We left Trebeurden last Wednesday bound for L'Aber Wrac'h on the NW corner of France. In my opinion that day showed that the French weather forecasters are not much of an improvement on their British counterparts! The "suggestion du jour" was E4 reducing to E2 in the afternoon. A very nice suggestion with a following wind. What we got was top end of NE4 to start then NE/E 5 and 6 from noon onwards including gusts to 33kn. As some of you know this north west corner is renowned for significant swell so we had that to cope with too!
The good news is that we sped along and did 52nm in 8 hours despite fighting the tide for the first 3!
What we did achieve for the first time was a passage through the channel between Ile Batz and Roscoff. What Tom Cunliffe describes in the Shell Channel Pilot as a "rock strewn chamber of horrors". We have seen it (from above Roscoff) at low water with rocks and sand bars everwhere and agree! We passed through at high water, a flat sea and motor sailed. Very satisfactory and beats going around the outside of Ile Batz notorious for its rough seas and heavy swell.
We had planned just a night in L'Aber Wrac'h but strong winds suggested a longer stop.That day we had nearly 18 hours of rain!
On Friday morning we set off for the Chanel du Four, a major tidal and weather gate on the north west coast. As we left L'Aber Wrac'h we had heavy driving rain for about 20 minutes but that proved to be the last heavy rain of the day. We left in company with another British boat making the same passage. That NW corner of France is also renowned for heavy swell as is S of Cd4 and around the Raz de Sein 20nm on. The wind was soon at W4 later 5 but after about three or so hours, once we were in the Chanel, it eased considerably. We were planning to go to Camaret SW of Brest but made good progress so decided to press on to see if we could get through the Raz, the second gate. We had heavy swell and gusty wind but got to the Raz just before the tide turned. A result! We then followed the coat round to the E to Ste Evette where there are moorings in the bay. There is also a river entrance to Audierne (where we had not been before). It was just after low water so we gingerly motored up a channel following leading marks. Despite what it said in the Pilot (dredged at least 1-2 m) it has silted. A few times we had just 0.5m below the keel and plenty of sand near us. But we made it to the harbour about 2nm upstream. So 60nm L'Aber to Audiern W4/5 occ 6. Nice town with plenty of suitable restaurants! (Photo)
On Saturday the weather was much improved and amongst other things we did an 8m return walk to the nearby town of Pont Croix listed as a "Petite Cite de Charactere" and very attractive it is.