The lovely city of Douarnenez France has become A home away from home for us. This magical waterside city is where we are keeping our wooden boat for the winter. I highly recommend it as a winter storage for any sailing boat on the Brittany coast. It is an exceptional place for wooden boats as there are so many around. Port Rhu has a lock and maintains a 4 meter depth. There are many chandleries, wood workers and repair specialists. 9 month storage coasts less then $1000 euros!

We love anchoring. That has been hard here in Brittany France. Sometimes the water is to deep and often rocky. More of the time the harbor dries completely out. Most often the places we are able to anchor are packed.

We loved Hoedic island. Here there are no cars, just a ferry to transport people from the main land. The houses are built well and strong from local rock. I like the tight compactness of the streets, which probably helps in the winter when the island must be wind strewn. There are restaurants and two food shops and a lovely camp ground with canvas bell tents. The camp grounds sit perched above two of the loveliest beaches we have been on so far.

The Anchorage is packed but there is plenty of room. We loved this stress free island that reminded us of the West Indies.

We didn’t sail into the port. We couldn’t bother to get tides right and opening bridges. We hopped a bus and off we went. You can read all you want about Vannes on google.

What we loved were the timber frame homes ( as we built the back side of our house out of twisted oak in timber frame style)

experimental gardens everywhere

and this

Morroccan mans excellent food cafe! The food was great, the building was fantastic and he was super friendly and open. The high light of our day! Sucran !

There is a lot more sand and less rocks here in the south part of Brittany. Many islands dot the coast and the land gently rolls into the ocean. There is also a lot of low water that drys out and becomes sandy beach. These beach’s fill up with sunbathers at low water. At high water there is no beach.

We are here in August. August in France is the holiday month. It is crowded in the marinas and at anchor. British sailors say the only way to get a spot is to move in the morning and arrive by 12- 1 so you get a mooring, dock or anchor space. Most French start there sail day at that time. The problem is the wind fills in at 1- 2 – 3 so you miss the best sailing. For me that has been horrible. There are a lack of good anchoring spots and the tide has to be contended with so finding a suitable spot for the night has been troublesom.

We have been sailing here for over a month but realistically two weeks will do you.

We arrived early to the festival in dourdenez France. We spent most of that week at the Trombel and port ru part of the waterfront. It wasn’t until about a week in we happened to explore the sardine processing plant and found the other harbor. This is where the 600 wooden boats packed in for the Temps Fete Festival. Here on this side was a massive harbor with a wonderful stone quey. Many restaurants and cafes line the quey overlooking the water.

The amount of local people volunteering to make the festival work was staggering. The amount of wooden boats that sailed from all parts of Europe was amazing. Each day a determined type of sail boat would go out and sail around in front of the festival. We couldn’t figure out where we were to go so we just sailed around feeling a bit goofy.

Along shore there were classes in different nautical traditions. The sculling station was always full and the evening races were my favorite to watch. I also enjoyed watching many large boats sculling onto there moorings after taking all sails in. Here in France sculling is a tradition that are keeping alive. It works, why not.

We never figured out when the island was settled and by whom but we sure loved this gem of a spot. It may actually be my favorite island on the whole darn trip.

We anchored off plage de Gored just below a Dolmen or burial cite from the Celtic civilization. The Morbihan is littered with them. We walked the coastal path which wraps the whole island, passing people’s homes and gardens.

I love the feel of this island as there are no cars just feet and bikes. Even with all the day trippers you could tell who lives on the island. They were st Barth’s laid back enjoying good sea, sun and air. The town had a half dozen cafes, a bake shop, pharmacy and tabac store. What more could you want.

The east side had lovely overgrown black berry trails which lead to beaches, wetlands and cedar tree groves. The whole island dotted with small stone homes nestled into nature’s bosom. No one clear cuts here. I think I’ll aux Moines is the nature island of Brittany.

This is the place to come to unwind ( like shelter island but with more privacy- parcels of land are bigger and the old stone houses are historic) for a week or two in an air B and B.

We can’t say enough about the beautiful coast of Cornwall and Devon. But then we arrived in the Scilly isles with pure water, seaweed low tides and silky sand we thought we were back in the West Indies. So many islands to explore here, 30 miles off lands end- UK s most western point.

All the islands have paths that go round and criss cross each other. Of course it was surprising to pass in front of people kitchen windows but that is what they do.

Most islands do not have cars. Everyone has splendid gardens and veggies for sale.

The many fishermen provide for the islands and mainland. Most all the houses were thick stone with slate roofs. Winters might be tough here as you know everyone and the weather limits your activity’s

On st Martins I found a charity shop shack stacked full with UK Country Living magazines.

On Tresco we explored Cromwell forts and Iron Age burial sites.

On St Mary’s we took some hot much needed showers and wandered thru the star fort.

This is a GOTTA GO place to sail!

They caught our short lines. Made fast my uncleated breast line. Frantically pulling in tiger maru who was running down currant on a pontoon in the harbor entrance of Douarnenez. We were tired from our crossing and the Ushant shipping lane that crossed the Brittany coast and English Channel. Thanks to david and Christina we arrived safely, attached to land or at least a pontoon.

They hail from the fabulous port town of Mevagissey which we couldn’t anchor off because the wind wasn’t right. There’s is a traditional gaff yawl built in Martha’s Vinyard by Ashley Butler and sailed home to the UK .

David bought her. Crossed the Atlantic single handed two times-in that same year. Spent three days in the azores, a few weeks in Antigua for the classics and a few nights on some other islands. Basically he does it for the freedom of sailing alone offshore. He is really the last of true adventurers, setting his oil lamps at night for his running lights, using his sextant for positions and carrying all those sails to be hanked on and off . Christina is the last of the last also – who supports his passion and does not dare get in his way, rather assists him with weather from onshore. She really gets the passion of mad single handed sailor.

The flush deck no cockpit boat must be hard to sail in the weather that dominates the uk. It must be miserable in boarding seas. Actually the only place I would want to sail her is in the tropics with cushions on deck and awnings spread above. Much like how David Wegman set up his flush deck cow horn Afriggan Queen who sailed the world the trade winds route.( now gone due to hurricane Irma) David from mevigissey is clearly different and as he says “has to do it the hard way”.

David’s work shop the crown jewel of the innards of the boat. Look at all those storage spots and space for making, fixing & navigation.

sally b is for sale but David keeps her moving. For him it is a way of life and he can’t seem to get enough. Interested? What’s his email? Gonna find out.

When I first saw Ibis at Antiqua Classics, I knew I would have to sail to England. For many years I read anything about fishing boats, smacks, oyster sailboats, troshers & fishing schooners that I could get my hands on. Something about the lines of these boats, combined with the large sail area broken into many parts and the matte finish of the hull. ( often black)excited me.

Julien and I sailed into Falmouth for the Falmouth classic regatta this June. Sarah O’Neil of St. John joined us for three days. We were floored by the amount and condition of wooden old boats here in Cornwall uk. We saw some wooden oyster work boats that still dredge oysters under sail.( the only way u can take them in the fal river)

Onto Fowey, a must see by sea village with dramatic cliffs and stunning old houses built into the cliff side. Wind in the willows was written here as well as the short story that Hitchcock turned into the movie “the birds”. A short walk from town brings you to a great beach with a water fountain and coffee bar! Onward we walked thru cow fields, over hill and dales on the southwest coastal trail.

We then headed to Polkerris , a tiny fishing town with a low tide beach. Here we enjoyed the natural beauty of rocks, cow pasture and sea. The village on land is a gem with 10 stone houses and two beach cafes with beer on tap and Italian espresso done right. We came back to this gem again on our way out to the Scilly Isles.

Charlestown was our next overnight stop. Here we found the clay port turned into a theatrical set for the three musketeers and Poldark. The floating basin, with a lock door and square rigged tall ships make it worth the trip. We had to wait for off breezes & settled weather to anchor off this port. The Shipwreck museum houses an amazing amount of artifacts from ruins along its coast. Worth the 10 quid.

The Helford & Fal river have many anchoring spots with cottage towns along its river.

St Mawes is a small town with old houses that have been converted into holiday homes.

We are waiting for weather and tide to hop over to the Scilly islands. Fortunately the weather is in our favor to spend a few days walking Penzance, mousehole and st micheals mount. Penzance being the perfect city like town for pick up of fresh veggies and charity shop ( went into at least 10) book shelves.

St micheals mount consists of a castle and Benedictine monastery with the owners St Aubyn’s still living below it. The castle is on an island linked to the mainland by an ancient drying stone causeway. I received my first attempt at dousing on the castles rooftop. Here there are energy lines that converge at the monks chapel.

Mousehole is an old fishing port with an oval harbour with mass granite boulder walls. Narrow streets, country cottages and a wild bird hospital add to its charm.

Everywhere we have had interesting conversations, great pasties, tons of fish and chips and plenty of old world sites for our senses. The pace of life here is comfortable and has contributed to us meeting real life brits who love to sail. The sailing has been great with gentle north and east winds, blue skies and 25 mile hops to the next bay. We have loved our stay in the UK and glad we missed the hectic Solent sailing area.

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