Ile de Griox (Port Tudy) to La Trinite-sur-mer
14 September 2013
Stu & Shar
Once again we left a port (Port Tudy) in a nice steady breeze on the stern quarter, which lightened off for about an hour as we came down the Quiberon Peninsular (Presqu’ile de Quiberon) on the Atlantic side. This would be an island except for a slither of land about 50m wide still connecting it to the mainland. On the southwest corner there was a very prominent Chateau (Turpault) which had been built standing all alone on the edge of the water (see photos) ……it looked totally out of place….we wondered what would happen to it, if a big storm came through as it was built so close to the sea.
As we rounded La Teignouse light, the wind picked up and started to kick in real hard, again we reefed down and shortened sail for the beat back up to La Trinite. I tried to joke it off with Shar saying it was just like a strong sea breeze at home….the cold stare said don’t bullshit me…I saw the wind speed top 34kts at one point and didn’t look again, just focussed of holding height and riding the gusts. It lightened off as we got closer to La Trinite and met up with a couple of yacht beating into port….We all knew the race was on……It was us, a Beneteau 45 and a boat I didn’t recognise, the Beneteau couldn’t keep up the pace, he was over canvassed and going sideways. The other boat, was about 34-36ft….it was trucking along, same height, fractionally slower but made me work hard to keep him at bay. We waved to each other as he bore away and headed further west along the coast….what a bloody great day to go sailing, what a great day out on the boat. (ref: Adrian )
As we pulled into La Trinite, the fenders grazed the pontoon, we came to a gentle stop against the ebbing tide with the motor ticking over, Shar gingerly jumped onto the pontoon, tied up the mid-cleat and I shutdown. The french guy next to us, drinking his beer, mumbled something in a muffled grunt. After we had tied up, Shar said to me she had an OMG moment how the hell are we going to get in here, it’s too tight. As it was, it was probably our best landing.
We have been in France for nearly a month, we tried to declare a couple of times to customs, but no one was interested, even though we flew the ‘Q’ flag for quite some time. Last Sunday the Douane walked past our boat and checked out the two British boats that were next to us flying the red ensign…..they didn’t even glance at us. I had wanted to ensure that there were no formalities that we need to complete, since we had arrived. This was specifically because we had exported the yacht via Guernsey, VAT free and re-entered the EU on a “temporary-admission” basis for the next 18 months. We eventually walked into their office and asked them if we needed to do anything. I explained to the guy in the office what we were doing, he said all looked okay, but they would get back to us if there was a problem. Back on the boat…there was a knock on the hull….three Douane were standing outside…uuuuummmm I thought, maybe we have a problem….As it was they came on board, checked all our paperwork which was all okay. They said they didn’t get many Australians passing through, but when they found out I was born in Paye de Gualle (Wales),they were even more friendly and said I was their cousin, as we in Bretagne…..I know, I have 30+ cousins in Wales, but France as well !!!.....
We had started to think about where we were going to keep Songbird for the winter. The weather was looking pretty average for the next 3-4 days, so we thought we would hire a car and drive south to check out a few wintering locations. We drove to a number of locations that people had mentioned, finally settling on a place called Arzal on the Vilaine River (Kim Klaka’s suggestion…..thanks Kim). We will take Songbird into the river later in the month, past the barrier into fresh water. We plan to spend a couple of days in the river up as far as La Roche-Benard. She will then be hauled out of the water, de-rigged and placed in a cradle for the winter, until we return next spring.