7 June at Belle Ile


June 11th, 2017


France, North Atlantic 2017 – 2019

Written by

Richard Farrington

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By Richard. Posted on June 11th, 2017 in France, North Atlantic 2017 – 2019.

47:20.6N 3:08.8W

We left the Golfe of Morbihan with the ebb tide.  It’s akin to sliding about on one of those travelling walkways you get at posher airports or on the Jubilee Line, except that you are travelling in the trolley rather than pushing it.  A visit to the hairdresser was a high priority for the day so we inched back into Port de Crouesty at low water and went in search of a suitable salon.  Lunchtime is never a productive retail period in French society though, so apart from relieving the Poissonnerie of their last few prawns, we returned to the boat until the working day resumed at 2pm.

This is what 5 knots of tidal stream looks like!

A successful afternoon ensued: I now have adequate supplies of Sikaflex to embark on Stage 2 of the deck caulking project, Julie is pleased with her bonce and collected some useful tips on the delights of Belle Ile and we did better in the supermarket than the last time around.  Maybe it’s a case of what you are used to, but I do think that the spread of choice is better in Morrisons/Waitrose in Gosport than we have seen anywhere along the French coast so far.  Why is it so hard to buy fresh herbs in a country that prides itself on its cuisine?  Perhaps because they expect any self-respecting chef to grow their own on the windowsill?

Anyhow, we left Crouesty late afternoon and had a lovely sail in the evening sunshine upwind to an anchorage just outside Le Palais, the main town on the north east coast of Belle Ile.  The tide was helpful and we enjoyed picking our way through the rocks and small islands at the southern tip of the Quiberon peninsula.  We have a French Navy tidal stream atlas onboard, which gives very useful detail of this whole section of the French coast.  I don’t suppose Sir Edward Hawke had a copy when he defeated the French Navy here in 1759 – a battle that marked the ascendancy of the Royal Navy for a century or two to come… but he clearly didn’t need it!

French tidal stream atlas.  Never underestimate the value of a good rubber!

We arrived off le Palais as the wind died and dropped anchor on a millpond… except that it wasn’t.  There was an almost imperceptible low swell which made the boat roll gently (most of the time) and led to a rather disturbed night’s sleep.  So much so that Julie was up at 0600 googling ‘how to stop your boat rolling in a flat calm’.  I lay dozing, fretting that some new investment might be in the offing, but apparently the best advice from one forum is to take two ex-wives and suspend one each side from the spinnaker pole and boom.

So mid-morning on 8 June we moved into the main harbour.