Brindabella

Vessel Name: Brindabella
Vessel Make/Model: Najad 405
Hailing Port: Suffolk Yacht Harbour, UK
Crew: Simon, Fiona and Bella the dog!
About: Simon and Fiona had Brindabella built in Sweden before she was launched in 2009. They sailed her from Sweden back to Suffolk in the UK.
27 September 2020
22 September 2020
21 September 2020
18 September 2020
17 September 2020
15 September 2020
13 September 2020
12 September 2020
08 September 2020
05 September 2020
03 September 2020
27 August 2020
26 August 2020
25 August 2020
21 August 2020
18 August 2020
16 August 2020
14 August 2020
12 August 2020
Recent Blog Posts
27 September 2020

We are very sorry to say that Bella died yesterday after a short illness.

22 September 2020

Port de Sanary

We went to Port Sanary to sit out a mistral which was blowing for a few days. It’s a pleasant port and the marina is central to the town.

21 September 2020

Port Miou

It took some planning before we untied safely from the quay in Cassis, as we were pinned against a very small concrete pierhead and needed to be careful not to damage the boat.

18 September 2020

Cassis

After six nights at anchor, we were starting to run low on fresh food supplies and also wanted to find a laundrette. The weather was forecast to be unsettled with thundery showers, so we needed to find shelter in a marina. We were looking forward to going into the Port of Cassis, but we knew from the [...]

17 September 2020

Calanque de Sormiou

We sailed over from the Ile Riou and into Calanque de Sormiou. This is a large calanque with a few houses at the top. We took the dinghy to the small boat harbour and had a walk ashore.

15 September 2020

Ile Riou

On Tuesday we moved past Marseille, around Cap Croisette and into the Parc National des Calanques. Les Calanques is a stretch of coast from Cap Croisette to Cassis and has steep limestone ridges from two mountain ranges meeting the sea. This coastline has several Calanques which are fjords that provide [...]

13 September 2020

Ile Ratonneau

We left the Golfe de Fos and headed for an anchorage at Ile Ratonneau. It was late Sunday afternoon and very busy with the locals, but soon people started to leave, which left us room to anchor on the outside. It was a stunning location with craggy white cliffs. We spotted a beach and slipway where we [...]

12 September 2020

Golfe de Fos

The Golfe du Lion can have some atrocious weather. This is mainly from the tramontana in the west and the mistral in the east. However, since these winds are from the north, the sea conditions are not so bad around the coast. It can be a different story further out at sea and we have seen forecasts with [...]

08 September 2020

Sète

It had been a very windy night and was still windy when we left Port Leucate at 9am. The forecast was for wind F5 in the morning but dying away to a F2 by the time we reached Sète. We decided to use the last of the wind from the Tramontana to help speed our journey along the coast. We had a fast sail [...]

05 September 2020

Port Leucate

We left Collioure mid-morning bound for Port Leucate. We motored for the first half of the trip and then the wind built so we were able to sail the remainder, almost up to the harbour.

27 September 2020
Simon & Fiona
We are very sorry to say that Bella died yesterday after a short illness.

During this cruise, she was still enjoying walking, swimming and playing on the beach right up until recently.

Bella had a wonderful 11 years. She was a big part of our lives and will be sadly missed.

We now plan to sail directly to our final port which is Bormes les Mimosas and return home soon.

Port de Sanary

22 September 2020
We went to Port Sanary to sit out a mistral which was blowing for a few days. It’s a pleasant port and the marina is central to the town.

Time: 4:00 hours Miles: 18nm Total Time: 73:30 hours Total Miles: 400nm

Port Miou

21 September 2020
Fiona
It took some planning before we untied safely from the quay in Cassis, as we were pinned against a very small concrete pierhead and needed to be careful not to damage the boat.

The weather was looking good, so we decided to go to Port Miou which was just around the corner of the bay. This is a narrow Calanque where you tie onto a buoy at the bow, then attach a long line from the stern of the boat to a metal ring in the cliff.

We went by dinghy to the end of the calanque and had a walk in the national park. There are obviously octopus in the area, as we saw a sign saying that fishing for them was forbidden from 1st June to 30th September.

Back on Brindabella, we had a swim round the boat, and saw a kingfisher.



We barbequed the fish we bought from Cassis for dinner. While eating, we saw some young men climb to the top of the tallest cliff, right above us and dive into the water.

Time: 0:30 hours Miles: 2nm Total Time: 69:30 hours Total Miles: 382nm

Cassis

18 September 2020
Fiona
After six nights at anchor, we were starting to run low on fresh food supplies and also wanted to find a laundrette. The weather was forecast to be unsettled with thundery showers, so we needed to find shelter in a marina. We were looking forward to going into the Port of Cassis, but we knew from the pilot book, that there were very few visitor berths.

There was a procedure to follow before we could enter the port. Firstly we had to phone the Capitainerie at 7am, for them to take your boat name and dimensions, then we had to phone again at 10.30am to check whether there was a space, which we were then told, yes there is a space and that we could enter the harbour at 3pm. We left the anchorage and motored to the Bay of Cassis, where we anchored off for an hour to have a late lunch, drop Bella off ashore briefly and prepare fenders and warps.

On arriving in the port, the Harbour Master greeted us in his dinghy. He was very friendly and told us how he wanted us to moor. We were to be pinned in four corners by ropes and chains on the harbour seabed, then with our centre cleat. We had to place five fenders in a row in the middle of the boat. In effect, we were mooring against a round ended concrete quay.
We knew that wind and thundery showers were on their way, so we spent a long while making sure that we were secure in the event of extreme wind and swell. There was a fantastic storm the second night, followed on the third day with torrential rain.

It was well worth the wait to enter Cassis. We were greeted by a very pretty harbour, reminiscent of Honfleur. The harbour was mainly full of small boats. The houses were old and painted beige and pink, cafes and restaurants encircled the harbour, with a 14th Century castle on the opposite side, which has been transformed into a posh hotel.



There was a pretty church whose clock started chiming at 5am in the morning! The streets were unusual because they were made of the shiny white local limestone. There were also some smart shops, one of which sold around fifty different perfumed bars of Marseille soap.
We took the opportunity to restock the boat with food and to do the laundry, everyday tasks, but these still need to be done in a tourist town.

The visitors mooring was right in the centre of town, so very convenient to step off the boat to visit the bakers in the morning, and to visit the fish restaurants at night. We stumbled across a wonderful wine bar, where you could try a glass of wine and then purchase a bottle. We talked to the bartender for a long while asking questions about the different wines in the local regions. We tried a white Cassis wine which was very pleasant.



On Monday, we walked round to the Capitainerie to pay our fees. We noticed three small fishing boats. One of them had just landed its catch and had set up a little stall. We purchased a sea bream, which we later barbecued for dinner.

Time: 2:00 hours Miles: 8nm Total Time: 69:00 hours Total Miles: 380nm

Calanque de Sormiou

17 September 2020
Simon
We sailed over from the Ile Riou and into Calanque de Sormiou. This is a large calanque with a few houses at the top. We took the dinghy to the small boat harbour and had a walk ashore.

There had been a sea breeze in the afternoon which created some swell rolling into the harbour, so had quite an unsettled night!

Although it remains very warm, with most days around 27°C. We have some wind and rain coming over the next few days, so we will move into the town of Cassis for the weekend.



Time: 1:00 hours Miles: 3nm Total Time: 67:00 hours Total Miles: 372nm

Ile Riou

15 September 2020
Simon
On Tuesday we moved past Marseille, around Cap Croisette and into the Parc National des Calanques. Les Calanques is a stretch of coast from Cap Croisette to Cassis and has steep limestone ridges from two mountain ranges meeting the sea. This coastline has several Calanques which are fjords that provide protection from the sea and are perfect for anchoring. They often have steep sided cliffs up to 100m in places.

The landscape is spectacular and made up of limestone mountains and beautifully clear water. The seabed has many white sandy patches and lots of Posidonia grass. When anchoring, it is important to anchor on the sand and miss the sea grass.

Some of the anchorages are deep and at the last island, we were anchored in over 20m of water so used nearly all of our 60m of chain. We have a further 30 meters of rope attached but that has not been used so far.

We have been anchored in Calanque de Monasterio on Ile Riou. There is a small sandy beach and room for 2 yachts to anchor. We were lucky when we approached. While we were looking around for the ideal spot to lower the anchor, a guy on a French yacht in pole position signalled to us and said they were just leaving, and we could anchor there.



We spent two days at this location with lots of swimming from the boat and just chilling out. We have been anchored in 8m of water and the bottom is clearly visible. It is an absolute delightful anchorage and I am sure will be one of the best from this year's cruise.

Bella enjoyed the beach on the island.





We very quickly become settled in a new location and it is always difficult to move on, but there is always more to explore and there could be somewhere better around the corner. The grass really is greener on the other side!

Time: 2:15 hours Miles: 9nm Total Time: 66:00 hours Total Miles: 369nm

Ile Ratonneau

13 September 2020
Fiona
We left the Golfe de Fos and headed for an anchorage at Ile Ratonneau. It was late Sunday afternoon and very busy with the locals, but soon people started to leave, which left us room to anchor on the outside. It was a stunning location with craggy white cliffs. We spotted a beach and slipway where we could get Bella ashore in the dinghy. The water was clear and we enjoyed a swim around the boat. It was calm and so we had a barbecue. We watched the sun go down, out at sea, with no obstacles on the horizon.



The following day, we went ashore and looked round the island, which contained some derelict buildings, including an old hotel and former leprosy hospital, used to quarantine sailors years ago. The other part of the island contained a smart new marina, some bistros and a small grocery shop. Next to this was a causeway to another island. You could see the city of Marseille clearly from here, between the rocks, with its beautiful cathedral mounted up high.



Time: 3:15 hours Miles: 20nm Total Time: 63:45 hours Total Miles: 360nm

Golfe de Fos

12 September 2020
Simon
The Golfe du Lion can have some atrocious weather. This is mainly from the tramontana in the west and the mistral in the east. However, since these winds are from the north, the sea conditions are not so bad around the coast. It can be a different story further out at sea and we have seen forecasts with swell exceeding 3m. During our time in the western edge we have seen three tramontana winds pass through blowing F7 to F8. In winter they can be stronger than this.

Today, was very calm and we took the opportunity to make a big hop of nearly 60 nautical miles. This took us over to the eastern side of the Golfe du Lion. We went into the Golfe de Fos which is a medium sized bay in the north east edge. Around the outer bay there are many petrochemical plants but at the southern end there is wonderful sandy spit. This encloses a small bay which was ideal for anchoring. When we arrived, it was a Saturday night and there were around a dozen other yachts at anchor but there was plenty of space.



There was a wreck of a yacht on the spit. It was marked on the charts and we thought it was an ancient wreck but it was a modern yacht that had gone aground and had been left there.



It turned out to be a great anchorage with no swell and a long sandy beach. Just don't look north to the petrochemical site!



Time: 9:30 hours Miles: 58nm Total Time: 60:30 hours Total Miles: 340nm

Sète

08 September 2020
Fiona
It had been a very windy night and was still windy when we left Port Leucate at 9am. The forecast was for wind F5 in the morning but dying away to a F2 by the time we reached Sète. We decided to use the last of the wind from the Tramontana to help speed our journey along the coast. We had a fast sail for about 2 hours until the wind dropped and we put the sails away and the motor was turned on. We entered the Port de Plaisance at Sète at 4pm. We had a finger berth, so out came the fender step and no need to attach the passerelle.



Once we had got settled and seen the Capitainerie, we decided to have a look round the town. There was a big fleet of trawlers, the largest we have seen recently, which looked promising for a variety of fish in the many local restaurants. We had a very nice meal, a few streets away from the quay, in a small friendly place, where we had tuna and seabass.



The following day it was the big Wednesday market in the town, which had a good variety of produce, including different coloured tomatoes, and several different types of grapes. Simon bought a pintard (guinea fowl) to roast for dinner, which was delicious. In France, game is purchased with the head and feet still attached and all of the important bits inside necessary to make a stock. Simon followed a recipe from Chas, making a stock and adding cream at the end to pour over the roasted pintard.

In town, we discovered some tasty local savoury pies, tielles, which contained tomato sauce and chopped squid, so had those for lunch. They are a local speciality from Sète.



The canal runs through the centre of town, and smaller river boats and tripper boats are moored here. The town is very old and has several bridges crossing the canal. One bridge opens to let yachts pass through to the other town marina.

We decided to walk up to Mount St Claire, which had a panoramic view of the town. It had a beautiful little chapel with murals, perched high on the hill. From there, you could also see the port, the town houses with pink walls and orange roofs. There was a view beyond, to the surrounding étang or pool, where oysters are grown on strings.



Time: 7:00 hours Miles: 43nm Total Time: 51:00 hours Total Miles: 282nm

Port Leucate

05 September 2020
Simon
We left Collioure mid-morning bound for Port Leucate. We motored for the first half of the trip and then the wind built so we were able to sail the remainder, almost up to the harbour.

However, just as we were approaching, thick fog descended within minutes. We just had time to get the sails down, start the motor and get the radar going. We motored along slowly as there were many other boats out on the Saturday afternoon. It was very eerie seeing yachts still under sail briefly appear and then disappear again into the dense fog.

We turned into the harbour, using the chart plotter and followed some other yachts we could just see. We knew we were close when we saw the swimming buoys off the beach just in front of us! Once in the harbour the fog cleared, and we tied up on the visitors pontoon.

While we were there, another Tramontana wind came through for 3 days blowing most of the time between F6 and gusting up to F9 on the first night.

Port Leucate has a large modern marina which is surrounded by thousands of holiday homes. There wasn't much to do there. We did have a meal in the Cutty Sark and walk to the beach which was spectacular. Bella and I had a swim but due to the wind, we didn't stay long.

Time: 4:00 hours Miles: 22nm Total Time: 44:00 hours Total Miles: 239nm
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