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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    West Berkshire (boat Hamble)
    Posts
    527

    Default Cruise Report - Brittany

    Some of you will recall my annual trip this year was to go to France, namely Brittany. Here is my summary for those that are interested.

    The initial plan was to take just over 2 weeks off on the tail end of August and get to Brittany, head West and then back up to the West Country then back to Hamble.

    Regrettably the wonderful British weather reared its ugly head and delayed the trip for 5 days. This was then further delayed as my Starboard drive needed fixing as it was no longer engaging reverse, so boat had to go out and back in.

    So a week later and a week lost meant we were a little more constrained with time, and conditions.

    However, we headed out on a Thursday with a direct blast to Jersey, to give us an easy stop over for a dash to Brittany the next day. The weather gods were in a good mood, as we had the pre bank holiday heatwave in our favour and the sea conditions were perfect (once past the Solent and Needles that was blasting a F5). We had F3 and then F2/3 after an hour into the journey. Not a cloud in the sky with the sun beating down on us the whole way. In fact going through the Alderney Race, the sea was a millpond as the wind dropped completely at slack water, with great visibility, France on one side, Alderney the other. Boating at its best.

    St Helier was just an overnight stop over for us, and we didn't arrive until after 4pm. We rafted against a trawler yacht and took the decision to stay on the waiting pontoons overnight. We had an early start the next day and the marina wasnt opening until after 8pm. That was not going to work for me, especially as I wanted to enjoy a couple of celebratory 'I just crossed the channel' beers...

    It was nice and peaceful in the marina until a rally of French yachts decided to party until after 3 in the morning, with the smell of whacky baccy filling up the cabin through the windows. If I was a teenager again I would probably have been chuffed to bits, but certainly not now!!... As my patience ran out a few choice words were shared, but ignored. Ended up phoning the police, but they (as I am sure is fair enough - better things to do and all that), declined to attend.

    I soon cheered up the next morning, as I filled up the tanks at 69p a litre. As the SWMBO helmed us out the marina and as I did fenders I totally missed the port lights turn to Red, so a few stern words from the port control as the condor was departing... We did a quick reverse before we got anywhere near the actually channel. All experience... Anyway, we were safely underway and en route to St Malo.

    We were once again totally spoilt by the conditions. Light wind and blue sunny skies. I took a west course round Plateau Des Minquiers, passing another T40 on his way back from France. We then took our course south towards St Malo. It is quite a hectic channel with plenty of hazards and rocks, but I had a solid pilotage plan in place. The plan was to head towards the St Malo lock so that we could skip the normal visitors marina used (it is out the way of the city and known for quite a swell), and actually moor up in Vauban Marina which is right by the old town!

    We lucked in, and the lock was just opening as we arrived. It was quite an interesting experience as the harbour staff pass you lines to attached to the boat lines, and they then tie you on. The other halfs french was tested somewhat as she was asked to tie her line on!! Improvised sign language won the day. Once through the lock we headed towards the marina where a nice chap on a dinghy greeted us and gave us a berth. This marina was amazing. The location is hard to beat, being right by the walled city. You are minutes from it all.

    The thing that really struck home was how very much we were now on holiday. Searing hot weather, a shed load of moules marinière and some wine and we were loving life. It is a lovely place to just wonder round and take it all in. We had dinner at a seafood restaurant, and the food was insane. Fresh oysters, prawns, langoustines and more. I even smashed down a sea snail which I cant say I loved, but hey, when in France and all that. Once daylight turned to dusk, Vauban Marina becomes even more majestical as the lights around the old city light up, and you sit on your boat in a serene marina taking it all in. I have to say, this was a real winner of a destination.

    Our next destination which was based on many a recommendation from both forumites and some chaps we met in St Malo was a quick 10 mile run over to St Cast. A different vibe entirely to St Malo, but it was another top destination. The marina was pretty large, and we were given a nice spot by a very helpful member of staff on a dinghy. As we arrived it was hitting 30 degrees. Another total scorcher.

    The great thing about St Cast was it's quant small town with an abundance of places to eat, combined with a really large beach with white sand and crystal clear water. So it was back on the Moules marinières along with a side of swimming, kayaking and taking in the heatwave. Benefit here was also that being an MDL berth holder many of these Brittany marina's are under a reciprocating agreement meaning I didnt pay a penny to stay!

    We stayed in St Cast for 2 days, as the weather was too good not to. I would certainly go back there. Loads more exploring needed to be done. The plan now was to head west and get down one of the many estuaries such as Treguer or Pontrieux. However... On scanning the forecasts along with the unfortunate delay to our departure, we were hit with incoming weather across the channel and a need to get home inside the next 4 days. There was no way that I could take the other half across the channel in any sort of blow. It just would not be even worth considering. I had to make the difficult decision to not risk anything, and get back when we knew we had a good window and no uncertainties.

    A bit gutted to be honest, but we had been spoilt with some wonderful weather and great locations. We headed to Guernsey and stayed a day in Beaucette Marina on the North West of the Island. An old quarry and very nice it was. The entrance is somewhat intimidating, as its a thin channel with 30 foot shear cliff either side (no room for error there) and a dog leg in. The marina itself was Calm and relaxing, with very friendly and helpful staff. We even took advantage of the Guernsey takeaway delivery service they have that serves the whole island and got a curry delivered that evening!!! The Guernsey fog had set in that afternoon, and held all evening. Quite eerie in that small marina, but a great experience, and I took a nice long coastal walk. It is a lovely island on the more rugged areas. Being an Isles of Scilly fan, the two places share a very similar granite landscape.

    The next day we took our return journey across the channel. I am glad I did choose to do this, as the weather did start coming in later in the week, and would have meant for a lumpy return leg. Needless to say we had nice conditions up to F4 and cruised to Newtown Creek for a nice evening and night back in the good old Solent.

    We took advantage of having a couple of more days to play with so spent some time in Lymington. I really do like Berthon Marina. Great location near the town. However it is so expensive!!!! But we had a great time there either way.

    Back to Hamble the next day and cruise is over. In summary we had a fantastic holiday on the boat. We got to brittany which is a tick on the list for me and my ambitions to get out there and explore. The boat behaved superbly as always (albeit the issues before we left), and we didn't even have one problem during the cruise! That is a first... Everything worked, nothing broke, smashed or fell off. Result..

    The weather and time constraints did stop us achieving the ultimate plan, but I am glad we got to get there, see what we saw and experience another country on our boat. I will put some pics on later.

    J.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    Broken Brexit Britain
    Posts
    55,359

    Default Re: Cruise Report - Brittany


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    New Forest
    Posts
    1,859

    Default Re: Cruise Report - Brittany

    Quote Originally Posted by mikef View Post
    +1
    Glad to hear you had a good trip Jonathan, need to hear all the details over a beer .

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    West Berkshire (boat Hamble)
    Posts
    527

    Default Re: Cruise Report - Brittany

    IMG_0711.jpg

    The Alderney Race - Flat Calm


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    Ideal Conditions at the Race


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    Perfect Boating Conditions


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    St Malo Town


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    View from Vauban Marina


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    Vauban Marina


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    St Malo all lit up


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    Not a bad view from the boat


    Thats a few pics for now. Takes 2 years to do on this stupid platform!
    Attached Images Attached Images

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Tasmania, Australia
    Posts
    4,268

    Default Re: Cruise Report - Brittany

    Thanks for the report, it's great when most things work as planned, and some good memories to carry you through to next season.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    Broken Brexit Britain
    Posts
    55,359

    Default Re: Cruise Report - Brittany

    Thanks for the pics which brought back happy memories of our trips to St Malo which is a fantastic destination

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Jersey
    Posts
    272

    Default Re: Cruise Report - Brittany

    Great report and photos , a great taster I’m sure for many more boating trips in Brittany and CIs .
    We love it since relocating the boat to Jersey permanently last September .
    We are currently away in Brittany for a couple of weeks enjoying the weather and the much quieter marinas after the
    Main holiday season
    Cheers
    Tetleys

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