Friday, 8 June 2018

Last day of the trip

Our flights home are booked for Saturday, so we needed to be back at Douarnenez by Friday. We have arranged to leave the the boats there, in Port Rhu, on the classic boat pontoons. Port Rhu is behind a lock gate that only opens for an hour either side of high water at neaps, so we had to get there between 12 and 2pm.

The morning saw a flat calm, and hazy sunshine. We got the anchor up under motor, pointed the bow straight at Douarnenez, and told George to steer us there. We then pottered about Robinetta, tidying her up, while also keeping an eye out for other boats, and crab pot markers.

The sun burnt off the haze by the time we entered the harbour. We were slightly early for the bridge, so went into the Port de Pleasance and filled up with diesel.
As we approached the bridge another yacht was also heading for it, so we followed it through, and after dodging three boats heading in the other direction, went into our pre arranged berth.

We are in exalted company, by far the smallest yacht on the heritage pontoons, one yacht away from the oldest surviving Camper and Nicholson yacht in existence and surrounded by smart wooden Bermudan sloops. Not bad for a little gaffer!

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Worm's Eye View

I wanted to have a go at securing the nut on the stern gland. I hoped we could undo two hose clips and put one around the big static hex nut and one around the small nut that keeps coming undone and lock some strips of steel from a hose clip between them.

We managed to get the clips around the nuts but we couldn’t do them back up again. We gave up.

Back on holiday we worked out that one of the caves the trip boats visit is on the island we are anchored by. We got into Worm and Alison rowed us around. The geology is spectacular.

The other caves visited by the trip boats are just along the coast towards Morgat and then down towards Cape de Chevre. The last ones are in one of the ‘Secret Anchorages’ in our book so we thought we would potter down and anchor there tonight, looking at the caves as we went.

Of course it is only about 6 miles in total so we had a really lazy day.

There was no wind so we didn’t even raise the stay-sail. I got the anchor up but left the chain flaked on the fore-deck so we could use it again.

We kept close in and looked into the caves but didn’t stop to try to get in to any of them in Worm. You can see into the town of Crozon, which is a little in-land where the beaches are lower than the cliffs.

Morgat looks quite modern and the marina is large and new-ish with rubble walls but looks worth a visit. It is surrounded by a large number of crab pots so needs to be given a wide berth at its southern end.

Just past Morgat there is a pretty light-house on the hill – it really looks more like a house with an observatory attached!

The Anse de Ile Verge is the northern end of the Anse de Norgard. The trip boat brochure says it was voted 7th best beach in Europe. We anchored there for lunch and didn’t think that highly of it. Nice enough though and even nicer with better weather – it was still very hazy and overcast.

After lunch we carried on south and came much more quickly than I expected to the Pointe de Dolmen and the Anse St. Nicholas. Then I felt a breath of wind and before long it felt like a light sailing breeze from the west.

We got the stay-sail up and it gave us a knot so we raised the main and turned the engine off. We were definitely sailing so Alison went down and got the No 1 jib and bent it on. We were still pottering but now under sail!

The breeze was light but solid and with a flat sea we could do three knots. More-over, the sun was finally breaking through and although the humidity was still too high for great light conditions I suggested Alison it was a chance to take some photos of Robinetta under sail. Back in the sound of Jura I’d got into Worm to do this and this time Alison did it while I sailed around her.

After the photo shoot we used our new heaving-too skills again to make it easy for Alison to get back aboard. With the tiller lashed I could set the fenders and ladder up and Alison could row up to Robinetta quite easily.

It was 4pm and the wind was really nice and it was sunny. Rather than anchor here for the night Alison wanted to go back to our lunch stop or even back to where we spent Wednesday night. We had an absolutely lovely sail back north but then we saw some rain clouds coming from the west so we cut the journey short at Morgat and anchored in the bay near the town. In the event, the rain passed south of us but we didn’t need to move again.

For once we cooked together – not really necessary as it was just pasta with a jar of sauce and the salami we bought in the market yesterday cut up into the sauce. With Ouessant beer and sweet Britany cider it made an excellent meal.

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Treboul to Ille de L'Aber

Treboul has a major market day on Wednesdays, and we spent an enjoyable hour shopping for lunch and dinner there, getting some very good salami type sausage from a specialist maker for lunch and steak for dinner. We were planning to anchor overnight at Ille de L'Aber, and needed to cater for it. This anchorage is less than 10 miles as the crow flies, so we were in no hurry, and did not cast off until 11:00.

The wind was northerly force 3, so we beat across Douarnenenz bay at speeds between 2.5 and 5 knots depending on the gusts. The cloud cover was total at first, but did thin as the day wore on, although a humid haze lay over the land making photography difficult.

We saw some impressive sea caves between Point de Lanvellian and Pointe de Tal ar Grip. There were also a flock of land yachts racing on one of the beaches.

By the time we reached Ille de L'Aber the sun was trying to show through the clouds. It was local low water and we anchored very close in to the island, in 5m of water. The rocks seemed really close, and we were not sure the anchor was holding. Rather than letting out more chain we pulled the anchor up and went further out to anchor in 6m, with 30m of chain out.

One other yacht was in the anchorage, an"Ecole Navale" vessel. Probably one of 3 we had seen yesterday practising manoeuvring in Treboul. They pulled up their anchor after dinner and we had the anchorage to ourselves.

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Necessary tasks and others...

Once we arrived at Douarnenez we could arrange travel home for Saturday, and sort out where Robinetta and Worm would stay without us on board. Once we had the flights booked and the bus times sorted out we needed to talk to the port authorities about the boats. We walked to Port Rhu in Douarnenenz, but could find no trace of a marina office. We asked at the boat museum, and they sent us back to the Port de Pleasance at Treboul, where we were already moored.

Turns out Treboul controls the pontoons inside Port Rhu as well as the ones in the Port de Pleasnance, and we were soon sorted. We had a berth on the classic boat pontoon from Friday on. That left us two days to explore Douarnenez Bay.

The rest of the day saw me doing laundry and putting a coat of Deks no.1 on various bits of the boat that needed it. The evening was spent in a very different fashion.

Last night, after Julian and I got back to Robinetta after a very good pizza at “Le Vintage” pizzeria in Douarnenez, we entertained a couple of Australians to a cup of tea. They invited us for dinner in exchange, and we had a lovely time swapping stories with them and theiir friends at their hired house, and we then all walked to Robinetta for a whisky. It was a bit of a squeeze with eight of us, but good fun!

Monday, 4 June 2018

Camaret towards Dournenez

Once we realised that we would need to be away from Camaret at 4 am to get through the Raz de Sein at high water slack we decided to head for Douarnenez rather than Audienne. That meant we could leave at a sensible time. The weather forecast was not great, light winds and pretty continuous rain, but after a day in port it felt like time to move on.

After doing a little shopping we got ready to go. The only problem was how to launch Worm. A Dutch yacht was moored just behind us on the pontoon hammerhead , leaving no space to put Worm back in the water at Robinetta’s stern. In the end we launched her into the empty half of the adjacent finger berth, and the skipper of the yacht Wild One, in the other half of the berth, handed us Worm’s towing line as we passed.

The light wind was from a helpful direction, so we managed to sail through the drizzle as far as the Point du Toulingvet at around 2 knots. This is too slow for passage making, but we only had 20 miles to go, which made a pleasant change. Once we turned to round the Point, and thread through some impressive rocky islets, the wind was dead astern. We slowed too much for the helm’s peace of mind in such confined spaces, so the engine went on to help steer through the gap.

The engine went off again between Toulingvet and Point de Pen-hir, and Julian put our remaining fishing line out astern. 2 knots is a good fishing speed, but at 1½ knots Robinetta’s steering can be difficult to keep on track, and I wanted the engine on again as we approached Pen-hir and its tail of islands called Les Tas de Pois. There were obviously fish around as there were quite a few cormorants on the water, but no fish took our line and Julian brought it in again.

We picked our gap to aim at based on where we saw another yacht motoring through in the other direction but in the end went through a different one. There are many "Pois", and the gaps between are narrow but clear of hazards.
Sailing slowly when there was wind, and motoring with the sails up when it died became the pattern of the day. Sometimes it rained, and sometimes it just drizzled. Visibility decreased as we closed with Dournenez, but we also got the best wind of the trip, and sailed at a steady four knots for 3½ hours.

The wind fell when we were 2 miles off Dournenez, and the engine went back on as we got the sails down and prepared to enter the harbour. The Port de Plaisance of Dournenez, is on the west side of the river, at Treboul, and this has a long visitor pontoon tucked just behind the breakwater. There were only two yachts on it, both on the inside, and we took Robinetta to join them in the pouring rain.

We were safely moored up by 17:05, after an enjoyable, but damp, day of sailing.

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Ushant towards Camaret-sur-mer

We woke next morning to another sunny day, with a gentle south westerly breeze. Ideal for sailing out of the Bay, but virtually on the nose for part of the sail to Camaret. Wanting to sail as much as we could we raised sail on the mooring, but put the engine on to warm up, just in case.
Robinetta was eager to sail, and set off in a hurry once Julian untied the buoy. Unfortunately I was less prepared than the boat, and failed to keep Worm clear of the mooring. I had to reverse quite hard to help Julian get Worm free.
Sailing past Youc h' Korz
Once we were clear of the moorings I turned the engine off, and we sailed back along our track past the island of Youc h’ Korz and out between the arms of the bay. Once we were clear of the Phare de la Jument we turned onto a course towards Camaret. We needed to motor sail to make anything like our course, and once again we ran into overfalls half a mile clear of the bay. These were not nearly as bad as the ones off Pern though, and we sailed out of them without too much stress.
By the time we were approaching Camaret the wind had died, and we got the main sail down 3 miles off the harbour. There were plenty of other yachts around, most of them heading for Camaret like us.
The harbour master in his rib did not seem interested in us, so we moored up on the inside of the breakwater pontoon, as visitors are supposed to do. This was filling up fast, there was only room for one more boat behind us and that was soon taken. Then the harbour master appeared, and offered us a place in the inner harbour, closer to the shops. We were glad to move, and by 19:00 we were ashore, and eating dinner at the Kraken, the first restaurant we came to (which was highly recommended by Trip Advisor, and very good).

Friday, 1 June 2018

A day on Ushant

The moorings at Ushant are not the calmest, and Robinetta rolled a lot over night. Not that it stopped us sleeping! We woke to bright sunshine, with not a trace of yesterday’s fog, and after a morning to tidying up the boat (and Julian rebuilding George’s tiller attachment) I rowed us across to the island in Worm.

At low water it was impossible to enter the drying harbour, so we decided to go ashore at the steps on the side of the landing stage.

 The constant swell made getting ashore quite challenging, but we both managed it dry shod. The steps have a succession on rings for tying tenders to, and not knowing how long we would be we tied Worm to the highest one possible.
South side of the Pern Peninsula

After a good lunch of Moules Frites and cidre doux (which is only 2 % alcohol) at Le Fromveur we decided to have a look at the Phare de Nividic that we had sailed past yesterday evening. This is at the end of the Pern peninsula, and the walk along the cliffs of the bay of Lampaul was spectacular. Pern is an amazing place, with wild goats keeping the grass short, and granite outcrops that put sculptures to shame.

Goats on Pern

Sculptural rocks

West side of Pern Peninsula
Phare De Navidic and its electric pylons
The Phare De Navidic was built  in the early 20th century to be remotely operated, with its power supplied by electricity. This was brought to the lighthouse on cables strung from pylons. A cable car used the same pylons to enable people to reach the light house when needed. Lack of maintenance during WW2 brought the cables down, and it is now powered by solar panels, and maintained by helicopter.

We bought supplies in the supermarket in Lampoul, and carried them back to the harbour. The tide was now high, and while we could see Worm’s mooring line well enough Julian had to reach under water to untie it.

Once back on Robinetta we settled down for a quiet evening, or as quiet as it could be on a constantly moving boat. Five of the boats that had been there when we arrived had gone, with only two arriving to replace them. The CA Almanac says to come on neap tide for calm moorings, and we were closer to springs.