Dover to Suffolk Yacht Harbour
02 August 2015
We left Dover on our final leg of the cruise, bound for Suffolk Yacht Harbour on the River Orwell.
The sun was out and there was very little wind. After clearing with Dover Port Control, we crossed the harbour and through the Eastern entrance and out to sea.
The sea was very calm and we had a strong tide with us all of the way, which made the trip extremely fast! There was eventually enough wind to sail for the final hour heading into the Orwell. By 7:30pm we were tied up back in our own marina and it was the end of the cruise.
We have been away a total of 10 weeks and during this we travelled over 1,200 nm and were at sea a total of 206 hours which is some 8.5 days. During our time away we have had some wonderful experiences. We were with other yachts from the club in 6 of the ports which is always fun, but also we had some great nights at anchor.
Our furthest point was the River Odet in Southern Brittany, visiting Benodet, anchoring at the top of the river and also Saint Marine. All favourite places.
The highlights were anchoring in the River Trieux and on a morning in the River L'Aber Benoit was delightful. It was also nice to visit the new ports such as Perros-Guirec, Carteret, Ouistreham and Caen.
As always in France we had some excellent food and cooked or prepared oysters, crab, lobster and rabbit on board.
Once again, we are signing off for another year. Good Bye!
Time: 8:30 hours Miles: 61nm Total Time: 206:00 hours Total Miles: 1240nm
Calais to Dover
01 August 2015
In order to take Bella back to the UK she needs to travel in a car on a registered ferry route.
Fiona travelled as a foot passenger from Calais to Dover to pick up a hire car and bring it back. This gave us a car for a couple of days in Calais to get some shopping.
After a pleasant meal out on Friday we visited the fun fair which was running beside the marina.
Saturday we took the car to the supermarket to stock up on wine and our last chance to get French food before returning to the UK. The duck breast is particularly good!
All the time we were in Calais there were the problems well reported in the news being played out at the port. On more than one occasion we saw thick black smoke from burning tyres which had been set on fire on the approach roads. Luckily, when Fiona crossed, there were no delays.
Fiona left with Bella for the ferry at 8am in the morning. Simon could not leave through the lock until 11:30am. The picture above is of leaving Calais marina.
The crossing was very smooth and not enough wind to sail. There were also not too many ships and only needed to alter course once.
Once at Dover we went into the Granville Dock for the night.
Time: 5:30 hours Miles: 24nm Total Time: 197:30 hours Total Miles: 1179nm
Dieppe to Calais
29 July 2015
The Saturday market in Dieppe is one of the best in Normandy. We restocked the boat again and had a small roast chicken for lunch. Very nice…
After drinks on board Shades of Blue we had Rabbit Stew for dinner. The rabbit was from the market and seemed to be selling extremely quickly.
There were strong winds for all 5 days we were in Dieppe. Eventually, the forecast for Wednesday looked ok. We took Bella for a walk Tuesday night and it was clear the sea was still rough.
We were up at 5am and left shortly after 6am. The forecast was a W 4 to 5 which was great as we were heading north and could sail on a reach all the way up the coast. We were hoping to get to either Calais or Boulogne.
Once out to sea it was clear that it was still rough. The French forecast described it as agité and we can confirm that the sea was definitely agité. We in fact had winds gusting up force 6 with 2.5m waves. For the first 2 hours we were hit by regular squalls coming from out at sea. Eventually the squalls stopped as we got further north.
With the sails well refed, we were sailing well and arrived in Calais within less than 11 hours. We picked up a waiting mooring as the bridge was not due to open for around 4 hours. The dingy was pumped up and Bella taken ashore. We had dinner while waiting and eventually were tied up in the marina at 10pm, some 16 hours after leaving Dieppe.
We will be in Calais for a few days while we pick up a car form the UK. Due to pet transport rules, it is necessary to take Bella to the UK on a ferry in a car.
Time: 10:30 hours Miles: 74nm Total Time: 192:00 hours Total Miles: 1155nm
Le Havre to Dieppe
24 July 2015
We had 3 hours sleep having got in to Le Havre at 1am, to bed by 2am and were up again, ready to move at 5am.
With strong winds coming, we were keen to get to Dieppe before they hit. It was still dark when we took Bella for a walk and we left at 6am.
Throughout the whole trip we heard gale warnings being given out on the VHF radio. These were coming from Cross Joburg, Solent Coast Guard and Dover Coast guard. For the Thames region they were giving force 8 to 9 and possibly 10. The wind was gusty and you could definitely tell something was coming. All of the forecasts were giving strong winds 'later' which in forecasting terms means after 12 hours, so we were going to be fine.
The sea got increasingly choppy but not rough and we arrived in Dieppe in good time. As we came into the marina Avocet and Shades of Blue were also here. With the strong winds forecast we will all be here for at least 5 nights. Currently the forecast for Wednesday looks good.
The marina quickly filled up. We ate on board on Friday with drinks on Avocet later. We had a rough night in the marina later as the wind built and the swell started to come up the channel and into the marina.
Saturday night after drinks on Brindabella we all had a great meal out. While out we saw a very strange sight. There was a man playing a motorised grand piano being played as he moved through the streets, very eccentric! See photo above.
Time: 9:30 hours Miles: 56nm Total Time: 181:30 hours Total Miles: 1081nm
Cherbourg to Le Havre
23 July 2015
There was a dilemma as to where to go next.
Three of the yachts from the cruise were in St Vasst and we were pondering catching them up at their next port. However, there are some strong winds forecast for later next week. It is always preferable to be in a nice location when you are forced to spend a few days not moving.
Thursday morning, we did the washing and went to a market in the town. See photo above.
Checking the weather again, the forecast was now showing strong winds for the weekend. Leading Wind, Cassadora and Mazza II decided to cut and run for England.
Thinking about our options, we decided to leave immediately for Le Havre and hope to get to Dieppe for the weekend, which is a port we really like. We will then wait in Dieppe for the winds to pass. Within 30 minutes we had gone from relaxing in the sun to having Brindabella ready for sea, Bella taken for a quick walk and were heading out to sea.
Today it is completely calm with very little wind as we motored to Le Havre. The trip was long and took nearly 12 hours. It was past 1am by the time we got into Le Havre. The port was extremely busy with shipping and we were working hard in the dark for the final 2 hours to keep clear and understand where they were all heading.
Time: 11:30 hours Miles: 71nm Total Time: 172:00 hours Total Miles: 1025nm
Dielette to Cherbourg
22 July 2015
We left Dielette early on Wednesday and had one of the best sails of the holiday, out to the Alderney Race and round to Cherbourg.
The sun was out with a perfect wind direction and speed. With a strong tide through the race at times we were sailing at 13 knots.
Once at Cherbourg we went shopping and cooked dinner on board. Mini sardines for a starter and BBQ'd steak for main.
Time: 03:30 hours Miles: 30nm Total Time: 160:30 hours Total Miles: 954nm
Carteret to Dielette
21 July 2015
Carteret is a new port we have not been to before, so we had 5 nights there. The weather was a bit mixed, so we did a number of different things.
Carteret is a small port and town with a large stretch of sandy beach. In years gone by, it was a popular holiday destination for Parisians.
We went to the market to restock the boat on the first day in Beneville, which was about a mile away. The next day we went to flea market near the port and in the afternoon we took a small scenic train to Port Bail which was about 10 miles south. We passed the port on our way up, but it is a drying port and therefore not suitable to visit in a larger yacht. Port Bail is an excellent small town and port surrounded by golden sand.
In the town, we saw someone playing Breton bagpipes and also some crazy chaps playing music dressed with helmets and goggles. See photos section.
We left Carteret on Tuesday as soon as the port sill was down. We left early on the rising tide and slowly edged our way out of the river towards the sea. There was no wind so we motored to Dielette and arrived at lunch time.
As soon as we tied up, we paid our marina fees, booked a table for the evening and went to the beach for a swim. There was just enough water to swim, before the tide went out. This is a lovely rural beach about a mile long and very quiet.
That evening we went for moules and frites at L’Escale. We have been to this restaurant for many years. It is currently housed in a temporary building selling moules and not a lot else. It is very popular with the locals. There are some new buildings going up at the port and next time we visit it will be in one of these. I hope it doesn’t lose its charm.
Time: 03:00 hours Miles: 17nm Total Time: 157:00 hours Total Miles: 924nm
Iles Chausey to Carteret
16 July 2015
As is tradition, we had a cooked breakfast that morning at anchor. It was a beautiful day and the sun was out.
There were some strong winds coming over night. You are effectively anchored at sea off this island and it was no place to be in any strong winds. We left late morning bound for Carteret.
We motored much of the way but were able to sail towards the end of the day. By the time we got to Carteret the winds were already getting up.
It is going to be good exploring Carteret as we have not been here before.
Time: 07:00 hours Miles: 35nm Total Time: 154:00 hours Total Miles: 907nm
St Malo to Iles Chausey
15 July 2015
We needed to do some work on Monday morning so stayed on the boat. In the afternoon we went for a walk around St Malo and then a meal out with Leading Wind, Cassadora and Mazza II in the evening. A very pleasant evening was had by all!
Tuesday was Bastille Day, which is always a big celebration in France. We walked into the city and met the others for a drink. That evening there was a big firework display from the beach and a band playing well into the night.
All four yachts left on Wednesday. We headed for Iles Chausey to be at anchor for the night and the other three yachts went to St Cast. We are not sure when we will meet them again but all of the yachts from the club are starting to head home now. Most are heading along the Normandy coast so we are bound to meet again somewhere along the way.
We anchored off Iles Chausey. This is a large expanse made up of 100's of small islands. There are about 20 at high tide and many 100's a low tide. We anchored off the main island, went ashore for a swim and had a BBQ off the back of the boat that night. We were the only boat in the bay overnight.
Time: 03:00 hours Miles: 18nm Total Time: 147:00 hours Total Miles: 872nm
St Quay to St Malo
12 July 2015
We had re-joined the cruise in St Quay, meeting up with Leading Wind, Cassadora, Mazza II and Shades of Blue. We all had a meal out on the night we arrived.
On Saturday we all had a BBQ on the beach and were joined by Gunsmoke also from our club for a game of boules on the smooth sand left by the falling tide. See picture above.
With the exception of Shades of Blue we all left for St Malo on Sunday. The objective was to get to St Malo for the Bastille Day fireworks. We were able to sail for the first hour and then the wind died so we all motored the rest of the way. It's always fun seeing the town of St Malo appear in the distance as you get closer.
Time: 04:30 hours Miles: 35nm Total Time: 144:00 hours Total Miles: 854nm