Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Brest is best

I'm sure I've used that heading before. [Edit: yes I have, see the link. We were there at exactly the same time of year, but going in the opposite direction].

Just a quick update to say that we arrived safely at the Marina Moulin Blanc in Brest yesterday. Our original plan was to spend Saturday and Sunday in Loctudy and then get on to Audierne and Brest. However it transpired that the forecast for Tuesday had become rather awful and we really needed to get moving. So on Saturday we did the 44 miles from Concarneau to Audierne (actually Sainte-Evette as we were on the mooring buoys). On Sunday we rounded the Raz in very peaceful conditions and went to Camaret for the night. And then on to here, which is cheaper but less central than the newer Marina du Chateau. Today the wind was gusty and the heavens opened, and I got the 0804 bus to the city, a TGV to Rennes which was late so I missed my connection, a rather later than planned train to Questembert, and then a taxi to the Camöel side. Then I drove the Passat back here, so I'm a little weary.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

A few photos

It's 0727 on Thursday and there's fog. So as we're not going anywhere just yet here are a few photos.

Piriac is full of flowers
Sunset over the marina
Port Haliguen has nowhere to buy groceries but lots of creperies
View from Port-Louis looking across the river, citadel on the left
Port Louis is a Petit Cité de Bollards de Caractère
and again
and again

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

On the move

On Friday Steve arrived at Nantes airport. His flight was due at 1725 which, it belatedly occurred to me, meant that I would be driving around the Nantes périphérique during a Friday rush hour – also, as it turned out, in bucketing rain. Still, it meant that by the time I got to the airport Steve was outside and could just run across the road and leap in so that I barely needed to slow down.

The forecast for Saturday July 1 looked pretty unattractive with NW5-6, so I'd already decided to stay an extra day. It was also the day our contract with Arzal ended and they charged me the full, high-season day rate for the extra day, which I thought was a bit mean after I'd paid them for 11 months of short-term contracts in total.

Sunday saw us locking out of Arzal at 0900. The wind was forecast to be NW3-4 increasing at some point after lunch so I thought we should make the most of relatively light winds.The Vilaine and its entrance were fine but I really wasn't sure about heading straight into the strengthening wind to Port Crouesty, which was plan A. So instead we went with plan B and sailed for a pleasant couple of hours to spend one last evening in Piriac. Lots of people like Crouesty, which is a vast marina with lots of restaurants and bars,  and perhaps we would have enjoyed a night there, but instead we got Sam off the boat and went for moules frites at the place where M le Prop plays the Breton bagpipes very badly.

On Monday there was less wind, still NW unfortunately.We slipped out of Piriac as soon as there was enough depth over the sill, and motored to Port Haliguen just enough off the wind to keep the mainsail full. With more time and enthusiasm we could probably have sailed, but being hard on the wind would have been uncomfortable for Sam and a longer way round as we'd have had to do proper tacks. I don't really love Haliguen although it is in a very convenient place at the bottom of the Presqu'Ile de Quiberon. We were welcomed and shown to a berth by a nice lady in a rib, who also took our money as we were about 1km from the capitainerie (and almost as far as possible from the berth we were in last summer). Steve had a nice walk around the bottom of the peninsular. He is an enthusiastic walker, also cyclist, sailor and many other pursuits, which he much prefers to working as a GP which he did before he retired.

Tuesday saw easterly winds, hooray! and very nice too as we attempt to press westwards. I was quite keen to get slack or even favourable tide through the Passage de Teignouse at the bottom of Quiberon, as wind against tide there is said to be a Bad Thing, and pushing the tide is never that much fun. So we left at 0700 (after a slightly false start when we tried to take the shore power cable with us), filled up with fuel, motored a tad nervously through the Passage, and sailed most of the rest of the way to Lorient in decreasing winds and increasing temperatures. Port Louis was just as nice as we remembered and we have been here for two nights before pressing on again tomorrow – I really want to get to Concarneau after failing to go there several times in the past. We got Sam off today at lunchtime, which was relatively easy as the welcoming boat here had directed us to a berth with a finger pontoon wide enough to get the wheelchair more than halfway down. We managed moules frites at the place which does them 70 different ways and last year had run out when we tried to eat there. Then I gave him a shower and the extremely good facilities. We had a lovely chat to the owner of the beautiful wooden yacht next to us, who turns out to have gone to the International Boatbuilding Training College in Lowestoft for a year to do their wooden boatbuilding course. In the course of conversation I mentioned to him that I understand IBTC takes retirees, mid-life crisis subjects and young apprentices, and even the occasional special needs student, and I had heard of one who was almost adopted by staff. He said he could vouch for that because his son had spent several months there. I wonder if his son was actually the lad I had heard of, but who knows.

It's currently 2330 and still sweatily hot. It's a pity France can't manage pleasantly warm weather, although we really shouldn't complain.