Trip on Men Goe starting 2019-09-07 in BSAOct19
Charter from La Trinité 7 – 15 September 2019 – report by skipper Gordon Ogden
Two yachts were chartered from CFC at La Trinité-sur-Mer from 7-15 September. Chris Watts was on Polgan, a Jeanneau Sun Oyssey 409 and I had Men Goe, a Sun Odyssey 379.
We used CFC in La Trinité in 2016 and I was pleased with my dealings with that company, especially their communications with me in English! So, again, this year, they dealt with me clearly in the planning of the trip and, as yet, there have been no claims on the security deposit. We took out insurance to cover the bulk of the 3000-euro security deposit on each yacht. It cost 105 euros per boat and we hoped it gave us a certain degree of peace of mind …. even though we always try to look after the yachts we charter!
Sunday, 8 September dawned with virtually no wind, so we motored to La Turballe, 25 M to the south. Chris was well ahead and missed the good wind that sprang up in the early afternoon as we approached La Turballe. Men Goe enjoyed 1½ hours grand sailing before going in to raft against Polgan. La Turballe has a good port/marina, excellent facilities and is an attractive town with all the required eating and drinking places.
Monday gave us a good wind of 12 kts, or so, from the west and we enjoyed great sailing south to L’Herbaudiére, Ile Noirmoutier. There was a forecast of strong winds later, as the tail-end of a western-Atlantic hurricane reached Europe, so we were glad we were safely tucked up in port. Or so we thought!
During the late evening, French yachts came in and rafted alongside us in the strengthening wind. As the wind strengthened further, both our yachts were pinned against the pontoon and Men Goe’s fenders were pretty much flattened! There was some feverish activity on deck, pulling and pushing to move fenders and put additional lines on. Sometime later, in still-rising wind, the lines of the yacht alongside Men Goe came loose and she moved onto Chris’ yacht, adjacent. Much more pushing and shoving restored some order to the proceedings and we settled down to a rather restless night.
Sometime before dawn, the yacht against Men Goe departed and the morning gave strong, but no-longer gale-force wind, although the sea looked too rough for us! It didn’t take us long to decide on a day in L’Herbaudiére – lunch, a walk, etc. Men Goe’s fenders looked as though nothing had happened. We turned the yacht around on the pontoon and discovered a scratch or small gouge in the hull! I purchased a 2-part epoxy gel-coat repair kit and set to work and don’t mind saying the result wasn’t at all bad! Despite all that, I liked L’Herbaudiére. There were good marina facilities, just about enough restaurants and shops and interesting walks around the area for those who wanted them.
Next day, Wednesday, 11 September, we all motored and sailed northwards, with Piriac-sur-Mer in mind. The second half of this passage gave us great sailing in fairly light west winds. Chris opted for an early entrance into Piriac and bagged a couple of good pontoon berths for us. On Men Goe, we were enjoying it so much, we took advantage of the fairly wide tide ‘window’ and sailed around the bay for another couple of hours before joining Chris and the others in Piriac. The entrance is very narrow, with a sharp turn over a sill, but there is a tide gauge to back-up one’s tidal calculations.
Piriac is a beautiful town, having the best French marina facilities I’ve ever seen – albeit fairly new – and many excellent restaurants.
The crew of Men Goe decided to stay a full day here and enjoyed various refreshments and walks around the area. Chris and Polgan headed out early on Thursday, 12 September for La Turballe and he will add a report of this.
On Men Goe, we debated where next, with a strong leaning towards the Vilaine River, the Arzal lock and La Roche-Bernard. We heard talk of maintenance work being carried out at the lock, so there was considerable uncertainty about what times the lock would operate, …... if at all! The harbour master at Piriac kindly emailed and phoned the lockkeeper, but I think a different answer came back each time!
We had to conclude that this was all working too much at the margins of comfort for the tides in the river (LW Springs was very low!), lock times, passage times, etc. We decided, therefore, to set out on Friday for Belle Île and Le Palais. The wind was very light, from the north-east. We deployed the cruising chute and had some fun trying to get it right. We lunched at anchor off Tréach Salus, a sandy beach on the south side of Houat. More cruising-chute fun in the afternoon brought us to Le Palais.
We were met at the harbour entrance by a young woman – probably a university student - in a RIB and she directed us to a berth behind the harbour wall. Another RIB-skilful mademoiselle quickly arrived and the two of them assisted with our lines, one line to a chain on the harbour wall and one to a mooring buoy near the yacht. More and more yachts were crowded into the moorings, but all survived, despite some rolling motion as ferries and other craft sped into and through the harbour.
As always, David was our dinghy master and ferried us ashore. Le Palais was very busy, with the ferry from Quiberon bringing large numbers of people into the town. The restaurants were full and we decided to eat aboard after a drink and a starter course overlooking the inner harbour.
Next morning, we found the Le Palais facilities to be, perhaps, the worst in France! I decided to stay dirty (!!) and may have missed some of the finer points, but the showers were linked to a control console near the entrance door, several yards from the shower cubicles! Upon inserting a jetton and pressing the button, a light was supposed to show that the shower was working …. if you were lucky! Needless to say, some of our group experienced indifferent results and one ended up having a ‘strip’-wash at a basin in the unisex block!
We motored in no wind to Sauzon, at the north end of Belle Île for lunch and an afternoon on a mooring buoy outside the river. We’d have liked our dinghy master to run us ashore, but the afternoon was, by then, well-advanced. The overnight forecast suggested an on-shore wind by morning, so, as it wasn’t prudent to remain, we departed and motored to Port Haliguen on Quiberon. Chris and his group were already there, but, as we had to eat up some of our provisions aboard that evening, we didn’t eat out with the others.
Sunday, 15 September gave us a great force 4, NE wind and we enjoyed some great sailing for our final day. We entered La Trinité around 1600 and, after re-fuelling, had a slight issue entering our berth across a fairly strong tide.
A most enjoyable trip, good light winds for easy sailing, good French food and drink and the companionship of eleven club members on two yachts.