Elwing 2016 Pt 3

South & Souther

Audierne -> Lesconil
As usual, in Biscay, the winds are generally fresh on-shore in the afternoon. Last time I was here, it was fresh in the morning & strong to uncomfortable in the afternoon. This time, it seems to be almost nothing in the morning and catch-up after noon. So: starts under engine and switch to sails when the breeze picks up. Lesconil is a pretty, colourful fishing village which kicks the fishing fleet out during July/August to earn the yachting revenue instead. All facilities including a Breton music festival and not at an ear-splitting volume.

Lesconil -> Concarneau
Rock-dodging on the chart-plotter out of Lesconil, then positioning to Concarneau which is like a miniature St Malo. Met Keith Turner, son of active past member Ken Turner, on his way back from Spain. Lots of advice about further South on the French coast.

Concarneau -> Lorient
The second positioning leg before Quiberon. The pattern of sun with morning calm & afternoon sea-breeze continues. The war-time submarine pens at Lorient are still in place in all their massive, concrete ugliness but otherwise a fine harbour.

Lorient -> Port Haliguen
A slow crawl South, then into rock-dodging again to pass through the short-cut round the end of the Quiberon peninsula. A narrow channel (70m?) at low-water and supposedly contrary spring tide. Just got through before the breeze increased to fresh. A rather tight berth alongside another boat in the narrow gap between the visitors pontoon & the outer breakwater. Don’t know how I’m going to turn round and 1 boat had to be towed in backwards by the harbour master.

Port Haliguen -> Pornichet
Forecast was W4 all day. It started that way but died considerably with a brief mist before clearing. Finally I’m getting into new territory. Still in Brittany but slightly South & well East and definitely new. Pornichet is an artificial harbour on a stalk from the mainland, but, unlike some others, they’ve left an inshore channel and crossed it with a bridge which should prevent creeping silt-up. It doesn’t seem to stop the rotten seaweed stench though.

Pornichet -> Pornic
Just a short hop across the Loire entrance and now it’s out of Brittany & into the Vendée. No actual traffic on the Loire but plenty of pilotage requests on the VHF. Wind again feeble.

Pornic -> L’Herbaudière
I was intending to go further, but while approaching the North-west corner of Noirmoutier, fog descended, to less thea quarter mile & I decided to stop while I still knew where I was. Of course, once tied up, the fog cleared, but hey, it’s a nice island just the same.

L’Herbaudière -> Port Joinville
Île d’Yeu had been my previous day’s objective: now just a day later. About the size of Alderney, almost as busy as Peter Port & the whole of Guernsey. Large artificial marina and 5 ferries in harbour at once. Someone’s missing a tourist trick in the States of Guernsey.

Port Joinville -> Sables d’Olonne
Sun and a fair wind (mostly). How the other half live. The marina here (in an inner basin, all facilities) has over 2000 berths.

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