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Cruise 02 June 9 to 15 2013

Day 1 Sunday (Brest to Raz de Sein)

Having said goodbye to our skipper for the first week Brian Moore and his wife Diana, David, Phillip and I were staying on Brighton Belle in the Château Marina in Brest to welcome aboard Stewart, Neil and Wendy who had flown in from the UK that morning. Stuart had already “texted” that he wished to get underway as soon as possible after arriving in order to get as close as possible to the Raz de Sein today. So Philip and David had already made a passage plan which Stewart was happy with, given the existing wind conditions, and we set sail from Brest about 1400.

The wind was softening and shifting from the North to towards North West, nevertheless it was a pleasant sail and we had a pleasant meal whilst sailing of green chicken curry. We arrived at our planned anchorage point in Baie des Trépassés at 2100 and after a drink and cheese and biscuits we retired in readiness for an early start in the morning.

Day 2 Monday (Raz de Sein to Concarneau)

We weighed anchor at 0530 in a slightly gloomy daybreak and arrived at the Raz de Sein at 0700 for slack water. We motor-sailed through this normally fearsome channel of water in a near flat calm and set off to get as far along the South Brittany coast as we could during the day. With the wind getting stronger and settling in the West, backing South-West , it was a beautiful sail down this picturesque coastline and everybody aboard had an opportunity to take the helm and enjoy driving Brighton Belle. We arrived at our planned destination of Concarneau at 1700 and moored in the Port de Plaisance very close to the Old Town where we enjoyed a well earned beer. We went ashore for some shopping and sightseeing and with the weather getting cooler and wetter, we returned to BB for a ‘Bobattie’ supper aboard.

Day 3 Tuesday (Concarneau to Lorient)

It rained heavily during the night with a high wind. At 0800 it was still wet and windy so rather than try to explore Concarneau in the rain we decided to go sailing. We left about 1100 with reefed main and genoa and as we headed South-West we had a rolling swell on our beam which made some crew a bit queasy but we were making a constant 7 knots down the coast to Lorient.

Although we started off in wet weather gear it turned out to be a great sailing day and we arrived at Lorient, the historic centre of French ocean sailing at 1700 and after motoring around the various parts of the river entrance and being turned away from the marina at Port Louis, due to a rally of historic sailing boats, we found a berth at the Port de Plaisance du Kernevel. Again our arrival was sealed with a well-earned beer! There was not much to do or see ashore and we had supper on board of prawns and linguine prepared by Neil & Wendy. Phillip introduced us to a fun game called ‘The Name Game’

Day 4 Wednesday (Lorient to Belle Ile)

We awoke to another wet morning and we set off quite early, motor sailing directly into a 20 knot wind from the South-West which turned into the perfect direction once we raised the sails for a morning of great sailing to Belle Ile with waves crashing over the bow and streaming down the decking. Then the sun came out. We arrived at 1400 and after anchoring outside the harbour wall of Port Bihan near Sauzon and in the lee of the island we enjoyed a superb late lunch onshore at ‘Souris L’Agneau d’Ile’. We did a little bit of shopping for items to go with our Dorada dinner and had a relaxing afternoon and evening aboard. This night Phillip organised a competitive nautical quiz which was enjoyed by all.

Day 5 Thursday (Belle Ile to Penerf)

We awoke to a beautiful sunny morning with a stiff South-Westerly wind which was perfect for our planned sail to Penerf via the Ile d’Houat. Wendy helmed Brighton Belle as we ran down through Le Grand Coin, a narrow channel to the north of the island, and then reached across towards the south of the island where we anchored off a beautiful sandy beach and had a tasty salad lunch aboard. With the wind still fresh we set off and ran down to Penerf where Phillip negotiated a tricky entry channel before picking up a visitor’s mooring near the harbour, arriving at 1800. We enjoyed another excellent meal aboard and a return match of ‘The Name Game’ of owners versus guests. We all went up on deck to watch a spectacular sunset whilst braving an increasingly chilly wind.

Day 6 Friday (Penerf to Pornic)

We awoke to a spectacularly beautiful day which was fitting since it was the skipper’s birthday! So after a resounding chorus of Happy Birthday to You, a nourishing breakfast and a tour ashore to look around the quaint and picturesque village of Penerf, we set sail at 1030. The wind was a freshening South, South-Westerly and we planned for some 8 hours sailing to reach our final destination of Pornic. It was a great sail where the helm was able to follow the wind shifts to maintain boat speed rather than the necessity to maintain a straight course. We crossed the major shipping channel into and out of Saint Nazaire at the mouth of the river Loire. We got to our destination at 1900 in time for a pre-dinner drink and to pack our bags before going ashore to celebrate the skipper’s birthday with an excellent dinner at L’Anagram!

Day 7 Saturday (Crew changeover at Pornic)

A Taxi arrived at 0730 and after a final farewell David, Neil, Phillip and Wendy left to catch their plane at Nantes airport. After which Stewart and I tidied the boat ready for the new crew and at 0930 I walked to the railway station for my next adventure, motoring down the Seine from Paris to Le Havre and then sailing home to Gillingham in Kent!

We all agreed that we had enjoyed a fantastic week of sailing and eating aboard Brighton Belle!!

24 July 2013 Peter Ashwell/David Wells



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