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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 3 (2015) – Camaret to Audierne

Ocean Pearl squeezes through the narrow entrance of Camaret marina
click to enlarge

After our horrid yet triumphant marathon passage making yesterday, we had a day off to recuperate before tomorrow’s short weather window would allow us to transit the Raz de Sein on 6 June.

If we missed this window, we’d be stuck for at least a week whilst the forecast NE gales played endless and annoying percussion by slapping rigging against masts of neighbouring yachts.

We’d be pushing ourselves but it would be worth it to be south of the Finistère Peninsula before the strong winds came. The plan was coming together.

Audierne, here we come.

Throughout the day, the skies remained heavily overcast with a strong, cold wind but no rain.

Croissant and hot chocolate

Although both Lin and I had sore tummies and my head still hurt, we retraced our steps into the village to have croissants and hot chocolate. A delectable feast.

Ocean Pearl looks the business as she moors
click to enlarge

How come only the French can make such delicious croissants?

Yesterday’s vibration

Being moored on the outside wasn’t ideal, so as soon as there was space in the marina we took it.

With nothing obvious being found with the drive shafts in the engine room, we needed to check if anything had been snagged on a prop. Piers would either don the dive kit or try our underwater video camera bought especially for the purpose.

Cable tied to the boat hook, the small camera worked brilliantly. The props could clearly be seen and thankfully nothing untoward was seen. We concluded we must have been snagged something during yesterday’s passage which had come free as we manoeuvred in Camaret.

We wait to see if the vibration returns on the next sector.

A phone call

Ocean Pearl moored opposite Play d’eau
click to enlarge

My phone rang. ‘Piers, it’s Braun, Ocean Pearl. We are thinking of coming into Camaret. Are you there? We’re in the Chenal du Four right now.’

By mid-afternoon, the enormous Ocean Pearl held her breath and squeezed through the narrow marina entrance to moor in the only space available. Neighbouring yachts also held their breath whilst their skippers were heard to mutter, ‘Alors’, ‘Sacr%eacute; bleu’, and ‘C’est enorme!’

‘Come along for drinks, tonight,’ invited Tina. We need no encouragement.

A tour of Ocean Pearl

Lin’s first words were, ‘Wow, this is huge,’ as we stepped into the saloon.

We cannot begin to describe how large and beautifully crafted the vessel is. What a pilot house! To learn Braun and Tina had crossed the major oceans of the Pacific and Atlantic and have just been cruising extensively in the Baltic, was breathtaking.

There’s no doubt the Nordhavn 64 is built for serious ocean cruising in wonderful luxury.

In pre-dawn twilight, cliffs and rocks look daunting as we left Camaret
click to enlarge

As I write, I can hear Lin saying, ‘No, it’s not happening…’

The second fragile weather window

Given access to Audierne is limited by tide, the latest time to leave Camaret would be 0445 even though it placed us in the pinchpoint of the Raz de Sein an hour before slack water. The current spring tides wouldn’t help either and hopefully the forecast NW3 wind would be realised.

En route

As quietly as possible, we cast off and let the wind drift us away from the pontoon. Using engines only we manoeuvred out of the marina.

The FLIR thermal imaging camera came into its own. Presenting a daylight picture we were able to see pot markers, take avoiding action, and not be ‘hooked’.

Meeting a NW4/5 wind along the headland, the first hour was into the swell (again) and slop (again), but it smoothed out as we turned south for the Raz leaving us riding a 2m Atlantic swell only, broadside-on. The bonus was that the wind began to abate.

A yacht race

Early dawn after leaving Camaret
click to enlarge

Having had the radar on short range for pot spotting, I increased it to 4 miles just before turning S towards the Raz. To my surprise dozens of targets covered the screen like angry acne, each with an AIS.

It was a yacht race. Some fifty or so 6m and 7m yachts were following a clockwise course from Morgat, through the Raz, along the S coast of the Ile de Sein to its western tip before heading NE to the Basse du Lis SCM and finally striking for Morgat.

The yachts had interesting names, such as ‘Follow me solo sailor’ and ‘Dinky toy solo sailor’.

Hey, if 6m yachts can handle the Raz, how on earth can we make a fuss?

The Raz

As hoped, the Ile de Sein protected us from the wind which by now had more W in it that N, making the transit almost smooth. Another non-event.

At the end of the Raz, numerous Gannets signify a good feeding ground
click to enlarge

Once through, the wind petered out as if by a switch. With only a following 2kt gentle breeze we cruised the next 7nm to Audierne in complete flat sea comfort. A call to the Harbour Master confirmed a hammerhead was ready for us as we entered the estuary and followed the narrow, winding dredged channel to the marina.

Audierne

The Harbour Master recognised and welcomed us, giving us a great welcome. He reminded us he was known by his friends as the Harbour Monster!

We love this small, unspoiled, market fishing town which has no pretentions and no modern glamour to smother its reality.

The sun was hot, the wind calm, and to our delight, we saw the farmers’ market was in full flow.

It’s so good to be back.

Nav data

La Vielle signifies the end of the Raz de Sein. Can you see the small fishing boat?
click to enlarge

Times are FST.

Pinchpoints: Raz de Sein and tidal access to Audierne
Departed Camaret: 0445, 6 June 2015
Arrived Audierne: 0942
Time en route: 4hr 57min
Planned distance: 30.2nm
Sunrise: 0603

Tech issues: With no return of the previously reported vibration, we ticked it off as ‘resolved but watch’ in the Tech Log.

Piers and Lin
from the navigation table of
Play d’eau
Fleming 55

The graveyard for old wooden fishing boats is next to the marina
click to enlarge

Audierne. Hot sun and calm winds. Destination achieved
click to enlarge

2 comments to Leg 3 (2015) – Camaret to Audierne

  • Hil

    I love it,I love it, I love it! As I read your blog I travelled with you! Apart from the sore tummies it sounds so glorious. How lovely to meet Braun and Tina too. What wonderful sights to see! The market? Are Braun and Tina sailing in the same direction as you? You can have some peace now. Thank you for your beautiful writing.

    Lots of love from Hil x x

  • Hil

    I meant to say- and beautiful photos too! x x

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