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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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Leg 18 (2015) – Sainte Marine to Camaret

The day we left, the dawn sun was glowing through the milky cloud
click to enlarge

Please excuse the lack of photos in this posting – read on and you’ll see why.

We’ve never, ever been in such threatening seas.

Leaving Sainte Marine under a grey and cloudy sky, we headed south with a calm wind onto a flat sea, amongst many yachts. Soon we were heading into a slow, smooth swell which I have to say was rather enjoyable, even soothing.

‘The remnant of yesterday’s swell,’ I said knowingly to Lin.

Before I continue with the story, please excuse the lack of photos. The seas made it almost impossible to take any.

Penmarc’h Peninsula

Turning west to start the long passage around the Penmarc’h Peninsula we were joined by two 14m Dutch yachts out of Port Loctudy, forming a 7½kts cruise in company.

As the swell slowly increased, Lin retired to the saloon to take a Kwell and lie down. Having been in worse conditions around Start Point and Le Cap de la Hague, I was happy to continue. The positive was that the wind remained calm.

At least we had two yachts keeping Play d’eau company for encouragement.

When to abort?

As we were leaving, Yacht Popoff came in. Great name…
click to enlarge

After an hour our companion yachts were half disappearing in the troughs and I was at the point of making the decision to abort and return to Sainte Marine. The swell was now a fairly steep 4 metres.

The issue, though, was how to turn around? Crest to crest was far less than my turning circle and I certainly didn’t want to present Play d’eau broadside to this swell during a turn.

I tussled in my mind. Can it really get much worse? The wind was still calm and the yachts were still with us.

Turning NW

Reaching the westerly point of the Peninsula, the swell was at its worst. By now the yachts and their masts were disappearing in the troughs leaving only their VHF antennas visible. Quite a sight to behold. But I’d be telling an untruth if I said I was enjoying it.

Heading north west for the Raz de Sein, the first encouraging sign was the cloud clearing and the sun coming out. The second encouraging sign was the wind staying calm. The third encouraging sign was that the swell slowly, very slowly, starting to subside.

It took two hours before the swell had settled back to its initial gentle, acceptable rhythm and with no wind, the sea was quite glassy yet at times it looked as though it would shiver and come out in goose bumps. A strange sight.

Play d’eau motored out of Sainte Marine amongst a procession of departing yachts
click to enlarge

Later, Lin told me that when she’d woken, she’d looked out of the saloon windows, seen the sea towering above her at which point she decided denial was the best reality, closed her eyes and went back to sleep.

We mused whether a Kwell thrown into the sea would help have settled it. Maybe not.

Raz de Sein

The plan had been to enter the Raz at slack. Annoyingly, the tide turned some 30 minutes before the Admiralty tide tables and pilot books stated. More lumpy seas? Pah! Used to them now.

Ten yachts and Play d’eau converged on the Raz, yet I have to say that the transit itself was a bit of a non-event.

(Note to self: Remember the 30 minute tidal error error for next time)

Last leg

It took two hours to cross the Baie de Morgat before we arrived in Camaret where we took the last parking slot. We were both somewhat weary.

Two trip highlights

During the last four hours, four separate pods of dolphins came to play with Play d’eau. A wonder to behold and a thankful distraction.

A sunfish with its fin flopping side to side in the air, passed just a few feet away from us. It rolled slightly on its side so we could see eye to eye almost as though it wanted to say something.

Dinner out

The final highlight was dinner. Being so tired, we walked to the nearby Restaurant of the small Hotel Vauban where we ordered large pressions whilst looking at the short menu. Piers chose Melon Soup followed by Mackerel whilst Lin chose baked camembert with honey followed by moules.

Every moment spent waiting to be served was worth it. Each of the dishes was inspired, unexpected and obviously cooked fresh. This chef loves cooking!

A great way to end an ‘interesting’ day’s cruising.

Met data

Sainte Marine: Calm, cloudy, good.
Forecast sea state: Calm, with a slight swell.
Reality: An horendous swell.
Camaret: Calm, clear, good

Nav data

Times are FST.

Date: 6 August 2015
Departed Sainte Marina: 1005
Arrived Camaret: 1720
Pinchpoint: Raz de Sein
Longest leg: 22.3nm
Time en route: 7hr 15min
Planned distance: 57.1nm

Tech issues: None.

Piers and Lin
from the Pilot House of
Play d’eau
Fleming 55

5 comments to Leg 18 (2015) – Sainte Marine to Camaret

  • Alan Richmond

    Events don’t have to be pleasant at the time, to be pleasant in the retelling.

    You’ll enjoy retelling this experience for years to come. And they lived happily ever after…..

    Best wishes

    Alan

    • Thanks for the encouraging words, Alan. You’re right – we’ve already told the story a few times.

      We’re in Roscoff at the moment (one leg behind in our blog) and leave for Beaucette in a couple of hours. Weather (and swell) look really favourable…

  • Dave Birch

    Hey folks.
    So pleased you ploughed through safely without being faced with the dilema of how to turn around in the big swell.
    Keep safe.
    Dave

    • Hi Dave. Thanks for responding. As you see from my response to Alan, we’re in Roscoff and leave for Beaucette today. A small problem with the stbd gearbox that needs sorting sooner rather than later. When are you coming over?

  • Hil

    That must have been rather frightening? But no-because you always keep calm. But hey- as Louis would say. Why didn’t your forecasting devices warn you about the state of the sea? Anyway, you have done it- and WELL DONE! Thank goodness for Kwells and for wonderful meals! I wonder how the two yachts are?

    Lol Hil x x x

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