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Cruise 9 – 16 June 2023

Bénodet to Pornichet

With a refurbished injector pump fitted, crew refreshed, we were raring to go.We had said a fond farewell to Pascal and welcomed Stephen on board for a cruise around the islands off the Brittany coast.Having spent a few unscheduled days in harbour, we could feel that BB, too, was champing at the bit to get to sea.

We slipped lines around noon, heading out of Benodet and, quickly hauling up the main and genoa and knocking off the engine, were under way.Just a short hop planned this afternoon in light airs, we headed for the Isle de Penfret.It was a very pleasant and uneventful afternoon.

 As we approached the Isle de Penfret, it was time to put the engine on and drop the sails.It has to be said that there was a slight air of apprehension as the time came to start the engine but we needn't have worried, the diesel started immediately – we all grinned.Finally, we dropped anchor in 8m just to the east of the Island.

 The following morning, we found ourselves surrounded by a mirror-flat sea.After breakfast, we started the engine (fired immediately!) and motored out of the anchorage.We were set to stay under motor all day so called upon 'George' to help so that we could concentrate on important sunbathing duties.

In early afternoon, we arrived at Port Tudy on the North coast of the Isle de Groix.This proved to be a very busy little harbour.Mooring was between buoys at bow and stern.We were lucky enough shortly after arriving, that a boat left enabling us to pick up buoys far enough apart for BB.It was interesting exploring the Island but, in the absence of temptation from any of the restaurants ashore, we decided to cater on board.Back to BB just in time for sun-downers!

  After a casual morning waiting for the tide (and some wind), we slipped the mooring buoys around noon and set off.The main was quickly set followed by the genoa and, after knocking off the engine, up went the mizzen too.With only about 7 knots of wind, we were still able to make around 3 knots over the ground on a broad reach.We did this for an hour or so but we could tell the Skipper really wanted a bit more canvas up.Sure enough, out came the cruising chute.

  I was particularly excited because this was the first time I had been on board when it was flown.The speed over the ground immediately doubled to around 7 knots – very satisfying.We remained in this happy state as we passed south of the Quiberon Peninsular until, after 3 hours, it was time to drop the chute.We then headed in towards the Eastern coast of Houat and anchored in Trac'h er Gourèd (prizes awarded for pronouncing that lot!).

  Another day dawns but, once more, we waited for the diurnal wind to start building.There was nothing much otherwise – but what a beautiful spot in which to spend some time!Around noon, up came the anchor, the main and the genoa and off we went.This was the first time we had found it necessary to sail to windward so tacked towards the Passage de la Teignouse.After a pleasant afternoon, and a bit of practice for the crew, we arrived in Port de Sauzon on Belle-île-en-Mer where we rafted alongside on bow and stern mooring buoys.

 We struck lucky here.There was a woman on the dockside selling monkfish straight off the boat.That evening, we were to enjoy a 'skipper's special' maintaining BB's excellent reputation for high dining standards.

We went for an early start the following morning – 1145 instead of noon!There's never a moments rest on a BB cruise!!By now, the Navigator was becoming almost blas about negotiating the tricky Passage de la Teignouse (for the third time!) – thank you Petra!!Once through the passage, we hove-to for a relaxed lunch before setting off for La Trinitsur Mer.

  We had seen some pretty impressive manoeuvres by a trimaran on the way in and La Trinitsur Mer proved to be a hive of activity for a number of these enormous boats.

  We had experienced a week of quite light airs.Taking best advantage of the diurnal wind in the afternoons, we still managed a thoroughly enjoyable sailing programme and did our utmost to maintain BB's never knowingly under-provisioned standards (although we were down to just one bottle of tonic at one point!).BB proved herself, once more, to be a fantastic boat to sail and live aboard.On our last full day, we set off for Le Croisic where we picked up a mooring buoy.There was a phenomenal tide running here which made collecting the buoy fun!

  On the last morning, we slipped around the corner into Pornichet where, moored alongside, we cleaned ship, squared everything away and headed off for home.We are so lucky to have skippers willing to enable us to enjoy this fantastic sport!Many thanks to all of you and particularly to the team for this week.

About the author

Roger Allen

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