|In Treguier - avoiding the winds
||In Treguier marina avoiding the forecast force 6 winds. Wandered around the rather lovely town of Treguier and bitched about the rather small marina showers!
Lovely crepes and galletes at, I think, Creperie Des Halles. First taste of the splendid Kir Breton
|Treguier - day two
||Second day in Treguier - preparing for the sail back to St Peter Port.
Moved the boat to a different pontoon to ensure an easier exit early the next morning - which wouldn't be at the recommended slack tide and now we were getting closer to Springs.
Provisioned at the local Wednesday market and even prepared a lunch on the boat (see the photos for proof). Still bitching about the size of the marina showers! I guess that means there really wasn't much to complain about in Treguier!
Top dinner - set menu - at the Auberge Du Tregor - recommend. As is their Kir Breton.
|St Helier to Granville, France
||From St Helier on Jersey across to Granville in France.
We were joined by dolphins briefly - very large ones - but as they disappeared quite quickly it became more fun watching the people watching for dolphins!
Then on via the Ilse Chausey - more later on them in this blog - and then on to Granville in France.
Played with the cruising chute for the first time on this cruise.
Granville is an old walled town - a little like St Malo along the coast - but not so crowded. The marina, like many on the French coast, has a cill and at low water the approach to Granville completely dries out.
|CI & France 2015 - St Malo to Dinan
||From the Port des Sablons marina at Saint Servan (next to St Malo), a sail up the river Rance to the medieval town of Dinan. The trip took us through the hyrdro-electric barrage lock. Anchored near St. Suliac for a spot of lunch (OK - to wait for the tide to rise) and then up through the lock at Chatelier. After this lock the river becomes a bit more canal like. Moored up at Dinan and explored the well preserved walled medieval town of Dinan.
Dinan is twinned with Exmouth! No idea why...
|CI & France 2015 - Gorey to St Malo France
||From Gorey on Jersey down to St Malo in France. Along the Violet Channel and then straight on through the rocky shallows that extend from the south east corner of Jersey. As soon as the motor was off we were joined by a pod of about 6 to 8 large dolphins who stayed playing with the boat for about half an hour. Then between the Minquiers and Ile Chausey reefs and on to St Malo.
Note - the pictures that appear to be blank sea are actually photos of dolphins if you look hard enough!
|Sark to Treguier, France
||A long downwind sail from the overnight anchorage at Dixcart Bay, Sark to Treguier in Brittany, France.
The wind was just about dead aft so lots of goose winging (with preventer set) and running.
We were going to go south of both the Plateau des Roches-Douvres and Plateau de Barnouic but Julian P on Kinfolk had the good idea to go between - there was lots of room for this when we looked at the charts.
This meant that we got to Treguier quicker than expected so we abandoned the plan to anchor in the lower reaches of the river and continued all the way up to Treguier. Treguier Marina has a fearsome reputation for cross tides causing havoc but as it was quite neapy we all moored up safely in the marina.
The pilot books make the approaches to Treguier sound very complicated but the "Grande Passe" route in was very straightforward - we'll leave the Basse De La Gainer route for another time!
Simon T's cat was attacked by dolphins just inside the fairway - I'm sure there's a Sun headline in there somewhere...
|Granville to Isles Chausey
||From Granville across to the Iles Chausey.
The Iles Chausey are basically a "bunch of rocks" off the French coast. Apparently there are 365 islands at low tide. With a the ten metre tidal range when we were there, there are a whole lot less at high tide.
Most of the photos are at low tide - showing The Sound that runs to the east of the main island.
The approach requires some reasonably careful pilotage and then lying to the fore/aft moorings available in the Sound.
The earlier photos show some very tall navigation marks at low water - look in the later photos which are closer to high water and they only just appear above the water!
|CI & France 2015 - Sail down to Brixham
||A sail from Starcross down to Brixham ready for an early morning channel crossing to St Peter Port - Guernsey. Wind went from near enough becalmed to a F5 in about 15 minutes. Made for an exciting sail across Torbay
|In St Peter Port
||After the previous day's exertions, this was a "rest day" in St Peter Port ahead of the next day's early set off back to the UK.
Did the one-pound-round-the-island bus trip and got off at the south west corner to have another look at the fearsome rocks near Les Hanois light house.
Dinner at The Boathouse - top fish soup.
|Exe estuary to Brixham
||A sail down from SYC on the Exe Estuary to Brixham ready for an early morning start across to the Channel Islands.
The ship shown in the photos (the THV Patricia) was doing buoy maintenance on the buoys marking the wreck of the MV Emsstrom off Torbay. Wierdly, we saw the same ship come in after us to anchor off Dixcart Bay at Sark two days later.
|Starcross YC to Brixham
||Down from Starcross Yacht Club on the Exe to Brixham. This gave us a couple of hours shorter passage time the next day and the ability to leave at our preferred time (as Brixham is navigable at all states of the tide).
|SYC to Brixham
||Down from SYC on the Exe to Brixham ahead of the channel crossing to St Peter Port on Guernsey.
|St Helier to St Quay Portrieux
||After a light wind start, a lovely sail down from St Helier, Jersey to St Quay Portrieux on the Brittany coast. Sailed under cruising chute for most of the way. St Quay has the huge advantage of being an "all tide" port (i.e. no need to wait for there to be enough water over a marina cill).
|St Quay to Ile De Brehat
||Up from St Quay-Portreaux to Ile de Brehat. The Ile de Brehat is a small island on a rocky shore. Somewhat similar to Sark (no cars and a very small population like Sark but no cliffs).
|CI & France 2015 - St Malo to Guernsey
||A sail back from St Malo to Guernsey. Quite a hard sail as there were some short steepish waves that slowed the boat speed considerably for quite a time. The wind was also from the north meaning that we were "pinching" for quite a lot of the time. As we passed Jersey the wind picked up and freed a little making for an excellent 2nd half of the sail into St Peter Port on Guernsey
|Ile de Brehat to St Peter Port
||After getting up an hour too early (confusing French and English first light times!!!), we sailed from Ile de Brehat for St Peter Port on Guernsey. The sail around the north east corner of the Ile de Brehat was notable for two things. First, we hit some fairly strong overfalls. It was neaps and a middling wind so we weren't expecting much. Given how lumpy it was, this is one to avoid at Springs. Secondly, Peter S caught a bunch of weed and plastic around his prop while going through the overfalls. Peter was able to sail on OK and got enough motor back to be able to motor into St Peter Port later. The rest of the sail was lovely - under cruising chute for a large part of the journey.
|St Peter Port to Starcross YC
||Back from St Peter Port to Starcross Yacht Club on the Exe.
Up the Little Russell at about 08:00 with just a little "wind against tide bounciness" at the top end.
Then across the shipping lanes with very good visibility.
The sail started with an excellent wind from the north east at about F4 to F5ish but died away a little after crossing the second shipping lane.
So it was on with the motor for maybe the last third of the journey reaching the Exe at about 23:00 and on to the mooring just before midnight. I don't think the Exe is a good place to try to navigate at night without local knowledge (it's our "home port") - too many unlit channel / lateral buoys and moorings very close to the channel edge.
My "top tip" for navigating the Exe at night is that if the red / green channel buoy you are navigating for doesn't flash occasionally then you're heading for Brunel's railway line!
|CI & France 2015 - Dinan to St Malo
||Back from Dinan to St Malo. Via the locks at Chatelier and the Rance hydro-electric barrage. Light winds.
|CI & France 2015 - Dixcart on Sark to Gorey on Jersey
||A very foggy sail from the Dixcart Bay anchorage on Sark round to Gorey on Jersey. Stayed close to Simon T's catamaran with its posh radar reflector! Giggled at the rather asthmatic fog horn. Fog cleared nicely for the rounding of the north east corner of Jersey and into Gorey harbour. Visited the rather spectacular Mont Orgueil Castle while the boat dried out in Gorey Harbour. A splendid veggie curry provided by Simon T on his Nelly Nui.
Note - there was a lot of fog - the photos aren't blurry - stare hard and you should see stuff!
|St Peter Port to SYC
||A very fast sail back from St Peter Port, Guernsey to SYC on the Exe. For most of the way the wind was quite strong - maybe a force 5 - but was on the port rear quarter. This meant that most of the sail was done with just a small amount of reefing and lots of sailing down the following waves. Long and tiring - but fun! The speed meant that we were unexpectedly back at the Exe before low water so we were able to sneak in and be back on the mooring at SYC just before it got dark.
|Treguier to St Peter Port
||A long, hard "slog" back from Treguier to St Peter Port. The trip started with some wind against tide coming back down the river/estuary from Treguier to the sea. After this, the progress past Ile de Brehat was, as expected, very slow as we fought the now Spring tides (needs must to make the Guernsey tidal gates). The plan had been to again go between the Plateau des Roches-Dovres and the the Plateau de Barnouic. However, as we got close another look at the tidal atlases led to a re-plan and we eased off to go north of them and, as the wind picked up, we flew along with the stanchions and toe rails under water. With the wind just off the nose we didn't want to reef the genoa so we bounced along happily making progress towards Les Hanois. Getting close to Guernsey we changed to motor sailing to "make" St Martins Point and then up the Little Russel to St Peter Port. A long day's sailing!
Met up with Jonathan G (back from Gorey and St Helier) for a second night at La Scala. SYC yotties will be shocked to hear that the owner is selling up!
|CI & France 2015 - St Peter Port to SYC
||A stonkingly fast sail back from St Peter Port to Starcross Yacht Club on the Exe. Plans changed late as we were concerned about getting back to SYC before predicted high winds late on the Saturday night (also trying to miss low water on the Exe). So up at the hideously early hour of 02:30 and up through the Little Russell channel in the dark. The Little Russell was just a tad "bouncy". After a couple of hours of motor sailing (to keep up the average speed as required), the wind picked up a bit and started to back round to the west. The final third of the sail was with 14 to 20 knots (force 5ish) of wind aft of the port beam and with full sails up. Derek's Sadler averaged over 5.4 knots - way ahead of what we could have hoped for. Back on the mooring by about 18:30 - maybe 3 hours ahead of planned.
|CI & France 2015 - St Peter Port to Dixcart Bay
||A lovely sail across from St Peter Port on Guernsey to Dixcart Bay on Sark. Climbed the path to the village on Sark but the ice cream shop was shut! Had to make do with a pint in the pub. Spent the night at anchor in Dixcart Bay
|Brixham to St Peter Port
||From Brixham across to St Peter Port on Guernsey.
Overall a good crossing with reasonable visibility until just after the shipping lanes. Then the fog came in with a vengeance! Having the luxury of both AIS and radar on Derek's Fulmar made a huge difference.
If you look at the photos I've left one in that looks like "just grey" but see if you can see a yacht. When we reached St Peter Port (via the Little Russell) it was still very foggy but actually not quite as dense as a previous year. We could see the "gates" of St Peter Port harbour well before we would hit them!
|Brixham to St Peter Port
||After a delay of 12 hours waiting for the weather to improve a little, we set off at lunchtime for the channel crossing to St Peter Port. The wind was a fair bit stronger than forecast making the first part of the journey much harder work than expected. A decision was reached (as the wind started to ease a little) not to abandon and return to Brixham. This turned out to be a good call as the wind continued to drop. The TSS crossing at night - with no moon - was eerie. We had to stop at one point to allow about 5 boats to pass ahead while allowing one to pass behind. The completely dark night (no moon) made this TSS crossing very different to previous night crossings. Also the tide was very strong - as can be seen from most of the track across the TSS where we end up being taken down much of the TSS while still maintaining a boat aspect at right angles to the traffic!. The last part of the crossing was under motor arriving at St Peter Port just at first light (with an easy trip down the Little Russel).
|CI & France 2015 - Stuck in harbour
||Some big gusts of wind were predicted for this Friday so we sat the day out in St Peter Port marina. A wise choice as the few boats that did go out came back in fairly quickly. Some chandlery browsing and lunch at Guernsey Yacht Club
|St Peter Port to SYC
||Up at the hideously early hour of 03:00 to catch the first of the tidal flow up the Little Russel at 04:00. A lovely clear night at 4am with all the navigation lights clearly visible. After Platte Fougere we "turned left a bit" to allow for the strong Spring tides. For much of the time the weather forecast was correct and what little wind there was was on the nose. However, the visibility was good making crossing the shipping lanes a lot easier than on the way out.
The photos of the Channel Light Vessel show an absolutely flat sea. The wind did pick up for a bit after this which made for a lovely sail with flat seas. A while north of the shipping lanes we were joined by about 6 to 8 dolphins for about 20 minutes. An hour or so later a much smaller porpoise made an appearance.
Amelie's engine held up well and we were back on the mooring at SYC by about 19:30.
|Brixham to St Peter Port, Guernsey
||A very foggy sail from Brixham in Devon to St Peter, Guernsey in the Channel Islands. The photos give an idea of how foggy it was.
Left at the hideously early time of 03:30 (to make the tidal gate for the Little Russel channel off Guernsey).
Left in thick fog that continued all across to the east going lane of the Traffic Separation Scheme off Casquets. This would have been more scary without the two AIS sets and radar spread across the 3 yachts. AIS data meant we had to alter course for unseen ships before the TSS but not actually in the TSS. By the time we got to the east going channel the fog had lifted to maybe a mile or two's visibility. This visibility continued until we started the tide assisted "sleigh ride" down the Little Russel at which point the fog came in with a vengeance. At this point the two, independent GPS chart plotters we had on board (one a hand held Garmin) were very reassuring. Roustel Tower came into view exactly where expected with just 100 yards visibility. The "pier gates" for St Peter Port harbour weren't visible until we were between them! Twenty minutes after tying up on the SPP waiting pontoon, the fog lifted!
In time for dinner at La Scala. The SYC "cruise in company" events are getting popular - there were 16 yotties from SYC at La Scala.
|St Peter Port to Sark
||A lovely sail from St Peter Port, Guernsey across to Dixcart Bay, Sark.
Having seen, from the sea, the high, narrow path from Sark to Little Sark (La Coupee - Google it) I'd never have thought that I'd actually walk across it. Worth it though for some of the photos taking looking back to Guernsey and Herm. The ship that can been seen in some of the photos of the yachts at anchor is believed to be the Patricia seen two days previously off Torbay!
|Sark to St Peter Port
||Round from La Greve de la Ville anchorage on the east side of Sark to the Saigne Bay anchorage on the west side. The Saigne Bay anchorage has some rather dramatic rock stacks (think James Bond / The Man With The Golden Gun - but smaller).
The on - via the Gouliot Passage and one of the passages north of the Lower Heads cardinal - to St Peter Port marina to meet up with lots of other Starcross Yacht Club "yotties" for the traditional meal in La Perla.
|St Peter Port to St Helier
||A really good sail from St Peter Port on Guernsey across to St Helier on Jersey.
Along the south coast of Jersey where the usual past times of spotting the German 2nd World War defences and avoiding the Condor fast ferries passed the time nicely.
|St Peter Port to St Helier
||A lovely sail from St Peter Port on Guernsey across to St Helier on Jersey. Ideal winds and weather.
|St Helier to Sark
||From St Helier on Jersey up to Sark.
Along the south coast of Jersey where some wind against tide made the sailing a little bouncy but gave us 8.8 knots over the ground as we went round La Corbiere (as a very blurry photo shows).
Then up to La Greve de la Ville anchorage on the east side of Sark.
Suprisingly the wind gusts got up to 25 knots as we were getting close to the pilotage in to the anchorage. Once within the anchorage - and about 30 yards from the shore - the anchorage was very still.
Went for a stroll around Sark - including across La Coupe which I'd promised myself I wouldn't walk across again.
|Iles Chausey to St Helier
||Out from the Iles Chausey via the northern passage. Look carefully at the chart and you'll see that the passage dries to a height of up to 4.5 metres! However, with a tidal range of 10 metres and the excellent French navigational markers and transits (which again can be seen on the chart at higher zooms), the passage pilotage was fine.
Iles Chausey was exceptional - a truly stunning place. What wasn't so good was all the flies that migrated from the rocks that were covered at high water and hitched a ride on the boats all the way to Jersey.
At Jersey, we anchored in St Aubins Bay waiting for enough water over the cill at St Helier marina.
|CI & France 2015 - Brixham to Guernsey
||A sail across from Brixham Marina to St Peter Port in Guernsey. Quite foggy when leaving Brixham, not so foggy crossing the shipping lanes (phew) and very foggy making landfall on the Guernsey side (having more than one chart plotter available amongst the various nav aids made this easier).
Note - the photos may be rubbish but they are not that out of focus - it really was that foggy). Stare hard and you'll see things in the photos!