Monday, 31 August 2009

St. Quay to Lezardrieux

Sailing around this coast certainly concentrates the mind. The tides think nothing of rising and falling thirty feet, the tidal flows are almost the same speed as the boat in places and to add to the fun, piloting around the coast involves dodging huge rocks most of which are submerged and redady to bite great lumps out of your hull.
But the navigation challenges are made worthwhile by the places we visit and the trips we make. The journey from St. Quay was interesting as we ran parallel to the coast for much of the way and then we picked our way through rocks and sand bars creeping into to the river entrance opposite the Ile de Brehat one of the Breton gems and another serious sailing challenge.
We motored up river to Lezardrieux and tied up alongside a marina hammerhead, which is a pontoon not a shark lest you should worry. The yacht club serves a nice beer, the wine is better than plonk and the food is excellent. They were even able to produce a Drambuie nightcap. The town is a short walk up a slightly steep hill but satisfies most needs - butcher, baker, cafe, laundry and once a week a market.
We have found that no matter how well we are intentioned of staying just a day or so in port then pressing on we always seem to stay longer and cover less ground. This port is proving to be no exception. It's easy pace, convenience and welcome and argue against casting off and exploring further - just yet.
Well, supper on board calls so time to sign off for the moment.
Hope all's well with everyone at home - it's good to get your messages.
Trevor & Jo

Tuesday, 25 August 2009


Granville is a secret gem. Just north of Mont St. Michael it's a small provincial French town somwewhat off the tourist track and all the better for it. Popular with the locals it's beaches all but vanish under the tides which rise more than 30 feet at times. The marina, which feels more like a harbour, houses 1000 yachts but still manages to feel cosy and intimate despite its size. The boats are kept afloat in the marina by a sill which catches several feet of water before it all sloshes away twice a day. The picture shows the sill at the marina entrance and the vast area of uncovered sand beyond.

The local chamber of commerce provide free, fast WiFi which works very well and the marina staff are helpful and efficient.

Although Mont St. Michael is clearly visible to the south it is apparently rarely visited by yachts presumably because of the lack of a local harbour and the rate at which tides receed.

Our French was tested to its limits here as I had to return a duff mobile phone charger to the Orange shop. Amazing what you can do with a few words and gestures. All very Churchillian.

St. Malo

Just like home! Woke up in St. Malo and thought we were back at Gosport with the Portsmouth-St. Malo ferry Bretagne moored opposite.

The leg from Granville to St. Malo was good. Nice sail, enough wind to make a healthy 5+ knots and a real sense of achievement coping with the tides. Massive tidal current on entrance to the marina which almost caught us out. Had to give the mooring a miss and round-up into the tide to stand any chance of getting onto the mooring with any dignity. British sailing honour only just in tact as we tied up.

St. Malo held little appeal, especially as we had a very exposed mooring, and although it did calm a tad overnight we decided that we would be happier moving on.

Before casting off we did try and find Stephen and Ali's boat, Virago, which was somwewhere ashore in the Etoile boatyard. Failed miserably to find either boat or yard.

Next stop St. Quay Portrieaux in a marina named Port D'Amor which seemed to promise more than the ferry port of St. Malo.

Pass the champagne, cue the accordian and where's Pierre selling over-priced single red roses.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Under Way

Not much to say except here are a couple of shots of us under sail. Given a bit of wind she really does sail well. The big problem with sailing is that it's almost impossible to get a pic of the boat under sail because whenever she's sailing we are on board and not lazing in some gin palace waiting to take snaps. Makes mental note: befriend a Beken.

Sheets and sheets

Just in case you thought it was all cheap plonk, fine food and sun bathing we thought you ought to see a glimpse of nautical reality. And no, Jo has not grown to giant proportions while afloat that really is a mini ironing board. Most of the sheets (nautical variety) are above decks but a few stray below to be pressed.

Unambiguous welcome to France.

20th. August - GRANVILLE

After several stunning days with clear blue skies and temperatures in the upper 20s today it's cloudy with a fresh F6 blowing. So, time to head in land.

We have taken to Granville - hardly any tourists and the marina has more of a harbour feel. The town has everything you'd want in terms of shops and all within a short stagger of the moorings. How long before the word spreads and it becomes overcrowded with yachts breasted five deep?

Rise of tide here is a dramatic 30 feet at Springs which means an almost mountain climb up the gangway when the tide's out. However, to compensate the rapid descent when retrurning to the boat after a snifter causes much amusement.

Starquest is a great home for our trip but lovely as she is she's too small for our 6-month liveabord. So the search is now on for something a little (well, a lot to be honest) bigger. There are several boats in the running and right now and it looks as if we'll be making a swift return to Southampton for the Boat Show to choose her successor.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Lymington - Brittany

Starquest moored under the bows of Tickled Pink, apparently owned by a Jersey resident Russial oil mogul. As you can see from the picture both ships are about the same length!

Now, for reasons which defeat me I am unable to upload text from Word into this blog and having written 3,000 words it's kind of galling not to be able to share them. So, while I attempt to fathom out (nautical term note) why I can't copy and paste text from Word to here I'll give you a thumbnail sketch of life so far.

23rd. July
From Lymington, where we had the electronics tweaked we sailed to Poole and tied up at the Town Quay Marina. Very central but quite noisy with holidaymakers and a rather eccentric mix of 'events', including a classic car rally on the quay.

25th. July
From Poole to Weymouth in a gap in the weather. More uphill, upwind sailing - or to be more accurate motoring as the wind was on the nose. Bumpy slog but nice to be in Weymouth. The town is a classic seaside town- donkey rides on the beach, Punch and Judy man and more fish and chip shops than you can imagine possible in one place. Had two very enjoyable days with Mike and Annie Chaney - Mike was Editor of Today when I worked on the programme and it was good to see him again.

Weather in Weymouth was usual rain and high winds but we did see a gap coming...

4th. August
Moved from Weymouth to Portland, home of the sailing events for 2012 Olympics, all of a mile but being free of the Weymouth lifting brideg we were able to skip across the Channel whenever the opportunity arose. Winds gusting 36 knots when we entered Portland which made mooring an interesting venture. Read all about it in the long version if I ever manage to upload it.

7th. August
Left Portland at 5am and crossed the Channel. Not much wind, big swell so a motorboat trip for most of the time. Poor Jo felt quesy and spent most of the crossing below decks. Tied up in Alderney mid afternoon....knackered. Had nice meal, drinks and slept soundly despite very uncomfortable mooring in Braye Harbour.

8th. August
Left Braye at noon and very happy to leave the choppy harbour behind. Had good sail most of the way to Guernsey and managed to get tides right for Alderney departure (not too difficult given we were moored there) and arrival at Little Russel channel (not so easy but we did it).

Tied up in Guernsey St. Peter Port in prime location right in front of Marks and Sparks.

Met up with ex Hammersmith neighbours George and Caroline Freeman and son Charles. Had most enjoyable supper with them and they joined us on board for a return match..

12th. August
Left Guernsey for Jersey. Not much wind so donkey stirred into action again. Jersey was a pleasant surprise and better than I remember from last (GQT) visit. Met Joyce and Rob on Pink Cloud a stunning 60 foot Nijad. Also bumped into Kay and Chris with a 37 foot Prout, Halycon, which is just like Starquest but grown up.

17th. August
Left Jersey at low water, which meant leaving the marina for a pontoon outside the sill. Left pontoon at 10.30am and had a very enjoyable sail to Grandville. Caught two mackeral on the way which we have just cooked. Can't get fresher than that...and free.

The wind packed up a couple of hours from our destination but we managed to sail most of the way. Granville is a pleasant French town unsullied by hoards of holidaymakers. We love it.

So good to at last hit the French shore. Winds and weather have thwarted our efforts so far but now we are on our way. Next stop St. Malo via Mont St. Michael. Stay tuned.

The Crew

The Crew
On board at Lymington