4) Benodet and beyond

Having made it all the way down the Atlantic coast to Benodet, we realised that there was far too much to see before we got somewhere safe and protected for the winter.

No problem we thought, we can do it all on the way back. so we decided to keep chipping away on our trip south.

We did notice that they teach sailing from a very young age in Brittany as part of daily school curriculum. It wasn’t like that where I went to school!

All thought we only stayed a couple of days, we managed to get around Benodet quite well but soon it was time to head off again, this time the walled town of Concarneau a little further east along the coast.

Having already negotiated Chenal Du Four and Raz de Sein we were now very conscious of being at the right place at precisely the right time to take advantage of current and also depth of water, which was going to be needed on the entrance to Concarneau. one of the things that we learned at an early stage of our adventure was to always, whenever possible, arrive in daylight if it is your first visit. However, that isn’t too difficult along this part of the French Atlantic coast line as there are so many places to go. Also, if you have planned it properly, you will always have a fallback port if you find the going a bit tough and decide to dive in somewhere for a break. This was an easy sail, just a hop along the coast. The hardest part was parking!

Concarneau did look quite an imposing place but it was easy to see where we were going. So all we had to do was radio the marina and tell them we had arrived and await instructions. Of course, our French was improving but when the harbour master told us to follow the yacht in front of us and turn at the third pontoon head down until you come to the yellow boat and then turn right! I got as far as “follow the yacht in front” So while Amanda tried to scribble down some of the key points from the instructions, I scanned the horizon for the “yacht in front” Hmmm…..no yacht!!

Needless to say, we made it and managed to squeeze in to a space without upsetting anyone.

One of the many things I remember about Concarneau was Chocolate and Merengue in the lovely shops inside the walled town.

It was a great place to stop and like most places so far, we could have stayed much longer.

Another day, another walled town. We had intended to sail in to the sailing Mecca of France that is Lorient, but we came across some other yachties who told us to try Port Louis on the entrance to Lorient. So we did!

It is hard to keep finding words to describe the places we visited without repeating myself, but little did I know that I was going to need to vastly improve my descriptive repertoire for what was still to come. However, on a practical note and for any yachties thinking of trying out ports along this coast, Port Louis had the best washroom facilities so far. They were fantastic and very unexpected. It was another place to stay a little longer!!!

But no! off we go again, next stop the other French sailing Mecca La Trinite Sur-Mer. As it happened, we had both been here before in our respective childhoods. From a sailing point, we headed south down the coast line and then turned left at a lighthouse called La Tegnouse and then doubled back but now on the other side of a spit of land, in to the Baie de Quiberon. This was great sailing and we zoomed up the coast to La Trinite Sur-Mer. Not quite as fast though as ‘Spindrift 2’ a super high-tech Yacht sponsored or owned by. Banque Popular, which was carrying out final trials before taking part in the Jules Verne Trophy race. It was incredible to watch the skipper throwing this enormous machine around the bay and at one point he came flying past us, with a chase helicopter and various chase support boats and crew of techies! I was so captivated I forgot to tech any photographs Doh! Not to worry though, as luck would have it and much to my amazement, they came and parked right opposite us along with the other competitors Groupama, Macif and Edmund de Rothschild which had a much catchier name which I have forgotten.

La Trinite Sur-Mer is another fabulous place but is also near a place called Carnac famous for the ‘Carnac Alignment’ A neolithic set of carefully arranged stones which stretch on for some distance. If only I had paid more attention at school !!

After watching the Mayor wish the Jules Verne Trophy competitors good luck on their fantastic voyage, once again it was time for us to move on.

Next stop the Morbihan, Yeah !!