Trip on Ventis Secundis starting 2017-07-13 in BSAAug17

North Brittany Trip July 13-20 – report by skipper Alan Howells

Yacht Delphia 40 ‘Ventis Secundis

Crewed by Alan Howells (skipper), Ian Collins, Jeff Woolmer, Jerzy Wieczorek, Julian Brenard and Rich Trim

Leaving on Thursday meant a good drive to PlymouthMap and Liberty let us take over the yacht early enabling a nicely timed start. The wind was forecast to be mainly North West and a little light for a downwind sail but turned out generally to be a little stronger and have a bit more West in it enabling us to sail most of the way in flat water. As is often the case we did not trouble the GPS at any stage. Also as is often the case we had to clean the log impeller, after which it sort of worked though I guess that there was some fouling on the hull around the impeller which made readings erratic from time to time. Under-reading meant that we crossed Hurd DeepMap earlier than expected and a series of fixes on various bits of the Channel Isles did not tally with the EPs. After a little difficulty the SW Minquier cardinal was located and we reached to close to Cap Fréhel before gybing and going in to St MaloMap via the Chenal du Grande Port.

We arrived in just as the depth allowed us to enter the marina at St Servan but it was full so we came out and waited on a buoy for the St Malo lock. Once in the harbour we were met and asked to raft up against a yacht moored on the quay as the marina was overflowing. We eventually rafted one out right next to the walled city in time for the fireworks to celebrate Bastille day which was the cause of the overcrowding.

As we were taking the sails down outside of St Malo Rich demonstrated his strength by setting himself up to pull on a black and white rope which was offering considerable resistance. From his now superior position he heaved on a black and white rope which unfortunately was not the black and white rope offering resistance but another which offered no resistance at all. Unfortunately he hit his head on something before finally coming to rest. Scalps bleed badly and his was no exception. Good job I carry large dressings and crepe bandages to hold them in place. A trip to the local hospital offered excellent service and he was duly stitched up.

Good day in St Malo culminating in an excellent meal in the lovely La Mouette in St Servan.

Leaving on the first lock out the following day left us motoring on a mirror sea to Tréguier with Jeff navigating and calculating a correction factor for the log. We arrived near high water and would have moored to a pontoon though those available were rather short and would have required much “knitting”. The young lady in the dory would have nothing of it and made someone who was moored to the hammerhead move to make way for us, which he appeared to do with ill grace.

Nice day in TréguierMap the following day though number one and number two choice of restaurants were closed Mondays. Number three not so good.

The nice Easterly breeze enabled a bit more navigation practice under sail and finally we made it to TrégastelMap after years of attempts being thwarted by adverse weather, lack of time etc. Though no chartlet seems available anywhere the entrance is easy and some of the pink granite formations have to be seen. I calculated that the buoy would have had sufficient water even at LAT and, contrary to all Google searches, a bar was in view just behind the beach. Only stopped for lunch however and a 200m row ashore into the wind held no appeal.

Navigation exercises got us to Trébeurden Mapwhere after an appropriate wait we went into the marina over the lowering sill. Note that contrary to published information the depths in in the final 200m of approach are less than over the sill and though we had left ample time we were within inches of the bottom.

The following morning a long trek uphill to the town and a further uphill bit to the supermarket replenished supplies while others enjoyed coffee and croissants in a bar and took in what I’m told was a stunning view.

Leaving an even more ample period of time after the lowering of the sill meant that it was possible to leave without staring nervously at the depth. As forecast the wind went around to the Southwest but was insufficient to drive us at the speed necessary to get us back on time so motoring was necessary. The visibility was poor in the Channel and the radar proved a useful tool once I had managed to get the right display up on the screen – still can’t remember how. The radar was also particularly good at picking up rain though there was a more direct method of detecting that. I did contemplate getting into the control that supresses the detection of rain but did not want to push my luck and lose my screen again. Later it cleared and the wind veered further and increased in strength enabling sailing. All as forecast. Later still it increased further – upper end of forecast – but also veered further – not forecast -eventually resulting in the need to tack and finally to use engine assistance to arrive in time to hand the yacht back.

Navigation on the way back remained conventional but with the milestones: Hurd Deep and the shipping lanes coming up earlier than the plot suggested due to the under-reading log – which had been subjected to a further cleaning. However an excellent fix was obtained from the rising and dipping Start Point light. The radar gave us a good point to tack with a distance off Bolt HeadMap.

Plymouth  50.3648,-4.1322
Hurd Deep  49.6667,-3
St Malo  48.6398,-2.0248
Tréguier  48.7872,-3.2215
Trégastel  48.8205,-3.5218
Trébeurden  48.7716,-3.5861
Bolt Head  50.2034,-3.7845