2019 Summer Cruise planning – from Pornichet

The River Vilaine option:

When the dust settles and firm bookings start to roll in, a suggested option to add to the two weeks near Pornichet  (15th and 22nd of June) is a run up the Vilaine River to Redon. Andy Bowerman knows the river well and hopes to be mate for this week. Plan to top up with diesel at Arzal (if needed) and overnight at Redon and Le Roche Bernard.

The barrage lock and swing bridge are easy to navigate, with frequent openings, as is the swing bridge (for masted boats) near La Touche. The first part of the river is a fjord like setting under very high bridges.

Looking upstream from Pontoon Y in the Le Roche marina. The old bridge abutments are down to German war time vandalism!

The river enters flat country further up and it’s a good sailing option, as the river is quite deep to near the banks. Redon is an old style industrial port, with access to several canals, but lined with pontoons. A good place to shop as the supermarket is about a ¼ mile away, as is the main town. 

Le Roche Bernard taken from a rather nice restaurant balcony.

Le Roche Bernard is a very popular marina for boats in transit, as its well sheltered and has good repair facilities, water front café/bars and a fine little town to explore. The marina showers are better than the normal French fare and a good place to sit out any offshore gales/strong winds. Supermarket is uphill in the town itself, so going back its downhill loaded up. There is quite a bit of learner sailing going on, so its dodge the Oppies time in the lower reaches, but all very good humoured.

From a skipper’s perspective, there are no major challenges other than restaurant selection. Andy will have the inland waterways guides, but there are few hazards and like all rivers, it’s just up or downstream. The current is about 1-2 knots and the only thing to watch out for is stroppy French fishermen and errant sail boats. If Redon proves unusually full, Rieux is a pleasantly peaceful alternative as an overnight stop. 

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