We are still in Brittany. We have only managed to cover part of the North coast. Now the French Finistere beckons. Ok, the Spanish cape has a bit of a reputation for chewing up yachts and spitting them out in little bits ,so we had to pick our weather window on the French equivalent. As much as we loved L’aberwrach it was time to leave and luckily we were in company with a flotilla of yachts all heading the same way, with the same intentions. After some 8 miles it was turn to port and find the Chanal du Four. Now Money Penny is manufactured by a company called Dufour. So which came first? We picked a day where there wasn’t an ounce of wind so on with the engine and we motored down the Chanal du Four in glorious sunshine and crossed over the bay with Brest to port for our overnight stop in Camaret Sur Mer.
Passing through the Chanal du Four
Our destination was similar to a French take on a 1970’s British seaside town. All along the front was restaurant after restaurant all attempting to entice you to eat at their establishment. We picked the wrong one with Judith being served very undercooked chicken which was sent back only to have been blitzed in the microwave and again served under cooked. In fairness the head waiter had seen what happened and offered a replacement dish, with Judith eventually enjoying Moules mariniere and frites. I just watched her eat them as I had long finished my meal. Camaret wasn’t our cup of tea. Over commercialised seaside town which had seen better days. Time to leave the following day me thinks.
Just to make your mouth water!
Money Penny was manoeuvred off the mooring buoy early the next day and a course set for a very under used port of Douarnenez. Under used according to the guide books due to the fact that Douarnenez is at the far end of a bay that most sailors heading south can easily cut straight across. However they are missing a treat. Douarnenez is three separate ports within the port . There is a large fishing port, a marina near the entrance and a large mooring area on the river, controlled by a tidal sill. We decided upon the marina and found a suitable berth on a pontoon.
The Fishing Port The River Moorings Entrance to the Marina is on the left of this picture
Later that afternoon Jude and I walked into the town and what a delight it was. A lovely trail along the river led us to a bridge across the tidal sill in the river which enabled us to cross into the town area. The bridge opens when the water levels are equal to allow vessels into the river moorings. Douarnenez has an maritime museum and also holds an historic yacht rally once a year which we sadly missed. However, there remained a large number of wooden yachts in the river all varnished with many coats of lacquer and polished to a high degree. They were a sight to savour.
The River Bridge The Tidal flow before the bridge opened!!!Les Chateaux at the entrance
A perusal of the weather forecast set the scene for what was going to be a rough night of high winds and rain. So we battened down the hatches and settled down to a night of high winds and wet weather. We weren’t disappointed. The Northerly wind was on our beam and was of such high intensity that the boat on the pontoon across from us nearly hit Money Penny due to the pontoon bending so much in the wind. Douarnenez was a lovely town, vibrant , with lovely walks. Definitely worth the detour.
The next day after a lazy morning we set sail in company with a yacht called ‘Yoho’. The Raz De Sein channel located at the end of the bay has to be treated with respect due to the tidal race near some pretty nasty rocks. Going through the channel gives you a 16 mile short cut when heading South. I set a time of 3 hours to sail the 18 miles to the headland. Due to the tide and wind strength Money Penny rattled along and made the trip in a little over one and a half hours. She flew along in a 22 + knot wind, finding her grove and enjoying the sail. The Raz de Sein channel is narrow. However we were joined by another 12 yachts which gave us the confidence to head on through the channel which spat us out the other end at over 9 knots. Luckily for us wind and tide were both heading in the same direction so not too many panics. The wind and conditions were so favourable that we decided to extend our sail and with the wind to our stern sailed downwind towards Point de Penmarc’h. It was a beautiful summers day and a very enjoyable sail. The wind stayed with us all day and eventually we motored up the river entrance into Port Loctudy, joined by Yacht Yoho.
Raz De Sein Yoho keeping us company
Loctudy is set in a low lying area and eventually a young lad in a rib met us and directed us to our berth for the night. Unfortunately he didn’t realise the beam of Money Penny and we shoe horned into a finger pontoon alongside another yacht. I’m not sure we actually needed to tie on as Money Penny was practically jammed into the berth. A tight fit!. We had been ‘chasing’ some friends from Pembrokeshire, Nick & Paula, for a while and knew that they were in Port Loctudy. A quick check on our lines, just in case! and then we joined them in a local bar for a few beers. They were leaving in the morning so who knows when we will catch up with them again!!
We finally tracked you down!!! - Nick & Paula!
Being a fishing port we thought that fish was on the menu for supper. A visit to the local Poissenaire (fishmonger) confirmed our individual choice for supper. Ouch, one medium bass and one Dorado with a bag of crevettes set us back 47 Euro! It would have been cheaper to eat out! It was nice though.
The following day ‘Yoho’ with Peter and Ulrike onboard left before us heading for the river L’Odet. It was just as well Yoho left before us as I (we) had a bit of an incident leaving the pontoon. I was on the helm and convinced that I had switched on the bow thruster, engaged reverse and headed astern. Oooops, with little control and a side wind Money Penny decided to proceed down the narrow fairway sideways. Judith shouted at me, so I went backwards and forwards hitting as many other yachts as I could. Switch the bow thruster on or words to that effect were heard at the helm and after an embarrassing couple of minutes Money Penny came to rest hooked by her anchor in someone’s expensive self steering gear. Ok, time to switch on the bow thruster properly and get out of this mess. There were injuries, but thankfully only a snapped flag pole on a newish Hanse yacht. We conferred with the marina staff and handed them a replacement flag staff we had spare on board, asking the guys to hand it over to the owners of the Hanse. Tail firmly between legs we headed out to sea for all of two miles to the River L’Odet.