I did eventually get away from Lezardrieux, and sailed to Roscoff. I spent a month in France and I’ve decided to split it in two….the dramatic, rocky coastline, massive tidal heights and strong currents of Brittany, and the warmer Atlantic coast with far less tidal effects but some Bay of Biscay swell.
Sailing east to west cruising the north Brittany coast is always going to incur some battle with a foul tide along the way, and a prevailing south westerly wind. Although the rocky entrances to the rivers aren’t as bad as they seem on the chartlets in the pilot books and on the charts, it is better on the nerves if your entrance into a river is timed to match slack tide!
The pretty villages with all the history (much of it battling with the British!), the scenery, the food and the drink are worth the effort of sailing Brittany, and English is widely spoken….”une beer” is well understood! Lezardrieux, Roscoff, L’AberWrac’h, Cameret, Audierne and Sainte-Marine are all fabulous traditional French places.
From Sainte-Marine on the River Odet I then moved quickly south to Port Haliguen, Pornic, Les Sables d’Olonne and La Rochelle, and I had little tidal stream currents to think about. All these places had a “holiday feel” with plenty of warm sunshine, beaches and waterfront bars and restaurants
All of my sailing had been planned for daylight hours and no more than 60nm (12 hours-ish) distance….except two trips. The first trip out of Hull and down to Lowestoft was a 90nm, 19 hour overnight trip was because my original plan to sail down to Wells next the Sea first was scuppered by northerly winds. But the biggest was yet to come…..La Rochelle to Santander on the north coast of Spain was a 205nm, 37 hour trip over one night. This was to cut the France-Spain corner, which is not so interesting. I had to motor (and cat nap!) overnight because the wind dropped, but both days were great sailing in great weather. Amazingly, over a 22 hour period there were no other vessels in sight. I timed the entrance into Santander marina as the sun set, and followed on with a shower, steak, beer and a long sleep!
I had been in France for most of August visiting ten different ports. On reaching Santander I was now over half way to Gibraltar in terms of distance and ports. It was never part of the grand plan to sail single-handed all the way, but it is now a fabulous challenge to get to Gibraltar with only Nemo and Wilson as company. More about my “crew” later!
In both Lezardrieux and Santander I stayed longer than planned because of “stuff” happening, and I should arrive in Gibraltar sometime mid-October.