Back in the English Channel

Our Friends Les, Sheila and Richard flew out to join us in Brest. It was great to have some company after doing the first leg by ourselves. Brest has a huge new Marina with all mod con’s including a much-needed laundrette. It’s a good place to stop and take a few days off. When we left we sailed across the Rade de Brest to Camaret, a very pretty port at the mouth of the Rade which is ideally positioned to time entry into the second big tidal/ weather gate on the west coast, the Chanel de Four. Like the Raz, it has a reputation and is not a place to take lightly, but the weather was kind and we made a fast passage around the tip of Brittany and into L’Aber-Wrac’h where we celebrated being back in the English Channel. The approach to L’Aber-Wrac’h is one of the more complicated on the North Brittany coast, so it felt good to be in. We drank wine and played music late into the night.

Next port of call was the brand-new Marina at Roscoff. If only UK developers were this far-sighted. Great position, fine facilities, and compared to back-home, very reasonable mooring rates for visitors and long-term berth holders. Roscoff is a surprisingly pretty place which I suspect a lot of people miss as they drive to and from the Ferry port.  It’s also the port of departure for “Les Johnnies” the classic French Onion sellers who travelled to the UK on their bikes to delight the housewives of post-war austerity Britain with their strings of Brittany’s finest. Sadly we saw none of these mythical figures during our visit.

From Roscoff it’s 20 miles or so to Trebeurden where the marina has an automatic sill to retain the water below half tide. We stayed here with our children some years earlier and have fond memories. The place was just as we remembered with big sandy beaches and water-side cafes. It felt like the season hadn’t really started in early July with the bars and restaurants still being quite empty. A couple of race fleets came in during our stay. The French seem to organise a lot of port-to-port passage type races, and we witnessed the apres-race activity in full swing. It all looked a bit more corinthian than it does in the UK, with some of the boats being quite small and not in the first flush of youth. Not a bad thing, much more inclusive …..

Our next port of call was Treguier. The old town lies up a long river with water side houses reminding us of parts of Chichester harbour. The marina moorings off the old town have the full current of the river sweeping through them outside of slack-water, so arriving late we spent the night on the mid-stream waiting pontoon with a couple of work-boats for company.

Treguier was our jumping-off point for the Channel Islands. We left early in the morning, and within an hour or so heard the voice of Jersey Coast guard coming through on the VHF with the morning’s weather. This always seems a bit incongruous when you are a few miles off the French coast. We sailed on past the Roche Douvres Plateau and joined the approach channel for St Helier off the south west tip of Jersey. St Helier seemed very bustling and busy after the places we had been. Some of us went to the “Blue Note” bar where a band was playing Elmore James numbers and British Bitter was on-tap. We had truly landed in paradise……

Here Les and Sheila left us to fly home. Time to get a few boat jobs done and prepare for the next leg – back to Brighton.


One response to “Back in the English Channel

  1. Hey Rob and Jane,

    Great to be able to follow your adventures from NZ, sounds like you are having a great time!!

    Regards Jeremy

    Jeremy Gooders | District Operations Manager
    St John Central Region

    T 07 571 7654 | F 07 578 1368 | M 027 221 4747
    17th Avenue West | Tauranga 3140 | New Zealand
    PO Box 2387 | Tauranga 3140 | New Zealand

    Please consider the environment before printing this email.


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