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Piers and Lin du Pré are the owners of the Fleming 55 Play d'eau, based in Beaucette Marina, Guernsey in the Channel Islands at N49° 30’.197 W002° 30’.350.

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A Maritime history of Audierne, Brittany

A Caravelle sailing vessel. There were 100 of these 60 tonners at Audierne
(click to enlarge)

We had no idea of the importance of Audierne and the sea – read on…

XVIth and XVIIth centuries

During the late XVIth and early XVIIth centuries, Audierne’s Breton sailors became known for their coastal navigation skills creating a commercial industry of almost a hundred 60 ton ‘Carvelle’ sailing vessels, all based in Audierne.

Merchants from all over Europe would hire these Carvelles, confident the crews with their knowledge of the narrow Breton channels would carry their goods safely.

The fortunes made by Audierne ship owners can be seen in the more opulent houses which remain to this day.

XVIIth and XVIIIth centuries

One of the magnificent houses built by an Audierne ship owner
(click to enlarge)

Later in the XVIIth century, French monarchy became involved in many wars hindering Audierne’s trade, and by the end of the XVIIIth century competition from the English and Dutch further diminished trade.

XIXth century

A maritime resurgence came in the XIXth century when sardine fishing became the new trade, growing to over 500 vessels supplying 20 canning factories, all based in Audierne.

Today

Today, there are no cargo vessels and no sardines and the number of fishing vessels has reduced considerably.

However, Audierne has diversified into shell fish, both farmed and fished and has a large processing plant standing halfway along the estuary. The output is huge and Audierne is now a major supplier throughout France of lobster, crayfish, scallops, brown and spider crab and langoustine.

Audierne’s shell fish processing plant
(click to enlarge)

Piers
from the Saloon of
Play d’eau
Fleming 55

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