|Vessel Make/Model:||Beneteau Oceanis 411|
|Crew:||John and Barbara Sumner|
Needed to press on home as tomorrow the weather forecast is still for rain and gales in the Channel. We had thought of going into Queen Anne Battery in Plymouth for a couple of days but on ringing them were told that they were full - everyone going in to shelter from the weather! So it's back to Brixham [...]
Set the alarm for 6.30 to be ready to leave at 7.30. It was a beautiful sunny morning and we were sorry that we weren't able to spend the day here and explore the island. We had to motor-sail for a lot of the day as the wind was too far behind us and not strong enough, and the sea was quite rough. It wasn't terribly pleasant and we had some rain showers later on, but by 3.30pm we were able to switch off the engine and have a decent sail. We had a few sightings of dolphins which was very cheering and a lovely welcome home. We also saw some beautiful rainbows. We decided Coverack would be too uncomfortable and exposed to the swell, so we went a little bit further round the corner and anchored off Nare Point in the entrance to the Helford River. Very glad to see the Cornish coastline! And what always thrills me is the smell of the land. It is difficult to describe the sensation of smelling the earth, fields and trees after a day out in the ocean, but to the weary sailor is the loveliest fragrance! Dropped anchor at 10pm (still on French time) - 100 miles in 14½ hours.
Decided sadly to forgo the opportunity for a trip to Quimper! Set off at about 10am in order to catch the favourable tide in the Chenal du Four. Sailed up to the Raz and arrived there an hour before low water. Had quite a bit of swell, and it was quite cold. We decided to head for Ushant and see if we could pick up a buoy there for the night, and then cross the Channel to Coverack the next day. We saw the lifeboat towing a fishing boat at the Pointe de Penmarch. It was quite grey at first but later on in the day the sun came out and it was pleasant. We had some difficulty getting the sail down as we were in quite a strong wind and big swell, but fortunately there was a free mooring buoy in the Baie du Stiff (there are only 3 visitors buoys here) so we were able to tie up securely for the night. The other yacht there was Swedish. There was a lovely sunset and we had a reasonable night's sleep although it was rather rolly! We were rather chuffed to have made it here as we have talked about coming on previous occasions but there isn't a great deal of shelter so it requires reasonably calm conditions. A 68 mile sail in 11 hours.
We went to get the bus to Pont L'Abbe which is an interesting and historic town, founded by a monk of Loctudy in the 14th Century who built a bridge across the river. We had a look round the Church of Notre Dame des Carmes which was originally part of a Carmelite Convent founded in 1383, but the convent part of it was destroyed in the 19th century and a boys school was built in its place. The church, which survived, has some lovely stained glass windows. We then had lunch of a Croque Monsieur washed down with Kir at a pavement café. It wasn't terribly warm. We also went round the former Chateau which is now a Museum de Bigouden and houses a collection of interesting costumes and head-dresses. On the way back we wanted to go to the supermarket just on the edge of Loctudy but had difficulty finding the right bus stop - we rang the bell and the bus stopped but the door didn't open so we didn't get off! Ended up getting off in the middle of nowhere. Several times this holiday we have been really glad of our Google Maps app which is really helpful finding our way around (except for the cycle route to Benodet the other day!). On the way back to the harbour we came upon some unusual animals grazing on the green, which belonged to the circus (see photo)! Then we went to the boatyard and met up with Ken & Rachel whose boat has now been moved over here, and they came to have a cup of tea on Tonic. In the evening we studied the weather forecasts and saw that there was some strong weather coming into the Channel next Wednesday so we should really be setting off for home tomorrow, although K&R had offered to take us into Quimper in the afternoon.
A very short trip across to Loctudy where we haven’t been before. We had heard that the tide can be a problem here so we rang the harbourmaster to check whether there would be room, and enough water to get in, and he confirmed that everything would be fine and we could enter at any state of the tide. We motored across in sunshine and fresh breeze, and got onto a handy finger berth. We were glad we got there quite early because the marina filled up quite quickly and some of the berths were difficult to get into due to strong winds and currents. I wanted croissants for breakfast so we went ashore and head into the town. It was actually quite difficult to find any sort of town centre, but eventually we found a patisserie/Salon de Thé where we ordered 4 croissants with jam and coffee for two. It was quite funny because the girl brought the coffee and the 4 croissants on a plate. We then reminded her we had asked for jam so she brought some raspberry jam in a cup with a spoon. We then asked for knives so she brought a knife. After this we gave up because it all seemed like we were expecting too much, so John managed with the spoon and we shared the plate! However the croissants and jam were delicious! Interestingly, all the other occupants of the tea room were English speaking and it turned out that Loctudy is hosting the Topper World Championships, and they were parents of youngsters competing in the championships. Back to the boat for lunch and a sleep, then we met up with Ken and Rachel and went off to Bistro Toque where they very kindly treated us to a delicious meal. I had mussels in a wine and cheese sauce which were delicious, followed by a steak and chips, and a wonderful chocolate mousse, all washed down with a Chardonnay. A lovely evening. The picture is of one of the mansions overlooking the estuary.
A nicer day today. We got the bikes out and cycled over the bridge to Benodet to the supermarket. This is a huge bridge which spans the Odet River. Note to anyone else thinking of cycling from Ste. Marine to the bridge: Google Maps suggest a route suitable for cycling which goes along the banks of the river. Well unless you have a mountain bike, it is to be avoided, particularly if you have folding bikes like ours with tiny little wheels! It is a very narrow path which goes through the trees on the river bank. Much better to go along the main road! The views up and down the river are great and worth the effort. John got the spinnaker out on the pontoon to hose away the salt water. Our friends Ken & Rachel whose boat has been overwintered in Loctudy just down the road, came over for dinner. Had a lovely time with them. The selfie is taken on the bridge looking towards Benodet. (Note the beard!)