Bigouden Europe 2013

23 July 2013 | Bassin des Chalutiers-La Rochelle
23 July 2013 | La Rochelle
22 July 2013 | Minimes
21 July 2013 | 46 30.0'N:01 48.0'W, Port Olona
20 July 2013 | 46 44.0'N:02 21.0'W, Ile d'Yeu
20 July 2013 | 46 44.0'N:02 21.0'W, Port Joinville
20 July 2013 | 47 06.0'N:02 07.0'W, Pornic
20 July 2013 | 47 02.0'N:02 58.0'W, Houat
17 July 2013 | 47 02.0'N:02 58.0'W, Houat
17 July 2013 | 47 02.0'N:02 58.0'W, Houat
17 July 2013 | 47 21.0'N:03 09.0'W, Belle Isle
17 July 2013 | 47 21.0'N:03 09.0'W, Belle Isle
17 July 2013 | 47 21.0'N:03 09.0'W, Belle Isle
17 July 2013 | 47 21.0'N:03 09.0'W, Belle Isle
17 July 2013 | 47 21.0'N:03 09.0'W, Belle Isle
16 July 2013 | Belle Isle
15 July 2013 | 47 48.0'N:03 44.0'W, Belon
15 July 2013 | 47 48.0'N:03 44.0'W, Belon
15 July 2013 | 47 52.0'N:03 55.0'W, Concarneau

A short Video of the Voyage

17 August 2013

Packing it in.

23 July 2013 | Bassin des Chalutiers-La Rochelle
Charlie


We moved Bigouden out of the Minimes marina and over to the Bassin des Chalutiers, negotiating one lock and two drawbridges. The city maintains a large commercial area, including a dock and travellift, to support the numerous boatyards and builders. We tied up next to two new Ovni's that were being commissioned, and between four very extravagant two level Fontaine Pajot catamarans. The level of activity and the size and number of newly commissioned boats in the area made me feel better about wintering there, even though the place looks a bit down at the heels.

We stripped everything off of her and stowed it below, went over the punch list with the folks from Naval Force 3, who will store her on the hard for the winter, and packed up for home.

Port des Minimes

23 July 2013 | La Rochelle
Charlie
Minimes is the largest marina in Europe, and is currently being expanded. There is every conceivable service for a boat, but the scale of the place makes it difficult to navigate. Even though the Laundromat is on the property, it took a good 15 minute walk, bags in hand, to reach it. There are dozens of services spread out around the port, and it is difficult to tell who is reliable and who is not.

The marina itself is a concrete jungle about a 45 minute walk from the heart of the medieval city, although there is a water taxi that leaves from a pier that was about a half hour walk from our dock.

If I had to do it over, I would winter the boat in La Foret Fouesnant, which is itself a large marina, but more pleasant and with great services centrally located and easy to access.


La Rochelle

22 July 2013 | Minimes
Charlie


Yet another windless day, the last of our cruise, down the coast from Les Sables d'Olonne to our final destination in La Rochelle. We cruised between the Ile de Re and the mainland, a very shallow, muddy tidal area which we were only able to access thanks to our shallow draft. There is a very large, marked quadrant which appears to be some sort of aquaculture directly between the island and the mainland. Stay away from it!

The approach to La Rochelle took us by the industrial outskirts of the city and the commercial port, under the modern bridge that links the Ile de Re to the mainland. None of this is very attractive.

There are three places to berth in La Rochelle, the enormous Minimes Marina, the largest in Europe, the medieval inner harbor, and the Bassin des Chalutiers, the old fishing harbor just outside the gates of the medieval town. The fishing harbor and about half of the old harbor are behind locks. The harbormaster assigned us to the fishing harbor because we are too big for the old harbor. In the end I decided to stay in Minimes because we had not negotiated a lock yet, and the guides indicated that the fishing harbor was primarily for fishing boats.



As it turned out, the fishing harbor has almost no fishing boats, and had plenty of spare room for visiting yachts. The lock opens for about 15 minutes at a quarter before every hour for four hours around high tide. You call the harbormaster and then show up at the appointed hour. Don't be late.

Les Sables d'Olonne

21 July 2013 | 46 30.0'N:01 48.0'W, Port Olona
Charlie
After a windless day we arrived at Les Sables d'Olonne and made our way down the long canal that leads to Port Olona. The city was packed and, it being a Saturday, the canal was filled with small boats and sea doos. We tied up at the acceuil and were assigned a slip. Despite the crowds there was still plenty of room in the marina.

We took a long walk across the massive concrete marina into town, which feels a bit like Miami. Maria and I sat in a cafe overlooking the beach while Bret walked the length of the boardwalk. Later we had dinner in one of the restaurants that line the marina.

In retrospect I would have gone to the Ile de Re, but the marina was an easy stop and the cruise is winding down. Tomorrow it is on to La Rochelle to put the boat away.

The South Coast of Yeu

20 July 2013 | 46 44.0'N:02 21.0'W, Ile d'Yeu
Charlie
We plotted a course to Les Sables d'Olonne, where the builder of Bigouden, Alubat, is located. We decided to go the long way around the south coast of Yeu on another windless day.

A whole ecosystem of flies enveloped the boat, from tiny little gnats to ones the size of crows. You can see one in the foreground of the picture.

Nevertheless, the coast was beautiful and undeveloped, with rocky shores and numerous hidden coves and beaches. The photograph is of the ruins of an 11th century castle which is reputed to be a pirate's fort.
Vessel Name: Bigouden
Vessel Make/Model: Ovni 455
Hailing Port: Newport, RI
Crew: Charlie, Bill, Andrew, Francois, Chloe, Nainoa, Bret
About:
This will be my fourth transatlantic crossing but my first in twenty years. Bill did one and a half crossings (Yes, there's a story behind that) back in the day. Twenty years later he has apparently forgotten why he stopped. Dr. [...]
Extra: Newport, RI mid June for St Johns Nfld. then on to Benodet Brittany on the Atlantic coast of France by great circle route. A few weeks cruising south before putting the boat up in La Rochelle France in early August.
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Created 30 April 2013

Newport Newfoundland Brittany 2013

Who: Charlie, Bill, Andrew, Francois, Chloe, Nainoa, Bret
Port: Newport, RI