June 04, 2008
The blog for ‘Dulcibella’ Cornish Crabber 24 Mk1
June 05, 2008
Vessel name: Dulcibella Single-handed
0940 Thursday June 5th 2008, depart Isles of Scilly for Brest.
Distance 125 miles ETA Brest 1200 hrs Friday 6th June
Tidal gate: Need to be at the northern end of the ‘Channal de Four’ by 0800 on Friday 6th June to catch the start of the ebb.
Wind NW 3-4 Full sail, dead downwind.
Blue sky, moderate sea and slight swell.
Keel raised to reduce roll.
Good speed 5 knots, beautful sailing weather.
A great start with near perfect conditions for my first channel crossing to Brest. As I watched the islands disappear slowly behind me I called Falmouth Coastguard for a radio check. They said my transmission was readable but weak. I then decided to call my work mates aboard the freighter ‘Gry Maritha’ which was about 7 miles east of me having just discharged her cargo at St Mary’s and now heading back to Penzance. Skipper Dave had a quick chat with me and confirmed they were receiving my transmission loud and clear. It was good to know this and I was happy now that my radio was transmitting properly. Time for lunch.
A fair bit of shipping encountered outside of the traffic seperation schemes, mainly tankers thundering along. I was crossing at 90 degrees to them and they all behaved themselves. Autopilot coping well with a big following swell and light seas. Received Radio Cornwall until 50 miles out. I was using a basic Garmin ‘E’ Trex handheld GPS to assist with navigating as I was waiting for a second replacement chart plotter after having had continual problems with a fogging screen. I had arranged for the replacement to be sent to Brest Marina and I was looking forward to having access to the extra instant info a chart plotter gives you in the cockpit, especially when single-handed.
Had to motor sail after midnight to keep up a steady speed across the busy Ouessant shipping lanes ahead. Wind now light and astern with a strong tidal set to thw SW. 0032 The loom of a flashing light across the cockpit quickly got my attention as I was looking at my chart below. I beleive it is a NE mark for the shipping lanes, it was quarter of a mile away but seemed much closer in the darkness. Not on my new Imray chart, I had been watching it earlier but thought it was much further away so relaxed and took my eye of it. I was expecting one 16 miles further on which did appeared as expected. Must check my chart for updates. I think they have added an extra or wider shipping lane in recent years and this was a new mark. Surprising how easy it is to assume the light is further away than it is in the blackness. Wind still light NW 2.
0430 The welcome sight of Le Stiff Light House on Oussant clearly visible. A lovely sunrise with cloud forming over the land to port. 0630 The Brittany coast and Ille Verge light house off L’aberwrach to port. Getting set East by a strong tide and an increasing swell, 10 miles to the tidal gate at Channal de Four. Perfect timing.
1000 At the southern end of the Channal de Four, 9 knots over the ground in last hour. Blue sky, slight sea and swell, wind NW2 still so still motor sailing. Overfalls ahead off Pointe Saint-Mathieu and the French Navy exercising.
1020 Turned for the approaches to the Goulet de Brest after the overfalls at Pointe Sainte-Mathieu. Some refreshing spray over the boat to wake me up a little. Unfortunately having the tide with you down the Channal de Four means when you turn for Brest you then have a strong ebb against you all the way in to Brest. Tired just want to get in now, stowed jib and staysail, motor sailing with just the main against a 2 knot ebb which becomes 3 in the narrow Goulet de Brest before it opens up into the Rade de Brest. Its a long way against the tide and tiredness is taking over, clouds are forming and its turning grey. 1200 Passing Brest. The final approach to Brest Moulin Blanc Marina with the nearby Naval and commercial dockyards is not very inspiring from seaward and it looks like there is a busy road behind the marina.
1245 Very tired now, nearly at the dredged entrance channel and studying the chart depths carefully. Manage to drag myself forward and stow the main in a now fresh and gusty N wind, the auto pilot struggling to keep head to wind against the still strong ebb. There is a strong set across the entrance channel as I motor slowly in, but it is a relatively easy entrance.
1345 Finding the visitors pontoon was straight forward and I rafted up alongside a German yacht who helped with my lines. I feel very wind burnt as it has been 29 hrs and 138 miles since departing from Scilly. The sun is shining again now but I am too tired to do much but do find the fuel berth on the way to the Bureau du Port and get directions for the Super Marche and showers, before stumbling back aboard to relax and phone home to report my safe arrival. A second replacement chart plotter was waiting for me at reception as promised. Unfortunately though on opening the box the screen fogged up straight away, but it did clear after a couple of hours and was used for the rest of the trip. Made myself some pasta and had a glass of wine before my over tired brain allowed me to think about jobs for tommorrow. Had a little walk around to get my bearings and flopped into my bunk by 2100hrs for a well earned sleep. A less tiring passage for single-handers or short crewed yachts crossing from the south west end of the English Channel would be to make a Brittany landfall at L’aberwrach or Camaret, or just anchor up for some rest and wait for a fair tide through the Goulet de Brest. It is quite a slog against the ebb up to Brest and requires near full throttle if motor sailing with a modest inboard engine. Thankfully once inside the Marina it is soon apparent that it is an attractive and pleasant part of Brest and the nearby dockyards are hardly noticed. It offers good shelter and the road spotted from seaward does not cause any noise pollution.
June 07, 2008
Saturday 7th June, Moulin Blanc Marina, Brest A full 12 hours sleep last night, bliss! Followed by a very leisurely breakfast. Feeling a lot brighter and upbeat today. Topped up the 20 litre fuel tank from the fuel remaining in my spare fuel cans and headed to the fuel berth to replenish them. I always carry two 10 litre cans when cruising. This allows me to have enough fuel onboard to motor the entire distance if needed. The trusty new Beta 16HP uses a about 1 to 1.5 litres per hour depending on tides, to maintain five knots, giving me 30 hrs motoring or a range of around 150 miles. Fortunately there was an English voice option for the instructions at the self service fuel berth. I really must make the effort to learn some french one day. It was 33 euros for 19 litres, about the same as home. Messy jobs out of the way I headed for the showers. Feeling quite dehydrated even though I drank plenty of water all the way over. On looking around with fresh eyes I was impressed by how well organised the whole place is and a real hive of activity at weekends. Spotted ‘Lord Jim’ a french flagged charter yacht that regularly sails to Scilly each season, on one of the inner pontoons. There is a large area given over to watersports academy training large groups of youngsters sailing, canoeing, rowing etc. No wonder the french are good sailors. It really is a nice place to stop for a while and is most welcoming to visiting yachtsmen, a very friendly place overall. There is also free Wifi and a chandlery which is a bit on the pricey side, but at least they have one. There is a good selection of restaurants and a busy Marina Bar Restaurant called ‘Le Toute de Monde’. On saturday nights all they serve is Moules Frittes! Highly recommended. I shared a table here with Ekhard, the German yachtsman who had helped take my lines when I arrived. He was alone on his Halberg Rassey ‘Anna K’, waiting for a new crew to arrive. He spoke good English and French and had been here for a couple of nights. I will be departing for Camaret tommorrow and Ekhard was hoping to do the same on monday if his crew arrived. He eventually wants to get to Falmouth and possibly the Isles of Scilly. He was in no rush though as he was retired and had three months left of the four he had allocated for sailing this year. He was very interested in ‘Dulcibella’ and came aboard to take photos, admiring the simplicity of sailing a smaller boat. The other benefit of a smaller boat was it only cost me 28 euros for two nights! Much cheaper than any UK marinas, and much more friendly than many to. There had been a few heavy showers earlier in the evening, but they were long gone now and the forecast was for light northerlies tommorrow. I found my bunk again by 2200 hrs.
June 08, 2008
Up at 0800 Its time to depart and explore the ‘Rade de Brest’ before heading down to Camaret 10 miles away. A quick walk up to the ‘Marche de Port’ to stock up on bread and other essentials. A foggy start this morning but the sun soon makes an appearance and things are warming up. A leisurely coffee with warm croisants and jam for breakfast. The weather is beautiful with a blue sky and light Northerly 2-3 wind. Sat in the cockpit watching the world go by. I am well rested now after my long passage to Brest but keen to move on. It has been an enjoyable stay and I would certainly come here again. Ekhard on ‘Anna K’ is looking a little rough this morning as he introduces me to his new crew. An australian who has sailed with him before. There is no rush to leave so long as I catch the ebb down to Camaret around 12 noon. Although it is not essential for such a short hop in fair weather.
1130 A nice civilised departure from Brest Marina and the prospect of a gentle afternoon sail down to Camaret. 1230 Ready to explore the Famous Rade de Brest after an hour ‘hove to’ outside the dredged marina entrance channel, adjusting the running rigging for the topsail (it had been fouling the raising of the mainsail). Of at 5 knots under full sail on a broad reach towards the southern shores of the famous ‘Rade de Brest’. A truly impressive stretch of sheltered water that suddenly opens up as you approach from seaward through the narrow Goulet de Brest. Perfect lazy sailing while eating a pre-prepared lunch as the auto-pilot takes charge. Navigating the ‘Rade’ is simple pilotage in these conditions and a cursory glance at the chart and chart plotter is all thats required to identifty the various buoys and marks. I pass gently by Ile Ronde and cross the approaches to the river Oulne towards the French Naval areas. Lovely scenery despite the siting of a major naval base here. I can imagine the whole area full of square riggers and gaffers during the Brest Maritime Festival in a month or two. Lots of local yachts out enjoying a sunday sail. I had thought about going up the ‘Aulne’ and mooring for the night, but decided to leave it for another time. I enjoy the sailing so much that I leave it until 1300 to go through the Goulet de Brest and experience some strong eddies here. They cause no problems though and I have a gentle tacking dual with a local yacht just ahead. The high sided shores also providing some interesting wind shifts. There are a few interesting anchorages I spot along the northern shore including one between the moorings at Pte du Dellec. The replacement chart plotter making it a lot easier to identify them. Passed two big old gaffers motoring out of Cameret, who waved enthusiastically at my little gaffer. A few big power boats also came flying out and passed close by, sending out the usual giant wakes. Some things just dont change. Arrived at Cameret ‘Port Vauban’ outer marina at 1542, a little sun burnt after a very memorable sail. With sails stowed and fenders and ropes ready both sides I motored carefully around the pontoons looking for spaces, taking care not to end up in a dead end I couldnt turn around in. It pays to know your boats limitations and be ready for anything when you are single-handed and have a bowsprit sticking out. Fortunately ‘Dulcibella’ is very maneuvreable with the centre plate down.I even looked at the inner harbour Marina but it looked a bit busy, although there was probably less movement there. I slid gracefully into a nice big alongside berth that I had been hailed to by other yachtsmen and two english men took my lines. It was a sheltered inner pontoon and I also managed to berth head to wind, perfect. It was immediately apparent I was the smallest boat by a long way, with the average probably being 45-50 feet and some much bigger. They told me it had been very busy and does get very busy over weekends. Lots of British yachts here waiting for weather to head further south. There is a convenient self service fuel berth and water on all pontoons. The outer breakwater pontoon tends to move around a lot and therefore the gangway makes a lot of loud graunching noises even in this light wind and swell. I would imagine the fuel berth which is also on this outer pontoon, can get a bit lively when there is a big sea running. It would certainly be unwise to berth on the outside of it in anything but calm weather. The harbour launch quickly appeared and the friendly mooring officer relieved me of 14 euros for a one night stay. Great value, although it is a bit of a walk to the town, but quite an impressive one. As the tide rises you definately feel like you are at sea here as the pontoons move gently in a light swell. Some great world girdling yachts to look at here. There is a small harbour office which displays a weather forecast in the window, but is quite often locked. The main Harbour office is a short walk away on the town water front. This is manned during office hours and showers and a laundry can also be found here. There is a gangway opposite leading to the inner harbour pontoons which are more convenient for the town and ‘super marche’, as well as being more protected from swell in rougher weather. Deep keeled yachts might want to check the depths here though before committing. I was happy being at the more exposed outer marina as the weather was forecast to remain fair, with more light northerlies. A quick explore around the town and a Pizza at one of the many waterfront restaurants and back to the boat. Spoke to Sara, they had no wind in Scilly today but it is freshening a little here to a N 3-4, but still warm. Another single-hander in a Sadler 26 had come in while I was up in the town. He was on his way to Majorca from Holyhead and had just crossed from Newlyn. The evening also saw my thoughts turn to planning the next passage. Baie de Lampoul anchorage on Ouessant was 30 miles away and looked favourite with the predicted northerly winds.
June 09, 2008
0800 A slow start today, didnt sleep well with the gangway to the fuel pontoon graunching and creaking in the higher winds last night. The northerly winds seem to sweep through the outer harbour. Not so fresh on the town water front. I always anchor or pick up a mooring in my home waters and miss that peace and quiet. You forget how noisey marinas can be. Ekhard on ‘Anna-K’ with his new Australian crew arrived from Brest at lunchtime. Says hes departing for L’aberwrach tommorrow at 0630.
Very hot walking to town today but managed to find a large super march’e. Unfortunately had to walk all the way back in again after forgetting to go to the cashpoint for some money. Sausages, nice bread and salad for dinner. Invited onboard an English Jeaneau Sun Oddysey 40-3 beside me for pre dinner drinks. Even had coasters. Another couple were also invited who had an ‘Ovni’ and know Scilly well. Lots of questions about Scilly. Left after an hour to start cooking my own dinner.
June 10, 2008
Up at 0600 and the forecast light northerly 2-3 breeze started at 0615. Blue sky again, good visibility, slight sea, no swell. No wind last night but still lots of creaking from gangway, didnt sleep very deeply again. Time to move on today, hoping to get to Ouessant for a night or two. Its 30 miles to the ‘Baie de Lampaul’ anchorage on the southern side of Ouessant. There are some visitors buoys at Lampaul and plenty of room to anchor. With good shelter from winds from the north or east. The light northerly might allow me to sail with the last of the ebb out past Pointe Sainte Matheui and motor sail the second half. If conditions changed plan B would be to sail or probably motor sail up to ’L’aberildut’ at the northern end of the Channel de Four. 0900 Hiked into town for the last time and had a shower and stocked up at the super march’e. Back at boat everything stowed and departed pontoon by 1030. Very hot now and only a very light northerly 1-2 and a calm sea. Motoring slowly out under auto-pilot while I hoist and set full sail, including a topsail and my large drifter staysail.
1135 A browny murk was appearing in the Channel de Four as I closed the Pointe de Sainte Matheui and Ouessant had disappeared. The wind was still light and I was being swept along on the last of the ebb. 1205 Yep…as I suspected the brown murk was fog rolling in, so I quickly marked my position and took a bearing on the point and lighthouse. The VHF was getting busy with several inbound yachts in the fog in the Channel, reporting there positions to each other and ETA’s for Camaret. Three French navy mine sweepers were also busy excercising in the area as well as passenger vadettes plying their trade to and from Ouessant. A busy stretch of water, that should be avoided in fog! I dropped topsail and drifter and ‘hove to’ just inside the Pointe de Sainte Matheui close in to the shore. The wind and tide were cancelling each other out and holding ‘Dulcibella’ almost stationary in the water as I waited to see if a clearance came. I eat my lunch and watched the depth sounder and studied the Imray chart. I could make out the shore about 100 yards away at all times and a couple of small rocky ledges to port. This was actually quite a good spot to be as the ledges served as a barrier to protect me from any vessels approaching from seaward out of the fog and gave me a means of checking my drift. The fog persisted out in the channel but here inside the point it was patchy and would allow the odd glimpse along the coast. I had the anchor ready if needed, but I remained ‘hove to’ just out of the main tide. I watched people walking along the coast path and saw several yachts appear out of the fog, along with the naval vessels heading back into port.
1305 The VHF was quiet now and Camaret and the rest of the bay had come back into view. It was still foggy in the channel though, although visibility had gone up to about half a mile. My options were, go back to Camaret, anchor off ‘Le Chat’ (a few miles inside the point) and wait for a clearance, or go out and see how thick it was in the Channel de Four. I chose the last and headed out under main and jib in a northerly 3-4. After half an hour visibility came back down to a few hundred metres and I was now right in the middle of the busy main deep channel. Not a good place to be, as my senses were now working over time, imagining engine nosies and shapes in the fog. I turned back and headed back for the Pointe de Sainte Matheui. Ouessant was definately out of the question. The wind had freshened to a northerly 3-4 and the flood had started creating a short 1 metre wind against tide sea. I could see from the chart that the depths close inshore were quite usable for a shallow draft boat all the way up the Channel de Four. I could keep away from the busy deep water channel, the tide would not be as strong and I could just keep sight of the shore. This made the decision for me and I diverted for ’L’aberildut’ via a close inshore route. I rolled in the jib and started the engine and motorsailed dead upwind from Conquet toward L’aberildut. Despite the fog it was still a sunny day and the spray flicking up was quite refreshing. The fog continued in the channel but close inshore it was patchy but eventually it started lifting a little.
1540 Anchored off the beach at ‘Anse de Porsmoguer’ 3 miles short of L’aberildut to take stock and have a break. The fog has now cleared inshore with about 2 miles visibility and its looking better ahead, away from the Channel de Four. Fog is a regular hazard around Brittany in the summer and I was happy that my decision to continue well inshore was the right one. If the visibility had got really bad I knew there was the possibility of anchoring close in to the shore in several places. Being single handed in fog can be hard work and I was glad that I had my chart plotter back for this leg. Being able to zoom in makes life a lot easier when trying to identify small bays and headlands. ‘Anse de Porsmoguer’ is a small remote bay with a nice family beach and some local moorings in close to the shore. It is partially protected by a small headland to the North and fine for a short stop. It was nice to turn the engine off and draw breath. A small leak in the keel case had shown itself while motoring into the short choppy sea, so I sponged a few pints of water out of the bilge. Now that the visibility had improved I could relax a little and put away the fog horn and put the grab bag back inside the cockpit locker. I also put away the pump and oars for the dinghy I had stowed on deck. After a coffee and a snack I decided L’aberwrach 15 miles away would be a better option and more sheltered than L’aberildut. The visibility had remained at about two miles so finding my way in through the rocky aproach to L’aberwrach for the first time should not be a problem. I double checked my waypoints on the plotter and hauled anchor at 1625 and started motor sailing again into the wind against tide conditions, but making good speed.
1710 Abeam L’aberildut entrance, Le Four light house clearly visible on the bow. Seas not so short now we are in deeper water. More of a swell building as we close Le Four light and waves running well up its walls. Must get very rough here in poor weather. 1908 Arrived at my first waypoint for the NW approach to L’aberwrach visibility now 5 miles. The pilot books warn of the treacherous approach and strong cross tide through the off lying rocks. I follow my waypoints in carefully and find all the aproach marks exactly as the pilot book says. There is most certainly a strong tide set across the approaches but the entrance itself is straight forward enough, so long as you keep an eye on your COG.
2030 Tied up on an alongside finger berth at L’aberwrach. There are many more pontoons here now, with most of them reserved or for local craft. The outer pontoon is mainly for visiting yachts. Ekhard is here in his Halberg Rassey ‘Anna-K’. I go ashore to find showers and toilets but it seems deserted. No forecast at the harbour office and all the buildings are locked up. Another yachtman takes pity on me and gives me the code for the toilets and showers. I have a look around the new sailing academy buildings and walk along the road to the sea front and quay. Spot Ekhard in one of the restaurants but he doesnt see me. I join a small crowd watching a fantastic orange and pink sunset with the off lying rocks in the approaches silhouetted against it. A great end to the day. Fruit cake and wine for supper then to bed.
June 11, 2008
Took my time getting ready this morning after a nice quite night. The Marina has been extended in recent years and there is more space for visiting yachts, but it still gets very busy in peak season. There is only a few restaurants and little else here but it is popular with boats waiting for a fair tide to tackle the Channel de Four. Topped up with fuel and water which is available on the pontoon. Departed L’aberwrach at mid day with the option of a 27 mile passage to the Ile de Batz anchorage or 45 miles to Trebeurden where a marina was built a few years ago. Forecast is for NNE 4, sunny with cloud building during the afternoon and a slight sea and swell. Looks like it will be a motor sailing day again. I deliberately departed late and although this gave me a foul tide it meant in fair weather I would have a smooth sea and more comfortable motion for motor sailing.
L’aberwrach dissapeared into a slight haze and it looked as if it was a little foggy a few miles further out. The pilot books rightly point out a strong tide set accoss the entrance but it is a relatively easy entrance so long as you allow for this when steering for the next mark. I departed via the narrow NE channel as it was fair weather which cut off about 2.3 miles but although straight forward it does put you close to some large rocks and reminded me of Scilly. There were very large rafts of weed off the entrance moving up and down the coast in the tide. There were pallets and sorts of flotsom in them and I certainly wouldnt want to sail or motor through one.
Motor sailing, no sign of the NNE 4 but sunny with a nice cooling breeze. The slight haze decreased as I moved up the coast and by 1530 the Ile de Batz was coming into sight. Would be nearly low water when I arrive at the Ile de batz and with such fair weather it was a good time to navigate the narrow channel between the islands and Roscoff. Being slack water neap tide meant I wouldnt have much water under me at the shallowest point but I would be fine if I lifted the keel. Wouldnt attempt the same on spring tides but it was a good oportunity to see the anchorages and hazards in benign conditions.
The island looks un-impressive from a distance but as you close the beauty of the area is revealed. I was sorely tempted to anchor in a quiet sandy bay at the western end. I decided against it and pressed on as it was still hot and the tide would be with me now all the way to Trebeurden. I had less than a metre in the narrowest part of the channel as expected and passed the visitors moorings at the eastern end of the channel at 1800 hrs. Erkhard’s yacht ‘Anna-K’ was on one of the buoys and they were obviously ashore enjoying the island. Again I was tempted to pick up a buoy but the forecast was still for NE 4-5 for tommorrow and although the wind had completely died now, if it came up through the night this would be an exposed anchorage. I hope to come back and spend some time exploring the area one day. Getting to Trebeurden will make the next leg to ‘Treguier’ a nice day sail sail.
Beautiful weather, flying along on a fair tide and a smooth sea. Half way across the ‘Bay de Morlaix’ I quickly knocked the engine out of gear as I spotted a long floating pot rope as it dipped under the bow. Thought I had got away with it but then the boat started to slow and turn, sure enough the rope was following me and we gently came to a halt. It wasnt on the prop and the keel was up so it should have just slid on underneath and out the back. It turned out to be jammed against the leading edge of a slightly thicker piece of keel iron. A few minutes of poking and prodding with the boat hook had it free and saved me having to cut it. Mini crisis over I continued and was treated to a glorious sunset as I closed Trebeurden. Trebeurden approach is straight forward and well marked and there are visitors buoys outside or plenty of room to anchor. I chose to go into the Marina and had 2.8 metres over the cill (3 hrs after LW Roscoff) and was tied up alongside a pontoon by 21.30 hrs. It had been 45 miles of very comfortable text book motor sailing over 9 1/2 hours. A kind lady onboard another visiting yacht gave me the code for the shower block and I settled down to some hot food and enjoyed the clear still night.
June 12, 2008
Enjoying the usual Marina facilities at Trebeurden, very friendly service. Started off fresh SW this morning with heavy drizzle then fresh from the North by mid morning, heavy cloud but dry. A relaxing day off was in order so breakfast and a shower followed by exploring the town. Excellent ‘Moules Frites Bretone’ for Lunch at a nearby restaurant over looking the bay to the south of the Marina. Still nice and quiet this time of the season. A gentle walk up through the town in the afternoon to stock up at the supermarket which is located right at the top of the town about 3/4 a mile walk up hill. A nice small Brittany coastal town and a good place to relax for a while.
Still a fresh N 4-6 and air temperature much colder today. Topped up with water and fuel early evening and eat on board. Entered new waypoints in plotter for Treguier tommorrow. After reading the horror stories in the pilot book about strong tides running through the Marina at Treguier I want to make sure I am there at around slack water! Getting cold today had ditch the shorts and put trousers on. Wonder if Ekhard is bouncing around on the visitors buoys at Ile de Batz still?
Thoughts are turning towards getting back across the channel and home to Scilly. I have been away a week now and I have managed to get to quite a few different places. Must be ready to go as soon as the cill gate is opened at around 0935 tommorrow to get slack water for approaching Treguier.
June 13, 2008
Woken by fishing boats moving out at 0530 so decided to get up and move out to the visitors moorings outside the Marina while the sill was open. Depth at gate was 2.4 metres at 0550. Stowed ropes, fenders etc and sill shut at 0615. Want to be underway by 0800 around low water to catch the flood for the 30 mile passage around to Treguier. Should comfortably arrive by slack HW at Treguier and avoid the strong tidal set across the pontoons.
Light NW wind and sunnier today, blue sky with some cloud.Had breakfast and hoisted the main for some more motor sailing! Perhaps I should have bought a motor boat? Departed 0808 motorsailing into a very light swell, lovely morning. Beware pot buoys/marks in this area.
10.15 Well ahead of schedule so diverted into the entrance at Ploumanach to see the spectacular pink granite this coast is famous for. The entrance is impressive and busy with leisure boats and passenger vaddettes taking tourists to see the Ganet colony on Sept Iles. Didnt go into the partially drying harbour but would like to visit some day. Another one for the list! Lots of visitors taking pictures of my boat from the shore with the disney looking Chateaux behind me, probably looks good with my big tan mainsail up. Busy little place, must be chaos in the peak season. The ganet colony is very impressive and can be seen from over ten miles away on ‘Ile Rovzic’ one of the Sept Iles. Lots of boats out heading to the Islands including a big old French gaffer.
1300 Arrived at the approaches to the river Trieux which leads up to the town of Treguier. many off lying rocks here and again a strong tidal set across the approaches and entrance. The aproach marks take you in a big zig zag and wouldnt be easy to do in fog. Tide definately setting me across even at neaps. Tom Cunliffe is right in the pilot book ‘the transits for ’Anglaise’ mark are very hard to spot, but the spire water tower gets you to it okay. You have now got a long sail or motor up the river to Treguier and the low lying shores changes to a steep sided valley as you get further up river. The river is well marked and easy to navigate all the way up. I chose to slow down to make sure I got to the Marina at slack water.
1530 Tide still flooding just before slack water but approached the pontoons and swung ‘Dulcibella’ around on a sixpence in front of them where she came to a complete halt and reversed her directly straight back into a berth facing outwards for an easy get away. Perfect! probably the best boat handling I have done. had time to step ashore with my ropes as well but other yachtsmen appeared quickly to take them. Indeed every arrival or departure saw assistance with ropes from other visiting yachtsmen. Didnt see any really bad problems with tide effecting yachts berthing but apparently it does happen. Rigged plenty of strong shore lines and fenders, while remembering to centre and tie off the tiller.
There was a nice atmosphere here and again the marina staff were very efficient and welcoming. Fuel available from pontoon and a selection of small shops and restaurants nearby up in the town. Didnt find a supermarket while I was there though. I had been to the town of Treguier before and knew it was very popular with visitors and a very pretty place with lots of interesting buildings and architecture. Well worth a visit and a great bolt hole to shelter from bad weather at sea.
Its Friday the 13th today and it was certainly unlucky for some. A young french man in a tiny ‘Van de stadt’ designed ‘Splinter’ was either unlucky or very lucky depending on your point of view. He arrived late after a 17 hour sail from Guernsey in very light winds and motored at about 1 knot all the way up the river against the ebb with his little outboard. Knowing the difficulties a single-handed sailor can have berthing I took his lines immediately and held his boat against the tide while he sorted his shore lines out and secured her. It was obvious he was very tired and he explained he had been trying to find a small leak on the way as he wallowed along in the light winds. He made himself some food and re-appeared a few hours later to tell me had found the source of the leak. There was some delamination and a crack line in the GRP behind his keel. the keel would flex the hull when sailing and allow water in. He would need to be lifted out to determine if it was viable to repair the boat or cheaper to just buy another one! Poor sod, I did feel for him but he seemed to be taking it well. Probably just relieved it hadnt opened up further while he was at sea!
Found a nice little restaurant that evening and had a nice pepperred steak before having a walk and returning to my bunk. Had two nights at Treguier so spent the next day looking around the town and resting while I decided about which route I would be taking home. I would have prefferred to visit Guernsey and then cross the channel to Salcombe in Devon. Unfortunately the weather had other ideas and a westerly 5 to 6 occasionally 7 was forecast for three days time on Tuesday. So I decided rather than get weather bound in Guernsey for two days I would leave tommorrow (Sunday) and sail the 94 miles direct to Salcombe arriving in the early hours of Monday morning. Rest all day and then sail 20 miles down to the River Yealm on Monday night or Tuesday morning before the Westerly 7 arrived. I could then coast hop down to Fowey and then Falmouth before the last 60 mile leg home to Scilly. One long leg now and then some shorter legs with good shelter close to hand seemed like the best plan if the winds were going to go to the West.
June 15, 2008
I had enjoyed my time in Treguier but you do start to feel cut off from the sea after a couple of days and I needed to move on.
Departed pontoon at 0820 hrs on Sunday on the last two hours of the ebb bound for Salcombe, distance 94 miles, ETA around 0320 Monday morning. Forecast W or NW 2-3 becoming N 3-4 by Monday morning. So another motor sail was on the cards. Really should have got a motor boat! Warm and overcast but a bright morning.
1027 hrs passing the ‘Crublent’ Buoy and into open water, 80 miles to Salcombe entrance. Slight sea and swell lots of yachts motor sailing. SOG 5.6 knots and blue sky now, wind WNW 1-2 so looks like motoring all the way.
1300 hrs French coast falling out of sight except Les Heuix light house still visible, keeping up five knots, flat calm, oily sea, no wind.
1739 hrs Started crossing Hurd Deep, a useful position check with your depth sounder. Good steady progress but would rather have the peace of being under sail. 43 miles to Salcombe.
1836 hrs Large pod of Dolphins and Porpoises. Managed to get a few photos and some video. First real sea life I have seen for about a week only seabirds spotted on the french side of the channel.
1900 hrs 10 litres of fuel added to main tank. Consuming approx 1.5 litres an hour. Slight breeze from NNW and cloud building ahead, still motor sailing 5.4 knots SOG. Crossed ahead of three ships no problems.
2100 hrs Land Ahoy! and pot buoys. Air getting cooler now 25 miles to Salcombe.
Short choppy sea as I get nearer to the coast, its often choppy around here and pot buoys are often found on the approach to Salcombe from any direction.
0145 hrs Arrive Salcombe entrance.
0215 hrs At anchor ‘Sunny Cove’ (just inside the sand bar to starboard). A lovely anchorage and a chance to get some sleep. The harbour masters launch will come calling and charge you for anchoring though.
A text book crossing.