Monthly Archives: May 2017

Brittany Part 2

St Quay Portrieux to L’aber Wrac’h

We left a lovely sunny St Malo (Tuesday 23rd May) and arrive in a cloudy St Quay Portrieux, a small village, but it did eventually brighten up.  We went up to the Capitainerie’s office in the marina to pay and we are told we have to pay 1.5 times the standard rate because we are a catamaran which can sometimes be the case if you use up two moorings however on this occasion we were alongside a pontoon so we weren’t taking up any more space than a boat the same length.  Ian wasn’t really paying attention up until this point, busy looking at boat pictures and such like.  He feigned outrage, “we are not paying that to be alongside” and it wasn’t as though it was busy.  He offered to pay 1.25 or we were off!  The lady disappeared off in the back and came back and said on this occasion we could have the standard rate.  Bob and Gillian were quite taken aback at his forthrightness.  I wasn’t!!

We had a meal in one of the marina restaurants with Bob and Gillian.  I’d set my sights on moules.  Just my luck they weren’t on the menu.  We decided on the 20Euro meal for two courses and we all had the same starter which we thought was prawns.  When it came up we were amazed we not only had large prawns but four oysters with bread and mayo.  We thought they had brought up the wrong starter and was trying to send it back.  It was lovely, it was only after we had all eaten ours I thought I should have taken a picture.

We got up the following morning (Wednesday 24th May)to a fog.  We were due to leave about 11.30 to go to the Treiux River, thankfully it lifted and off we went.  We took the Chenal du Ferlas approach to the entrance to the river, which is quicker but rocky and at high tide many of the rocks aren’t visible.  We arrived at low tide and you can see from the pictures the difference in colour on the rocks whey they are submerged at high water.


We spent one night in the marine at Lezardrieux, alongside a pontoon and NO we weren’t asked to pay the higher rate here.  A very pretty little village.

The following day, Thursday 25th May, it was busier as it was Ascension Day and this is a public holiday in France.  We decided to meander on down the river to Portrieux to have a look then go back some of the way and anchor up.  It was lovely and hot with very little wind so fabulous, not only that, the views along the rivers were amazing and the photos really don’t do it justice.  There is a big chateau, Chateau de la Roche Jagu, that sits on the hillside which is quite imposing.  We got as far as we could go which is the Pontrieux lock.  We decided to sit on the lock waiting and have a glass of Pimms, as it was definitely a “Pimms moment”.  After 20 minutes the lock keeper calls out that he had opened the gates for us.  We hadn’t planned on going through the lock but thought we had better as he’d opened it.

Inside the lock was also a trip boat with about 50 people on board.  Morning Star went in first.  No pressure on Bob and Gill to tie up correctly with 50 pairs of eyes watching.  Anyway they did it perfectly and received cheers and a round of applause.

We were pleased we did go through the lock as the village was very picturesque.

We spent just the one night here then went back to nearer the Trieux River entrance the following day on Friday 26th May 2017 and picked a sheltered mooring buoy up and spent a few hours soaking up the sun.

Off to Roscoff

2. Roscoff 26.5.17.


Saturday morning (27th May) at 8.30am, it was quite a contrast when we left the Trieux River , overcast and drizzling with rain.  An hour later and the sun was out however, it was a bit on and off for the trip.  Roscoff is a small town but quite busy and touristy. We decided to walk into town (or hobble as I’m still doing) get some supplies then go back to the boat before dinner in the marina.  We did this, but in a slightly different order.  We got some supplies although we are finding that most places only have a very small shop with limited goods, the seafront was heaving with bars and restaurants so we took in some refreshments ie beer.  After about half an hour a band set up and they started playing jazz, so we stayed longer than we anticipated.  The place was heaving.  By the time we left and got back to the marina it was 7, which was the time we had booked our table for, so straight there, no time to go back to the boat.  We then had cheese and wine back on Cuffysark.

Sunday morning (28th May) was very grey skies and just as we were about to leave for L’Aber Wrach’t we had a thunderstorm. 1. Roscoff rain - 27.5.17.


After about five hours we arrived, the wind finally dying off and it was low tide.  This meant that we would use the Chenal de la Maloiune approach which goes very close to some rock formations and saved a couple of miles as this was a cut through that you would only approach in very calm conditions.  Quite scarey as there are rocks here that cover and uncover at low tide so extreme caution is required.  They also farm huitres (oysters for those of you who don’t speak French, that’s us included).

A bit of deja vue here as it rained heavily for most of the afternoon and evening we were here.  This was a stopover place before our next leg onto Brest so wasn’t planning on going ashore which was just as well with the amount of rain we had.


28th May 2017

Brittany Part 1

Monday 15th to Monday 22nd May 2017


After a long sail the day before we had a leisurely start to the day. Later we went for a walk and Bob and Gillian took us to a local micro brewery.   The weather  forecast was good for Tuesday 16th May so we set off for Guernsey. We arrived too early to get into the marina as it has a sill so has to wait on a holding pontoon for nearly two hours. By the time we could get in it has started to rain, typical. This is one time we can’t sit inside and watch from the saloon we have to be outside to moor up. It was getting on for 9.30pm by the time we were moored so too late to start cooking so we found a fish and chip shop close by and had that for dinner.

3. St Peter Port Harbour, Guernsey 19.5.17.

St Peter Port Harbour, Guernsey – NOT on a rainy day

Since we arrived and for all of the next day all it did was rain, rain and yet more rain. It’s so much more noticeable on a boat. So everything feels damp. The Harbour Master suggested the best thing to do on a day like this is to go on a bus trip around the Island which was a £1 each. It was a great way to see the whole Island. Only issue was that it was raining so much that the Windows kept steaming up and in places the visability was not good. Added to that we sat on the back seat and water kept dripping from the air vent.

We spent four nights in Guernsey because it was buy 3 get 1 free. In St Peter’s Port there is a large castle called Castle Cornet. At 12.00 noon the gun is fired and although we knew it would be loud it was still a shock when it went off.

After this there was a play carried out by three guys about the SS Stella that hit the rocks and sunk in 8 minutes. It was quite amusing (not that the ship had sunk) and three people in the audience were asked to ring the bell, blow the whistle and blow the foghorn. The guys thought Bob would be good for the foghorn. The views and visability from castle cornet were amazing. We could see Sark, Herm, Jersey. Guernsey is a very pretty island as is the surrounding areas.

As it was Friday night it must be time to visit a yacht club. There are two in Guernsey the Guernsey YC and the Royal Channel Islands YC, the latter of which we visited. Up flights of stairs which gave us a good view. It was a very quaint cosy club and were made very welcome, even though “we weren’t local”. Every Friday night they hold a raffle and the prizes are a various assortment of fresh meat. Bob “I never win anything” not only won but was the first ticket out.

We left Guernsey for St Malo on Saturday 21st May. A lovely sail although the wind died off the nearer we got there. It started to rain as we came into the harbour (becoming a bit of a pattern!). We had to go into a lock to get into the inner marina which is situated alongside the old city walls by the Quay. The lock walls are so high that the port guys have to help tie off your ropes as we were so low. While waiting the sun came out, so we thought all is improving. This is where it went downhill, for me at least. We came through the lock into the marina. I tied off the stern line, then stepped and it was a step I don’t jump anymore (not with twin engines, Ian can get close to the jetty) and slipped over bending my knee back. So I’m now hobbling and before anyone thinks no there wasn’t any alcohol involved. There’s no drinking and sailing at the same time, only tea.

Once we had moored up the sun came out and we had a barbecue with Bob’s “I don’t win anything” winning meat assortment. Which was lovely.

The old town of St Malo is beautiful so the next day we had a very very slow walk as I couldn’t walk properly around the town and along the city walls. Up and down stairs wasn’t easy.


The weather has improved and is now sunbathing weather so managed a couple of hours after doing my chores of course, washing and housework. I do have a little washing machine but it’s not like throwing all your stuff in and coming back when it’s finished. It only takes about 3kg, you have to fill it up with water let it wash for 10 mins, take that lot out put the next lot in, using the same water but topping it up a bit, same thing a third time. Then it has to be emptied and do the same thing three times for rinsing. Then spin it, which takes even less weight plus you have to hold onto it or it will end up the other side of the cockpit. Takes a while but definitely quicker than washing by hand which will have to for bedding and towels. I’ve got two lovely purple buckets for that! How lucky am I!!!

We left St Malo on Monday evening (22nd May 2017) and picked up a mooring outside for the night so we didn’t have to get up so early in the morning to get through the lock. You can only go through the lock +-2.30 either side of high tide.

A8. St Malo anchorage 22.5.17.

St Malo Anchorage


23rd May 2017

Our First Week – 8th to 14th May 2017

Dover to Cherbourg

Our first day the sun was shining so we had a leisurely morning before setting off for a walk.  Just the day before there had been news of a new Banksy which had appeared in Dover.  It was a first for us to see the real thing and wasn’t too far from the Marina (it could be seen from the Marina office) so went off to see it.  There were a few people gathered taking photos.  The guy in the Marina said that all that anyone had seen was some scaffolding and plastic sheeting go up on the previous Friday. It was a derelict building so no-one had taken much notice.

1. Banksy Dover 09.05.17.

We decide on a walk up to Dover Castle which was all uphill, not good for Ian’s knees.  The castle is worth a visit it covers a vast area and the views of the surrounding area are great.  Visibility was such that you could see France.  There are tunnels here which date back to the late 1700’s and were used for the organisation of “Operation Dynamo” the evacuation of Dunkirk by Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay.

Exit for Eastbourne

We left bright and early on Wednesday morning (10th May 2017) at 6.45am.  Having to get used to these early mornings again as since giving up work the only thing we did at this time of the morning was either sleep or roll over and go back to sleep!  We left at this time so we could carry some of the tide which gave us an extra two knots, as by 9.30am we would lose this. It was a lovely sunny day with slight easterly winds of 8 knots.

10, Dover from the sea - 10.5.17.

Dover for drinks on Morning Star 10.5.17.


We arrived in Eastbourne at around 12.45pm went through the lock to our allocated mooring and who was in the next berth only Bob and Gillian on Morning Star, who had left Dover the day before.  We spent a few hours aboard Morning Star with a few glasses of vino to toast the start of both our trips.

As we are not on holiday, “this is a way of life” one of Ian’s quotes, we spent Thursday doing chores, cleaning inside and out, washing and shopping.  We had a visit from Bill and Claire on Thursday evening who live in Hastings.  So we went off for an Indian meal in the restaurant in the harbour.   Friday our sails, sun cover and dingy cover arrived.  So we are now all ready to go.

13. Beachy Head 13.5.17.

Beachy Head 13th May 2017 – 13.20 Wind: SSW 14kts

12.00 noon on Saturday morning we left Eastbourne for Chichester harbour where we were planning on anchoring up for the night.  Having been told on a number of occasions “we are not sailing to windward” we sailed to windward.  Eight hours and ten minutes later we were sitting on a buoy just off Hayling Island.  It was quite a blustery night so did roll about quite a lot, not great for a good night’s sleep.  It certainly didn’t rock us off to sleep!



Cruising to Cherbourg

Another early morning.  We left Chichester at 6.45am.  Wind on the nose again (I must have dreamt we are not going to windward) but this was the best window for crossing the channel as the winds got lighter the nearer to the French coast we got.  The next opportunity would have been Wednesday so off we went.  It was a bit bumpy to start with but it did get better.  Morning Star had been in Portsmouth but we caught up with them in the Channel.

We arrived in Cherbourg after  11 long hours and a lovely sunny calm evening.  Bob and Gill arrived on Morning Star about 45 minutes later so we greeted them with a glass of vino which then became a few bottles more and dinner.  A lovely start to the French leg.


16th May 2017

Castaway 8th May 2017

It has been a long time in the planning but the day has finally arrived to cast off.  We were waved off by quite a crowd after a few bubbles and some tears from the Island Yacht Club.  Excited for the future but we will miss everyone at home but we hope to see some of you in warmer climates.

The day started off overcast and it had turned quite chilly.  Luckily for us as we have a catamaran we don’t have to sit in the cockpit we can sit inside and keep watch.  Thinking of Gill and Bob Hough on Morning star who are making some of the trip with us for the first few months who will be sitting in their cockpit.

For our first season we plan to take in France, northern Spain and Portugal ending up somewhere in southern Spain for the winter.

We left at 11.45am, a northerly wind to give us a glorious reach down the Thames Estuary followed by a run to our first port of call, Dover.  By 3 O’clock the clouds had gone and there was nothing but blue sky and sun.

Red Shivering Sands 8.5.17.

Shivering Sands Forts in the Thames Estuary


11th May 2017