Day 7  Tuesday, 30th May 2017

Port Haliguen

A day in port doing all those jobs essential for a happy ship: supermarket shopping, blogging, checking lifejackets, showering, passage planning etc.etc.  In the afternoon we set off with our fuel cans to the fuel pump and manage to get the boat boy to take them back to the boat so we can continue walking into the town of Quiberon on the Atlantic side of the peninsula.  The sun has come out and it’s pretty hot again.  Malcolm rushes me past all the clothes shops down to the beach and the port where we have huge icecreams with two scoops – for mine I choose Pistachio and Creme de Marrons, and Malcolm chooses Creme Brulee and Duo Chocolat.  In future we think one scoop would be a better idea for our waistlines but there are always so many flavours to choose from.  Difficult decisions!

Tomorrow we’re crossing to the other side of Quiberon Bay and staying on the waiting pontoon at Arzel, ready for the lock on Thursday morning.  Slight tribulations about the depth meter not working as there’s a bar across the entrance to the Vilaine River, but we’re entering at mid-water and going up on a rising tide so  all should be well.  Fingers crossed.

 

 

 

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Day 6 Monday, 29th May 2017

Port Louis to Port Haliguen, Quiberon Bay

Set off from Port Louis to Port Haliguen, where we went last year.  It’s a marina just round the tip of the Quiberon peninsula, facing the Golfe du Morbihan.  We decided last night that we’d go to the Vilaine River first as we need to sort out the depth gauge for the Golfe.

More wind than expected from the Meteo Francaise, a good 15k,  from WNW, so a beam reach and an average speed of 5.5k.  I was feeling a little queasy with the following sea – haven’t got my sea-legs yet!  But it was only our second day on the water this year.  A 3x ginger biscuit day for me, Campbell! (And a travel pill too!)

Lots of traditional and replica boats going North after their big special week in the Golfe du Morbihan, with lots of parades of boats, workshops and music.

 

Our old Whitby favourite, the ‘Grand Turk’ was there, now called ‘L’Etoile du Roi’, which we saw in St. Malo last year.  I think I spotted it on a poster advertising anitfoul near the museum in L’Orient.

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Met by a boat boy in a dinghy at the harbour entrance who showed us to our berth and then the captain came round in a dinghy to register us and collect his dues.  What service!

Revisited the nearby Creperie du Vieux Port where we ate outside in the garden last year.  It’s raining so we have to eat ‘a l’interieur’.  Malcolm had smooth fish soup, served with bowls of cheese, mayonnaise and croutons, and I had the most enormous salad of crudites (raw vegetables but mostly grated carrot), followed by mussels (M) and smoked salmon (thick pieces with lime and lemon slices and home-made tartare sauce) – all delicious.

Back on the boat we get an email from Steve and Crista Hewitt on ‘Galingale’, who used to be based in Whitby and now keep their boat on the Vilaine River at Foleux, upriver from La Roche-Bernard.  They’ve just arrived and launch the boat on Thursday, after antifouling, etc.  Steve tells us that the lock into the river isn’t opening on Wednesday but we can wait on the waiting pontoon and take the first lock on Thursday morning at 8 a.m. then proceed upriver to meet up with them once they’re in the water. Sounds a perfect plan!

 

Day 5  Sunday 28th May

Port Louis

Woken by a thunder storm – seems the UK had theirs yesterday.  Went off to do the laundry whilst Malcolm turned the boat upside down trying to get the depth gauge to work.  The speedo is working fine but not the depth, which is really important for anchoring in the shallow Golfe du Morbihan.  Malcolm has a spare B & G instrument ‘just in case’ but that’s also showing 3 lines.  He now needs to take out the depth transducer which goes through the hull and take off any anti-foul.  This involves putting a dummy unit immediately into the hole, otherwise we’d be taking on water.

During the laundry cycle I hotfoot it up to the old town again to visit the shop where I bought my stripey earrings last year as they have lovely hand-made jewellry and bags.  But they’re closed and the heavens open – good job I’ve got my yellow mac on as I dodge the puddles and rivulets back down the hill.  Stand outside the laundry trying to key in the code but it doesn’t work as the pad seems to have suffered from the deluge.  Ask at the Capitainerie and the man brings a key.  Rather shamed by another English sailor who speaks perfect French and translates for me.  Oh woe is me!

Meanwhile, back on the boat, all is in turmoil and Malcolm has failed to solve the problem and he needs to email a man about what’s gone wrong and what he’s tried so far.

Eventually we go for a soothing walk along the ramparts (no hand rails) and see the Grande Poudriere (for storing gunpowder).

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Back at the boat we try the new roller cruising chute to see if it fits from the new bowsprit Malcolm has designed and made.  Looks complicated but will save us having to lower the cruising chute down below for repacking.

Have a burst of ‘Queen’ before supper on board and watch the end of that film.

Day 4  Saturday, 27th May

Port Louis

Seems to take ages to get into the groove of the Blog.  This morning I manage, with good wifi, to send an email out to the rest of my email contacts about the Blog.  Thank you very much to those who have replied by email – two from Australia – and those who’ve posted comments.  It’s wonderful to know that it’s worth writing!

Picnic lunch on board and then a dash to the ferry to cross the estuary where the WWII submarine pens are to be found.  Half an hour walk round the fish dock to the museum, only to be told by a French couple that the guided tour of the pens is full – which is confirmed inside.  We can’t come back tomorrow as the ferry doesn’t run here on Sundays, only to the centre of L’Orient.  Instead we walk round the back of the huge edifice – it housed 6 U-boats and was built to withstand bombing by the Allies – and manage to sneak a look inside pen F.  We also passed a couple of dry docks too, for servicing/repairing the submarines.

 

The Cite de la Voile – of which the submarines are now a part – gave various options (all expensive) for giving you the experience of sailing.  Decided we didn’t need any more experience!

Hiked back to the ferry and went up to the old town to buy supplies, including bags of wine which are just right for the boat says Malcolm.  I couldn’t resist my first religeuse of the season either at the Boulangerie/Patisserie.

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Supper outside on our new folding picnic table and then a film before bed.  Not sure ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ will lead to sweet dreams??

Day 3  Friday, 26th May 2017

Concarneau to Port Louis (L’Orient)

Our intention this year is to head South initially to visit the Golfe du Morbihan which we couldn’t do last year as it was Spring tides when we were in Port Crouesty.  We also want to visit the Vilaine River, a popular cruising ground with British sailors, and Belle Isle and the two smaller islands close by.   After that we’re turning round and heading up North, visiting places we haven’t visited before and hoping to do more islands and anchorages in Brittany.  We’ll go to Guernsey this time and Le Havre, and hope to visit the WW1 cemetries and museums in Belgium too. Our eventual aim is to take the boat to Dordrecht in Holland where we’re going to leave it over the winter, before setting sail through Holland by the ‘up-mast’ route, through the Kiel Canal and into the Baltic.  Watch this space!

We depart Concarneau at 10.15 a.m. (me getting slightly distracted by the outdoor market on the way to buy bread and milk).  A beautiful day again and a SE by E breeze of 9k so put up the sails and make stately progress close-hauled.  Just off the Iles de Glenan (south of Concarneau) we saw a single short-beaked common dolphin but were joined a couple of hours later by a pod of ten, swimming with and under the boat for a quarter of an hour – I even heard one squeak, as if they were trying to communicate with us!

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The wind increased to 13k and we sped along at 5.5 k, past the Glenans which are a very popular destination for yachts and all types of pleasure craft.  A French couple established a sailing school here in 1946 to reintegrate young people who’d fought in the Resistance into civilian life.  Nowadays students still come to develop self-reliance and social skills through the communal activity of sailing.  That’s why so many young people were going out on charter yachts from Concarneau.

About 4 p.m. we arrived in the wind shadow of the Ile de Groix (our last port of call before Concarneau in August last year) so had to put the engine on.  Arrived in Port Louis at 6.15 p.m. to find the capitainerie closed so no wifi but the cleaner gave me the code for the loo and shower.  Exhausted after our first day’s sail, we head up to ‘Il Pirata’ for great pizzas.  Last year we met Mick and Anne-Marie Bond (‘Fleur of Pendle’) here and it seems strange to have no friends waving us in and inviting us for drinks on board.  We’re missing you!  (NB They have a great blog – fleurofpendle.blogspot.co.uk – and are now doing what we hope to do next year.)

Day 2  Thursday, 25th May 2017

CONCARNEAU

Today is Ascension Day, a bank holiday in France, and tomorrow is a ‘jour de pont’ which means a bridging day between the bank holiday and the weekend.  The world and his dog are out and about and the charter boats are filling up with groups of young people, laden down with boxes of groceries and boxes of wine.  We carry on with our jobs – including sorting the mainsail out and putting on the genoa, rather important parts of a sailing boat.  Malcolm keeps disappearing from view into the very deep sail locker and handing up jugs of diesel.  He keeps cursing about the boat design (he designed it himself!) and how difficult it is to manoeuvre down there.

We have promised ourselves a visit to the Musee de la Peche in the Ville Close this afternoon as we’re leaving Concarneau tomorrow.  The museum is very extensive with displays on everything to do with fishing.  There are models of Concarneau, including one dated 1966 which has loads of tiny model fishing boats – just like all the ports we’ve been too which are now filled with plastic yachts.  The huge fish quay in Concarneau did remind us of Kinlochbervie in Scotland, which experienced a boom in the sixties and seventies, now with only a couple of fishing boats moored alongside.    The ‘Hemerica’, a side-trawl fishing boat, is moored at the museum’s pier and is an immersion into the daily life of the sailors, from their living quarters to the fish hold.  Think this would be a good tourist attraction in Whitby too!

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Day 1, Wednesday 24th May 2017

CONCARNEAU

At last, we are ‘mise en l’eau’!  We arrived on Sunday in Quimper on a flight from London City Airport and had to stay in Quimper as there were no buses to Concarneau on a Sunday.   After checking into our hotel near the Ville Close for a couple of nights, we got the little ferry over to the shipyard area and I polished the shiny parts of the deck whilst Malcolm serviced the engine.  So many jobs to do and this is even after we’d come out in the car a couple of weeks ago and antifouled and polished the hull.  We’d also brought all our clothes, towels, sheets, sails etc. and various supplies so we had hand luggage only on the flight.   A great feat of organisation – and we still managed to fit in a visit to the wine merchant in Ouistreham on the way back!

Ready to roll!

Malcolm’s rather devastated that the lovely Emanuelle has left the boatyard and we’re not being treated very well at all.  We even had to walk to the slipway for the launch rather than get a lift in the van.  And it’s very hot indeed.  However, the engine works once we’re cast adrift, although I do have problems remembering where to put the fenders and how to tie a bowline.  But it all goes well and we make a good landing on a ‘catway’ (pontoon) and feel very happy to be back on the water.

We need supplies for tea and a Camping Gaz refill so don our trusty rucksacks and trek to Intermarche.  Funny how you forget that you have to carry everything back to the boat, including the large but necessary bottles of wine.