Tuesday, June 14, 2016
For the first time on this trip we are actually where we said we would be on the day we said that we'd be there. This is partly because we wanted to be in a good location for a crew change and Lorient is on the main railway line. However the French also have a train strike affecting random trains. Merci, French people. Simon will join us tomorrow by the hitchhiker's answer to Airbnb, i.e. a liftshare service. Guy and I will go to the station early in the hope that there will be some way to make the two-hour journey to Nantes by 1600.
We nearly stayed another day in Benodet. The WindGuru forecast was spot on, with strong winds arriving at lunchtime yesterday, easing overnight, but leaving a nasty chop overlaid on the swell. The route from Benodet to Lorient is not complicated - you leave the Odet river, turn on to 110° and continue for 30 miles, then turn upriver to Lorient. With the wind WSW and almost astern, at a fairly steady 14-18 knots, we sailed most of the way under jib alone. It was great to be sailing after so much motoring but the swell left Guy feeling very queasy. Sam was fine as always, and I used lots of energy hand steering in a corkscrew fashion and surfing down the waves. (Autopilots are not at their best in a following sea because they are by nature reactive, but a human can keep the boat steadier by anticipating movement. Also autopilots can flatten batteries).
The Port de Plaisance appeared to be crammed when we arrived and we anticipated rafting three deep. Fortunately a young man appeared in a RIB and guided us to a proper space. Last time we were here I remember it being rather empty. Times have evidently changed.