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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 2022

 We have had a delayed start for several reasons. First, a granddaughter had a Covid delayed wedding, more importantly, I have had a hernia operation. Thirdly, possibly a good thing, we had to have a major car repair done but which got delayed by the Platinum Jubilee so that we were not tempted to try to go sailing too soon after the operation.

Forecasts are looking sensible for a passage to St Peter Port. Our daughter, Jayne, will join us to chaperone us. Very welcome.

Ports visited

St Peter Port
St Cast
L’Aber Wrac’h
Anse de Bertheaube
Port Haliguen
Piriac sur mer
Le Palais
Back to Locmiquélic
Loctudy again
Back to Audierne
L’Aber Wrac’h yet again
Return to Roscoff
Lézardeieux again
The home run

To St Peter Port, 16 June. 72 miles

As we had expected, this was almost entirely motor-sailing with a little help from the wind. The shipping lanes were not a great problem and we were only within a mile of one ship. Apart from a couple of pods of dolphins it was uneventful. As usual, we had had to wait for the tide to be high enough to enter.

At St Peter Port

The day after arriving was hot. We did little except for some shopping and an excellent meal at Pier 17. This is a high class restaurant right by the marina. The following day was cold and it became extremely windy. Temperatures dropped from mid to high 20s to pow teens. We met a French HR34 – from St Cast, our intended next port. Age apart we had much in common. Like us, his first action on buying the boat was to add a third reef. Also like us, he had a detachable inner forestay.

Jennifer has developed a itchy rash over large areas of her body. The Boots here has a walk-in surgery. The doctor prescribed antibiotics, anti-histamine and a soothing ointment. This is delaying our departure to St Cast. >>?

To St Cast. 22nd June, 50 miles.

A near perfect sail. Broad reach, over 8 kts at times. Total time from casting off at St Peter Port to engine off and tied up at St Cast, 9 hours. One short-lived shower was the only blemish. We had emailed or intentions to the Douane at St Brieuc and the marina. On arrival we were given a copy of our email with a stamp from the Douane. No need to get passports stamped. The form was commendably clear and user friendly.

There is a boatman to direct you to a berth but with several arrivals at the same time, as is likely with the tidal constraints, you are lucky if he actually shows you to a berth.

Our log has ceased to work. We are hoping to be able to get it fixed here. We have asked the CA local representative for advice.

At St Cast

We always like St Cast with its many fine buildings in the Breton style; steep pitched roofs, some with mini steeples. The walk into town is about 2km but on the level. However, we wanted to finf the boucherie/traiteur. We thought we knew where it was but checked at the tourist office. We were right. It was about 15 km uphill. What the lady did not say was that it was closed until next week! As we have found before, French shopkeepers go on holiday when it suits them regardless of inconvenience to customers.

To Lézardrieux. 25 June, 39 miles

After an early start (0600 LT but 0400 by sun or god’s time) this was a fast sail across the Baie de St Brieuc. It was a broad reach becoming a fine one in a F4-5. It was a cold day, a fact emphasised by the early start. Showers developed but we had nothing seriously dampening until after our arrival. The boatman had been at lunch so we berthed alongside on an outside pontoon but were asked to move much nearer in, well out of the strong current and a shorter walk to the heads.

At Lézardrieux.

A well worn French phrae is “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” but it never is quite the same. We normally eat out at the idiosyncratically named creperie, Lez ar degro and have done since it first opened about 5 years ago. It has always been excellent. This time it fell a little short. The single boulangerie/patisserie is one of the best we know anywhere. This time our first “petit pain céreal” had been bakerd in an over hot oven. To be fair, the second was fine, the pain au raisin, tartes ay pomme and fraise were their usual excellent standard.

After 31 years of service our spinlock jammimg cleat for the genoa succumbed to uv and disintegrated. The local, well stocked chandlery had an up to date re[lacement which we fitted in minutes. Most jobs on a boat take far longer than you ever imagine. This was a welcome exception.

Wind have been adverse for the passage to Roscoff but Saturday, 2 July, has been looking to be our first opportunity. We wait in hope, just enjoying this quiet little town. It seems unusually quiet in the marina for late June.

Lézardrieux, 1st July

Still here. Sunday, 3rd looking OK. Then a spell of NE wins should get us west and south. A minor hitch is that we need to replace the valve to the holding tank. One has been semt to Roscoff from HR Sweden. Met CA members, John and Val Roantree, Solera, Moody 31. It is the first place that we have ever heard a cormorant make a noise. It is like dog narking. One was diving near us, nearer than normal. Maybe he recognised the name of his first cousim.

To Roscoff. 3rd July, 49 miles.

A disappointing, difficult sail. Forecasts were for light winds, NW F3/4. We knew it might well be a moyor sailing job. Leaving Lézardrieux on this leg is always difficult with the strong tidal stream around Ile de Bréhat. The bottom is very uneven making for frequently rough seas. After passing the lighthouse , Les Heaux de Bréhat, it usually gets easier. On this occasion the wind started be being sailable but, instead of freein it tightened up and increased to a top F4, bottom F5. Entering the Baie de Morlaix, we sailed for about 2 hours but heading to Roscoff, it was mor motoring.

On the AIS, it looked line an armada approaching. However it is a large marina with plenty of visitors arriving. Ours is right at the end of the pontoon, about 200 metres to the shower block.

At Roscoff

First, Derek arrived, single handed on a HR34, Juniper. We had met him briefly at Lézardrieux. We had drinks on his boat followed by a meal at the excellent, well priced Brasserie. He was followed by a German yacht with the appropriate name, Festina Lente.

The holding tank saga

With typical Swedish/Hallberg Rassy efficiency, our holding tank valve was waiting for us on arrival – Sunday. We hoped to get it fixed equally promptly but had forgotten that Monday is a day of rest for many French people, at least in the areas that we know. So, on Tuesday I went to the local shipyard (Chantier Naval) only to be met by a blunt, rather rude refusal even to think about it. Ignoring Jennifer’s protestations – forget it, wait until we are back home – I got some telephone numbers fro the capitainerie. I managed to get over our requirement- stretching my French to the limit to someone with zero English. We agreed that he would come at 1400 – which he duly did. We were then entertained to a series of imprecations which we did not understand- except that it wa a difficult job. I had looked at it and failed at the first hurdle. However, he came promptly, as promised and did the job. We then replaced floor boards in the locker an packed everything away. Thinking about a nice long, cold G&T, Jennifer tried the tap only to fid that the water pump was not working. Unpack the locker, remove the floor board, find the missing connection, re[lace floor board …….. We really did need that G&T!

Market day in Roscoff is Wednesday, tides and winds look good for Thursday to keeve forL’Aber Wrac’h. Before leaving it was good to meet old HROA friends Richard and Jane Ogden on Musketeer, HR37. We have net then here in previous years. Perhaps we are all creatures of habit. They were going eastwards.

To L’Aber Wrac’h. 7th July, 36 miles.

As usual, we motored through the tortuous Chenal de Batz and then had a pleasant sail for about 3 hours before the wind died. The marina was full so we had to raft (a couple in French) outside another yacht. We asked where they had come from – Iceland. That was a show stopper.

At L’Aber Wrac’h

We walked up to Landeda for shopping, about 3/4 hour. The bus back should have left at 1139 according to the timetable starting from today. However, it came at the previous, i.e. yesterday’s timetable. The driver asked where were getting off. I said Port de Plaisance, about 3 minutes. He did not charge. Two of life’s great mysteries.

To Anse de Berteaune. 9th July, 27 miles.

A midday start dictated by the tides. From L’Aber Wrac’h it pays to buck the last of the east going Channel tide in order to get the maximum benefit of the south going tide through the Chenal du Four, a renowned tidal gate. It was a good wind giving a nearly door to door sail although the first 12 miles down the Chenal were a difficult dead run. There are some free mooring buoys in the Anse and we decided it as better to use these than divert to Camaret for the night. We had hoped that the sea breeze effect would die away to give a calm night. To some extent it did but the wind continued through the night, never quite dying away – until day break.

To Audierne. 10th July, 28 miles.

This passage is through the short but rightly feared Raz de Sein famed for the many photos of waves breaking over the lighthouse and nearby cardinal beacon. We have always taken it in moderate conditions and today was no exception. It was one of the smoothest that we have ever enjoyed. After a fairly windy night we had hoped for a decent wind. It was initially but crossing the Irouse the wind died. We then motored the rest of the way. The approach up the river to Audierne used to be a pilotage challenge with leading and stern transit in a double fog leg. No more. It is buoyed all the way. As ever the harbourmaster helped by taking lines. It is always a delight being here in this Breton Working town which is also a tourist attraction. The flower displays all round the harbour cannot be beaten anywhere. This is our favourite and we have spent much time here over the years,

To Loctudy 14th July, 30 miles.

Starting with a course of 160 degrees across the bay to Pointe de Panmarc’h and finishing with due north to reach the approach channel, we rarely are able to sail most of the way. Today was an exception with a good, F4-5 northerly. Had the boat been handled better, we might even have been able to bear the last short leg. Good wind, wall to wall sunshine! One of the crowd helping us in were off Laykin, a Westerly Consort first met several years ago in L’Aber Wrac’h. Cruising/sailing is a small world. We have met Stuart and Pamela several time over the years.

At Loctudy

I had my formal final consultation with Mr Chong following is successful hernia operation. He was a little surprised at what we are doing but saw it as a god sign of tecovery. The big minus at Loctudy id that the two boulangeries seem incapable of producing good croissants or pain au raisin. Otherwise, their patisseries and quiches are OK. However, in season, it is possible to order croissants and baguettes at the marina. The croissants here were excellent. The plus is a takeaway creperie on a par with that at Locmichelic. Met HR352 owners. John. Janet and Rebecca Thorne. John had been a RYA coach many years ago. He remembered our daughter, Jayne from that period. We are awaiting a westerly wind to move on. It is very hot although, by comparison with inland places, not extraordinarily so. A change is on the way but may bring thunderstorms although not yet mentioned by Météo France.

To Locmiquélic. 19th July. 36 miles.

As I expected, the day started thundery although why this was not mentioned by Météo France yesterday evening is a mystery. However, this morning, they did predict, rightly that the storms would soon clear to give a fine day. In the event winds were a little stronger than expected and remains almost dead astern until approaching the Lorient channel buoys. The result was a fast, rpllicking run with much “corkscrewing”. Uncomfortable with winds reaching F6. The marina boatmen answered our call promptly and showed us to a berth. Most marinas have free WiFi but this is one of the few where it actually works well.

At Locmiquélic

The quiet, sleepy village seemed even quieter that we remembered over the past few years. That is why we like it; no tourists, just people and sailors getting on with life. A major loss is the takeaway creperie which is now closed due to age and illness. It was one of the best we have ever met. The black cat still makes use of the marina office during the day as her adopted home. Best guess of marina staff is that she is about 15 tears old and (like us) is looking her age. Shopping is adequate with some good quality items in the Cocci supermarket. The Friday market is small but good.

To Port Haliguen. 23rd July, 25 miles.

We had intended going on Friday but the sea breeze heating was predicted to give strong winds and Météo France had a F6 in the forecast. Known it was market day helped the decision to wait a day despite a forecast of very light winds on the 23rd. So it was!. Motoring all the way. Port Haliguen has had a lengthy, protracted face lift. It is now rather antiseptic in nature. Instead of three or four eateries with different appearances, there is now a square block with four establishments looking different only in name. Admittedly it is late July but it does suggest some lack of forward planning. The capitainerie is in another square, concrete block.

We were put in the basin a flot which means that we will have to move the boat tomorrow so as to be able to leave at a sensible time for Piriac, or next destination. We had thought about staying 3 nights but two will be enough!

At Port Haliguen

By 1000 in the morning, these were fully booked for the evening. On Sunday, by 1000, all restaurants were fully booked. We had an excellent galette and crepe meal at the Creperir du Port, by the old harbour. A saving grace is a small boulangerie right by the capitainerie – as ever, closed on Mondays. Moderate croissants, excellent pain céreal. A second is the small alimentation in the old port.

When the tide was high enough, we moved into the basin east of the main complex. The boatman was most helpful and clear in his directions and a permanent resident yachtsman helped by taking lines and helping generally.

To Piriac sur mer/ 25th July. 27 iles/

Not our best day. Forecasts were NW-W 4/5. It was a bad start. With a strong wind nearly dead astern, we tried running just under headsail. Bad idea because we gybed without tightening the genoa sheets and the sail promptly wrapped itself around the forestay. Trying to unwrap it sailing made it worse. It took us about 30 minutes to sort it out. Wiser, we hoisted the main with one reef and half a genoa. To avoid uncomfortable running in a F6/6, we did a succession of reaches, going north of Ile Dumet on the fibal leg. Approaching Piriac, the wind increased further to F7 with with strong gusts. With several others approaching the boatman clearly did not want us hanging around sorting lines and fender. We had got some in place. He kindly gave us an upwind berth and told us which side to. With some scrambling we just got enough fenders and line in place.

By 2230 the wind was still howling. <<][[<<,?

At Piriac sur mer

This is one of our many favourites. Although a holiday resort much of the town is unspoilt with narrow streets and traditional buildings with walls over ½ metre thick, The market three times a week (Mon, Wed, Sat) is both extensive and high quality. The boulamgerie near the port and the boucherie/traiteur are top class. Access depends on draft, HW +/- 4 with our 2 m although I keep it to +/- 3.

It is a good place to observe the diurnal sea/land breezes. On light wind days a light NE early morning wind become SW by noon and veers NW later becoming strong. Recently, we have had moderate W starting the day becoming strong to near gae by evening and dying slowly. We are awaiting a light wind start to let us get across to Le Palais, Belle Ile, probably motoring, before a strong SW sets in. Friday is our planned date but GRIB models are not good at this level of detail.

Brexit and Covid have combine to reduce greatly the numbers of British yachts these last three years, So, it was a great pleasure to get a knock on the boat, Tui, with Martin and Barbara, is a Moody 376 that we have met several times over the years and who habe family connections with othet boats that we know. These chance meetings are one of the joys of sailing.

We had a great pizza dinner in the town. Most tasty, with the thinnest base and no surrounding crust that is so often indigestible.

A “first” in the market was to buy a creamy Gorgonzola being sold by scoops in little tubs. Great chhese!

To Le Palais, 29th July. 25 miles.

With no change in the overall pattern of northerlies, we have to move. This was a light wind day that might just be sailable. In the event, after a 7am start, we motored 4 hours and saild the last 6 miles slow. In the past, we have used waiting buoys south of the entrance but these all now seem to be private. All the waiting buoys outside the entrance were taken so we had to anchor to wait for the basin a flot to open.

The marina said to wait until they came and called us in. However, I was a little worried that weighing the anchor might take longer with my age and the manual winch so we rather jumped the gun. In fact it was easier than I had anticipated so we were in the first few to enter the basin a flot. This is always interesting as it can be crowded with little turning space. But, the boat boys here are masters at helping everyone. Two in concert can spin a boar round in its own length.

At Le Palais

Like many busy ferry terminals, it is a rather scruffy town with hordes of people carrying rucksacks or wheeling luggage. Interesting rather than attractive except for the magnificent Vauban fort. While there the container ship arrived the somehow squeezes through the lock which looks narrow to us. The crew hang yacht size fenders over the side. Ferries probably bring most provisions, the ship carries bulk items with sand being the most obvious.

There is a market most days, sometimes just a dew stalls, many boulangeries/patisseries, a good boucher/traiteur, a small Spar close to the basin a flot and a smaller Super U.

Back to Locmiquelic. 2nd August, 25 miles.

An excellent forecast! As predicted we had about 3 hours sailing in a steady, gentle breeze which then died to virtually zero. A call to the marina gave us a berth, probably for 3 or 4 nights. By then a sailable NE should get us back to Loctudy. Here we might meet up with Gemini and our old friends, Ross, Wei Wei and family. We have hardly seen any British boats this year and not many other nationalities. Brexit is making it difficult for the Brits. Maybe the hangover of Covid is deterring others.

Back to Loctuy agsin 6th August, 37 miles.

A near perfect sail – as forecast. For much of the way we had a broad teach, NE, F4/5 with a flat sea and cloudless sky. About 7 miles short, the wind died – much as forecast. For once, there was no reply on VHF but we found a berth – few left.

To our surprise, Ross and family arrived from Audierne on Gemini, a much latger boat than ours. It was good to see them all again. No doubt we will see more of them over the next couple of days. A new feature here is the mew bar/café by yhe ferry terminal. Bread can be ordered and the croissants are particularly good.

We had two meals on Gemini, went to market with them and hitched a ride for heavies bought at the supermarket about a km away.

Back to Audierne. 10th August, 29 miles.

The GRIB forecasts of light winds becoming lighter was far better than Météo France blanket NE becoming NW 4 to 4. But, of course, they have to cover large areas in few words. We arrived at about HW-3 with a strong flood despite the moderate tidal coefficient. Staying for a few days, they gave us a finger berth, not a hammerhead. The approach was difficult and we brushed along a bot on e downstream pontoon. Unfortunately, he had an outboard engine mounted facing oitwards instread of astern. A loose piece of material ftom our life sling caught the clamp and broke a small part. We quickly agreed a price for a replacement.

This is still one of, if not our most, favourite ports anywhere. Even in a heat wave it still has much to commend it. Forecasts suggest moving on Sunday to Camaret and on to L’Aber Wrac’h on Wednesday, maybe Tuesday.

At Audierne

We had met Andromeda, an older Ovni with Steve and Mariane several time since Lézaedeieux. They had come from Loctudy the previous day. With more time pressures but also a lifting keel they decided to move on before we could think ot possible. Forecasts seem unusually uncertain with marked differences from one run to the next. It looks as though we will miss market day here but, even by early evening we are still not sure.

Because of the drought all the lovely flowers around the harbour had been removed as they are normally, constantly watered. We have never seen this before.

To Camaret, 13th August. 29 miles

We made an early start in order to leave Audierne at slack HW. Yhay meant picking up a buoy in Ste Evette. Slack water at the dreaded Raz de Sein was about 1300 and it was a big tide. However, with light winds it was another smooth passage. After the Raz we headed for the Passe de Toulinget. On the charts this looks tricky and may be in bad weather with the impressive Tas des Pois not far away. We have always gone through in fine weather.

Camaret has improved over the recent years and a call on VHF9 gets a helpful response. We were shepherded tp a berth. On the debit side, the showers and toilets are in a dungeon probably designed by Vauban. We use the on-board shower and holding tank.

We had hoped to anchor off but Météo France came up with a well justified forecast of thunderstorms. We had our first rain for a long time with violent gusts.

At Camaret

It as a grey start with rain left over from the storms.

This very much a tourist town and always seems a little scruffy. There are good boulangeries but, over the years, other food shops have given way to a Super U. Forecasts are still difficult and unusually uncertain. Departure is planned for about 1230 Monday.


To L’Aber Wrac’h again.15th August. 35 miles.

Weather wise, we were not quite sure what to expect. In the event we had a good fast sail across the Gouulet de Brest before the wind died going up the Chenal du Four, a well known tidal gateway that has to be treated with respect. From the northern end of the Chenalm as so often seems to happen, we had a good sailing wind right up to the marina. As ever the boatmen showed us to a berth. Again as so often here we had to raft out, “A couple” in French. We were hailed by Derek on HR34, Juniper, last seen in Roscoff.

At L’Aber Wrac’h

This is an old favourite port with its wild surroundings and spectacular scenery. It is a good place to sit and wait to see when grandson Max might arrive. First thought was to move to a catway (French for a finger pontoon.) This was accomplished easily. Then it was a case of deciding how best to handle the WiFi roaming problem, a casually of Brexit. Wednesday, tomorrow, is market day in Lannilis where tghere is at least one large supermarket where I should be able to nuy a French SIM card. For tonight, we booked a meal at the ever reliable Captain creperie.

Return to Roscoff. 22ns August, 32 miles.

We had intended going on the preceding day, Sunday but, despite Metéo France saying a few showers near rge Pointe de Bretagne, we awoke to rain, fog and a radar showing rain spreading to all the area. Even by midday, the French Met service had not adjusted their forecast, On Monday, we had, at least a dey start with some sunshine but little wind after 21/2 hours we had enough wind to sail the rest of the way in rather misty conditions..

At Roscoff

We now wait for Max to come from Paris. Meanwhile, a nasty shock, the excellent small brasserie has now closed for meals. They only do drinks but do provide croissants (excellent), pain au chocolat and baguettes. Another disappointment is that Ross and family are now unlikely to get here before we leave.

Back to Lézardrieux. 25 August, 48miles.

Not wanting to remain at Roscoff, this was a force majeure because wind were forecast to become strong easterly. Although we had the right wind direction, force was insufficient and we had to motor-sail. We got the timing correctly and arrived at Lezardrieux just as the tid was turning downriver. A call to he marina got us a berth near o the area now used for vessels servicing the St Brieuc wind farm construction.

At Lézardrieux

From te forecasts it was clear that we would be here for about a week. We settled down to a routine of getting croissants or pains au raisin for breakfast, a trip to the small but good Super U and the excellent boucherie. Max was intent on trying as many patés as possible. We took the bus to Paimpol for an excellent lunch and a walk around the town and the nearby coast. We also did some walking around Lézaedrieux.

Initially forecasts suggested that we could get to St Peter Port on Friday, 2nd September and on to Dartmouth. However, that became a non-starter and a passage direct to the Dart on Saturday became the preferred option. As at noon, 31st, that is still the case.

The return Darthaven. 3rd September, 98 miles.

The decision was whether to go down the Trieux at midnight on a very dark cloudy night, with no mon, knowing that there are few lights and many unlit marks, moored boats and other obstructions, or at midday and cross the shipping lanes, again with pitch black conditions. However, best wind conditions determined a midnight start.

Jenifer was on the helm, Max on the bow with a spotlight with me monitoring positions on the iPad navigator. The river has gentle curves so we made slow but safe progress. Out at sea, past Ile Bréhat, the wind started a little fine on the bow but quickly freed to become a very broad reach. Strength increased and one, then two reefs were put in. The shipping lanes which were as busy as usual but keeping up a good speed made it easy to judge clearance distances. The wind eased and reefs shaken out. About 20 miles from the Dart, the wind strengthened again op to a F6/7. It also started to rain making visibility poor and entry not easy.

As ever it has been an interesting cruise with many highlights. Max joining us late on was a major plus despite his lack of sailing experience.

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