The pilotage getting to Vannes was certainly challenging, and the narrow canal taking the final stretch was not without comments and expletives, especially as boats were coming in the opposite direction and there was only just enough room! That said, what a special place Vannes is. A beautiful city dating back 2000 years with a very proud history. Without doubt our favourite place so far. We stayed for 3 nights at a cost of 40 euros a night, it was funny being moored in the city centre with so many people walking by. We are also declaring Vannes the city of fit people, there were so many runners and groups exercising we were tired just watching!
We took a road train as a sightseeing trip with commentary in english which was well worth the price of 6.50 euros each and a great way to see so much, including the old washing house by the river which was where all the clothes were cleaned within the fort.
We could easily have spent more time in Vannes but really needed to start making tracks towards La Rochelle as Caroline & Charlotte have flights booked to return to the UK for 8 days. A stopover once again in Crouesty just outside the tidal effect of the Morbihan and we headed off with our cruising in company yacht Allegrini to Ile d’Yeu in the Vendee region of south Biscay. There had been winds of 25-30 knots the day before which we knew would create a swell but thought it would’ve died down after 24 hours….. or not !!!
The wind had died off for 8 of the 10 hour journey meaning we had to motor sail yet again, but the 3-4 metre swell we encountered reamained with us! The picture is Allegrini and we all agreed on the radio this was something we’d just have to get used to. The approach to Ile d’Yeu was strewn with lobster pots and a very choppy side wind making the seas even livelier until past the breakwater. The marina was very busy but we managed to get a good spot by reversing half way down the marina channel to a hammerhead berth. Allegrin weren’t so lucky having been directed to a really tight area next to a swiss yacht who refused to take their lines and was completely unhelpful. Eventually Allegrini moved to another berth near us and away from the idiot. We now all hope one day he needs help coming into a berth and gets the same treatment.
The french are a seafaring nation and sailing must be second only to football (they don’t play cricket very well and rugby doesn’t count!). There are so many singlehanded sailors on the water, and they know what they’re doing….. until they stop sailing and enter harbours. Once in the harbour they abandon the helm and prepare fenders and shore lines oblivious to all around. We saw one poor motorboat hit three times by three different boats in one day, Allegrini was hit by a yacht “not under command” scratching her hull and we had a yacht hit our bow, get caught on our anchor which ripped out their safety guard wires. Two days ago I helped a motorboat come into a berth behind us once he’d bounced off the yacht behind, he just said “pas de problem” (no problem) tied up 2 lines only and buggered off on a bicycle!
But they’re not all the same, we saw a 32 foot catamaran shoehorn itself into a 34 foot space beautifully.
From here we may try to get into Les Sables d’olonne for a night before reaching La Rochelle but the Golden Globe race buildup is there and berthing maybe difficult.