Over the last weeks we have been hopping back and forth between the French mainland and the Islands of Brittany.

We have travelled around 80 miles along the coast over the last few weeks. There has been some great summer weather, but as we write this it is raining. After the dramas of North Spain and Biscay things have been trouble-free with the sailing with calm seas if anything too little wind. Judith has even started playing cards whilst underway.

Pornichet

This is another French seaside resort with many holiday homes. It has a good market and everything you need.

The marina was constructed out in the sea. It is a little odd as you have to go over a bridge to get back to the town. The entrance to the bay is interesting as you have to pass between a string of rocky islands, this is what provides the bay with protection from the weather.

Our first day here was wet, we tried to dodge the rain by going to the supermarket early but it failed and we had a refreshing walk back to the boat.

Soon the weather warmed up and we got the bikes out to explore over the next few days and the beaches became crowded. Time to sample the ice cream.

There are two nearby towns that we wanted to visit; Le Croisic and Le Pouliguen. Both of these are harbours and can be visited by boat but berths are limited and you have to be careful of the tides so we took the easy way and went on our bikes.

Le Croisic was a proper old fashioned harbour with a working fishing port.

Le Pouliguen is extension of the Pornichet  holiday resort.

Ile Houat

We headed off on Monday and spent 2 nights anchored off the beach. We avoided going Sunday as we knew it might be crowded. On a Monday afternoon there were still plenty of boats anchored off.

We took the dinghy ashore and walked around the island. This island is home to a small community but a lot of the homes must be holiday homes. There are no cars on this island just tractors and a few vans to make deliveries. There are shops on the island and some people live here all year round.

La Trinite

Our trip to La Trinite was a short trip of around 12 miles. The winds were light but as it was a short trip sailing at 2 to 3 knots was not an issue.

We had planned to visit Port du Crouesty but they were closed due to a race, (a common event it would seem along this coast.)

On arrival at La Trinite we were allocated a berth but then told we could only stay for 2 nights as the berth holder would return. We decided that two nights was enough. There are a number of large racing trimarans based here some were heading out to sea when we left and made a good spectacle.

We made good use of our bikes here and cycled out to see the megaliths of Carnec. These were on a vast scale and spread over a few miles.

lle de Groix

Leaving La Trinite we sailed over to another island. This island was larger and even had a car ferry.

We had selected two potential anchorages here. The first turned out to be too congested and the chart showed nasty rocks close to the entrance, we decided to abort our approach and go to anchorage no 2 off a beach. A bit more exposed but the forecast was for settled weather overnight.

We had a pleasant walk but a bit further than planned so we rewarded ourselves with ice cream on reaching Port Tudy, the main town on the island.

Port Louis

We had stopped at Port Louis on our trip in 2019 but had not visited Lorient, reading the reviews this seemed the best place to stay rather than the city centre marina and we could take the ferry over easily to visit.

We think we made a good choice. We had an interesting stay here. On Sunday morning we volunteered to have coffee with a group of people learning English, something different and a bit of fun.

Sunday afternoon we found a sea shanty festival taking place A neighbouring boat hosted an after-show party and invited us along. I have never seen so many people on board a Hallberg-Rassy35. Most of the singing was in French but they did a few especially for us in English. I have included a short clip of them singing “what shall we do with a drunken sailor” ( in French)

Lorient was a base for U boats in the second world war, as a result the city was heavily bombed and substantially destroyed so it is a new city reconstructed after the war. The U boat shelters were about the only thing that survived. The area around the base has been redeveloped over the last few years to include a number of museums and also it has become a major centre for racing yachts.

Plage de Tahiti

We broke up the 40 mile trip to the Odet river stopping off the Plage de Tahiti overnight. This had been recommended by the French boat crew that provided Sunday night’s entertainment. It could have almost been a tropical island in the south pacific but we have not travelled that far

The weather was warm and the sea calm.

Heading off in the morning once again we had light winds of 2 to 3 knots for most of the day at one point we were sailing and the chart plotter estimate we would take 24 hours to cover 12 miles for a while we drifted slowly along, the River Odet has strong currents and we did not want to arrive too early.

We still arrived a little early having motored the last part of the trip and decided to enter the river cautiously. As it narrowed we could see the current running but soon we were in and proceeding steadily up the river. We decided not to attempt to approach the marina until closer slack water and proceeded under the road bridge and up the river. As we motored gently up the river the weather changed dramatically. The wind went from 4 to 5 knots to 25 to 30 knots in an instant. Fortunately by the time we arrived back at the marina the wind had dropped back to a more manageable 10 knots.

When the tide subsided we headed for Benodet Marina. They did not answer the radio so we called on the phone only to be told that they were currently closed to visitors due to a race at the weekend. Fortunately, there was another marina on the opposite bank with space. Boats were arriving fast but we secured a place alongside, later in the evening a Belgium boat rafted up alongside.

Sainte-Marine

We were only able to stay here for 2 nights as they had a rally coming on Friday night. The weather had also turned and we had our first rain for a few weeks. The village was small and clearly a place for holidays, the marina was well-positioned with views across the river.

We have now arrived in Loctudy for a few days, one of our shortest sails ever of around 5 miles. We found a British boat in port we had last seen in 2019 in Cangas Spain. We met up with the crew and had drinks, it was nice to catch up. We will be here a few days and will get out and explore. 

4 Comments

  • martin shipley

    Thankyou both for the lovely pics and interesting info on the places.
    They are building in land huge excavations, a marina near Stratford for 250 berths we came across it whilst out walking it will be while before it is ready not sure how you access it maybe the river some how? God Bless you both Martinxx

  • Michael Bench

    Thanks once again-good to catch up with you once more.Glad you found the natives friendly. But I am sure I once read that Lorient is one of the few places in France where they celebrate Trafalgar day – marines from there shot Nelson during the battle. Since you were invited by the locals to join their singing that unpleasantness has been forgotten!
    Best wishes
    Mike B

    • Graham

      I asked them to sing France’s favourite sea shanty, I believe it was a song about the French navy defeating the British navy. My french is not good enough to even begin to understand the words.

  • Fiona

    Lovely, lovely, lovely! Those islands are so beautiful! Thanks for sharing your photos. You were fortunate not to arrive in Lorient as the Ocean Race Europe set out. God bless.

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