11th July Anchored at Ile de Batz

During the night, the wind increased considerably, and our grib forecast was indicating F5 or F6. We decided to stay put, and spent a lively day at anchor. Having the internet meant that we were able to research the wind instrument problem, and it seems we need a new transducer. One of the output circuits seems to have blown and the voltage is excessive. We also found that the leak above the calorifier had returned, despite the additional jubilee clip, so we now have a new junction fitting, four jubilee clips with silicone sealant, hoping that this will do the trick. We also had another go at getting the log to spin more freely.

12th July L'Aber Ildut and then Anse de Porsmoguer 46nm total

We left our anchorage at 0830 with the tide in our Chanel supposedly turning. There was a fresh NE wind again, although much less than on the previous day. A yellow disc of sun could occasionally be glimpsed through the overcast skies.

As the tide turned in our favour, we clocked off the waypoints, although we were forced off our track and gybed inshore near Portsall, and then worked our way around. The wind had imperceptibly increased. We were now surfing down the following seas at 9, 10 and once at even 11 knots, with a good tide under us as well. The L'Abers Vrach and Benoit made a bit too short a day's sail, so we decided to try our luck outside L'Aber Ildut, south of Le Four light.

It was as we turned towards the wind that all hell broke out. Mo was saying she didn't like it (we had reefs in by this time), and the official hat that had been keeping my head warm, flew off and across the cockpit, briefly pausing on the side deck, before blowing overboard. I had become fond of it it in our very brief association, and I hope Neptune enjoys wearing it as much.

Our old pilot indicated that there would be no room inside, and we also arrived at low water with only 2m on the bar. We tried to anchor in the bay outside, but although the beach was sandy at the top, there were rocks each side, and we could not find a sandy spot. We therefore dropped on the north side of the channel, where there was evident sand, and settled down. As I was snoozing after a late lunch, Mo received a visit from a friendly gentleman who told us that we were in the channel, and a large ship was coming in at 0300 hours. We heard this story before at L'Abervrach, but evidently there is dredging for sand and quarrying ashore, so it may have been plausible. We made one attempt to drop on the south side out of the channel, failing to find sand but touching the light coloured rock that looked as if it might be sand. The anchor dragged over rock, then came up with an enormous crop of kelp that the windlass could barely lift, and which took some time to clear. At this point, we decided to give up, and try Plan B. L'Aber Ildut could forego our custom at their restaurant!

Plan B was an anchorage at Anse de Porsmoguer, a mile or so south of Pointe de Corsen. Getting there involved a wide 8 nm circuit around rocky hazards lying some way off shore. We set the jib and enjoyed a fast sail, although we were bucking the tide. At least we were further on our way. When we got to the bay, we found it crowded with moorings. Although the bay is sheltered to the north through east to south, it cannot be comfortable in the prevailing south westerlies. We anchored to the south, but although the depths seemed to be there, the chart showed that we were too close to the drying fringe of rocks: if there was a shift to the north in the wind we would be vulnerable. Again we re-anchored, this time clear outside of the moorings, but now perilously close to the many pot buoys. It was however a delightful spot, despite the boats, and we enjoyed a drink, breaking out our new 5 litre box of Cotes de Rhone.

13th July Loctudy 68 nm logged

We thought that if we put a long day in, we could get all the way to the Anse de Benodet, through the Raz de Seine and across the Baie d'Audierne. We left our anchorage at 0830, timed to get to the Raz at the turn of the tide. We made fast progress to start with down what remained of the Le Four channel, but cutting the corner outside Le Conquet. The wind kept coming and going. Mo saw a navigation tower that seemed to be moving: it proved to be an enormous black submarine making its way from the naval port at Brest out to sea. We were also entertained by large dolphins, and later in the day saw some more.

We arrived at the Raz on time, but had to use the engine for a while to do so. It was flat calm, so Mo has yet to see it in conditions that merit its reputation. There was quite a crunch as boats arrived from north and from the east at the appointed hour, and we saw one yacht emerge from the Passage de Trouz Yar (think trousers) close inshore.

The formidable Raz de Seine again failing to live up to its reputation

We were able to sail across the bay to Penmarche, but just before we got there we lost the wind yet again. Later it came back quite strongly, but headed us so, having had a little beat to windward, we once again were forced to use the engine to get in before the light failed. We found Loctudy jammed full of moorings wherever there was sufficient depth for us, so picked one up. There was partying on shore, with drums and singing. It was a long time getting dark, but at 1120 we were treated to a great firework display to celebrate the eve of Bastille Day.

14th July Concarneau 17nm logged

We decided to head for Concarneau as there might be celebrations going on there, so snuck off promptly at 0830 on the newly ebbing tide. There was very little wind, but we used what there was until it died completely, motoring the last 5 miles. We anchored in our usual spot, in the Anse de Kersos, just outside Concarneau harbour.

I launched our dinghy, then went for a swim, the first off the boat in two seasons! The sea temperature was showing as 24C, but I somehow doubted it. We had just had a shower and changed to go ashore when the marina rib turned up, and informed us that anchorage was now prohibited in the Anse de Kersos. Having used this anchorage over 37 years, we were disappointed and somewhat aggravated at having to move on again. We went ashore in any case, and I dropped into the marina office to see if I could find out more. The stories were not consistent, so I took the name of the director, to follow up by mail. There was nothing in fact happening in town, the fireworks presumably had been on the eve of Bastille Day. We returned to the boat to find that two other British yachts had arrived in the anchorage, but they soon received a visit with the same message. One of the yachts, a little Cornish Crabber that had made it over from England, was staying put. We and the other yacht set off across the bay to Beg Meil, where we anchored.

15th July Belon River 15nm

We had a relaxing start, and with very little wind set off for the Belon river. As we cleared the headland at Beg Meil a breeze filled in from the south west, so we made sail, making reasonable progress. We cut inside Isle Verte, a course that brought us quite close past the point at Trevignon with its castle, and which made attention to the navigation a necessity. We gybed in the final approach to the Aven and Belon rivers, and anchored off the moorings at Port Manec'h. High tide was not until the evening, so we needed to wait for sufficient rise of tide to take us over the Belon bar. As it was, we left the turn to starboard rather too late, once we were over the bar, and only just escaped into deeper water without touching. The skipper of a French yacht moored on one set of visitors' buoys came off to help us with our lines. A very agreeable young man came to collect the mooring charges. We paid for two nights, with an option for a third.

16th-17th July, Belon

We decided to stay put. The mooring charges are not very high, and the place is so agreeable. We set about doing some of the storage reorganisation necessary before our visitors arrive at the weekend. On the second day we took the dinghy upriver, passing various establishments involved in the oyster cultivation.

Moored boats at Belonand in the pool opposite
Mo enjoying the dinghy ride upriverChez Jacky still has a good reputation

18th July, Port Louis 21nm

We had debated how early we could leave, with sufficient rise of tide to get us over the bar, and decided to allow more margin and leave at 0900, giving us 3 hours of rise of tide. And so we did, leaving the mooring shortly after 0900. Our least depth below the keel going out over the bar was about 0.6m. There was a crowd of dinghies in the entrance, sailing in all directions, and we had to pick our way through them, only setting sail once we were clear of Les Verres beacon. It was quite windy, and Mo suggested a reef in the main which I briefly resisted. It was as well that we put it in, because the wind shifted and gusted quite strongly at times. We made good time down to the entrance to Lorient, but furled the jib when we got there. After all, the objective was to go shopping, not enjoy a good beat up river. We soon arrived at Port Louis, and were met by a rib who led us into the berth. I made a bit of a hash of it in the strong cross wind, but we only touched the pontoon, and not the next door boat.

Having checked in, we set out in the heat to walk the 3.5 km to Lidl, located with the aid of Google. There was some reluctance to call us a taxi, but this was overcome when they thought of replacing all our goods laid out on the belt back on the shelves. That evening Adrian, who had followed us down from the Belon, dropped around, and we spent the evening talking and drinking our wine. None of us had eaten: we went to bed without much, but Adrian cooked himself the fresh mackerel that he had acquired that morning from the Belon fishermen.

19th July Port Louis

The evening before a chap called and asked us if we would spare some time to talk to his English language students, and we had agreed. The morning was a bit of a panic, as we tried to get us and the boat ready to receive our visitors. They duly turned up, and we had some fun talking to them. One of the students, a retired gentleman, dropped us off afterwards at Intermarche. This time we had the mobile and the number of the taxi with us.

The weather was sultry, and a thunderstorm threatened and then eventually materialised with a vicious gust of wind for a time. Later, when we thought we were in the clear, Mo and I went for a walk to explore the Citadel and town before returning to the boat for a drink and supper.

20th July Riviere St Philbert 33nm

We left the marina in good order, and set sail once out of the narrows. We enjoyed good sailing conditions, with the wind still offshore. We cut the corner a bit at La Teignhouse, having some rise of tide, and good visibility. Unfortunately we lost our fishing lure as we crossed the shallows: perhaps it was a big one? Our final leg across the bay was hard on the wind. We aimed for the Riviere de St. Philbert, an estuary immediately to the east of La Trinite. We had no problem identifying the entrance, and zig-zagged in using waypoints, anchoring just below some moored boats. We were still fairly exposed, expecially at high tide, but with the weather coming offshore, we did not anticipate a problem.