On this page

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 2018

A slightly fraught start as our daughter has a detached retina operation which delayed our departure. We now hope to cast off from Darthaven on Monday, 21st May for St Peter Port intending to join a HROA rally n 26th May.

After that it will be our usual summer of Brittany, the Vendee, Charente Maritime meeting old friends and probably meeting some new ones.

Ports of call.

St Peter Port
St Helier
St Cast
L’Aber Wrac’h
St Pabu, Wber Benoit

To St Peter Port/ 21 May, 77 miles.

A pleasant sail, if a trifle murky with visibility around 3-5 miles generally. A nice NE 3-4 generally but dropped off in the shipping lanes so motored to keep a constant speed. No alarums or excursions.

Overnighted on the outside pontoons. We had hoped to visit Dielette but wind direction and tide times were far from ideal. Will stay put waiting for the HROA rally starting next weekend.

We met Trevor and Kay Parrish, CA members on Moonbow, their Moody Eclipse. We were not the first HROA boat to arrive. Kudu, Ariana and Saltmead. Fifteen are expected in total.

On Sunday most of us walked along the coast path to Fermain Bay for a lunch. The evening was dinner at the rather laid back Guernsey Sailing Club. Very pleasant. Apart from a brief early morning shower, we missed the worst of the thundery showers. We did meet a racing boat from Plymouth who had met 50 kn gusts to the south of the island.

To St Helier. 29th May. 26 miles

Wuth St Peter Port HW at 0700 and optimum departure time 1200, we got out of the marina to make it easy for others. It was a very fast sail in s good F5 NE as far as La Corbiere Lighthouse. Along the S coast of Jersey, the wind increased and was too tight to sail. After a while, like all the others, had to give a “coup de moteur” as the wind increased to a good F6/7.

Everyone arrived safely. The marina staff were very helpful in shepherding us in. The forecast seems to be stuck in string NE’lies with some mist but also thundery showers.

We had an excellent dinner at the Royal Channel Isles YC on the Wednesday evening.

To St Cast. 1st June. 42 miles.

A good fast sail as far as the NW Minquiers cardinal buoy. Slow after that so that we all had to motorail. The Jersey forecast was certainly good.As a group, St Cast has put us on the outside of the wave breaker. This can be uncomfortable when small day boats come in and leave – especially at 0400.

We walked around the delightful coastal path into town still as pleasant a N Breton town as any. Good views, good beach, good enough shopping. Tides and weather suggest leaving Monday for Lezardrieux will be fine.

On Sunday we walked in the opposite direction around the headland by the marina and back into the town. It seems a well-to-do area with many large houses, some wth spectacular views. The final rally dinner at the adjacent fish restaurant was a most pleasant occasion – apart from the most impressive thunderstorm and torrential rain. Luckily it cesased, more or less, just before we had to get back on board.

A nice touch was the supply of three photos taken by the marina. Most thoughtful and much appreciated.

To Lezaedrieux. 4th June. 35 miles.

It was a miserable day with forecasts of Averses, parfois orageuse from both Meteo France and Jersey Met – despite there being no sign of lightning on the lighting websites. In fact there was fairly steady, mainly light rain for much of the passage. I could not help thinking that both sets of forecasters were simply following their computer output and not looking at what was actually happening.

After a couple of hours motoring we had a good fast sail with the wind touching F6 as we approached the Ferlas Channel . As the visibility was poor, we dropped the main to get down to a comfortable speed through this rather complex approach with its many buoys and beacons.

As ever the marina responded to a call for a berth. A disappointment was that the ladies showers were out of order. The choice was a longish walk to the main shower block or both to use the men’s showers. These were hot but extremely cramped. C’est la vie croisiere!

Forecasts seem good for a day here before the passage to Roscoff.

To Roscoff. 6th June. 47 miles.

Even with a neap tide there can be a strong flow through the pontoons with some odd eddies near the outer end where we were. A French boat left early and did all the wrong things. He got into a right mess – no damage, luckily. We left it until midday, an hour before HW – there was a strong wind blowing up our transom and the British boat alongside was making dire comments about wind and tide, he was leaving it until morning. In the event we made a perfect departure, quite elegant – the Brunton Autoprop is magnificent going astern.

After a breezy motosail down river we reached the Moisie beacon a little after HW and had a quietly, reasonably fast sail to Rocoff only motoring the last 2 miles getting sails down and fenders out.

In the marina office, I only had to say Anhinga and the lady recognised us. Famous or infamous, who knows.

David and Fiona were already here on Saltmead, their HR36 having left the rally before St Cast in order to return to the UK for a wedding. We expect to see them further down after they return.

Wind direction and tide times necessitate moving on fairly quickly – hopefully tomorrow, Friday. It looks as though we may be able to have a few days in L’Aber Wrac’h before heading south through the Chenal du Four.

Before leaving, we met Northern Song, HR342, with David and May Richards.

To L’Aber Wrac’h. 8th June. 36 miles.

After a misty morning visibility improved. The forecast was for thundery showers but these seemed unlikely. Visibility was “moyen sauf sur precipitation.” Reassured, we left. We had a nice wind through the Chenal de Batz but visibility the deteriorated to become fog. The wind also decreased to make motoring a necessity to avoid being out in the dark and fog.

All went well until after the Libenter WCM. Navigation was radar and GPS. We dimly saw the first two port hand markers, Jennifer caught a glimpse of Le Petit Pot de Beurre. Then we hit something nasty. I had been watching our position carefully but was attending to matters such as lines and fenders. A few seconds loss of concentration and we were on the wrong side of a green buoy which we had not seen.

Everything seems OK in the boat – apart from the refrigerator not working – maybe coincidental – however we have booked a lift out for Monday. We seem fated at L’Aber Wrac’h. This is where Jennifer cracked her hip two years ago – the capitainerie still remembers that.

Here we met Jonathan and Rona on their beautifully kept Moody 31, Ichthus and Australian Bill, based in Brixham, Devon on Black Pearl. Eating at the Captain, we foun that we were sitting by someone born and who lived in Sale, our home town, when it was in Cheshire and not part of Greater Manchester.

Haul out and check at L’Aber Wrac’h

The system is that a tractor pushes a low loading cradle into the sea and you drive the boat towards it. A little unnerving because all you see is the front post of the low loader and have to hope that it is straight behind the tractor.

After being hauled out, the damage at first sight did not seem too extensive. Bits of keel that could be made good, a shallow scratch under the hull, the keel fridge heat exchanger plate had gone. However, Francois Begoc, from Chantier Naval des Abers was more perceptive.

We called in the Pantaenius surveyor, Dominique Breton. His advice was to get the boat to the Chantiier. He said that the keel would have to be removed to check the keel bolts although he thought these would, in fact be OK. Some cracking around the keel would need sealing. Francois said it would take about 2 months – largely because of the need to dry out the GRP before remedial work around the hull

To St Pabu, Aber Benoit. 12th June. 8 miles.

We motored round from L’Aber Wrac’h into the complexity of rocks and islets of the Aber Benoit entrance. We have always heard that this is the most attractive of the Abers and it lived up to expectation. Many moorings but no facilities. Arriving at St Pabu, Francois shepherded us to a mooring buoy.

At Chantier Naval des Abers, St Pabu

Haul out at the Chantier was another new experience. Early the next morning Francois came out to take us alongside posts to which he attached us with great care, making sure that as the tide went down we would sit upright on the bottom. At low water, a low loader was pushed down under the boat and we were then hauled up the beach. They put Anhinga in their area used for washing down and scrubbing. Interestingly, with the boat standing on the keel and kept secure to the wall, there no complications such as with a travel-lift type hoist and cleaning would be complete. Of course, with us on board, there were other supports.

We agreed to stay on the boat until we could leave. The secretary arranged our ferry from Roscoff on Sunday and said no need for a taxi. Francois would drive us! At the yard, there are toilets and a very hot shower that we could use as well as a washing machine and dryer. Everyone is most helpful and we met other. local sailors who spoke highly of Francois.

The “town” is more dead than alive just now although it probably comes more alive in July/August. There is a good but inexpensive restaurant/creperie within 100 metres and a bar that has some bread but no croissants. There is a Superette/Proxi about 2km, 20 minutes, walk away. That is all. It must be one of the few sizeable villages that cannot support a boulangerie. The bread at the Proxi looked OK but it is a little far for breakfast croissants.

The St Pabu website claims to be the Perle des Abers. That is so visually on the river shore but somewhat of an exaggeration a few metres away from the water.


Return to Home Page