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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 24 – Paimpol to St Helier – 21 September 2013

We left Paimpol’s harbour
and motored east along the narrow channel
click to enlarge

With fresh croissants from Le Fournil du Port collected by Lin and safely stowed in the galley (away from Piers), and the water tanks refilled (we don’t like Jersey’s desalinated water), we lit the fires and cast off ending our delightful nine day stay in this glorious Brittany port.

Exiting the lock, we waved goodbye to the lock-keeper, headed out of the harbour and into the long, narrow channel.

The weather

After days and days of high winds that kept us safely tucked up in Paimpol’s Basin 1, today’s wind was almost non-existent. It was so calm, registering a gust maximum of 0.26kts on Play d’eau’s instruments.

OK, the sky was full of murky cloud but there was no rain and the temperature was ‘good to go’. So we did.

Pinch points

We threaded our way through the Chenal Saint-Rion
click to enlarge

The controlling pinch point was the opening time of the lock to exit Paimol giving us a departure time of 0845. Given this, we’d arrive at St Helier at low tide when there’d be insufficient water to enter the marina so we’d have to stay a while on their waiting pontoon, just outside. Not a problem.

Tide Plan 2

The longest leg is 32.7nm. For this, we’d use Tide Plan 2, a software which plans a constant heading to steer between waypoints, ensuring the tidal flow is put to best advantage (or least disadvantage) giving the best time on the leg.

Note: the software can be downloaded for trial, free of charge, from CompassCard.

The nav plan

The hard to starboard turn into La Collette
click to enlarge

Seeing we’d leave at the top of an 11m spring tide, we decided to pilot Play d’eau through the Chenal Saint-Rion regaining our planned track 0.4nm east of the Ar Bonn Krenv ECM. From there we’d motor north until clearing the Plateau des Échaudés before heading ENE for Jersey via the Danger Rock Passage and Green Rock SHM.

The journey

Piloting through the Chenal Saint-Rion was fun. The spring tide was having a ball, dancing a Viennese waltz around the small islands and rocky seabed, its turning and swirling causing the autopilot to work overtime to keep us on track whilst coping with an additional 3.7kts of tide.

Arriving at the Nord Horaine NCM, we set the autopilot to Tide Plan’s calculated heading of 077 (T) for our next waypoint just south of Les Grunes Vaudin on Danger Rock Passage.

The Furuno NN3D chart plotter
recorded our arrival into La Collette
click to enlarge

For the next few hours we had a calm sea with a lazy 1m swell from behind created by the many lows that had been playing in the Atlantic for the last week or so.

Arriving

TidePlan 2 had done a reasonable job, putting us back on track just 2nm before the waypoint. It was now low tide, giving us just 1m above chart datum.

Calling St Helier marina we were told there was Dragon Boat racing in the main harbour and that we’d have to pull into the adjacent La Collette harbour and wait on D pontoon. ‘Follow the dory,’ was the Harbour Master’s advice. ‘It’s a very low spring tide and the channel to the pontoons is narrow.’ Shades of Paimpol, I wondered? At one stage Play d’eau only had 60cms beneath her keel.

It would be 2½hrs before we could leave and motor the half mile to the St Helier marina. We used the time to give Play d’eau a bath, reset clocks to UK time and change SIMs on our mobiles.

Whilst we paused for a few moments to have some hot chocolate, we looked at each other and said, ‘Nearly home.’

The tecky details

After a two hours we cast off from La Collette
and arrived at St Helier marina at 1745
click to enlarge

Departed Paimpol – 0845 (French)
Arrived La Collette – 1515 (UK)
Time on passage – 8hr 30min
Total planned distance – 47.5nm
Tide: Top of springs
Longest leg – 32.7nm Nord Horaine NCM to

Tech issues – nil

Incidents – nil

Navigational info: The approach into La Collette requires a hard turn to starboard to go between the mole and the PHM. Track close to the fishing boats to starboard before heading to the pontoons to port.

Now, where’s Woolly Mammoth?

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

You can get in touch with us any time by using our Contact Form.

It was so calm
Piers began doing the housekeeping…
click to enlarge

…whilst Captain Lin
took her position in the driving seat
click to enlarge

The 32.7nm leg
click to enlarge

TidePlan 2
restored us on track just 2nm before the waypoint
click to enlarge

5 comments to Leg 24 – Paimpol to St Helier – 21 September 2013

  • Diccon

    Sounds like a good, if long, run. Nice to see that someone has come up with some useful software to try and make the most of the force of tides. Looking at the zoomed out plot you can clearly see how the tide pushed you back on course and I guess saved you some time overall rather than having to steer into it for half the journey?

    Almost home but one last hurrah by the sounds of it. Have great fun over the next few days and it has been fascinating reading the journey you both (all if Play d’eau is counted) have undertaken. So looking forward to seeing you at half term.

  • Hil

    I can’t believe you are in St Helier again! you have had the most wonderful times and adventures and I,too,have loved reading all your blogs-(I loathe that word,but I love the writings).And what a lovely way to end your holiday-with Woolly Mamouth and co.Please give them my love.And it will be very exciting going home again.I know you will have a fantastic time.Lots of love,Hil.x x x

  • Pip

    Good to know you’re almost home – and what a fantastic journey you’ve had over the last few months. Great to hear all about your activities (and cooking ideas). Enjoy your time with Graham and Frances.
    Pxx

  • Patrick

    There is nothing like that feeling of coming home, even if it is a marina. Thank you for sharing your adventure. It was a real pleasure to follow along and motivated us to plan our trip through the islands in Canada next year. It will be a two week cruise but will take us farther North than previous trips.

    All the best
    Patrick

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