Channel Islands and North Brittany 09-28 July 2019 - 396 nautical miles

Monday 08 July 2019: Julia dropped me at the station and I got the train to the boat. Lots of work throughout the morning, and cycled to Waitrose. Gradually cleared work, and then sorted out the boat – clearing space for Gareth and generally getting ship shape. Gareth also came by train, and got a taxi to Waitrose for his provisions. I had a table booked at the Lightship and we had a nice meal and an early night.

Tuesday 09 July 2019: Up at 0330 and away at 0400. No wind, and warm and sunny day – flat calm and so deck chairs all the way. Into Braye Harbour at 16:30 – 88. 6 miles in 12.5 hours. Not many buoys free, so we had to sit in the middle row, which was tight when swinging. We went ashore in the water taxi, and had a bottle of champagne and dinner sat outside in the sunshine.

Wednesday 10 July 2019: Up at 0500 and away at 0530, round the corner and into the race. Same flat calm and warm and sunny, all the way into St Helier. As we came into St Helier, we were hailed by Daniel Trocherie in Agapanthe, and I was then aware that Patrick and Blandine were in port. 44 miles in 5.5 hours.

We moored on the outside pontoon so as to get away and initially rafted outside a boat, which soon left and we were then inside berth. We got two more outside us, but they all knew we were away early next morning. It was hot and sunny, so we chilled. Patrick and Blandine came by on their bikes, as I had rung them, and we drank a bottle of pink. We then had drinks with them and another couple (Gerard Le Gall & Wife) on Carpe Diem, and then a meal at the Little Thai – just Gareth and I.

Thursday 11 July 2019: Away at 0630 after moving the outside boat. A bit more overcast to begin with, but still motoring in flat calm. Into St Malo Port des Sablons at 12:30 – 39 miles; 5.5 hours plus half an hour going up and down pontoons. We were on the visitors pontoon A, and then later they told us we had to move for a regatta coming in. We said not now – we’ll do it in the morning. We then walked into St Malo itself and had two sets of drinks in the sunshine, and then into a nice Michelin starred restaurant, Le Chalut – lovely seafood. Probably the best oysters we had both ever had.

We stopped at the Cunninghams bar in the sunshine on the way back, and did some music and drinks on board when we got back. A big night out.

Friday 12 July 2019: We were both a bit jaded on Friday morning and so moving the boat over onto E pontoon was done rather dreamily! Anyway nice berth, although in amongst a load of charter boats. Again very hot and sunny, so chilled day. In the evening we had pizza at L Hortensia in St Servan.

Saturday 13 July 2019: Julia arrived on the Brittany Ferry, Bretagne, and we were there on time to meet her. Brunch on board, and chilled. Then into St Malo and drinks in the sunshine and another meal at Le Chalut, this time with Julia – just as good.

Sunday 14 July 2019: – Bastille Day in France Lazy morning, and then we had lunch sat outside in the sunshine in St Servan at La Cale – tuna done very nicely. Gareth then departed on the ferry and Julia and I chilled, had supper on board, and watched the fireworks in the harbour. A bit windier today, so not as hot for Julia.

Monday 15 July 2019: Went into St Servan town – coffee at the Café de Theatre, and shop in Carrefour. Still a bit windy, so settled on the pontoon out of the wind. In the evening, we had pizza at L Hortensia and then watched Poldark.

Tuesday 16 July 2019: Up early to look at the brocante, which was a bit small and not properly started. Then off to the fuel berth, topped up and motored in lovely sunshine to St Cast le Guildo. Lovely little marina and town with a fantastic beach. We were ushered to a berth, and settled in. We walked into town and did some more shopping and had a drink in the sunshine. Then bought fish at the marina, and in the evening after the heat went down and sundowner drinks, I cooked smoked haddock (eglefin fume) and we had a super meal.

Wednesday 17 July 2019: Lazy morning, with us both on board catching up on things. Julia got bread from the marina office – which they do! Wasn’t much cop though. Then a lazy afternoon as it got sunny and warmer as the day wore on. I cooked confit in the evening.

Thursday 18 July 20:

Grey and raining, first thing and mainly grey. Cycled into town and had lunch – galettes and shopped. Back and saw we had new neighbours. Eve and Andy on Penguin from Guernsey. We cycled round the headland (pushing the bikes up the hill!) and back into town for the evening market, which was ok but a bit small. We bought prawns at the poissonerie at the marina which I cooked in garlic and butter. Later we had Eve and Andy aboard for drinks, and we had a calvados nightcap on theirs.

Friday 19 July 2019:

Up and away at 0845, and on a waiting buoy at the barrage about 0920. It was all very chaotic getting into the lock with people not queuing and barging in. We rafted on a cat and had a French boat hanging off us. Then motored into quite a breeze and it was grey. We got to the road bridge, and calculations showed that we might be quite close for air clearance. Chart says 20m – our stats say 15.5m from the water and we have a vhf and tv aerial up there too. Anyway, we ran alongside the bridge sighting until we felt we could get under, which we did.

Then into Plouer sur Rance – a lovely quaint countryside marina by a mill. We were greeted by the harbourmaster lady, who I had spoken to on the phone for a berth, and although it was a tight fit, we were port side to on A30. We cycled up to a local restaurant for moules frite which were decidedly ordinary!

Patrick came and collected us at 1800, and took us to their new house in Dinan, which is fabulous and modern. We gave them champagne and some biscuits gift wrapped, we had purchased in St Cast, and we sat outside on the terrace with the champagne. Blandine then cooked guinea fowl and small roasted potatoes, and then we all took a stroll around Dinan. Very pleasant.

Saturday 20 July 2019:

Stayed in bed until 0900, then a nice breakfast, and Julia and I went shopping. It rained hard, but we sheltered in shops, and then it started to clear. Patrick took us back to the boat at 1230 and we said our fond farewells – until the next time. We then we spoke to Trevor and Val in Hullaballoo and enjoyed the sun. I cooked the brochettes we had bought in Dinan for supper and we had an early night, for an early start.

Sunday 21 July 2019:

Up and away 0530 local time – just light. We were worried about there being enough depth, but it was OK, and going under the bridge was no less terrifying, even though we had 7 metres less than when we came under before. We got to the lock at 0630 and it was already open with one yacht in, so we tied up in the lock. Only two small motor boats joined us, so it was completely different to going upstream!

We then motored over to Granville, and Julia went back to bed for a while. Into Granville and got on G58 port side, right next to the big Visiteurs sign – with a nice long pontoon. We went into town and had salads and rose wine at La Bolee Normande in the street, and then back to enjoy the sun. Back out to Carrefour for shopping, and then a light supper and watched the fun when the sill opened. Then watched a bit of Golf Open highlights, and then Poldark episode 2 and bed.

Monday 22 July 20:

Lovely lazy morning. Stayed in bed until 1000! Hot and sunny day. Walked up to the old town (lots of steps) and admired the view – seaside both ways from the headland. Then down to see the hotel les bains where we stayed when we came by car years ago. Then back to the boat via Carrefour. Evening we went for a meal along the front by the commercial port – Les Casteliers although all you see outside is pub a manger ! It was good. We both had monkfish. Back and watched the boats coming in and a Lucifer.

Tuesday 23 July 2019:

Late up, and then some jobs. Julia cleaned all the fenders. It was very hot today. We then went shopping in town. Bought a roasted chicken (for evening meal), and had lunch back on board. More sunbathing in the afternoon, and then chicken with new spuds and salad for supper.

Wednesday 24 July 2019:

Up at 0800 got ready to leave. Chatted to Philip and Margo Shwarz on the pontoon. They have a 395 Ovni kept in Sutton, Plymouth, and Swansea in the winter. He used to know Pat Blake. Julia cooked eggs on muffins – awesome! And then we were off to Dielette. Hot and sunny, and no wind. Motored all the way, and arrived towards low water, so moored in the lower all states of tide part of the marina. Very bouncy, so all fenders out. Then we had booked a restaurant Le Bouche a Oreille, recommended by Nigel and Suzie. Nice walk up a beautiful country lane, and very nice meal cooked on open fire like Pantagruel in Cherbourg. We both had turbot. Lovely. Nice walk back still hot, but breeze building. G&T & V&T on return, and then inside for cheese and TV

Thursday 25 July 2019:

Yet again, they say today is going to be the hottest day – seems to be getting warmer day by day. We bought gris de gris rose wine in the shop and left Dielette at 10:40. A bit hazy towards the race, but it was hot. No wind again, and a flat sea. It stayed hot and sunny and no wind until we entered the inner harbour at Cherbourg, when the hovering black cloud finally caught up. The wind got up, drops of rain, and thus mooring was slightly trickier being blown on. We berthed right hand side of P – P24, starboard side to, and just over from Ghostly Goose, who called hello. Had a quick beer, and went to the marina office, and then to Boucanier, our normal bar in the sunshine,. By now the weather was ok, but cooler and more mixy. Huge blow, in that Boucanier now doesn’t serve Leffe ! So we’ll be searching for a new place! Then tried the local Carrefour City, but it was poorly stocked, so went to the big one, and lugged shopping back to the boat. We then invited Paul and Kath and Lucy and Cala over for drinks as we were getting some sunshine in our cockpit. It was good to catch up with them.

Then we got chatting to a Dutch boat “Amiga”, an older Bavaria 38 Caribic with Gino and Amanda Seissing aboard, and then I cooked the brochettes we had purchased. Later, we invited Gino and Amanda aboard, and we drank and chatted until 01:00! Good to meet them.

Friday 26 July 2019:

Lazy morning. It was grey and not so nice. Julia went for a mooch round the shops while I caught up on a few things. Had a drink at the yacht club at lunch time, and a lazy afternoon. Free drinks at the marina at 1800 – chatted to a couple from Chatham, and the Dutch again. Then we had a meal at the yacht club. Poor attitude from the waiter, but nice meal. Early bed.

Saturday 27 July 2019:

Up at 0400 BST (Now! – 0500 French) and away at 04:30. Grey and cold to start with but as the day wore on, it got sunnier and warmer. Tight NW and 10-13 knots – just not enough and too tight for proper sailing – in Wyldwind, anyway. So motor sailed. Did get some sailing on the surf into the Needles, and then we came through the Solent, got fuel in Cowes, and into Haslar. Quick shower, and a glass of champers (24th wedding anniversary tomorrow) and then to dinner at Hardys. Very nice, and good service. Shame they only do fat chips though! Back on board for a nightcap and bed.

Sunday 28 July 2019 – married 24 years today:

Lazy morning. Then unloaded the wine to the car, tidied up and headed home.