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2019 Summer Cruise – Week 7

A view from the cockpit by Chris F

Skipper – Judith Hankey
First Mate – Richard Ash
Assorted crew – Dave Hiscock, Dave and Chris Freemantle

We’re off – Flybe from Southampton to Nantes….eventually (separate story involving a 3½ hour flight delay and £10 worth of ships biscuits in compensation)

Sun shines on the righteous in Nantes

The city of Nantes is stunning, with perfect weather, good food, fascinating history AND a mechanical elephant. What more could a girl want!

Hubby Dave and I meet up with the redoubtable Dave Hiscock to share a taxi to the starting port of Pornic on the Atlantic Coast. We provisioned up Quartette before Skipper Judith Hankey and her first mate Richard Ash joined us for our first evening French meal in one of the many restaurants alongside the harbour.

Off to La Turbelle on Sunday morning then Lamor Baden to moor overnight to a severely battered buoy. Some skillful steering by Mr H who exploited the rapid tide movement to bring us to a stationary position next to that buoy – A14.

Tuesday dawned very bright and hot and brought us battery problems. Young Mr Ash conferred with his Skipper. The decision was Port Croesty, a HUGE marina with easy mooring as demonstrated by DF. So, while Richard beetled off with the old batteries, returning with new, some of the crew invested time in sampling the best ice cream in France. Temperatures were in the 30s by then and it simply had to be done. Lots to see and do in Croesty with good showers, restaurants galore and street entertainment in the forms of folk dancing, and a juggling unicyclist. There was of course a chandlery and an oil dump. In the chemists Steradent tablets (for cup cleaning) proved to be a problem until the phrase “Les dents qui sortent” sorted it. Result ! FYI – Packet in right hand drawer under the sink.

On Wednesday 24th July we sailed across Morbihan Bay to Belle Ile.  Worth mentioning here that the bay used to be land but is now covered by the sea. It is an idyllic and a very, very beautiful place with all the large houses a, uniform white with grey roofs. Oh so French. There are lots of typical churches and characterful lighthouses to spot as navigation points along the way with black stick markers for fish farms.

We had an unusual flower mooring at Sauzon on Belle Ile. Many boats were attached to one big buoy by lines. It was a jolly crowd with several family boats and six French Sea Scout Yachts crammed with girls and boys.

Knitting in Sauzo

We finally had to pump up the dinghy – there was no avoiding it any longer – to putter ashore under the multiple lines. We tied up at a quay and on returning found the ferry chaps had very helpfully hauled it out of the water for us…

Several glasses of the local brew ‘Grimbergen’ combined with a fine dining experience meant we all slept like babies, despite the crowd. An interesting departure ‘come the morn’…Surprisingly problem free as everyone pitched in to slowly unravel the line knitting!

Thursday found us sailing back across the bay with a little wind. Mooring at a pontoon proved problematic as it was going to be too shallow so we popped back to our previous bay, Lamor Baden. Going ashore we found the little village was delightfully in holiday mood with various fairground attractions and stalls near the church. With a lovely sunset and a stroll on the path alongside the water’s edge we dined out again. Incidentally, three sheep trotted up the gang plank off a boat to a waiting car much to the amusement of us all.

Friday 26th The last port of call for the week at La Trinite sur Mer was very busy. Quartette initially rafted up next to a Dufour 64. A mild case of yacht envy on our part and a very helpful crew on the other boat made sure we were very gently moored alongside.

When following the directions to the port, the pilotage mentions a lighthouse to the east and wooded hills to the west. What it failed to do was mention the huge, white, arched bridge across the river that can be seen five miles out! Perhaps it was new? Turns out it was built in 1956!

Farewell at La Trinite sur la Mer

M. le Pen and daughter Marine La Pen own a house in La Trinite.   I also found a two anchor memorial dated 1917 for submariners who were killed on a marine base there. Who Knew?

Next morning the boat was scrubbed from bow to stern with special attention to the heads which had been a little whiffy on arrival. It was calculated that 25 pumps of water through the system after use would clean the pipes and solve the problem. This was adhered to admirably during the week.

The local bus brought us the new crew members. We extolled the virtues of this beautiful place to them before we three left to set off homeward.

Beautiful French sunset – typical of the week

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