Month: July 2013
Take a closer look a this photo panorama, taken from the back of Filibuster and looking across to Isle Tudy later that day.
The 2 French yachts on the left allow me to make a gross generalisation about French sailors:
French sailors like to commune with nature, to sail right at the forefront of their boats capability. And they are good at it too. Both the aforementioned boats had sailed through horrendous conditions: monsoon strength rain with 30+knot winds.
You will notice that they have no sprayhoods or dodgers and get whatever Mother Nature throws at them in the face. I suspect that Mother Nature, who is French in these parts, takes their principal of communing with her and gives it a Gallic shrug.
Us Brits (at least the two of us on Filibuster) prefer to put a bit of fabric in the way and as a result don’t generally arrive looking half drowned and needing to bail out the boat 🙂
Anyway, enough of digressing, I’ve said it and got that off my chest.
Why we love Loctudy
To start it’s a nice place to arrive: greeted by the chequerboard tower of Perdrix on the way in and straight into a berth view a view.
Loctudy’s marina is another small communal boat parking place with friendly staff who generally come out to meet, greet and place you.
But perhaps the real reason is the seafood from the adjacent fishing port:
All in a couple of hours. The langoustines were still fighting back before we cooked them…
And another thing is the price: a demi kilo of best langoustines and and 7 bottles of fine Muscadet sur Lie (one cold for drinking the others destined for the UK) came to just over £40 from Viviers de Loctudy.
The following night was moules mouclade, (light creamy curry sauce) cooked by Michele with the main ingredient costing under €3.
Add another bouteille of fine Muscadet (oops, that one isn’t going back to the UK) and you have a meal for two for under £6.
Nice place, friendly staff, super fresh seafood, excellent wines, great views. Loctudy is a mandatory stop in both directions.
This is probably the most boring post of the trip !!!
This is the one passage that HAS got to be planned as it passes through a smallish gap between mainland France and a small island (Isle de Seine). Get your arrival here wrong and the tide is so strong that it is extremely difficult to make headway. Get it correct and the tide squooshes (is that a nautical term ?) you along and hopefully in the direction that you want to go in.
By the way its is pronounced “RARH” and not RAZZ (as we used to say)
We left just before 6am from Camaret (still dark) as the navigator had worked the timings backward for this. This is one of the most uneventful sails, as there was very little wind for the whole of the journey and the sky was grey, overcast and dull. We motored all the way but put up the main to stabilise us as there were a few Atlantic rollers.
The most exciting thing was a huge pod of dolphins going across the Bay of Audierne but they did not stop.
So after 49.1 nautical miles we arrived at low tide at Loctudy (taking care with the depth on arrival – shame to go aground at such a stage).
Addendum from the skip:
Over the ground distance: 54nm, log distance 49.1m = favourable tide saving 5nm (means we arrived 50 minutes earlier than would have been the case with no tide)
As noted above the Raz to be treated with care. Even at 1 hour after slack water a 3-4kn tide was running. Good timing is of the essence
Panoramic view of the harbour front in Camaret sur Mer taken from Filibuster.
From the right: bar, bar, restaurant, restaurant, restaurant, bar, gift shop, restaurant…..boulangerie, bar, restaurant, chemist, gift shop.
What’s not to like? moored in the right spot you get great views of the nearby harbour side all the way across to the distant commercial port.
Note no forest of masts and yet we were in a marina!.
A bit of history
Camaret has a fascinating history. Vauban’s tower in the picture of the entrance was successfully (very successfully) used to defend the port against a large Anglo-Dutch invasion.
The port subsequently thrived as a fishing port until the economics of the industry dictated larger vessels and better transport connections that other ports could offer. Relics of the age of fishing remain on the beach as a reminder.
Perfectly situated in sheltered waters Camaret is often our first and last stop in France. It’s convenient for Brest (8 miles by boat) with it’s airport and scheduled flights to Southampton.
For yachties it also comes with 2 marinas, diesel berth, cash points, a really good supermarket, delis, bars, chandlery, poissonerie and a more interesting than usual artisan quarter.
Excellent beaches make up the full complement for this little port.
As I said, what’s not to like about Camaret sur Mer?
Writing on 26th July in sunny Camaret it’s now time to recount a problem that occurred last Sunday and wasn’t very funny at the time.
Andrew’s friends on Bryher, Martin and Fi, had invited us to a seafood lunch using ingredients caught in their own pots. And to celebrate the (almost) completion of building works we went across from our mooring in Filibusters tender, armed with a couple of bottles of bubbly.
It was going to be a fine afternoon with lovely food and great company overlooking Hell Bay. We arrived ashore and tied the dinghy well up onto the slip as per photo.
It was indeed a fine afternoon with lovely food and great company overlooking Hell Bay. Replete we wandered back to the slip. The tide was at the top of springs.
Surely not, in one of the finest cruising spots, could someone have stolen it?
No evidence either of coming loose and floating off downwind.
So we asked around and someone in the nearby shop remarked that they had indeed seen a dinghy under the slip. Tim got a lift on a local boat and looked long the line of the slip:
…..he saw the transom peeking out from under the slip…..
…5 feet under water.
The rising tide coupled with gentle breeze has lifted the dinghy under the slip where it became stuck and subsequently submerged under the rising tide. This particular slip as you can see in the photo is supported on cylindrical pillars and otherwise open underneath.
Our plight had been noticed by the fantastic people at Bryher Boat Services and they loaned us a dinghy to get out to Filibuster for a period of contemplating the tide and donning swimming gear.
We waited for the tide to drop low enough to a) wade out and then b) extract the dinghy.
Well, to cut long story short we recovered the dinghy back to Filibuster for treatment. The final result was a 100% operational tender.
Valuable lessons learnt:
- be aware of slips that can trap your dinghy
- we are not alone: the other dinghy in the photo was even further submerged….
How to get a submerged engine going
read on if you want to know how to fix a dinghy engine that has been under the water for several hours:
- wash everything in copious amounts of fresh water
- drain the fuel tank as it almost certainly contains sea water
- drain the carburetor
- take out the spark plug, dry and clean
- Tip the engine upside down and empty any water out of the spark plug hole
- Give the starter cord a good tug to expel any water inside the engine
- dry out electrical contacts with WD40. A good time to check for a spark is now
- Replace spark plug, fill tank with fresh fuel and let some run through the fuel system before replacing the carb drain
- reconnect everything
- turn on the fuel etc and try to start
If you have a good engine (Johnson 3.5 2 stroke in our case) you will be reward by it coughing into life.
Give it a good run. We found going to the pub was just about right….
We made it to Camaret sur Mer yesterday (23 July) after a long motor from St Agnes in the Scillies…..
Our route took us through Chanel De Helle / Chanel du Four: the pilot guide says something like this about the area:
“Avoid going through in anything other than fine weather with good visibility unless you have a good navigation system with up to date charts”
Well, after a flat calm night we arrived at the entrance to “Hell Chanel” and no sooner had we committed ourselves when a thick fog rolled in:
Visibility dropped to 50-100 yards. Tide ran at around 5kn. dangerous rocks were all around. Unseen vessels were heard to pass near by.
It would have been the nightmare scenario just a few years ago.
Having the right kit and team
Our helm (Andrew Wiltshire) expertly guided by the navigator (Tim Greathead) got us to our destination safe and sound.
….and the sun came out 🙂
(blue line = desired track, orange = actual)
frankly another long boring passage: 130nm totally on motor 🙁
We amused ourselves by watching passing ships on the radar and AIS and sometimes we just watched them on the radar…..
Sailing by moonlight is always a pleasure and this pic was taken by Andrew off Ushant ( Isle de Ouessent)
in fact we had to reduce speed a bit to ensure we arrived at the entrance to Chenal de la Helle in time for the favourable stream.
Things got a bit trickier after that as described in this post
The start of the route was interesting – the quirk in the lower part of the route was courtesy of a visit to the Turks Head pub on St Agnes for lunch. Worth a visit.
Rest of the passage. Shows tidal effect as we crossed.
There’s not much to say about the passage from Lawrenny to Tresco in the Scillies. Quite often it can be a awful lumpy ride but this time we motored half and had a splendid sail for the remainder.
The wind forecast showed 25kn for the evening of arrival so we decided to seek a mooring in Tresco and were rewarded by a) the very last space and b) nearest the pub.
The passage is some 120nm and you can generally guarantee to be visited by dolphins. In this part of the world they seem friendlier than other parts and will sometime stay for an hour or more playing around the boat.
Andrew got a great photo that encapsulates fine weather and dolphins in a single shot.
The crew: Andrew Wiltshire and Tim Greathead.
As so often the case with the Scillies, the weather can change quickly: here’s two shots taken looking North Saturday evening and the following morning.