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Date: 12 Oct 2010 17:33:42
Title: The Summer that wasn't

A week seems a long time when the weather seems predictable Sun, warmth and hazy lazy days until sunset at 10pm and the cooling North/North westerly evening breeze. Cant remember ever sailed with winds constantly between force 2 and 4  and not four to six as the Scottish norm. Also no rain for the last two weeks and wearing t-shirt and shorts makes for easy laundry for Linda. 
So after leaving Port Manesch  at lunchtime, we enjoyed a five hour sail, on broad reach at five and half knots  with all sails flying to the ile de Groix, a delightful island with lovely sandy beaches reminiscent of Tiree. Port Tudy, the main harbour  attracts many visiting yachts who have to raft up on fore and aft mooring buoys. We decided that we would rather be on our own and found a well protected anchorage off the beach a mile or so from the town- La plage de grandes Sables.- so expressive. Tuesday was a walking day  into town along the coastal path  to see the Harbour for future visits and then to Locmaria across the other side where the legs demanded a beer-  A delightful bar cafe overlooking a drying sandy harbour repaid the effort of the six miles hike. 
Wednesday was departure day for  Belle Ile - Another 15 mile downwind passage that took us 6 hours at a gentle pace in a clear blue sky and sparkling water. The first two anchorages at Sauzon and Port Jean were not for us- either exposed to wind or swell so once again around the corner from the main town of Il Palais to Port Guen- another ile, another beach  and another coastal path into town although much shorter this time.  But not the same at all, this Ile is a main holiday resort with Cars! and traffic and parking meters- a culture shock from Groix-  and dominated by the Citadel-  a  fort that oversees the town and the seaward approaches. Up to 18,000 men could be garrisoned within its walls and was another of the French engineer Vauban masterpieces of defence structures.- Although it was taken and held by Britain for a number of years until it was swapped for Minorca in one of the many Britain/France peace agreements. Il Palais is a delightful town with the harbour as its centerpiece- part of it drying and part of it through Lock gates to the commercial area. Linda was so taken by the town, she decided to have her hair cut so is now sporting a rather  chic shortie and i overwhelmed by the fact that it was not a glasgae special forked out for a kilo of Langoustines- almost the cost of the cut!. -  but they were delicious.
Next up the ile de Hoedic-  one mile long and half mile wide. recommended as one of the jewels of the Brittany iles  and fifteen miles offshore in Quiberon Bay.- only three and half hours from Belle isle eight miles to the west.  Hoedic is a holiday island similar to Groix with resident population of 100 swelling to between 2000 to 3000 in the summer season The cruising guides say come prepared with food  and yet Hoedic has two supermarkets with wine selections that would not be out of place in Tesco- and only 3 to 6 euros a bottle-. The French do like their wine and would no doubt riot if they had to pay UK prices for the same wines.  Another two nights on the Anchor and walks along the Dunes-  certainly keeping us fit.   
We were sorry to leave Hoedic but we had our plan so short hop of 4 miles to  Houat where we anchored up along with 150 others at the wonderful horseshoe shaped beach of  Treach de Gourhed at the south end of the island.  The pilot book describes Houat as "spectacular beaches,wonderful walking, a profusion of wild flowers and very little else. A visit is likely to be the high point of a South Brittany Holiday".  It did not disappoint as we enjoyed a further three days exploring the Island.
However,on the first mortning ashore, we heard from home that Stuart's  Aunt Pearl had died in the Isle of Wight at the age of 95. We had only recently visited her three weeks before with Mike  and Suzy and she was in great form tho very frail. Pearl was the last of the Oldies on Stuart's side so  we were back for the funeral. As PLF was only 60 miles away, it seemed sensible to return to ouir base and car for the journey home. So two uneventful days motorsailing against light headwinds with overnighter at Groix saw us back in the Marina.  Another two weeks under our belt. As Stevie and Sabrina were coming to Scotland on the first weekend of September to organise their wedding, it would be later that month before we would return to Yellsound..........      .      

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