Camaret, Nr Brest
After two weeks of commissioning Toots, we said farewell to Mike who had been a great help and was driving our car back to Plymouth. On Wednesday 17 June 2009 we were ready to leave Les Sables D'Olonne for our maiden trip to Port Joinville on Ile de Yeu.
Now, although we have sailed for years and have owned boats of various sizes, setting out on a new boat with only 3 hours of sailing time on her was undeniably a nerve racking but exhilarating experience.
The weather was superb but light wind saw us motoring most of the way. Graeme saw less of the scenery than he would have liked due to a red light on the thingy (Chris' technical term for the electrolysis monitor). A text to Waypoint who installed the electronics and there we were in the middle of the ogging with Martin talking Graeme through what cable to cut behind the chartplotter; he had a jungle of wires to choose from. After a couple of hours the correct cable was cut and the red light went back to green.
A memorable first day. We spent three days at Port Joinville, a lovely island with a homely feel to the marina. Easy to travel around and get supplies with a superb fish market to ponder over what to have for dinner. The sardines were fantastic.
One night stop at Pornichet then on to Belle Isle, Sauzon for our first drying out. It was very strange to look out and see the birds walking around Toots. I enjoyed using my rusty knowledge of tidal heights to work out at what time we would touch, and was pleased to be within 10 minutes. Yes I know I could have checked on the chart plotter but it was more satisfying to use a pencil and brain. Again Belle Isle we found wonderful, especially at low tide when many people wandered around the harbour collecting cockles and oysters. I joined in and soon had enough for a taster. A sceptical Graeme tried one and decided I wasn't trying to bump him off and wondered why I hadn't collected more. Next time I will collect enough for supper.
An early departure saw us off in a blustery wind towards the mainland. It was about 20 - 25 knots for the first few hours, then as the sun got up the wind died and the layers were peeled off one by one. Afternoon saw us heading for Concarneau passing dolphins en route. We chose to stay in the marina where a single & double handed race around Brittany was also stopping over. Around 80 yachts all rafted together ensured any thoughts of an early start the following day were quickly vanquished. At one time we could have walked from one pontoon to another by going across the rafted yachts. We took the opportunity to stock up on supplies and walk around the streets and ramparts of the old walled city of Concarneau. A later departure than planned as the yachts that were racing left the marina gradually thinned out and we could move on.
We caught the flood up the River Odet and found a mooring buoy in a beautiful setting with a rather grand house as a back drop.
Nobody came to claim their mooring so we stayed for a couple of days before a very early start to catch the tide around the Raz de Sein. We made it more challenging by taking the inside route which kept us busy with charts and locating the cardinals for the first 2 hours. Good mackerel speed as we reached the Raz a little before the tide turned but no luck with the line off the back. The Raz was very benine with a local boat going between the rocks; I couldn't bear to watch. We opted for the regular route. After 12 hours we picked up a buoy in Camaret. The following morning we had a text from Owen and Val on Seren to say they were making their way across from Brest. A quick wash and tidy up and Toots' banner was hoisted. We spent a couple of hours catching up. Seren is also an Ovni 395 but we were amazed at the difference between the 2 yachts; Seren has 3 berths which gives a slightly different layout to Toots. After swopping tips, it was time for Seren to move on; they were going north. We anchored a little way further into the bay and had a quieter night.
A quick dip in the sea at 7.30am for Chris meant the cup of tea tasted even better. We sailed to Brest Marina to refuel but there was a huge super yacht refuelling which meant we had to wait for 3 hours as it took up the whole refuelling berth and we wondered if there would be any fuel left for us.The capiteenerie asked the gin palace to move off the fueling pontoon very politelty, well you would asked very nicely if the customer had just spent £1500 to fill up the tanks. Once refuelled, we sailed to a superb anchorage at L'Auberlac'h where we stayed for 3 days, enjoying the bay to ourselves, swimming from the boat and exploring the shore and quaint village.
A quick foray back into Brest saw us bump into Carol and Susie aboard Wild Bird of Fowey, the yacht we had prior to the ovni. We had a quick trip to the supermarket to vittel up,for the trip back across the channel. Well, it would have been quick if we walked in the correct direction but we got all the groceries on board and popped over to see Carol & Susie. It was good to see the Bowman again.
We set off early the following morning for the trip back to Falmouth. The Goulet de Brest was quite lumpy and we set a course for the Chanel du Four, which was benign like the trip through the Raz. The wind was behind us and I actually caught one mackeral so supper was sorted. Arrived off the Lizard in heavy rain in a F6 gusting 7. Back in Enland for sure. Picked up a town mooring at 1100hrs. The 29 hours from Brest to Falmouth resulted in us being asleep within minutes.
We had four days of south westerlies blowing hard in Falmouth. During this time we walked around to Mylor and found Pete and Jane at their new watersports shop. An invitation arose for a meal at their house in Truro later in the week. We moved off the town buoy and went up the river to Ruan Creek pontoon. We took the dinghy the rest of the way to Truro and met up with Pete in his van. Very useful since we had a bagfull of washing with us. I am not so sure if Jane expeceted quite so much use of the laundry room but it was very welcome. We had an enjoyable evening catching up and managed to return to Toots with a bag of clean dry clothes - pur bliss. The remainder of the week saw more wet and windy weather so on Saturday we took the dinghy up the creek and on the low tide searched for cockles. The water was warm to walk in and after an hour of not much luck we managed to improve and soon had enough for supper. Washing them on the way back was a good idea as the rain set in hard for the evening.
The following day the sun made a brief appearance so airing the yacht and drying wet gear was the order of the day. It must have been warm as we saw the cat from the barge "Trustful" on deck making an outing. Monday morning we took the dinghy up river on the high tide to Tesco's at Truro; very useful as there is a pontoon right next to the supermarket. We loaded up the trolley and headed back with the outgoing tide. It was a wet journey. The shopping trip took us 5 hours and again the weather set in bad for the afternnon. A couple of days later Anne and Mike joined us. Graeme collected our visitors from the pontoon off Smugglers Cottage. In the afternoon we took another trip up the creek with Mike for more cockles and mussells. An enjoyable evening with a few drinks and our collected shellfish made Mike's birthday even if he did have to collect his supper. On the few occassions the rain stopped we managed to go for a few walks around the footpaths of the Trelissick gardens. A small weather window was taken advantage of and we dropped Anne off at the pontoon to head back to Exmouth, and we headed off east to Fowey. A few days in Fowey, in the rain of course, then the short trip back into Plymouth Sound. We arrived back on July 21st and took one of the RWYC buoys in the Cattewater. A few days later we moved into Plymouth Yacht Haven Marina, Toots' new home for a while and we went back to the house. A strange feeling after being on board for nearly two months.
Port Joinville, Ile de Yeu
Sauzon, Belle Ile