on Tui. We were surprised because they were on a Moody 376. Apparently. they sold their previous boat.

To Sables d’Olonne, Port Olona. 24th June. 30 miles.

The day did not start well. I misjudged the wind and had great difficulty in turning the boat round in the slot. Less said the better. Otherwise, it was another good sail door to door. Slightly too much on the beam for the spinnaker. Jinn left after us but passed us – and several other boats. They did used to race Jinn so we were not disgraced.

To St Denis d’Olérom. 25the June. 38 miles.

This was force majeure. We had intended going on Tuesday, 27th ahead of a few days’ bad weather. However, Météo France forecasts were talking about thunderstorms on Tuesday. Monday was a light wind forecast. Sunday had been forecast as a W-NW F3-4. However, the morning forecast was 2-3 with some slight rain at first. In the event we decided to go.

For about 5 hours, winds were too light so we had to motor. Then for the last two hours the sun shone and we had a pleasant short sail.

As usual, the boat boy met us and showed us to a berth. First surprise was seeing a Japanese boat that we had net in A Coruna back in 2010. Later, I was able to speak to Hiro and Kaki before they left for La Rochelle. The second surprise was meeting our old friends, Ian and Bev on Polonia. They are staying here as a good place to be if you cannot or do not want to go sailing. It will be a sociable few days.

At St Denis.

We had been having trouble with the alternator not charging so I was planning to ask for a technician. Kindly, Ian offered to take a look. The alternator was working OK, all connections looked good. Perhaps it was the regulator. However, Ian then noticed a slightly loose connection on the engine battery. Problem, hopefully solved.


We had come here expecting three days of bad weather. It was a good forecast. We have had three days of showers sometimes torrential, with strong winds and some violent gusts. We were unable to do much except go for a meal at the excellent creperie nearby. Buses are non-existent until July 10th. “Everyone has a car here,” we were told.

Provisional plans are to leave on Sunday to La Rochelle, then to Les Sables d’Olonne on Tuesday with a short-lived easterly.

To La Rochelle. 2nd July, 11miles.

At last a dry, if rather cloudy day with a good wind, F4-5 on a near dead run to give a fast sail. The marina answered the radio promptly and directed us to a place. It is close to a few shops and the heads.

At La Rochelle

This was our first time in the greatly enlarged Les Minimes. It really is Le Parking Lot. The saving grace is the water bus from near our berth into La Rochelle. Despite the myriads of tourists, it is still a delightful town. The marker is excellent. Polonia followed us in with Ian and Bev so we will not be short of a laugh or two. We did! Then when leaving we met CA members Andrew and Nicole How on their Dragonfly, Vega. They are heading south to Spain.

The US GFS has been consistently promising E’lies for Tuesday and Wednesday so that we should be able to get to St Martin de Re. Meteo France has been saying NW but have come into line now. We may even get three nights there.

To St Martin de Re. 4th July, 11 miles.

Despite all the concern about wind direction, there was virtually no wind so it was a motor sail. After the cold and rain, we arrived in St Martin in blistering heat magnified by the rather enclosed harbour. A young Dutch couple helped us come alongside - helped by Mike off Jinn with the invitation to drinks with them, which we duly enjoyed.

If was hot, or maybe it is that we feel the heat more than previously. It was also the quietist we have ever been in this port. We made our traditional visit to the best of all ice cream shops and Jennifer did a little shopping.

Before leaving we briefly met John and Caroline Hall on Ceilidh, a large Beneteau.

Back to Les Sables d’Olonne. 6th July, 28 miles.

Because of tide and lock times we could not leave until 1315. The pleasant SW wind during the morning held for nearly 3 hours during which we passed Ceilidh and were nearly matching Whiskey Mac (another 14 m yacht) for speed. Then the wind dropped. Rather worryingly, the alternator was clearly not charging the batteries again. A job for the Volvo agent.

At Les Sables d’Olonne.

First job was to visit the Volvo engineers to ask for help. Second was to book a table ar Le Petit Louis. Third was to find the large Super U near the W end of the marina. We have always used the Carrefours near the E end.

From Marine Tracker, we see that Misty Blue has arrived in Quai Garnier. Apparently to pick up some crew so we will probably not see them this time.

The Volvo electrician duly arrived and, after much testing, diagnosed a wiring problem dating back to installing a new battery at La Roche Bernard last year. Connection was intermittent explaining why the Mastervolt was working better at some times than others and that the alternator was charging the engine battery but the domestic battery only intermittently and, sometimes, not at all. He will arrange for the connections to be improved.

Correction to the above: a more experienced technician came and diagnosed the problem as a loose connection to the regulator. He removed the alternator, fixed the connection and replaced e miles.

Back to Port Joinville. 11th July. 30 miles.

To some extent, this was Hobson’s choice. Wind direction was forecast a SW, a fine reach. For the next week, directions would be on the nose. However, the Meteo France forecast was for SW 3-4 increasing to F 5-6 after midday The US GRIB had speeds up to 17 its so, adding our usual one force, a F6 seemed likely. In the event, once clear of the port, winds were soon F5 and quickly 6. We put one reef in the main and rolled in the Genoa similarly. The wind was quite kind and never too tight so we made good tome, entering Port Joinville 5 hours after leaving the Sables d’Olonne fuel berth - average 6 its door to door. The slowest part being under engine.

At Port Joinville

The reason we came on the 11th was a predominance of N’lies for the next week. We would rather be on Ile d’Yeu. It is not at all clear when we will be able to move on.

Bastille day was rather a damp squib. There were fireworks the previous evening but the day itself was just a normal busy day on Yeu in July. Earlier in the year we had walked from La Meuse to Le Vieux Chateau, a fairly rough walk with some rock scrambling. This time, we went the other way, La Meuse to La Croix. This time the bus to La Meuse went a long way round, effectively giving us a tour of the island. Good value for €2.

So many boats came in on Bastille that many had to go into the wet basin - more than we had ever seen before. The following day was less busy. There were still some in the wet basin but far fewer. Whereas there had been many visitors here in June, we were one of only two or three visiting yachts now.

To L’Herbaudiere 1th July. 26 miles.

This started as a brisk NE F5 and increased to a good 5-6. On the margin of a reef as we were quite close hauled. For a while it looked as though we would reach the Chenal de la Grise, the short-cut to L’Herbaudiere. However, about 3 miles short the wind died away - as forecast but still annoying. We had to motor the last 5 miles.

We were met on arrival and shown to a berth on the visitors’ pontoon. They are very careful to raft boats of similar size.

At L’Herbaudiere

On the second evening the wind was quite strong off the pontoon. This made it difficult for boats arriving to get alongside boats already moored. The boat boys seemed not very experienced but were learning quickly – the hard way.

To Piriac-sur-mer. 19th July. 29 miles.

This was another good sail. The forecast was for SW 4-5 increasing 5-6 later. It should have been a reach all the way – and was. However, the direction initially was just not taking us west of La Banche, a significant hazard. However as we approached it, the wind lifted and it worked well. We arrived at about high tide so no problems in entering. The boat boys are very organised here, some of the best. They showed us to a berth and without prompting told us which side to the catway.

A pleasant surprise on arrival was to see Polonia with old friends Ian and Bev. Later, Tui arrived with Martin and Barbara so we had the inevitable, pleasant evening. It seems strange to see that Tui is now a Moody 376 and not a Nicholson.

To La Roche Bernard. 21st July. 16 miles.

In the busy French holiday period, this is always an oasis of peace. Getting there this year was anything but. It is only about 7 miles from Piriac to the Vilaine estuary but we did think hard before leaving. Some strong winds were expected and the river bar is very shallow so a rough sea was likely. The following two days did not hold out any real hope of better weather so we left on a very broad reach under reefed headsail alone and were soon rolling along at well over 6 knots. Then, half an hour after leaving a BMS (Bulletin Meteorologique Speciale) announcing a Grand Frais - F7. Mostly the wind was a good F6 but it reached F7 just past the bar – we were just about on High water.

The Arzal lock gates were open and we tied up alongside Polonia. On Ian’s advice, I telephoned the marina where a most helpful lady allocated us an upwind berth. A downwind one have been difficult in the strong winds even so far upriver.

It is one of those marinas where you really feel at home.

At La Roche Bernard

The large photographs around the town and the marina are as interesting as ever making you realise how the mind of a good photographer works. We had a pleasant evening with Ian and Bev on board Anhinga and another with Mark and Judith (Wizard of Paget).

Intentions had been to go up to Rieux on the Wednesday for three nights but the day was in the horribly wet category. Rather than face a mutinous crew, we stayed for another night.

To Rieux. 27th July. 14 miles.

As ever, this was a pleasant motor upriver. We used a pontoon halfway along for lunch before carrying on to the swinging bridge at Cran. This is always a slightly nervous procedure; one year he did not open the bridge at two successive scheduled times.

This time was OK. There was only one suitable space ahead of a British motor boat who took our lines. Later we found that this was Willy Bewse’s (Transworld/Hallberg Rassy agents where we bought Anhinga many years ago. We also met Rum Tum again for the third year running; we had seen them briefly in La Roche Bernard.

We also met Phillip and Theresa Lewis on a 11m Prout catamaran, Alimah and John Leech on a 14 m Beneteau, Iolanthe 111. Both boats CA members.

Back to La Roche Bernard. 29th July. 14 miles.

We would have happily stayed at Rieux for another night in a quiver backwater. However, Jayne and family are arriving on Sunday. Provisioning is required.

Arriving at the marina, we had the nasty shock of finding it full. The only berth with shore access was a pontoon just below the main marina. This accessible via a rough track and a ferry boat using a continuous line. Good exercise if nothing else.

Totally unexpected on the French forecast we had n extremely windy night. So much so that we got up at some unearthly hour to double up lines.

At La Roche Bernard

We did some early shopping got back to find that the marina had given us a berth. At least the family will not have to carry all their gear along an assault course.

Jayne and family arrived in time for G&Ts. Peace and quiet will be in short supply for a while.

To Piriac-sir-mer. 31st July/1st August. 18 miles.

Tide and lock times were the determining factors. The 1600 Arzal lock got us to the pontoon below the lock. We were rafted two out, others were three out - presumably busier than normal due to the next two days the lock being closed.

The virtually non-existent wind meant motoring most of the way. Leaving at about half tide, we had little water under the keel for the first mile or so down the Vilaine.

Swimming was top of the list for Ben. Finding a place for dinner was ours - No 17 as suggested by friends. A major attraction of Pitiac is the excellent market. It was up to standard.

Plans are to leave on Thursday about 3 hours before high water. That should give us enough time to get through Arzal lock on the 1600 opening and up to La Roche Bernard for an evening meal.

The family will have to leave late afternoon/early evening on Friday.

Back to La Roche Bernard again. 3rd August. 17 miles.

Another good fast sail under headsail only, right to the Arzal lock. Just under 3 1/2 hours is good going. As ever the lock was interesting but the men were very good.

We tried the Saracene creperies for the first time under recommendation. Certainly good. Compared to the Belle Époque it was almost factory like in its precision, a little antiseptic, perhaps, but a nice atmosphere. The food was a little better than the Belle Époque with its husband and wife local French style.

At La Roche Bernard.

The last day with the family was a washout. Light rain for much of the day limited much children type activity. They left early evening for Roscoff having booked a room for the night. An 0800 ferry is not that sociable. We are left feeling a little deserted and will have to get used to having the boat to ourselves again. It is not clear when will be a good day to go but there are various jobs to be done.

We met CA friends Denny and Julie on Misty Blue and Roger and Penny on Anjou.

Back to Locmiquelic. 6th and 7th August. 4 and 51 miles’

Forecasts for the week ahead were not promising for the passage back to Lorient ot Ile de Groix with strong NW’lies. Monday was uncertain so the game plan wa to lock out of the Vilaine on Sunday evening, overnight on the pontoon below the lock leaving Monday at first light. Options were Le Palais and wait probably until Friday, ditto with Crouesty or if winds were as forecast Head for Locmiquelic.

In the event, forecasts were good. We had a run, sometimes quite fast to the southerly point of the Quiberon peninsula. The NE wind held for a while before the sea breeze took over and it went to the usual NW, right on the nose but light enough, as predicted, to motorsail in a fairly flat sea. Yeu swell had been over forecast.

As usual, the marina replied on Ch9 and a boat boy took lines. We expect to be here until Friday or Saturday.

At Locmiquelic.

Winds staying mainly NW and strong so stayed put doing odd jobs and not much else. We ha a pleasant evening with Roger and Mike on their elderly Amel, Beryl Grey - 11.1 m is a toddler compared to modern breed of Amels. They have completely refurbished her inside and out. Truly a great boat.

To Port la Foret. 12th August. 38 miles.

My motto is that gentlemen do not beat. Every rule has exceptions and this was one. The W 4-5 suggested that we could get to Port la Foret without too much trouble especially as swell would not be over 1m. Unfortunately, the day started misty, down to fog limits so we stayed put to give it a chance to improve which it did letting us depart at 1100. On the whole, it was a good sail with a very long tack followed by a short one, for the last 5 miles the wind headed us so, rather than arrive too late, we motored the rest. Hopefully tomorrow’s market will be as good as last year. Also the superb boulangerie/patisserie. One of the very y

At Port la Foret

The market was as good as last year and, also the boulangerie. The beignets are worth dying for. It would need a month here to do justice to both. Our friends on Jinn seem not to be here. Looks as though we will also miss Offbeat, the magnificent catamaran with David and Anne-Laure. We will just have to wander on floundering in their wake. They cover distances in a fortnight that takes a season. Chafing a son gout.

To Audierne14th August. 38 miles.

We seemed to have a good opportunity to get past Pointe de Penmar’c. Also, Ross and Wei Wei were at Audierne with the family. The E’ly wind started a little stronger than expected put settled down to a pleasant F3-4 before dying for a while. Approaching Penmar’c it increased again still from the NE berore heading, dropping, backing to NW and increasing to a good F5 for a short while. It the slowly decreased until we had to motor the last few niles.

The harbourmaster replied on Ch9; he and Ross helped us by taking lines. Audierne is like a second home. Back in 2000 we were stormbound here for two weeks before crossing to A Corina.

At Audierne

We had modules and rice on board Gemini with Ross and family. Otherwise, walking, shopping and a little boat maintenance filled the time. Forecasts are favourable for a passage to Camaret on Thursday and L’Aber Wrac’h on Sunday. We might meet up with David and Anne-Laure on Offbeat although only fleetingly as they will arrive several hours after us at `Camaret and leave the following day. We take life more slowly.

To Camaret. 17th August. 28 miles.

Wind directions were sensible but weather was always going to be a problem. Misty, some drizzle but predicted to improve. So it was. The Meteo France “Moyenne localement mauvause” was accurate. We thought we saw La Vieille lighthouse - about 400 m away but were not sure. Radar and AIS were useful and reassuring except when we saw the Ile de Sein ferry look out of the mist but with no AIS signal. After the Raz de Sein, visibility improved and we had a good run under pooled out Genoa and mainsail.

During the evening David and Anne-Laure arrived on Offbeat and came on board Anhinga for a drink. Their catamaran makes us look like a country cottage by comparison. It was a case of here today, gone tomorrow. Work is the curse of the sailing classes.

At Camaret.

Little to say. Provisioning and enjoying the sun in a rather chilly wind.

We had a very good meal at the Styvel restaurant. There we met Ken and Alison Wittamore from HR42 Amorela which had passed us in the fog on passage from Audierne. HROA and CA members, we had much in common. They left for Fowey the following day but diverted to L’Aber Wrac’h. Offbeat left L’Aber Wrac’h the same day and got to Salome, a little over 100 miles in just over 12 hours. It used to rake us nearer 22 hours. The joys of a catamaran - a big one, at least!

Being more cautious, and watching forecasts carefully, we had decided a day or two ago that Sunday will be best for us to get to L’Aber Wrac’h.

Back to L’Aber Wrac’h. 20th August. 31miles.

This was a fairly exotic sail - and one of our best for this particular passage through the rightly renowned Chenal du Four. The forecast was for SW 3-4 increasing 4-5 according to Meteo France. From thr GRIBs, I was expecting a top F5 touching 6. In fact it was a fast reach to Vieux Moines, then a dead run all the way until we turned toward the Libenter buoy by which time we had a good F6 touching 7 and several rolls in the Genoa. On the reach to Libenter we put a reef in the mainsail. All this while passing several yachts of our size. Satisfying for a couple of oldies.

The Capitainerie answered our call promptly, the boat boy recognised us (for several reasons, perhaps) and showed us to a nice quiet finger berth rather than the usual visitors alongside, rafter out berths. Amorela had stayed here after leaving Camaret yesterday. Using Marine Tracker before leaving we had seen that Ross on Gemini ha left Audierne the previous evening and Sainte Evette th8s morning. They arrived at L’Aber Wrac’h about an hour after us.

Back to Roscoff. 23rd August. 24 miles.

This was a big tide so we expected -and got a lot of help with the tidal stream. Although 33 miles on the chart we only logged 24. A minor problem is that Roscoff marina can be difficult with a big spring tide. Best to arrive at slack water, the wind was gentle enough to fly the spinnaker but still not get us there too early. The boat boys were still working so we were shown and ushered into a berth.

Now it is a question of having a good wind to get us to Lezardrieux on days when the tides are at sensible time. Coming up to heaps, morning tides are very early but evening tides to late to arrive at the Moisie passage in the light. Probably next Tuesday or Wednesday with an early start on current GFS GRIB forecasts. Meanwhile, the erratic behaviour of my Huawei MiFi dongle is giving Ross the opportunity to tech me about the problems of digital radio propagation.

At Roscoff

We took the train to Morlaix which we last visited some 25 years ago. The main difference was in the cleanliness of the marina - no doubt due largely to use of holding tanks. Back at Roscoff, we saw a boat try to leave a berth with the tide running strongly. Two others were damaged and the culprit worst of all.

In Roscoff the limited food shopping has become made even more limited by the closure of a small but good boucherie/traiteur. The remaining traiteur, in our opinion, is less good. We will have to investigate St Pol de Leon - a bus ride away. We went to St Pol 0n a Monday, we found two boulangerie and a boucherie/traiteur but all were closed. However the Super-U is near the bus stop. Closure of small shops is a worrying feature.

Back to Lezardrieux. 29th August. 48 miles.

This was a difficult decision. GRIB forecasts consistently said northerly winds after NE’lies. Meteo France had been consistently saying NW’ly which would have been fine but their outlook forecasts have been poor all summer. Wednesday would have been a better day with a daylight start but there was a suggestion of the NE’lies returning. So, Tuesday it was.

We left well before the 7am ferry from Plymouth and had a cracking sail across the bays of Morlaix and Lannion. It was looking really good. The just past the Bar ar Gall westerly cardinal, the wind headed and dropped. The rest seemed likely to be a motor-sail but the wind went back to north. Normal service resumed. We passed Ross on his way back with family from Treguier and spoke briefly on VHF.

The Moisie Channel entrance to the river was rather frisky with a near following wind and a difficult swell as the tide turned. Otherwise it was a sail right to the marina. The downside is that the slot is also used by a large police inshore RIB. He arrived just after we did. It is a very tight fit. As Ralph and Katy are coming on holiday nearby, we will be here for a week or so. We hope to be able to move to the bassin a flot tomorrow around midday - near slack water.

At Lezardrieux

We are waiting here to meet up with elder son `Ralph and Katy. Unfortunately, there were no available spaces in the wet basin so we moved a few slots further in where we were not jammed in my the police RIB. We met John and Anne, former HR owners who now have Flight of Time, a large Bowman.

Ralph, Katy arrived plus Katy’s mother and two dogs. On a very wet Sunday they took us to their holiday villa and a night in s real bed. Not very comfortable. On Monday we had an excellent lunch at Paimpol before being delivered back to Anhinga. -lans are to leave tomorrow for St Peter Port. We are expecting to have to stay there for a week or more waiting for a suitable wind for Dartmouth.

Back to St Peter Port. 3th September. 53 miles.

This was s fairly horrendous sail. The Jersey Met Office forecast wind directions were fine, SW veering W then NW later. Force 4 or 5 increasing 6 sounded OK despite the possibility of some F7 later. The GRIB forecasts were in line. F6 at most. The MetroConsult had a maximum of 20 knots and the Meteo France forecasts gave no suggestion of anything much different.

All went well until we were abeam the Roches-Douvres Lighthouse. The wind was increasing so we put in a reef in the mainsail. Being on a dead run we had a few rolls in the Genoa. Some further increase led to a second reef. The wind increased a little more so we dumped the main totally. It was a little tricky going right down wind with only the headsail. The wind increased further until, we only had a scrap of the Genoa going up to 8 knots at times with 40 knots over the deck. That was a food F9.

As a precaution I called `Guernsey CG, told them what was happening, gave them our MMSI number and requested that they should monitor our progress. We had no fears for the boat. Hallberg Rassy did a good job and all our gear is in good condition.

Even after St Martin’s Point up to St Peter Port it was still F7. Our arrival was long enough after low water for enough water over the sill. It seemed very peaceful.

Should we have gone in the first place? In the event the following day would have been easier. The outlook forecasts had been very uncertain so that, as we seemed to have a window - even a fairly windy one - we took it. It was unlucky that the forecasts - all of them were so far adrift.

At St Peter Port.

We now have a real dilemma. Forecasts for the next 10 days show no sign of a suitable window with the exception of tomorrow, Thursday and that is not ideal. With the winds forecast to be a shade south of west, we cannot go north about `Guernsey as usual. South about is a little longer but gives the possibility of being able to sail close hauled, perhaps with some help from the engine. That would be impossible for us going north about. Wind forecasts are a little marginal so close on the wind. We will watch the forecasts carefully tonight and early tomorrow.

Back to Dartmouth. 7th September. 69.4 miles.

Another windy sail. We were in a dilemma. The next 10+ days is going to be very windy with storms Guernsey is fine for short periods. No boulangeries, boucherie, traiteurs, markets. There is Waitrose, M&S, Co-op!

The shipping forecast was W 5 or 6. GRIBs were less, of course, but I usually add on a force, so F 5-6 it was. Difficult for a passage to Dartmouth with a course of 315 deg. GRIBs showed that it might be a little south of west, not much, but no likelihood of NW. That would have been impossible. It sounded possible although uncomfortable. With a F6 forecast, I always assume there might be a 7 but that is not too terrible. A F8 is unlikely although not impossible.

The UK inshore forecast also had no more than F6. That was at 0600 before we left..

A slight doubt was whether to go south about Guernsey to get a better lie - 330 deg. But Anhinga does not motor well into a F 4/5. So, north about it was. It was a big tide and we had 5 knots stream up the Little Russell. Setting course was the expected too fine reach so we motor sailed for an hour or so.

The wind freed a little so it became a good sailing wind but headed again near the southern shipping lane. More motor for another hour or so. Plenty of ships but conveniently spaced so no problems.

In mid Channel, the wind freed again and it became a good one reef reach. The wind increased to F7 so two reefs. The strong tidal stream took us well west of track but I tried not to correct too much as we did not want to be down tide of Dartmouth in case the wind tightened up on the approach. The result was that we were broad reaching. The wind increased to F8 so we dropped the main and had a fast broad reach under a well reeled head sail.

On the approach we heard the latest CG weather broadcast - w 5 or 6 increasing 7 or gale 6 at times. Glad we did not hear that in mid Channel! We heard no forecast after leaving St Peter Port.

The duty evening marina office lady, Marilyn saw our navigation lights and came down to check and welcome us back.

In summary

A windy year with some fine weather early on but a generally poor second half of July and most of August. We covered some 1164 miles and motored about 80 hours, largely in and out of marinas.

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