In our last update, we were about to sail from North Brittany to South Brittany This meant sailing through the Chenal Du Four and The Raz de Sein. Both of these have a reputation for causing trouble for sailors if the weather turns or are you are there at the wrong time. The currents can be strong and if the wind is against the tide, steep waves can be found. Reading the pilot guides timing is important and arriving when currents are going in your favour for the Chenal Du Four and at slack water for The Raz was mandatory. This meant we had a couple of early starts leaving our berth just before sunrise. We could see the current running strongly in the Chenal Du Four and recorded a speed of 11 knots (with the engine on we were only doing 6 knots through the water the other 5 was current if we had been going the other way we would only have been making 1 knot.
We decided to stop at Cameret sur Mer for a few days before tackling the next stage through the Raz. We enjoyed exploring Cameret for a few days as well as a wonderful coastline and great weather. There were also a few quirky things, a graveyard for fishing vessels, an anchor collection from ships lost in the Second World War and derelict holiday homes.
For the Raz we arrived at slack water as recommended and it was a good passage through again. We had decided to make a longish trip of 65 miles the longest since the channel crossing and this time with just the two of us on board. We headed for Concarneau. We visited this town some 20 years ago, I have included a few pictures from our last trip but our children have changed quite a bit in the last 20 years but clearly children still enjoy playing with the fountain. We arrived just before a fleet of racing boats arrived, they had a pontoon party going on until 2:30 am so not much sleep that night.
Our next stop along the coast was Port Louis. A small town of strategic military importance. In the second world war German submarines were stationed in the harbour opposite. Judith decided that as she could not find chutney in the shops she needed to make some so an afternoon was spent making Pear Chutney.
We moved on to Port Haliguen on the Quiberon peninsula, as we came into the bay the AIS showed a swarm of boats heading our way. Another massive race of over 100 boats was just heading out, we were lucky we only had to work our way between a few of the leaders before we were safely out of their way. If we have been half an hour later we would have met them in the main channel around the headland and it would have been a lot more stressful. We were put in a new part of the marina where construction work was still going on but it was quiet as it was a public holiday. We had views into the local public toilets but I forgot to take any pictures of this attraction. We took a walk Saturday across to the other side of the peninsula and found a bustling seaside resort and we had to have ice creams.
Sunday night we decided the weather was fine and we wanted to try and anchor out at the small island of Hoedic and enjoy the peace and quiet. We arrived to find that most of France had had the same idea. There must have been over 100 boats anchored out (it was a French Public Holiday weekend). We found a spot towards the edge of the bay that we judged to be deep enough, not to close to other boats and the shore for the night. We still need to get used to anchoring, Graham was up a few times in the night to look out and check things were ok. We do have an electronic alarm that would sound if we started to drift.
We woke in the morning and were getting ready to move on when a sea mist descended on the bay. We were also a bit worried about taking the anchor up as a boat had moored in front of us and was probably over our anchor. We had a cup of coffee and waited a bit, the fog cleared and the wind changed. This meant that we no longer had a boat in front and taking up the anchor was much more straight forward. We headed about 12 miles to Piriac Sur Mer.
We discovered a vending machine here to buy bread. We also saw some book swap lockers, these seem to be very popular and most places we have visited have these small booths erected for people to leave or collect used books.
We have just arrived in Pornic after a good sail with some squalls, the wind really picked up as we arrived gusting 20 to 25 knots we were grateful for help from fellow sailors as it would have been difficult berthing in the location we were directed to with just two of us. When we leave here we will progress further down the French coast to La Rochelle before we prepare to cross to Spain The crossing to Spain will take 36 to 48 hours and will be a challenge.