Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Into the Vilaine

Monday in La Trinité was pretty dispiriting. The wind was probably not as strong as forecast but the rain was considerably wetter and it rained, poured or drizzled for most of the day. I managed to do a load of laundry and not quite get anything dry (I ran out of time and €2 pieces)  which was a nuisance, as it certainly wasn't getting any drier once it was back on board.

Still, I returned to the boat to exciting news. We were moored just across the wave-breaker from another Westerly, a 41ft Oceanlord, Poppy of Orwell. She was originally from Woolverstone, about three miles from SYH, although more recently from Scotland. Anyway her owner Max and crew Martin had invited us on board for dinner. When Sam is involved this is not just a question of tripping merrily off one boat and on to another, it takes Planning.

Around 1730, with Simon's help, we got Sam off the boat and I took him to the disabled shower, which was spacious but a bit dilapidated. We nearly blew everything by having a quick rainy stroll to see some of the many racing boats which moor at La Trinité - inevitably this took us longer than planned.

Anyway once we got Sam on board Poppy it proved an excellent evening with very splendid food, good wine and excellent company. Max is a former FT leader writer and editor of the Weekend FT, with many interesting stories to tell. Martin was an editor at Faber Music, knew my godfather, Dick de la Mare, and had often visited his home at Much Hadham which I can just remember being taken to as a small child.

Sam was very tired by the time we got him off Poppy of Orwell and on to Kalessin of Orwell, but it was a great treat for all of us and much appreciated.

We left La Trinité at 10am and completely unreasonably it was foggy. This is not supposed to happen in southern Brittany, certainly not on the day of the summer solstice. It was a rather dull trudge motoring the 30-odd miles to the mouth of the Vilaine while worrying about whether there would be enough rise of tide in the very shallow estuary. We also anticipated a long wait for the lock at Arzal as we would miss the 1600 opening by 20-30 minutes and the next opening was at 1800. Rather to our surprise, as we motored towards the lock at 1620 it was still open and full of boats. Somehow we were shoehorned in, the lock gate closed and through we went to Arzal marina. In fact we would have had time to continue to La Roche Bernard but I was glad to get a chance to assess Arzal as we may leave the boat here later on. Our pilot book describes it as a bit soulless but I rather like it – it reminds me of a bigger and slicker version of Augustenborg in Denmark, and is equally full of Brits.

Tomorrow, the 4M to La Roche Bernard, and on Thursday morning on to Redon where Simon can get a train (hopefully) to Nantes.

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